Student Voice

By Anonymous Alumni

At age 13, I started high school and entered puberty. I was admitted into a fairly reputable and competitive high school, and the students in that school were of admirable intellectual quality. However, this did not stop a boy, who at the time claimed to be a friend, from one day, reaching under the desk and grabbing my genitalia. I was so shocked by the action, that I didn’t react. This continued to happen until our schedules finally changed. 

At the time, although I knew in theory his actions were wrong, I didn’t know how to express how I felt to trusted adults. In my South Asian culture, talking about such things was taboo, and thus resulting in silence for those actions. Fast forward many years later, I would find myself in multiple cases of sexual abuse/rape, that went silent, for fear that it would ruin my potential career. 

At 17, unrelated to sexual incidents, I grew tired of my own father hitting me and threatening excessive violence when angry, so I confided in a friend, which resulted in my dad getting into some serious trouble, as I was still a minor. However, in my society, it is a norm to have such control over kids into their adulthood, and thus, at home, I was shamed for standing up for myself. I decided to push it behind and continue into college, where I would be raped a couple times by different men. 

One of the last times, it happened, I was lost in a foreign country, with nothing but a phone and key (no I.D., money or passport). It was broad daylight. I didn’t drink nor was I intoxicated. The locker room talk that Donald Trump joked about, became my reality. I was in an alleyway and a man saw me, did what he wanted and left me there with a ripped dress. When filing a report in the police station, I was laughed at because I was mistaken as a gypsy/refugee. Those police officers used the same locker room talk that Donald Trump used to make fun of my  case, and in fact, not make a note of it at all. 

To my peers, I am a high achiever, everything is perfect in my life and I don’t engage in “risky sexual behavior.” However, there are days in which I find myself searching for my last ounce of confidence and dignity, to feel pride in my body. The election of Trump has proven that these forms of sexual violence are acceptable and that I should expect nothing different to happen with my body. It opens so many painful wounds and reminders that I have tried to suppress for the past few years.