You v. All: My Reality of Abuse and Assault on the Beloit College Campus
Content Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of self harm, suicidal ideation, rape, and assault. The identity of this writer is anonymous to ensure their safety.
*Some names have been changed to maintain privacy
When I was victimized by my boyfriend, I could not allow myself to view his actions for what they were: rape. When I reported my assault and abuse to college administration, I had to fight for my safety alone. Unlike many survivors, I won my battle.
It is common experience amongst many incoming college first year students, including myself, that before even stepping foot in their first college classroom, they have completed some form of course or lecture on bystander intervention. Whether or not these classes are effective is unclear.
According to a 2019 study conducted by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the rate of reported sexual assault among undergraduate women is 26%, while the rate among undergraduate men is 7%. Overall, there is a 13% rate of reported sexual assault across all gender identities.
The image of assault that we are all warned against is the assault that takes place in a dark alleyway, or after a drugged drink at a bar, or in a stranger’s bed at a college house party. We are not told it will happen in our own beds, with your significant other, late on a Sunday morning. I was not told that over half of assaults perpetrated against women occur at the hands of an intimate partner.
After seeing so many Beloit College students anonymously share their experiences with sexual violence on social media, I thought it could be helpful to share my own story. Before I speak on my experience throughout the Title IX report and investigation, though, I think it’s important to grasp the gravity of the situation that I found myself in. Only with a working understanding of the events that preceded the investigation will it become clear how harmful the administration’s delay in action truly was.
My relationship with my ex-boyfriend, Chris*, was entrenched in situational strings and complications. We started seeing each other in the spring of 2019, though I’d known him casually for the two previous years. When we finally became romantic, I’d somewhat socially ostracized myself in order to be with him. Because of this ostracization, I was much more adamant about making excuses for his behavior when he became emotionally abusive.
In the beginning of our relationship, the abuse would only happen from time to time. Chris would become triggered by some minute action: not responding to a text fast enough, not giving an explicit explanation of my plans, not spontaneously going out of my way to see him. What would follow was a berratement of angry texts, calling me a slew of degrading names and saying that I was lucky he even spoke to me.
After each incident I would confront him in person and express how hurt I was and how I felt as though he was being unreasonable. He was always apologetic, and he’d claim that it wouldn’t happen again. One of the hardest parts of leaving an abusive relationship is coming to terms with the fact that it will always happen again.
Then, not long after, came the coercion. I quickly learned that if I turned down sex I would be punished by his attitude and the way he treated me for the following few days. When I did say no I was met by a slew of, “come on” and, “I need to do something.” I would say no, he would try again. It would continue until I gave in. I would find myself laying motionless on his bed, allowing him to have sex with my body, and the word “rape” would pop into my mind. I would silently and forcefully push it away. No, I told myself, you’re allowing it to happen.
I think it is important to note that my abuser was a white, upper-class, cis man. Chris had been raised as an only child in an affluent part of California, and had admitted himself that he had never been punished growing up. The semester before we started dating he’d taken a vacation term to “find himself,” during which his parents paid for him to spend a month smoking weed and going to cafes in Amsterdam. This was an individual of extreme privilege who had never been told “no.” In some ways, he was coddled into becoming an abuser.
When we returned to campus after the summer, his abuse evolved. Chris had always maintained some level of financial superiority over me, as he had his parent’s wealth while my family was firmly within the working class. That semester he began to use money as a manipulation tactic, offering to pay me for sex. The first time he offered, I was caught off guard. I briefly turned the idea around in my head. I knew, regardless of whether or not I accepted the money, I was going to have to have sex with him. I accepted the money.
By late September our arguing was nearly nonstop. He would find a reason to break up with me every week, then, eventually, every day. The reasoning was always illogical– one time because I tried to bring him a protein bar, one time because I wanted to study in the science center instead of in the library. Each time he ended things I begged him to see reason, but he ignored me and told me he didn’t care about me. The second I would try to leave after being told to “get the fuck out,” he would see reason. We ended up back together every time.
Our tensions came to a head in early October. I told Chris I was in the library doing homework between classes, and he said he was also heading there soon. After half an hour I received a text. He was breaking up with me. He called me a worthless cunt. He told me I was going nowhere in life, that I played the victim, and that losing him was going to ruin me. His reason for this outburst? When he entered the library and saw me, he sat out of my line of sight, and because I did not see him, he claimed I was ignoring him.
I’d had enough. I accepted the break up. Chris apologized, and claimed he hadn’t been himself. I told him it was too late. He continued to text me every day anyway, asking to see me. I woke up one morning to a Venmo transaction of $2,000. Money, he said, he had been saving to start a life together. I sent it back immediately.
The rest of the month was a continual battle. I found myself solely responsible for the mental health and the life of my abusive ex-boyfriend. He would call me or text me, sobbing and desperate. He threatened to jump off of bridges and buildings. On one occasion I found him alone in an empty lecture hall between classes. He asked me to promise to be with him and I told him I couldn’t. He began violently punching himself in the head, then attempting to cut and stab his wrists with his keys. I tried to grab his wrists or restrain him in any way, but he was significantly stronger than I was. When I pulled out my phone to call campus security he stopped completely, calmly begging me not to call. I put my phone away and asked if I could walk him back to his apartment. In my head I was praying that his roommates would be there to witness this outburst. I thought, Someone else needs to know what is happening.
On the walk back to his room Chris was still irate. As we passed the newly built Powerhouse walking bridge, he turned to me and yelled, “I might as well jump off this fucking bridge. Is that what you want?”
I reached for his arm to guide him forward past the bridge, but he pulled away, grabbed his t-shirt, and ripped it off of his body. After Chris ripped his shirt it was only a short walk to his door. His friends had just left his apartment to go to class. I also had class, but I couldn’t leave. In his bedroom he tried to slam his head on the corner of his desk. I grabbed him and held him for twenty minutes, until I thought he was safe. I then walked back across campus and apologized to my professor, lying about a previous meeting running late.
During this period, it wasn’t uncommon for Chris to try to hurt himself in front of me. He would tell me he was better, that even if I left he would be okay, only to punch himself in the face a minute later. By the end of the month, I had noticed there was a cut along his hairline and he’d split open the skin near his eyebrow. I once witnessed him bend his iPhone in half out of anger.
I’d never experienced anxiety as intensely as I did that month. I would jump at loud noises and sudden movements. My heart rate was elevated constantly. I would only fall asleep after an exhausting hour of tossing and turning through endless panic attacks.
One Wednesday evening in early November it seemed as though things were looking up. Though I had adamantly refused to call Chris that night, he seemed stable. He said he understood that I couldn’t be with him, and that he would be safe. I went to sleep easily, believing things were finally coming to an end.
By the following morning he’d taken it all back. He insisted I have breakfast with him so we could talk. I said no, and he abruptly told me he had cheated on me multiple times with one of his friends. This, to me, was the last straw. I blocked his number. I couldn’t help but think, Even when you raped me, it was never enough.
Chris, unfortunately, had another number. He texted me again, and I blocked that number as well. He began sending me Venmo transactions with messages in the captions. I had to Google “how to block someone on Venmo.” He reactivated his Instagram account that had been inactive for over a year just to DM me abusive messages. After I quickly blocked this account, he emailed me screenshots of his DMs with the subject line, “in case you didn’t see my messages.”
The lengths he went to to contact me were not only disturbing, but legally constituted stalking and harassment.
That same day I attended my first counseling session. I spent most of the hour sobbing uncontrollably, trying to choke out the gist of the preceding story. I decided then that I was going to request a no contact order through the college, and set up a meeting with the director of residential life for the next day.
The following morning, Friday, November 8, I ran into Chris at Java Joint. He tried to talk to me and I told him I had to leave. As I turned to walk away, he yelled, “Fuck you.” Less than an hour later I received an email from him titled, “Feedback on character + relationship.” What followed was 700 words on his intimate knowledge of what he considered to be my character flaws, faults, and a pointed reminder of what I allowed him to call me and the things I allowed him to do to me.
With these words fresh in my memory, I had what would be my first of many meetings with the college’s director of residential life, Ryan. Without warning, Ryan had invited another residential life coordinator to sit in and take notes. I felt uneasy and outnumbered.
Ryan began by informing me that I did not need to be approved in any way to receive a no contact order between myself and another student, but that I would be asked to provide a statement as to why I felt it was necessary. I tearfully recounted most of my experiences thus far, but was not able to speak about the sexual abuse I had endured. I wasn’t able to come to terms with that part of my story until months later. Because I did not describe this aspect of my abuse within my initial statement, it wasn’t until February that my Title IX case began.
The no contact order that I received stated that neither Chris nor I were to contact each other in any way. This included posting about each other on social media, speaking to third parties about each other, or hanging around places that the other frequented. However, we were required to share public common spaces. This meant that if I was in the library, Commons, or any other gathering space, he could enter and remain there as long as he did not approach me. I was not told until much later that I had the option to mandate that we could not be in public spaces at the same time.
If Cristopher were to violate this order in any way, I was told to call campus security or forward the evidence of the violation to Ryan himself. Violation of the no contact order would result in “disciplinary action.”
I was asked to write a full statement outlining my relationship to my ex-boyfriend, and to include as many screenshots of instances of harassment as possible. I painstakingly did so, and submitted a ten page account of my experience with Chris. After emailing this statement to Ryan and the residential life coordinator assigned to my building, I received no confirmation that my statement had been received or read. I was not informed of who else would receive a copy of this statement.
The following Monday, two days after the issuing of the no contact order, I entered Java Joint once again. As I ordered my coffee, a non-student staff member of the cafe approached me. Though we interacted daily, she had never approached me directly before.
After pulling me aside she began telling me she was sorry about the “whole situation” that was occurring, and that she and the other workers “always knew something was off” with Chris. It dawned on me suddenly that she knew the whole story– she had been told by campus security, who had been notified by Ryan.
I was unsure how to feel about the staff member’s insight into my personal life. I knew she meant nothing but kindness, and I appreciated that deeply, but I was furious at the lack of transparency in the sharing of intimate details of my statement. Our campus is small, and information travels quickly. Who else would know?
After five days of silence from the residential life office, I emailed Ryan once more, expressing my displeasure at being left in the dark and the sharing of my information without my consent. He responded shortly, stating, “I will want a follow-up meeting. Let me attempt to schedule one.” This meeting was never scheduled.
Two days passed from Ryan’s response email. At 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 15, I sat in Java alone, eating my breakfast. Chris entered the cafe and ordered coffee, then walked past me twice to get water. Each time he passed within six inches of my chair. He exited the cafe suddenly, then, minutes later, I received an email titled, “Apology.”
In one thousand words Chris had attempted to apologize for his abuse. He asked me not to report this violation of the no contact order, and told me he wouldn’t report me if I responded. He added two attachments of photos of us together. He took responsibility for his behavior, though from all of our past experiences I knew he was doing it purely out of necessity. He was forced to confront what he did wrong, and he was grasping at straws, trying to manipulate me into being with him again. I didn’t respond to the email, and I didn’t report it to residential life until 5:00 p.m. that evening. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I needed time to process everything and finally make the decision to choose myself and my safety over my abuser.
After I forwarded this email to residential life, Ryan responded within fifteen minutes. He informed me he would meet with both Chris and campus security and write a report of this incident. Ryan then called and left me a voicemail, asking me to come to his office for a meeting.
At 6:00 p.m. that evening I finally got my promised follow-up meeting. Despite having violated the no contact order, Ryan explained that there was seemingly no threat to my physical safety, and that if Chris violated the order again he may be subject to expulsion. Although Ryan was correct that no threat was directly made against my physical safety, I had witnessed and detailed in my statement countless erratic, unpredictable outbursts that made me feel as though I could not say with any amount of certainty that Chris would not harm me. I was, and still am, afraid of him.
I felt incredibly frustrated that it took a full violation of the no contact order to receive any sort of urgency or interest on the part of the college’s administration. Personally, I do not believe that at this point in time Ryan had read my statement in its entirety. He referred to the incidents I described as “gaslighting,” but made no mention of the more suggestive and abusive messages I had included in the later half of my statement. Regardless, I received no further communication from Ryan.
On November 27 I received an email informing me that Chris had shared an article with me from an obscure website. All the email contained was a link to a video about farming equipment– I forwarded this email to Ryan nonetheless. Ryan said he would look into it, and I received no further updates on the matter. I later found out that Chris refused to meet with Ryan to discuss this email.
As we began to near winter break, my existence on campus grew increasingly stressful. Every day I would see Chris. He would arrive at Java before me and sit at the table that I usually claimed. Whenever we found ourselves in the cafe at the same time he would walk past me repeatedly, sometimes coughing or clearing his throat inches from my ear. I would keep a tally of how many times he passed me– one day he walked past me twelve times in the span of an hour.
I was constantly looking over my shoulder. In the library he would choose a seat directly in my line of sight. The only time I felt safe was when I was locked in my room. Eventually I had enough, and on December 3 I emailed Ryan to ask to meet with me and see if anything could be done as I no longer felt safe on campus. For one week, I received no response.
On December 10, I received a voicemail at 4:00 p.m. from Ryan. He exclaimed cheerfully that he had “just realized” he never responded to my email from a week ago, and that he would like to meet to discuss my options. Frustrated but hopeful, I scheduled a meeting with him for the following morning.
I brought a close friend along with me to this meeting, as she had also witnessed Chris acting aggressively towards myself and my friends in public spaces. I expressed to Ryan that I did not feel safe on campus, and that I felt as though he was not taking my situation seriously. Ryan agreed that Chris was following our no contact order in words but not in spirit, but then said, “I was under the impression that this was just a bad break up.” I didn’t know how to express to him the severity of my anxieties– if he had read my entire statement he would not be able to claim this was “just a bad break up.”
Ryan assured me he would be meeting with the Dean of Students later that week to discuss the matter further and determine next steps. I left feeling unsure of what to expect. I later found out that Ryan had attempted to discuss all of this with Chris in person as well, but he once again refused to come in for a meeting.
On December 12 I received an email informing me of an addendum to the previously mandated no contact order. The Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life had decided that the best course of action was to mandate that Chris and myself could no longer be within fifty feet of each other nor share public spaces.
This, on surface level, sounds like a positive development. In reality, however, the order goes both ways. This meant that if I were to go to Java Joint, the library, C-Haus, or any gathering, and Chris had arrived before me, I would have to leave that space. This meant that every time I entered a room I would have to scan the crowd multiple times, always on the lookout for my abuser. This meant that I had to change my entire routine– I could no longer go to Java every morning, and I had to find a new place to sit in the library. My entire life now had to revolve around avoiding my abuser.
This addendum came in the midst of finals, a week before the end of the semester. I knew I did not want this addendum to be in place, but I decided I would wait to contest it until the following semester.
That same week, I had been talking to some friends about everything that had been happening between myself and Chris and the residential life office, and I came to a realization. I had described to them how Chris had coerced me into having sex, how I would wake up to him groping me, how he would have sex with me when he knew I didn’t want him to, how he paid me to have sex with him. Delicately, my friends suggested to me that this was rape. I had always known what it was that happened, but it wasn’t until my friends vocalized it back to me that I began to come to terms with the reality of the situation.
One of my friends that I discussed this with was an RA, and as a mandated reporter, she was required to report what I told her to her supervisor. Her supervisor, another residential life coordinator, set up a meeting with me on December 13. In this meeting she asked me about the incidents I had discussed with my friend, and she informed me that there were instances of violations of the college’s policies on sexual assault and misconduct, and that I could move forward as a participant in a Title IX investigation if I so chose.
It was at this point that I began to realize I would be going through much of this process alone. Though the residential life staff can be supportive, they legally are not allowed to provide any sort of suggestion or insight into your case or what may or may not happen. There was no individual provided by the college that had an inside knowledge of the Title IX and judicial system processes that I could turn to for support. Though I had the support of my on-campus counselor and friends, they knew even less than I did about the processes I would be going through. I was going to have to prove my truth myself.
I decided to go through with a Title IX investigation, and I was informed I would need to write another statement, this time detailing the sexual abuse I endured throughout my relationship with Chris. As I exited this meeting, I had walked only a few yards when I heard a familiar laugh. I turned, and there was Chris, walking across the quad behind me. When I saw him I didn’t feel more or less certain about my decision, I just felt sad.
Because it was so close to the end of the semester, my next meeting in regards to my Title IX case would not be held until the following semester. When I arrived home for winter break my mom asked if I’d been working out more– I hadn’t been. I’d unintentionally lost nearly ten pounds from living in a state of constant stress. Over break I wrote my statement. I included screenshots of texts in which Chris admitted to having sex with me on two occasions in which he knew I was not consenting, as well as Venmo transaction receipts of two occasions in which he paid me for sex.
Upon returning to campus in January, I quickly realized that Chris had found a new girlfriend, as he had brought her back to campus even though she was not a student at the college. Whenever I saw them for the weeks that she was there, she would glare at me, undoubtedly believing whatever story Chris had produced about my antagonism. I reminded myself of my own oversights at the beginning of our relationship, and the excuses I made to justify his behavior. I felt sorry for her.
Early in the semester, I had attempted to set up a meeting with Ryan to discuss the removal of the addendum that had been added to the no contact order. He had not responded to my email requesting this meeting when, on Tuesday, January 21, Chris violated the no contact order for a third time.
While I was in class on Tuesday morning, I received a text message from a friend of a friend. According to this person, someone had seen a post Chris had made on his private Snapchat story in which he took a picture of a photo of myself that had been published in a campus literary zine. He’d captioned it something like, “because no one else wants to see it.”
I was able to attain a screenshot of this post and forwarded it to Ryan, who responded within a half hour. He informed me he would be meeting again with the Dean of Students that day and would notify me of any decisions they made. At 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, Ryan again responded, saying that he would be issuing an administrative order and would like to discuss everything with me the following day.
When I arrived at the meeting that following Wednesday, the residential life coordinator who had initially spoken with me about the Title IX process was already there along with Ryan. They outlined for me everything that was going to happen moving forward. Ryan was to write a full report of incidents between myself and Chris thus far, and issue an administrative order for some undisclosed disciplinary action. Legally, he was not allowed to inform me what that action would be until he had first notified Chris. After this order was delivered, Chris would have three days to appeal the order and provide some sort of counter evidence that would nullify the disciplinary action.
The Title IX coordinator then confirmed with me that I wanted to pursue another, separate investigation into sexual assault and misconduct violations, as we had discussed before winter break. We set up a follow-up interview meeting for the following week.
On January 24, Ryan sent me the official administrative order being filed against Chris– they were mandating that he move off campus. He was not being expelled or suspended, he was simply being told he must find housing elsewhere. At this point, two of his three roommates had already moved out of his apartment due to his erratic, abusive behavior. Regardless, Chris chose to appeal the order.
The following Wednesday, I arrived for my interview with Ryan and the Title IX coordinator alone. Both myself and Chris would be interviewed and asked to provide evidence or witnesses to corroborate our stories. When I arrived, however, Ryan informed me that he had one small matter to attend to before our interview. Chris had submitted evidence against me, claiming I had also broken the no contact order.
My ears were ringing as Ryan slid a single sheet of paper across the table to me. It was a screenshot of a text message, blown up to fill an entire page of printer paper. The contact name on the screen was mine, with a red heart emoji after it. The contact photo was of myself, laying in bed. The message read, “I really gotcha good didn’t I,” followed by a kissing face emoji.
I knew my name had never been written that way in his phone, and I knew the contact photo he’d used was not of me in bed. I also knew, above all else, that I had not sent him that text message. I was furious. Ryan asked if he could see my phone himself– to make sure the message wasn’t there. I handed my phone over willingly.
I watched as Ryan scrolled back to my conversation with Chris, and opened it to find the last profane, abusive text message he had sent me before I blocked his phone number that day in early November. The shock was visible on his face. He asked me when the last text had been sent, and I knew then that Ryan had never read the entirety of my statement I had submitted to him months before– a screenshot of that exact message had appeared in its last pages.
Having found no incriminating text message on my phone, Ryan told me he would report that he strongly suspected the evidence Chris submitted to be fake. Nevertheless, I requested copies of my phone records from the previous six months, just to be sure.
We continued on with my interview. I told them everything I could, but I never used the word rape. I said he coerced, I said I didn’t consent, I said he knew I didn’t want to, but I never said rape, and neither did they.
They recorded everything I said, and asked me to read aloud the Venmo receipts I had submitted as evidence. I was taken aback and I felt ashamed. It was as though they were rubbing my nose in my abuse. I asked if I had to, they said I did not. I wondered why they even asked in the first place.
At the end of it all they asked me if there was anything more I would like to say. I paused, knowing there was simultaneously so much and so little to be said. I settled on one request. I asked them to please, take into account every aspect of my situation. Though there were two separate investigations occurring simultaneously– the no contact order violations as well as the sexual assault and misconduct violations– I wanted to be sure that the final disciplinary determination took into account all of Chris’s actions. This was a man who abused me for months, assaulted me, then threatened to commit suicide when I left him. His roommates moved out due to his behavior, he continued to harass me even after the no contact order was in place, and he submitted fake evidence against me. I asked Ryan if this was an individual that Beloit College would be proud to call a graduate.
After this interview on January 29, I heard rumor in the following weeks that Chris had retained counsel. I emailed Ryan on February 5, asking if he could confirm this. He did, and he informed me that he, Chris, the Title IX coordinator, and both the college’s lawyer and Chris’s lawyer would be meeting later that week.
This revelation felt heavy to me. I felt the loneliness setting in. I knew it was now just me and my word against him and his lawyer. I had to prove that I was abused, emotionally and sexually, to both of these lawyers, as well as the college’s administration. I do not know how many people ended up reading my statements. Maybe seven, maybe fifteen, maybe more. The reality was that I, personally, had no control nor power besides the truth. All I could do was tell the truth.
Two days later, Friday, February 7, I received an email notifying me that a decision had been reached regarding my Title IX investigation. I was shocked, as I expected the investigation to be a long, drawn out process. I couldn’t tell if the swiftness of the decision was a good sign or bad. In the following days before this final meeting, I heard whispers that Chris had left campus, though no one was sure of the circumstances surrounding his departure. I held my breath, not wanting to believe it was true until it could be confirmed.
I again attended the meeting the following week alone, though Ryan heavily emphasized that I was allowed to bring someone along for support. He began the meeting by asking whether I would like to hear the good news or bad news first. Incredulous, I told him to choose. He chose the good.
“I don’t know what you may have heard from people on campus, but as of last Thursday Chris is no longer a student here.”
Surprisingly, I felt no emotional reaction. Ryan told me that after he had forwarded all of my statements and evidence to Chris’s lawyer, he had withdrawn from the college within a half hour. He left campus for good the following morning.
As Chris had left the college, the investigations in progress came to an end. I was told that should he ever appear on campus again, our security team would call the police. If he were to ever try to re-enroll at the college, he would immediately be up for consideration for expulsion. If he applies to any other university, his Beloit College transcripts will record that he violated our campus sexual assault and misconduct policy.
I knew that when his family or friends back home asked why he dropped out of college in his last semester, he would have no logical explanation but the truth. I think that is what gave me the most comfort.
Ryan wasn’t finished, however. He still had his bad news to deliver.
When I wrote my statement regarding my sexual abuse, I described how Chris gave me money for sex. Ryan informed me that because I accepted the money and did not explicitly return it, I incriminated myself in also violating college policy. I was complicit in the prostitution of a student, and I was also to be punished.
All I remember is anger. I think I yelled, “This is fucked up.”
With a bit of reflection and perspective, I am able to see this decision as what it was: necessary. Legally, the college could not move to punish one student for an action that both committed. They also mandated the least punishment possible– three counseling sessions and being placed on disciplinary probation until the end of the semester, at which time any evidence of the incident would be erased from my record.
This was of no real consequence, as I was already attending counseling regularly, and there was no reason for me to be concerned about further disciplinary action. The principle of the matter, however, left a sour taste in my mouth.
I had been through hell for eight months, fought every day for my safety on the campus I called home, and in the end I was being punished for my own abuse.
In the last few weeks before I left campus last year, I found myself back in Chris’s old apartment– since he had left his old roommates had moved back in. I came with a group of friends to the party, unsure of how I would feel being back in a space that held so much trauma. I stole away for a moment by myself, and found Chris’s bedroom door was unlocked. I entered and was immediately faced with a hole, about a foot in diameter, caved into the wall near his closet. I couldn’t tell if it had been kicked or punched. One of his roommates entered quietly behind me and I asked him if Chris had done this. He said, “Yes, but at least he took responsibility for it.”
I once again thought of his new girlfriend– there was no way she hadn’t seen this, or possibly even witnessed it happen. She, along with his parents, must know that Chris did something wrong. His lawyer otherwise would not have advised him to withdraw from the college. But I knew the type of manipulator he was, and I knew the charms he could employ. I knew that only she could make the decision to leave for herself. I feel helpless, and I feel sorry.
One year removed from the tail end of all of this drama, I am still continually processing the emotional load of the past two years. Somehow, I found it harder to get through the day in the month after the investigation concluded than it was in the midst of it all. For all those weeks I woke up every day determined to fight for myself– I went to class and turned in my assignments. I kept going. I knew I had a war to win and I knew I had to do it myself.