For the purpose of this article, the survivor has decided to retract their name and will go by the alias Diana Reed.
Diana Reed was walking back to her freshman dorm when three men called her over. After approaching the men, they acknowledged that she was friends with someone and stated she wished to have sex with them. They offered to take her to their room and continued to verbally and physically harass her until she ran away.
“Some people don’t classify it as sexual assault, but I think touching me and trying to get me to sleep with them counts,” Reed said.
She ultimately confided in her roommate about the situation, who she recalls telling her to get over it. She then went to her RA and together they went to the police.
“The police talked to me and they called in [Paula] Dranger, [Assistant Director for SAAFE Office]. I felt that the police were looking at me oddly like, ‘Did this really happen to this girl?’”
Reed recalls the police sending out a campus alert, but states that she went home crying and no one dealt with her being upset in that moment.
“When I met with them again, talking about what happened, they said, ‘Well, the guys have to stay away from you’ but that’s it. ‘They said they didn't do anything,’ and it was three people’s word against one,” she said.
“They said they couldn’t go near me but low and behold, the following year I had a class with one of the guys.”
She said she spoke to her professor and VUPD about what to do and they advised her to stay away from the subject.
“You want me to stay away from someone who I keep having panic attacks about, who sits four ways away from me? So I kind of had to deal with it,” she said.
Reed recalls from this experience that her RA was helpful, but doesn’t feel the same way about VUPD and SAAFE.
Reed talks about visiting the counseling center after being advised to go their by the SAAFE Office, but she didn’t like the person who helped her so discontinued her visits.
“What I don’t like about the counseling center is it’s so hard for people to get help in the moment,” she said.
Reed receives help from outside sources who had asked her about the kind of help she received from Valpo and the rights she has during her time on campus.
“I’ve never been given rights. The first time that Valpo gave me rights that I have to pursue this was this year,” she said.
When the organization she seeks help at came to speak to one of her classes, Reed’s professor noticed her crying and reported it to someone, and they told her her rights in case she had been sexually assaulted and wished to report or take something to law.
Two weeks after the first incident, she asked a friend to walk her home because she was still unwell about about happened to her in the prior weeks. Reed began to feel uncomfortable with this person and tried to leave but he grabbed and assaulted her. She ultimately fled after kicking the subject in the groin.
She felt that no one would believe her that this happened to her again, but went to her RA anyway.
“VUPD came back and Paula called me on the phone, and they were like, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I’m young and naive and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ So, they brought him and asked him if he did it and he said, ‘Yes, I did.’”
She said the subject was put into counseling but was not reprimanded and still remains a student.
She chooses to be open about sexual assault because she feels there is a stigma against it and those who speak about it.
“I think it’s important to tell people things otherwise it’s not going to be spoken about. I want people to know it happens and the reason I want to talk about what happened at Valpo is because they did nothing, and it angers me so much.”
This semester, Reed received an email from Title IX in February following up about what she had previously reported, and wanted to follow up to ensure she had been receiving the resources she needed to go forward. The email also contained a pamphlet with her rights and some options she could go forward with and if they wished to meet and speak and person, respond with that information in the email.
When asked if she responded to the email, Reed read her response out loud, which stated, “Yes, I would like to meet you because it has been three years since it happened and this is the first time I have been told my rights instead of being told it was my fault and I just needed to deal with it.”
The next email back to her informed her the person she was emailing from Title IX was a neutral party and would only connect her back with the resources and outlets she already dealt with. She decided to not respond again.
Although she feels angry about the situation, Reed believes by sharing her story, she may help other people share theirs.