High Point University

A student shares her #MeToo story

Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual assault violence. Approximately every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every nine minutes, that victim is a child. Image retrieved from rainn.org

By Ally Ortolani

Opinion Editor

Are you okay, Ally?” said my friend via text message at approximately 3:53 a.m. I did not answer.

“Where are you?” she texted again.

It was Oct. 25, 2019, a cold, brisk evening. I was wearing a yellow polka-dot blouse, black jeans and black vans. It was supposed to be like any other Friday. I would wake up, get a soy chai latte, do some work, grab dinner and go out with friends.

It turned out to be a living nightmare.

I remember frantically running back to my house, gasping for air, as I held back tears. I could hear the fake birds chirping and the sound of classical music playing from speakers on the street lights.

My hands were shaking as I tried opening my front door. It was past midnight, and all I wanted was the comfort of my bed.

Seconds seemed like hours.

I flung the door open, threw my shoes off and sped to my bathroom. I broke down in tears and called my best friend. I could not put into words what happened to me.

That night, I was sexually assaulted.

I was at a party with unfamiliar people. Alcohol was involved, but that did not give him the right to violate me. That is not consent.

It took me several weeks to talk about it and process the events that occurred.

How was I supposed to tell my family about it, let alone my friends? What were people going to say if they found out? How would people view me? Would people think I am “easy”?

These were some of the questions that replayed in my head.

I finally built up the courage to report the incident in December, days away from finals. I could not focus or sleep, and the thought of running into him terrified me.

I felt like people knew what happened wherever I went. His fraternity brothers made glances at me. Walking home alone was scary too.

Throughout the process, which quickly became very public, High Point University has been extremely understanding and helpful during the scariest night of my life. I have felt an overwhelming amount of love and support from HPU staff members.

Speaking up freed me from my shame. Talking to family, friends and counselors gave me the comfort I needed. Speaking up also allowed me to set any rumors straight.

Sadly, I am not the only one who has gone through such a traumatic incident. Every day, people all over the world are sexually assaulted, including students on college campuses like HPU.

“Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted,” according to rainn.org. “Every nine minutes, that victim is a child.”

As a community, we have to bring awareness to an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of victims each year in the United States. If you see something, say something. I will continue to be an advocate for those who feel like they cannot speak up for themselves and for those struggling with mental health issues.