Tumblr: I need your help.
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SUICIDE, SELF-HARM
Most of my followers know that on September 20, 2013 I was raped in my dorm in Centennial Hall at The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities by an acquaintance I had met in my first couple of weeks on college campus as a freshman. His name is Levi Carstensen and he had led me to believe that he might be gay. He and I met up for dinner at 5 that evening and discussed Kevin Spacey movies. He had suggested we watch it after dinner and I offered my room partially because I had a single occupancy dorm with a TV and partially because I had no desire to spend time his his residence hall, Territorial.
Immediately once the DVD of “Horrible Bosses” was on, he started scooting closer to me, and I scooted farther away. He tried to kiss me and I said “no” that I didn’t want to do that right now and that I had recently gone through a nasty breakup where I had lost my best friend of three years. Clearly he saw how vulnerable I was. He stopped making advances momentarily, but then grabbed my breast, and placed his mouth on mine. He practically licked every millimeter of my mouth and I seriously thought I was drowning. I tried to push him away with my tongue but it didn’t seem to work.
He pleaded me to take off my clothes and I said no. I told him I was on my period. He kept pushing his face into mine. He looked at me, grinned and said “Wanna know something? I have a really big dick,” then proceeded to take his pants off and shove his penis in my face. I was at a time where I was dealing with some extreme self-esteem issues and as he continued to almost poke my eye out with his genitalia, I thought to myself “I guess I’ve done this before, how much could it hurt to do it again? I am sort of a whore anyways.” Looking back on that, my thought terrifies me because in no realm would I ever call any other human a whore but myself. So I put my mouth on his penis and saw the huge protruding zit about to burst on his belly button. I closed my eyes as he shoved his dick into my mouth. I gagged and tried to put my hand somewhere so he couldn’t shove it far, but he didn’t like that. Finally, he came in my trash can and put his clothes on again and laid next to me and I thought it was over and we could try to watch the movie. I was too numb to do anything else.
He did start talking about politics with me and we argued. He realized how different we were and how much I believe that Libertarians are bigots disguised as “moderates.” He said “Oh I guess we can’t date anymore. Huh. Friends with Benefits?” I told him I had no intention of dating him anyways.
Turns out it wasn’t over. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to go for round two. I said “no,” but he immediately took his pants off again and stuck his erect penis in my face and made me perform oral sex again. He told me he had brought condoms (as in multiple). He had me take my tampon out. He tried to get the first condom on with no success and started to get frustrated. I was worried he was going to go into me unprotected and although he had claimed he was a virgin, I didn’t know for sure. I asked him if he needed to try his other condom. He got it on, then it happened. He took that as the line of consent, but I was really trying to keep myself safe.
He left and awkwardly said something about feeling bad about pressuring me or something.
The shame I felt was immediate. I cleaned myself and my room. I went to Sanford Hall that night and tried to act normal, but everyone knew I was off. Finally, the following Friday, I was brought to the Aurora Center by my friend. I had a wonderful advocate, Joanna, who helped me report the case to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (OSCAI) since I knew that the police would not take my investigation seriously because my rape wasn’t the cookie cutter rape you see in everyday media. In fact, it often times isn’t. And this is what caused an internal struggle where I worried that maybe this was all my fault. So anyways I filed a report with OSCAI and I was led to believe that it was likely that Levi would be expelled from the University, but he had to give his own testimony first. And of course like most rapists, they don’t believe that they’re rapists and they have their own twisted story that ends in consent. So I was brought back to OSCAI to be told that Levi would be put on academic probation, would have to attend a short period of counseling, and write a paper on consent. I was informed that I could appeal and try to get him expelled, but it would be highly unlikely that I would succeed. To be honest, I was positive I didn’t have the fight in me, so I tried to let it go.
I moved down to Sanford Hall and tried to continue on with my life. I entered a relationship with a boy I fell madly in love with, Nick, but knew it would never work out because I wasn’t healthy enough to be his partner. I joined a sexual assault support group on campus through Aurora. I acted as if I had everything together because I still didn’t know how to handle the fact that I had been raped.
I slowly hit a downslide. I saw Levi Carstensen around campus too many times and began hyperventilating. By the time second semester rolled around, I could barely get myself out of my boyfriend’s bed in the morning to go to class. I was not me. In February, he broke up with me and I knew it was the right thing to do, but he was my safe person. After the breakup, I did not leave my room, I did not eat, I did not do anything but cry. There was a rumor in Sanford Hall that I was pregnant. Nope. I once again sunk into my world of self-harm and began contemplating suicide, and even put a plan into action. I figured it would be all easier if I was gone.
On February 25th, I was brought to the Behavioral Emergency Center at Fairview Hospital after my hyper-sympathetic therapist at University Counseling and Consulting Services (UCCS) received permission to call my mother. I was placed in a Day Treatment Program with people close to my age. I went there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9-12 for three months. While there, I began to understand myself a bit more and I let the feelings out. I was diagnosed with PTSD and was prescribed medications so I could finally get some sleep.
The numb that I had been feeling is gone and is now replaced with anger. I am furious that Levi Carstensen still walks the University of Minnesota campus and that he will never spend one day in jail for an incredibly atrocious crime that he committed. I loathe the fact that he is in a fraternity on campus and even though he was reported to the frat as a rapist, they continued to allow him to be there and he now lives in the house. I hate that I shake as I walk around on campus even to this day and that he has power over me. I should feel safe in my educational environment. I should not be denied fair opportunity to my education because a University doesn’t have the balls to deal with sexual assault.
Tumblr, this is where I need you. Please share my story. If you live in Minneapolis or attend/attended the University of Minnesota help me get this story out. I want to fight to end sexual assault on campus. To end the stigma that plagued me and my damning words where Levi Carstensen called me “the college whore” and got to walk free. My rape didn’t end up on the campus crime list that we’re emailed because it happened in a dorm and wasn’t visibly violent. I had no bruises or broken bones. I just lost a bit of my time to be me. It’s time to end this. Even if it’s not for me, do it for other girls who have to live in fear when they’re on campus and are wary of men. Do it for the girls who feel it’s necessary to carry pepper spray around with them. Do it for the girls who know that they can’t leave their drinks unattended and that they always need to be with friends when they’re out at night so that they don’t get taken advantage of. Do it for us. We matter.
This matters. I shouldn’t have to be scared of Minneapolis anymore.,
It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.