“I wanted his DNA off me”

Pictured+above+are+the+wings+that+are+on+the+shed+in+front+of+the+RDAP+building.+

Sierra Winder

Pictured above are the wings that are on the shed in front of the RDAP building.

Warning: The following story may trigger memories and emotions in some readers.  Continue reading with caution.

Sexual assault is the most underreported crime among teenagers. The Rape, Abuse, And Incest National Network (RAINN) organization reports that people ages 16-19 are four times more likely than anyone else to be victims of rape.

“No means no; it does not mean convince me,” said an anonymous NPHS student who has chosen to remain anonymous. This student has been sexually assaulted and chose to share her story.”I said ‘no’…it is not complicated. It’s rape.” 

One night two years ago, is one the teen said she would remember for the rest of her life when an out-of-town ex- boyfriend asked if she could hang out. This seemed fine to her, so she agreed. “He asked me if I trusted him, and I said ‘yes’ because I did,” she said.

The then-14-year-old girl got into the car, and they parked in an elementary school parking lot. As they spoke, she began to feel uncomfortable. “I didn’t notice how handsy he was getting,” she said. “I didn’t think it was going to end the way it did.”

I didn’t think it was going to end the way it did,””

— anonymous high school student

She said he threw her in the back of the car, and his door was locked. “He was telling me I could trust him,” she said. “I just kept saying ‘I don’t want to,’ but he pushed me down and got on top of me anyway.” 

The then-8th-grade student froze. She tried to unlock the doors but was unable to. “He was on top of me… and he started pulling my leggings down,” she said. “I kept trying to push him off, and he would grab on me tighter and tighter.”

The victim said he tried to coerce her into sex and started talking about how he could have anyone he wanted, however, she was somehow special. 

She said when her dad called, it stopped. He pushed her out of the vehicle and made her walk home. It took awhile for her to realize what had happened. She had thought about visiting a friend’s house on the way home, however when she got to their front door she couldn’t move and started walking home again. “My leggings were crooked and I looked like a mess,” she said. “[I] was, like, better not.”

The teen said her mind went blank after the incident, but later that night when she realized what had happened, she became depressed. “I wanted all of his DNA off of me,” she said. “I cried for an hour, debating if I just wanted to end it all.” 

It took her four months to tell her parents, and the police were called that same night. “I was afraid he was going to hurt me more if I [pressed charges]” The man who sexually assaulted this girl did not get charged. The feeling she used to describe this situation was hopeless. “I don’t want anyone going through that for [the justice system] to act like it’s not that big of a deal.”

Things like loud noises bother her more than they used to, and she finds it hard to trust males in her life.”There’s not a day I don’t think about it,” she said.

Sierra Winder
According to the organization RAINN, out of every 1000 assaults, 995 will walk free.

According to RAINN, out of every 1000 assaults, 995 will walk free. To put this in perspective, if every single student at NPHS were a rapist, only six would be convicted. 

More often than not, the rapist knows who they attack. This is called acquaintance rape, it is when someone knows their attacker, and is the most common.  According to RAINN, acquaintance rape is only reported about two percent of the time. When the attacker is a stranger, the reporting rates are about 21 percent. 

Sexual abuse happens within relationships as well. One in 10 women has experienced forced penetration by an intimate partner. This is a reason why women in intimate relationships say that it is hard to report their partner abuse to the police.

There is an explanation for the depression symptoms the student mentioned above, a study by the University of Pittsburg found that sexual assault/harassment victims are likely to suffer from poor sleep, anxiety, and depression. They are also 5.5 times more likely to experience some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

After the 14-year-old told her parents, she went to the Bridge of Hope to receive counseling. This helped her get out of her depressed state, and she believes she is doing better now.

Programs like the RDAP program and the Bridge of Hope are available for counseling and numerous other resources.  There is even a hotline (308-534-3495) that is available 24/7. 

“Your stories are important… the more you talk about it the easier it will get, [someone] can always grow from an experience like this,” RDAP community engagement coordinator Gabby Wagner said.

 

RDAP Involvement With the Schools

February is teen dating violence awareness month. The Rape/ Domestic Abuse Program (RDAP) has worked with North Platte’s school system to spread information about teen dating violence. “The goal is to raise awareness,” RDAP community engagement coordinator Gabby Wagner said. This month the school has organized different things to spread the message that it is okay to reach out, including writing in front of the school with chalk, handing out bracelets, and talking to students. Last year, the program got Madison Middle school to start implementing information about dating violence and warning signs into the curriculum. “You want to be able to educate children and teach them to be able to recognize those red flags early,” Wagner said.