Author: Anonymous Middlebury College Student
Nice guy. That’s how many people would describe my rapist. “He’s a nice guy,” they say. He’s your classmate, your hall mate, your stereotypical MiddKid. Before my assault, I thought the same thing—what a *nice* guy. I trusted him.
In some sense, Lord Voldemort and I grew up together on this campus. We were members of the same Commons. Atwater. I never had any interest in him beyond being friends, really. But in J-term of our freshman year, he approached me at a party and we began to dance, making out on the dance floor. For weeks and weeks it was the same ritual. It was fun. It was light. It seemed harmless. I was wrong. In retrospect, there was probably a red flag or two. I wish I would have paid more attention.
It was March. We pregamed with some mutual friends. We all walked to Meeker. At one point, LV’s friend turned to me and said “You two just need to fuck.” Lord Voldemort and his friend laughed hysterically. I wasn’t laughing. Later on that night, Lord Voldemort approached me to dance. Pub Safe eventually shut off the music, and Lord Voldemort and I ended up in my dorm room in Allen Hall.
It’s hard to express what happened after my door closed. I don’t like telling this story because there are no words to describe what happened. Not even close. The word “disorienting” doesn’t even begin to cover it. In the process of my healing, I’ve turned to painting to convey what words cannot.
Here.it.goes. Lord Voldemort ripped my clothes off, while his were still on. He digitally penetrated me. I asked him to stop, and he begrudgingly complied. But then Lord Voldemort undressed himself, and things got really forceful and violent.
Here’s the thing: Lord Voldemort wasn’t interested in asking; he was interested in coercing. In all fairness, I was probably a bit timid; I’d never been naked with a guy before. So when things weren’t naturally progressing in the way that he wanted, LV took. He held my head and thrusted deeper and deeper down my throat. I was gagging and coughing. My eyes watered. I frantically shook my head “no.” Chaos. At first, I had thought that LV would stop once he realized my pain. He persisted, turned on by the struggle. The more I tried to get away, the more force Lord Voldemort used against my body. My mind spun as I shook my head “no” more and more frantically. I was disoriented and overwhelmed. I felt defeated. Lost. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE “NICE GUY”? Eventually, I froze. Lord Voldemort’s response? To pull my head and hair and keep bobbing my head up and down anyways as I remained completely immobile.
He came everywhere, in my face and mouth. His cum was in my hair. The sheets. It was so disgusting. It is so disgusting.
What happened next really confused me: Lord Voldemort fell asleep. He fell asleep as I emerged from my paralysis and tears rolled down my face. THIS GUY, WHO WAS JUST SO VIOLENT, WAS SLEEPING. Lord Voldemort slept. He snored. The contrast confused me, from his violence to his vulnerability. And that very night, I began to tell myself a powerful narrative: That what had happened was entirely my fault. Lord Voldemort was sleeping, so it couldn’t be his fault. It was my fault. I told myself that despite my no, what had happened was okay. LV was merely “teaching me.” I told myself that Lord Voldemort’s anger was warranted because I was sexually inexperienced.
When Lord Voldemort left my room the next morning, he didn’t say a single word. After he left, I got up and promptly began to cough up blood, and I mean a LOT of blood. I used up all of my roommate’s Kleenex. I rushed to MiddExpress to purchase some relief. Anesthetic cough drops. I have no idea how long my struggle with LV lasted, but enough force was used to leave me in pain long after my assault ended. Lord Voldemort and I wouldn’t speak about this night again for over a year.
For Lord Voldemort, life seemed to continue as usual. My life spun into chaos. I felt angry and guilty. Full of shame.
The morning after my assault, I did something that I’m not particularly proud of: I purged. I made myself gag. I made myself cough. I made my eyes water. I often shook my head no. In retrospect, I was inflicting LV’s violence upon my own body. Rather than his penis gagging me, I began to gag myself. I was disgusted by his cum, and I wanted to get every last bit of it out of my body. I would gag myself relentlessly.
Lord Voldemort continued to seem unaffected, normal even. I continued to blame myself. Fast forward eleven months, and I found myself in bed with another guy. Our encounter was casual, but it was nevertheless communicative and goofy and safe and healthy. We were from the same area, and we joked about the Applebee’s in my hometown. The contrast between my first and second sexual encounters couldn’t have been more pronounced. There was communication. Consent. I was glad that my second experience was so positive, but I also experienced immense grief.
It was almost intoxicating to experience a consensual sexuality. Shortly thereafter, I started to casually date a local guy from Bristol. I felt so safe with S. But every time S’s hands came near my head, even to gently readjust a curl, I panicked. When S came over, I would put a knife under my bed, because even *nice* guys could turn in an instant. It became rapidly evident that my past, which I now defined as an assault, was nowhere near behind me. The nightmares and flashbacks intensified. I could no longer blame myself for Lord Voldemort’s violence upon my body. I wasn’t wrong, I was wronged.
At the end of our sophomore year, I confronted Lord Voldemort, enraged. I told him everything that I could remember, but particularly how his actions made me feel. In the days that followed, Lord Voldemort was everywhere, sitting right next to me at meals despite the fact that there were plenty of free chairs elsewhere. He wanted to make things seem normal. My silence had been comfortable for him. I wanted to scream.
I went to Parton Health. They suggested thinking about reporting. I reported. (Brain Prison) I went through not one but two investigations. From the second I gave up my perpetrator’s name, I felt a profound loss of agency. I was able to articulate little at the time. It was only this fall that I was able to access these memories more fully with the help of a therapist.
The second investigator was particularly brutal. I’m being completely honest here: I don’t know what was worse, being assaulted or having to relive that night over and over again in kangaroo court. It’s a toss-up. After months and months of navigating the hell-hole that is Middlebury’s Judicial Affairs Office, a verdict was quickly reached: not guilty. I seriously contemplated suicide.
I’m now asked to share a small campus with the very guy who violated me. My PTSD has never been worse. I am constantly aware of my surroundings. It’s exhausting. I struggle to sleep at night because of the nightmares. When I see my assailant, I often can’t stop shaking my head no. People look at me like I’m crazy. I’m not crazy; some days I’m just in a lot of pain. Profound pain.
I don’t want anyone’s pity. The College has denied the existence of my trauma, and there’s no glamor in being the girl who cried rape. I WANT NOTHING MORE THAN FOR THIS VIOLENCE TO STOP. I want to challenge the monolithic view that all assailants are amoral people. While this stereotype may be true in some cases, perpetrators can also otherwise seem like “nice girls” or “nice guys.” At any given moment, we are all capable of extraordinary violence. Rape or assault has nothing to do with sex, and it had nothing to do with me. In order to feel powerful, Lord Voldemort needed someone- anyone- to seem powerless. My life is no longer measured by grades or volunteerism or social circles; my only goal is to regain the very sense of agency that Lord Voldemort sought to take away. For what it’s worth, I’m working on forgiving LV, not because I have to, but because I finally can. To me, there’s a lot of power in that.
In order to renew my No Contact Order, I was recently asked to sign a document which stated that I would keep this matter “as confidential as possible.” That really hurt. Middlebury College, Hell to the No! I waited over a year in a silence, a silence which was oh so comfortable for Lord Voldemort. A silence which was, in some ways, oh so comfortable for this institution. In my life, such silence is no longer sustainable. I must be heard. I will be heard. And when words aren’t enough, I will paint.