It’s been three days since it all happened. Eva claims that she is fine, but I have my doubts. She hasn’t been herself – she’s been really quiet. As for me, I know that I’m not fine. I know that time heals all wounds or something like that, but it feels like every day is increasingly harder.
This is so hard for me because I know that Eva was the one directly affected by this, and if she’s fine, then I should be fine too. I’m not trying to focus the attention on me, but honestly, I need to talk to someone. Seeing that Eva appeared to be content keeping to herself, I pursued my own venues and went to the Women’s Center.
I didn’t even know what the Women’s Center was. I vaguely remember a plug at Orientation, but I didn’t know what else to do. All the same, this was the only place that I knew to go, so reluctantly I discreetly made my way across the grassy knoll to the brown building. I knew that any second I was going to lose my nerve.
By the time I walked in, I had already lost it. I would look like an idiot if I just turned around, so I thought I would just look around for a bit. The place was not like I imagined it – there was a library, a couch, a computer and, well, men.
I guess I just figured it would be full of women. But it wasn’t. Instantly I realized that my stereotype of this place was just that – a stereotype. I must have been in the office for only a few seconds when the woman at the desk asked me if I needed any help. The sincerity in her voice calmed me; I knew she truly wanted to help me. I quietly and briefly discussed my situation, and she introduced me to a rape prevention advocate.
For the first time I was just able to talk. Forever. She just listened intently, like there was nowhere else she would rather be. She didn’t question me; she didn’t force her advice or stop me from crying. She just listened to me. It was such a relief.
Before, I worried that I would be turning the focus to me, but that’s not what I did at all. She reassured me that Eva wasn’t the only one affected by her assault. As her best friend, it affected me too. She also told me about a rape education meeting that night at 5 p.m. She said that if this was too much too soon, I could meet with them next Wednesday. I decided to go that night. I was sick of the helpless feeling that I had, and I really wanted to give this a chance. I went to the meeting not knowing what to expect, and I came out completely motivated. I left feeling so much more educated than I thought I was. I couldn’t wait to share my experience with Eva, but I was also nervous. I left the pamphlets the rape prevention advocate gave me on Eva’s bed, and I wasn’t sure how she would respond to them.
Imani Rupert and Muriel Philips are media interns for the Rape Prevention Education Program.