What is the "Story a Day" campaign and why does it matter?
Our Final Story
On August 6th, my life changed. It was the week before school started, and I had cheer practice that day.
That was the day I decided to follow a cute athlete on Instagram. He’s an upperclassman. He followed my instagram and commented on one of my pictures. He asked me how old I was. I told him I was a freshman, and he told me to hit him up on KIK for a private conversation, and then from there he asked to meet with him so we could chill. I thought chill meant that he just wanted to hang out and get to know me better, so I said ok.
Chill meant something really different to him.
That afternoon after practice, he asked me to meet in front of the school and I did and brought my friend. When he saw me with my friend he texted me and told me he didn’t want her there. We all started walking together through the BHS campus and later my friend told me he was giving her a look that made her feel like he didn’t want her there at all, and she left.
Then he walked to this secret spot down some steps by the C building that didn't have a way out. There was a door down there, but it was locked because school hadn’t started yet. I didn’t know you couldn’t get out when I went down there—I didn’t know the campus yet. It was dark and nobody was there.
I sat down on one of the steps and he said, “Why are you sitting down?”
I said, “I thought we were going to hang out and get to know each other.”
He said, “That’s not what I came for.”
I stood up from my step and looked straight at the door to see if anyone was there inside the building. He reached around me from behind and pulled me to his body. That’s when he reached for my breasts, and I moved his hand away. I said, “This is getting weird.”
And he stopped there and then tried to place his hands on my privates. I moved his hand away again, and said “um, nooo.”
And then he was like, “You're fine, you're fine.” I wanted to get away but didn’t know what to do. He’s like 6 feet tall and much stronger than I am. I was worried for my safety. He started sighing a lot like he was angry or upset. And then he let go of me and he sat on one of the steps and asked “Do you want to sit on my lap?” And I sat on his lap hoping that he would start talking and he would stop the groping because I already said no.
He grabbed me around my waist and started humping me. And then I stood up and, to get away, told him a lie and said, “cheer practice is starting.” And he was like no, you got time. Then I stood up and got my bag and then his friend called and he said, “I have to go. My ride is here.”
As we were walking, we saw my friend on the bench and he waved goodbye to her and to me. And me and my friend went to practice, and I told her what happened.
She told me not to tell anyone so rumors about me wouldn’t get out.
So I didn’t.
Then, in October, we had the SPARK assembly and I learned about sexual battery and realized it happened to me and thought I should tell someone about it. Both for me, like I couldn’t keep it inside anymore, and also for other girls that could be talking to him.
I told this teacher I really like about what happened, and then I got pulled out of my next period by a counselor. She asked me about what happened and took me to the vice principal's office, and I had to tell the story all over again. They asked me if I wanted to report him, but I refused. I refused because I was scared he would be mad at me or harm me further and that people would think of me differently.
And the next day I got pulled out of class again, and they asked me if I wanted to report him and make a statement. One of the vice principals told me to report him, so he couldn’t do it to other girls. I didn’t tell them his name. I told them he was a football player and an upperclassman. My teacher guessed who he was, and I burst into tears, so then they knew who he was.
Then she helped me write a statement. Well, she wrote the words and I talked because I was super shaky and it was very upsetting to have to remember what happened to me. And then they sent me back to class. I was distracted and couldn’t focus for the rest of the day.
Nothing happened after that for about a month. Nobody contacted me or told me what to expect. Then, Dr. Craig called my mom and told me that I was going to have a hearing in two days, right before winter break. She told me at that time he had been suspended all that month, but no one told me that until then.
She told me that I could have my family there, but my mom was super upset about what happened, and I knew it would hurt her to hear it, and it would be hard for her to understand what was going on, so I didn’t have her come. I didn’t tell my dad about it because I thought he would go ballistic. I asked if my cousin could come who would be supportive, but she wasn’t allowed because she is a student at BHS. I didn’t have enough time before the hearing to make other arrangements for support, so I went to the hearing alone.
So it was just me and the teacher in one hearing room.
He had his lawyer, his mom, his dad, his grandma, Dr. Craig, the district's lawyer Dora Dome, and his math teacher in his room for the expulsion hearing.
I was told I had to be at the hearing and that it wasn’t an option for me not to go. If I had understood how I would be treated in this process – as a witness and not as someone who had been harmed -- I would not have participated.
The hearing was two days before winter break. It was on a Thursday, and it went on from 8:30-11:30. His lawyer asked me to tell my story, and I remembered some stuff that wasn’t included in my written statement. She kept saying, “Well you didn’t say that on your statement,” and I felt she was calling me a liar. That made me so upset that she could think I would lie about something like this.
The hearing was over, and I went back to my teacher’s class and stayed there the last three periods because I was upset and wasn’t ready to go to class. Then last period, the VP came in and said that she had the results from the hearing. She said that he would be returning to school tomorrow. I asked why, and she said the school didn’t have enough evidence to expel him. Dr Craig called my mom and asked for permission for me to get counseling. But nothing happened with that; no one contacted me.
They told me that I could cheer for his team and that he wouldn’t be allowed to play, but then that first game, he was there. No one told me or warned me; I was really upset, my heart dropped and I thought, “I have to cheer for him?!”
I felt like he didn’t deserve to be there playing. If I didn’t like cheering so much, I would have quit right then.
Last October, before I made my report, I found out that he had hit up one of my friends asking her to chill. If you look at his instagram account, he has hit up lots of girls to give him a Kik. I know that he is doing the same thing to them that he did to me. And I know that most girls won’t report it. And I know that if nothing is done, he will continue to do this and hurt others the way he hurt me.
I’m telling you about my experience to let the school board know what their policies and processes are doing to girls like me who have been hurt.
I would never tell anyone to come forward for help from the school because, even though the staff at BHS cares, the school district practices are a big problem.
At the expulsion hearing, everyone had legal representation except me and I could have used some help when the district’s lawyer attacked me to discredit my statement. You should always provide an advocate to a survivor who participates in your discipline process. Also, BUSD needs to do a lot more to stop and correct the behavior of perpetrators, even if they decide not to expel them.
Finally, you need to do more to support survivors of sexual violence. An advocate or a counselor trained in wellness and familiar with district and county resources should be assigned to coordinate the resources needed to help survivors and to follow up to ensure we get the assistance to help us feel safe at school and able to focus on our studies without fear of retaliation or exposure to our attackers.
Thank you for reading.
Story #100, 5/6/16 - Other Forms of Discrimination
"My friend always jokes about my ancestors being in nazi concentration camps and I laugh at the time but it really hurts"
Story #99, 5/5/16 - Sexual Harassment
Story #98, 5/4/16 - Sexual Harassment
Story #97, 5/3/16 - Bullying
"i walked by a couple boys who made barfing noises when i walked past them"
Story #96, 5/2/16 - Other Forms of Discrimination
"A group of kids in my class told another kid that they thought "he would be a good Nazi". He's at least partially german, maybe fully. He got really offended but afterward they kinda just joked about it."