February 18, 2014


 I was raped when I was 19, as a student at MIT. The person who raped me was a fellow student and a great friend. After being sexually violated, I became confident in the cruel, selfish, stupid, short-sited beast that lurks in even the best of us, able to emerge given the right circumstances. My rape also instilled in me a deep belief in the importance of allowing humans the ability to maintain their own dignity and a more personal understanding of exactly what it feels like when someone's dignity is taken away.
During the month or two after I was sexually violated, I was frequently a wreck, crying for no apparent reason or replaying the episode in my head or just staring into space feeling awful. Even after I stopped trying to justify his decision to have sex with my unresponsive body, even after I was able to associate him and myself with the word "rape," I still could not get over the fact that my body, the boundary of my existence, had been taken advantage of and abused by somebody I trusted. It was nauseating.

Fortunately I had a terrific support group in my social circle, and most of my relationships remained strong. My relationship with the person who raped me effectively dissolved. This may not seem so unfortunate if you think of him as a rapist, but it was devastating in my eyes since I knew him as one of my best friends, in fact one of the best people I had ever met.

My academics were largely untouched. I found solace in the structure and objectivity of problem sets and exams.

Since I was raped, I have developed a much more nuanced view of what "rape" means. It is not just something that happens outside late at night by evil, plotting creeps. It is a crime that good people can commit, that good people can commit against people they care about. Rape is also something, I have realized, with an impact that far exceeds its physical components. I was not torn apart by the literal fact that a man's penis was inside of me when I did not consent to it be there. I was torn apart by the fact that someone I trusted and cared about had taken advantage of my compromised body and used me for his base physical delight. My worth had been reduced to my flesh with no regard for my intellect, personality, or emotions.

[Note from the editor: This is one of the many anonymous anecdotes and survey responses collected for the dx/dt project that were not used in the film. They are being posted here as contributions to the discussion of sexual violence, relationship abuse, and stalking in the MIT community. Thank you to all of the authors of these posts for your willingness to speak out.]