Merriam Webster defines rape as “Unlawful sexual activity carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will.”
They also offer the following definition of sexual assault, “Illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent.”
Finals week can be stressful for students. It’s hard enough to balance studying and sleep without having to worry about potential assault, however that was unfortunately the scenario facing Jane Doe.*
“It was a work party for Christmas during finals week. I needed a ride because my dad was sleeping so I asked this guy who had been very nice to me at work if he could give me a ride. Things got a little sexual – like joking. One hundred percent joking.
We got in the car and he said, ‘So where do you want to go?
‘I don’t know, you want to hang out a little bit, then?’
One thing lead to another and I was like ‘I don’t want to do that’ because he was asking me certain things like ‘I want to touch you.’
Doe told the man that she wasn’t comfortable with what was happening.
“So he started kissing me, then he kind of took off my shirt and undid my bra and I was like ‘Stop. Stop.’
The man didn’t stop. Instead he pursued, putting his hands down her pants. She tried to push him off, but he was stronger. Doe finally pushed him off and demanded to be taken home.
And he was like ‘Okay, okay, I’m so sorry.’
“He realized what he did was wrong, and he said he loved me to try and make it better.”
When Doe told her friend, he was very supportive.
Her friend wrote a message to the co-worker on behalf of Doe telling him what he did was wrong.
Although Doe tried to avoid her co-worker, he continued to provoke her.
I used to work with him twice a week, but now I’m only getting eight hours so only once a week.
“[I didn’t ask to change shifts] because I’ve been asking for more hours, and I kind of feel like a nuisance to them. They’re gonna want a good reason. I don’t want to get him in trouble; maybe he thought I lead him on. I was saying sexual jokes, but to me they were jokes, not anything real so on his side he might have thought I was asking for it.”
Although Doe has now managed to find a different job, she is still affected by the incident.
She still feels uncomfortable in other people’s cars, especially the passenger’s seat.
“I wasn’t necessarily raped but it still scared me. That night I called my boyfriend. I was shaking. It wasn’t rape, but it was enough to make me scared.”
* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.