Editor’s note: Below is the full victim impact statement in the case of a former MIT basketball player who sexually assaulted a woman as she slept in her dorm room. Some names have been redacted.
Thank you Judge Sanders for allowing me this opportunity to address the court.
I laid in the hospital bed with my terrified best friend and extremely strong lacrosse coach unsure of what was going to happen. The Sexual Assault Nurse examiner assigned to my case arrived after three hours of waiting “because it was a busy night.” A busy night in her life means other men and women were becoming victims. With each buzz of her pager, I personally now know the harsh reality of what it means. I understand the pain, anxiety, fear and uncertainty every buzz received before me and buzz after me feels. The pain of having blood drawn because I needed to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and screaming “I’m in a serious relationship... this can’t be.” The humility of being given plan B “just in case sperm was present” and being told to go to the student health center in three weeks to take a pregnancy test. The stomach wrenching feeling of filling out paper work for my “rape kit” and having swabs taken from areas I never wanted touched again. The soreness of every muscle aching because my uncontrollable shaking couldn’t be stopped. The sudden waves of nausea from replaying in my head what had occurred that early morning. From having a random, kind nurse try to sooth me as I cried “I just want my Mom” who was hundreds of miles away and I was sitting in a sterile room with fluorescent lights being told to “hand over my clothes for evidence”. The sudden and intense breakdowns and anxiety attacks because someone had taken advantage of me in my supposed “safe place”-my bedroom. The muffled murmurs outside the door of nurses discussing how a rape victim was in the emergency department and how they could hear my sobs. But the worst of my new reality hit when I said to myself, I am a victim and I need to tell my parents. Tears streamed down my face as I grabbed my coaches hand and asked her if she would do the horrible, life altering call to my parents to tell them because I wasn’t strong enough to. The sobs of my mom filled her phone and my dad yelling behind “what happened … is she “okay.” The overwhelming guilt of making my parents feel this way overcame me. But wait- why did I feel guilty? I had done absolutely nothing wrong. Not only did my life forever change the moment I was touched by you, but so did my parents. My sisters. My grandparents. My boyfriends and my closest friends. Not just my life, but every life around me. I was forced to tell my team why I wasn’t at the clinic that morning and that the university wide text message alert was about me. I had to look my best friends in the eyes and tell them and all I wanted was to take away their pain. I began to question everyone’s trust around me and quickly became isolated. I had to learn to fall back in love with my boyfriend because men became my enemy. I had to console my sobbing twin sister over the phone as she struggled to form words to say as she was all the way in Rome. I will forever be indebted to my unbelievably strong sister … who talked to me for hours on the phone and oldest sister … who strongly encouraged me to go to the hospital. And I will never be able to put into words the gratitude I feel to call the two people sitting behind me, my parents; their unwavering strength and perseverance when I became too weak is the reason we are here today.
I’ll never forget the moment I was walking to the locker room to tell my teammates about what had happened when I had a grounds keeper stop me and ask me “how could someone take advantage of an innocent girl like that?” This question still haunts me. And the most haunting part of it is there will never be an answer to why some one feels the have the right to violate another person without consent. Without having permission to enter their apartment, let alone their bedroom. Without even knowing their name. Without them being conscious.
Never in my life did I think I would be standing here. October 18, 2015 will forever be a date that will burned into my memory; an everlasting scar. On that day, I became a victim. But today, I stand here as a survivor. Sadly, I have become another statistic, another number, Another headline. What all these headlines fail to highlight is the forever lasting impact a sexual assault has on someone. Media does a great job reporting the numbers of people being assaulted or raped. But it fails to get deep into the feelings and memories of those tragic days being faced by too many.
The one thing about the past is it can never be changed. It’s set in stone and unwavering. But the beauty of life is with each day, we are able to make new memories and Make the necessary changes to live a better life. To better ourselves so our tainted history isn’t repeated. So for you, I ask that you make your future untainted. I ask that you make a positive impact in every life you touch because the many negative impacts you made in mine and my families are enough for a lifetime. I ask that you Take seconds, minutes and hours and truly realize how that one early morning you changed a 20 year old girl from a student to a victim to a survivor. I ask that you live each day with a little reminder of what you did and make up for it.