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Lisa Niver could be the woman next to you. The 1989 College graduate attended a private high school in Los Angeles and came to the University because she wanted a taste of the East Coast. She majored in Women's Studies, but also finished the requirements to attend medical school. And, according to Niver, she was raped by her boyfriend. · Niver said she is telling her story because she no longer has nightmares and she no longer has flashbacks, but she still does not trust people completely. She spoke about her own assault without tears, but several times she sighed and gathered the strength to continue speaking. Niver said she wants other women to be able to recognize what happened to them and use the criminal justice system to prosecute their rapists. She waited almost four years to file a police report, so the chances of it ever going to court are very low. "My sense it that my case is going nowhere," Niver said this week. "It is sort of the case that wasn't." · After almost three years of therapy and support groups, she still occasionally sees the look on her boyfriend's face before he attacked her. "The thing that haunted me for the longest time was the look he had," Niver said. "I knew I was in deep shit." Niver said she still feels she has no control over her own life. While she said this feeling is not unique to rape survivors, she is more acutely aware of it. She compared the loss of control to the trauma of living through a bad earthquake. Niver said that when she was in the San Francisco Bay Area quake in October 1989, others around her were distraught because they realized that their lives can change at any moment. Niver said the quake didn't faze her as much because she had reached the same conclusion two years before -- after she was raped. "I hate to admit that I don't have control," Niver said, "But I don't. That sort of shatters reality." · It has been over four years since Niver's boyfriend allegedly raped her in his High Rise room. She was a sophomore. Her boyfriend was a junior whom she had been dating for five months. In retrospect, Niver said she realized he was regularly emotionally cruel to her, but at the time she thought he was perfect. "He was older, which at the time I thought was important, and he was cute and smart and Jewish," Niver said. "I thought he was really cool." Her parents had met the man several times and loved him, too, Niver said. "He fell into all the right catagories," she said. "Only in hindsight did I realize that he wasn't very nice to me. He hated my best friend. He hated anything that didn't center around him. He was very controlling." Niver said she had had sex with the man before the attack, but he had never physically or sexually abused her before. The night she said was assaulted, in March 1987, Niver and her boyfriend had gone out to dinner. Though community living was not yet available in the High Rises, Niver said her date had friends in all the rooms surrounding him. He locked both the outer door and his bedroom door as they walked into his apartment and turned on music in his room. Niver said she realized then that she could not get out of the situation. Her boyfriend then pulled her clothes off her and raped her, she said. Niver said she was scared and unable to respond to the attack. Though she said she did not verbally or physically resist him, she said she did not respond in an encouraging manner, either. She said her inability to respond to the attack stemmed largely from fear that he might hurt her if she tried to resist. He was also a strong man who worked out regularly and was close to 5 feet 10 inches tall, while she is only 5 feet 4 inches tall, Niver said. His strength scared her, she added. Afterwards she asked him what was wrong and asked him to explain what had happened. "He said I had excited him too much and he couldn't help himself," Niver said. "He said I had done something wrong." Acquaintance rape was much less publicized in 1987 than it is now, Niver said. She wasn't even sure what to call what was happening to her, but she said she knew it felt wrong. "He was this guy I was dating who was so wonderful and so perfect," Niver said. "There was only stranger rape. You don't get raped by someone you know." · Niver stayed with the man that night and continued dating him for over nine months because, she said, she didn't really realize what had happened. "I stayed with him because I was afraid if I walked home alone at night someone would attack me," Niver said. "That is bizarre in hindsight." Niver and her boyfriend broke up in the fall of her junior year when he tried to convince her not to travel to Israel for the semester. "He told me if I cared about him, I wouldn't go to Israel when he was graduating," Niver said. The fight convinced her that he was mean and manipulative, she said, and gave her the courage to end a relationship in which she was "very entangled." Niver said she can not guess how long they would have stayed together if he had not fought her on an issue which was so important to her. But she still did not call what had happened rape. · Niver began to write her senior thesis on how romance novels teach women to accept rape during her senior year. When she and her roommate read the books, she realized that her roommate considered scenarios rape which she did not. She also read I Never Called It Rape by Robin Warshaw and began to reconsider her definition of rape. She realized that what had happened to her almost two years ago fit. She reported the incident to Elena DiLapi at the Women's Center and joined the first support group for acquaintance rape survivors at the Center. Niver is adamant that she be called a "survivor" and not a "victim." She says she has lived through post-traumatic stress disorder, suffered flashbacks and contemplated suicide. "If I were I victim," Niver said, "I would be dead." The assault has profoundly affected her life in almost every respect. She told her family and friends about the incident and received a range of reactions. She told her parents and sister and gave them a copy of I Never Called It Rape to read. "To say they were unsupportive doesn't get the depth of what happened," Niver said. Her father, she said, read the book and "got a lot out of it," but she said she does not think either her sister or her mother finished it because they found it "too disturbing." While she was recovering she had continuing flashbacks about both the man who raped her and the man she was dating then. "I couldn't tell who was bad and who wasn't," Niver said. · Niver is now living in the San Francisco area and teaching at a preschool -- a career she plans to continue. But she said she is concerned about her attacker raping again. The last she heard, he was attending medical school at Georgetown University.

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