She withdrew from school and from her friends. She could not hold a job because she could not talk to male customers. She always had to double-bolt the doors and turn off the electric garage door because she was afraid that someone would come in and "get" her. Even now, the Harvard University student who said she was raped last January by a University Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brother does not go out after dark, and carries mace and a "zapper" wherever she goes. "My life was just a mess," said the woman, who asked that her name not be revealed. "I didn't trust anybody." The woman, who spoke softly, praised the University's decision to expel the ZBT brother after the University's judicial system found him guilty of raping her at a January 1991 party in the house. "I felt as though I had gained some of the personal power back that this guy had deprived me of," she said earlier this week. "I knew he would have to seriously think about what he had done." The ZBT brother, whose name has not been released, was a sophomore at the time of the incident. ZBT President Matthew Feinsod did not return messages left at his room last night. The woman, who was a Harvard freshman last January, said she was visiting her sister, who is a University student, at the time of the incident. She said this week that she does not want to be identified because her sister is still a University student. After filing charges against the University student with the Harvard University Police Department in March, the woman met with Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Dianne Granlund, whose office then decided the case would not be prosecuted. The woman said the lack of physical evidence, the youth of the perpetrator and the delay in reporting the incident all factored into the decision. She added that she was told that in "a case between two Ivy League students . . . a Philadelphia jury would not be sympathetic." But she said the University stood by her, continuing to investigate her claim. "[And after the ruling] I felt as though someone had listened to me and believed my story," she added. "It was a great feeling for me." The woman said she was raped during the ZBT party after she had drunk three beers in less than 45 minutes. The woman said that despite the alcohol, she could think, but could physically feel the effects of the beers. She said the University student took her to an upstairs bedroom, then fondled her, performed oral sex and forced her to have sex. After the incident, between midnight and 12:30 a.m., the woman said she went downstairs and told her sister they "had to leave," although she did not tell her that she had been raped. She said she asked her sister if her lips were fat, if she had a hickey on her neck and if her hair was messed up. Her sister said "yes," she said. The student said the two women then went to another fraternity party. She said she went to the bathroom at the second party and noticed she was bleeding. At this point, she said, she insisted that they leave and told her sister "this guy had hurt me physically." "She was stunned," the woman said. "She didn't reply. I just think she didn't expect that to happen." The woman added that her sister did not know the ZBT brother who she said raped her. Over a year after the incident, the woman said she is still trying to get her life back in order. "I'm back at Harvard . . . I took about a year off to regain my life," she said. "I've begun to get over my fear of people. At first I was afraid of everyone, I wasn't even able to talk to a man." But now, she said, she knows that all men are not like the one who she said raped her. But the woman said she no longer goes out to parties, preferring to stay at home where she feels safer. "I will never put myself in that situation again," she said. "I would much rather stay at home than go to a fraternity party." The student said she did not tell her friends about the incident or report it to authorities right away because she was denying it herself. But after frequent bouts of crying, she said, her relationships began to change. "I didn't tell all of them," she said. "But they saw the bruises all over my body and they could tell something had happened. After a while, I pushed everyone away. [Then] they definitely started to treat me differently." "I used to be afraid of the stigma of rape but now I'm not," the woman added. The student said she encourages all women who have been raped to "speak out" about what has happened to them. "They can't be quiet about it or else it's going to continue," she said. "Yes, it does happen to you or someone you know. Yes, it happens at Penn, at Harvard, at Ivy League schools. By keeping it to yourself, it's not going to go away." And the woman said she hopes to use her experiences to help other women who have been raped talk through their own traumatic experiences. She added that she is studying to become a lawyer and hopes she will be able to enact legislation that will improve the judicial processes associated with rape cases. "Very few men are prosecuted for the rapes they commit," she said. "If you can get [rapes] more easily prosecuted, more women will come forward and fewer men will do this."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.