I am slowly working up the courage to confront the Dean of Students at my school. For someone as unhappy about interpersonal conflict as I generally am, this is a nerve-wracking experience that I’ll probably rehearse in my head for several weeks and then never get around to actually carrying out, but fuck it. Maybe if I write about it here, I’ll at least hold myself to it a little more.
There were a lot of people who were really helpful during my process of reporting the sexual assaults.
Dean J, as I will be referring to him, was not one of them.
And I have a right to be a lot angrier at him than I am.
Right now, I don’t even feel angry enough to do this justice. I am tired, and I have a migraine, and I am overworked and underslept and numb and irritable. But fuck it. I’m saying it anyway.
During the initial parts of my reporting, before an official document had been filed, I was alerted by another official that Dean J, under whose jurisdiction this sort of decision apparently falls, was considering allowing My Rapist to come back to the school the following semester.
Do you want to know why My Rapist was out of school for the previous semester in the first place?
It was not because he raped me.
It is because he publicly attempted suicide and was having what is best described as “psychotic breaks”.
He had also accumulated a criminal record over the summer.
Apparently, this was not enough on its own to make Dean J think twice about giving him the option of returning to our campus, despite the fact that My Rapist had not been taking his medications or seeking counseling as he had agreed to. So, knowing full well the sorts of things My Rapist was capable of, I managed to get an appointment with Dean J to discuss the situation with him.
I suppose my first hint should have been that, when I went in for the appointment, I was informed that Dean J had moved it to an hour later without first informing me.
Once I finally did manage to speak to the man, I relayed a large part of the extremely personal and in some cases disturbing details of my interactions with My Rapist in the previous year, then conveyed how absolutely certain I was that My Rapist was going to repeat his actions in some form or another. I was pushy. I was not nice. I reasserted that it was Dean J’s responsibility to keep other students safe from My Rapist – I mentioned two students, in particular, who I thought needed to be protected in some capacity – and that the administration was taking a huge risk by even considering allowing him to come back.
Dean J listened half-heartedly, gave me a bland and politically correct answer, explained that he’d “consider what I had said”, thanked me for my information, and encouraged me to continue the reporting process.
I tried to make a follow-up meeting, and my emails were responded to in a matter of weeks, if at all.
Fast-forward a month or so*, and I’m back in Dean J’s office.
I have just spent three hours meeting with the investigators and discussing, in more detail than I ever wanted to, the things My Rapist did with me.
I am now in Dean J’s office.
He is yelling and banging his fist on the table. This is too much for me. I’m already shaking, rocking back and forth slightly. I can’t seem to look anywhere except at the viny metal framework supporting the glass tabletop. I have eighteen hours until my plane leaves for winter break.
We take this very seriously there has been another sexual assault Rapist is dangerous take this seriously take this seriously go to the police we take this seriously implied your fault your fault has been trespassed from campus can’t contact anyone on campus take this seriously another victim very concerned take this seriously.
My Rapist had done exactly what I had thought he was going to.
To the exact person I knew was in danger.
There is more. I’m too tired. Some other time.
I know it’s My Rapist’s fault, only.
But in my mind, it’s mine, too.
*It was late December by then