No one ever imagines that they will fall victim to sexual assault. Unfortunately, too many individuals have experienced this heinous crime.
Aspen Matis, author of Girl in the Woods, tells her courageous tale at Girls Night Out held at the ballrooms in the Memoriall Student Union Building.
During her freshman year at Colorado College, Matis was raped by a new acquaintance after he pressures her into smoking marijuana. Hours pass by before she wakes up and realizes she is now a victim of rape. Distraught and unsure, Matis waits two weeks before coming forth and reporting the incident. She states that after 72 hours, there is no longer viable, biological evidence.
Meeting with counselors and reliving the ordeal is painful, yet the advisors in not so many words imply that her rape is a hallucination due to side effects of marijuana. Matis leaves the college after not being protected and taken seriously. Seeking a new perspective and sense of empowerment, she hikes the Pacific Coast Trail, which begins in Mexico and concludes in Canada. Her inspirational journey rebuilt not only her character, but is influencing hundreds of young women to find their inner voice.
“[The hiking expedition] taught me that I’m strong enough…that I could survive this… and if I could survive this, I can survive anything. It taught me that I’m safe in the world, and in my body. My no was audible, my words are audible, my voice was audible and rape is not normal. It’s horrifically common—it’s one if four women on college campuses.”
Ironically, news of a sexual assault on campus surfaced Monday, Sept. 5. According to the report, a young woman was confronted by a medium built, bearded male with glasses. As of now, there are no further in-depth details.
The young woman’s initiative to vocalize what took place is commendable and should encourage others to do the same. The Javelina Girls Night Out offers the opportunity to receive small trin- kets such as whistles and small flashlights, along with instilling newfound confidence.
Javelina Girls Night Out successfully fills the entire Student Union Building ballroom. Young women gather to gain knowledge pertaining to valuable resources such as JavGuard, self-defense classes, and phone numbers to the university and local po-
lice departments, a women’s shelter, and a local hospital. Other organizations include: Student Health and Wellness, TAMUK Title IX Coordinator, and the Office of Student
Affairs. Representatives from each of the groups speak out against sexual misconduct, including Karen Royal, director of compli- ance.
In a nurturing tone, Matis powerfully de- clares, “Calling a rape a rape, is like calling a spade a spade, it feels good. It makes the rape something outside of you. You are not the terrible disgusting, horrible thing, the rape is…and calling it what is shrinks it. So I would say, be honest, tell your story, and tell people who you love and trust”. The audi- ence, moved by the strength she projects, is left utterly silent.