Editor’s note: The following is a letter written by a BYU student who was raped Sunday evening. Her name has been withheld, but The Daily Universe believes her message is vital and may help prevent other rapes from occurring.
I was attacked and raped at 6 p.m. Sunday. Church ends at 4 p.m., and I felt like being alone for a while, so I stayed on campus until just after dark. Then I walked toward home. I crossed 800 North below the stairs on 300 East. A jogger passed me and then turned back and asked me what time it was. He raped me under the bushes in somebody’s yard, at the corner of 700 North and 300 East in Provo. People passing in cars didn’t see us.
I am finally convinced not to walk home alone in the dark.
Do we ever truly learn from others’ mistakes? I plead with you to learn from mine. I had been warned of lurking danger many times, but the danger of being raped or assaulted never seemed real to me — not immediate or even close. So I regularly walked home alone in the dark. I didn’t want to ask for rides or escorts. I felt silly. I didn’t want to make a fuss over nothing.
I add my warning to all the others: that the danger is real and significant. Will you who keep late hours on campus take it seriously? Perhaps you can coordinate with friends and walk in groups. Police escorts are available throughout the evening. Or you might feel more comfortable asking a roommate with a car to pick you up. (And will you who offer the rides make it clear that you don’t think this whole thing is silly, that you give your kindness gladly?)
May I lecture a bit further? We must not be so afraid of offending strangers. If only I had run away Sunday when this stranger first approached me and asked for the time! I certainly should not have stopped and talked. But I didn’t want to be rude to a nice man. Of course, this nice man was a rapist. I imagine that if we occasionally hurt some innocent person’s feelings, it will not be of much consequence. But rape is unspeakably horrible. My concern with being “nice” now seems comparatively insignificant.
Women are raped, even in Provo, even before 7 p.m. Oh, be wise. What can I say more?
This editorial is the opinion of The Daily Universe. Daily Universe opinions are not necessarily opinions of Brigham Young University, its administrators or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.