Just say no

January 24, 2014





Allison East
News Editor


I am the daughter of a rape victim.


Eleven years before I was born, my mom and another girl were kidnapped from her dad’s gas station, thrown in the back of a car, taken to the middle of nowhere and raped.


She was 15 and scared for her life.


Obviously, she lived, but she lives with the pain every day and she fights off the seizures cause by post traumatic stress. Rape is real, and it is around us.


In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 20 to 25 percent of women will experience a rape or attempted rape during their college careers. More than half of those victims will never report their rape.


To break that down, one in four (or five) of the women around you will be victims of rape during their college career. If you have two friends who are raped, chances are you will only find out about one. The other one will experience it and live with it herself without ever having justice and without ever having a shoulder to cry on. We need to change that.


We need to let victims know that being raped should not be an embarrassment. It is not their fault. And men need to know that “no” — no matter how drunk, how high, how late, how quiet— means no. It means do not put your penis there. It means stop.


My mom spoke out. At 15 and embarrassed in front of her parents and a small-town community, she testified in a trial that put her rapist away (until backwoods Mississippi laws let him out without notifying her— but that is another column). My mom and I may fight, and I may not completely understand how she can still have post-traumatic stress disorder 32 years later, but in that act, she showed more strength than I hope I ever have to.


If she could testify at 15, every woman at Tech can too.


Help give meaning to the word “no.” Help put an end to college rape.


Allison East is a senior history and journalism major from Vicksburg, Miss., who serves as news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to ace007@latech.edu.


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