||It was just a normal October 31st Friday morning. The night before I went out with my roommates for the traditional FAMU homecoming clubbing. I was still a little tired from my escapade. Got on the bus around 9:30am like I normally do for work. I thought I was gonna be in and out of my 10-4 shift. Little did I know, that there would be nothing “in and out” about my Friday.
I got to work at Strozier Library at 10am. I said my hellos to my co workers and moved on my merry way. My job is to check in books and maintain the collections of books here. The first thing I normally do is check the drop boxes and discharge them in the database. Like any other morning I did just that. Around 11am I decided to shelve books. I couldn’t decide what floor I wanted to do that day. There were 3rd; 4th; 5th floor carts ready to be put back on the shelf. I contemplated my choices. Today I felt like being alone. I knew the 4th and 5th floors always sang an empty tune of non-existent patrons. I choose the 4th floor cart and moved on my merry way.
I took my ascent up the staff service elevator in the way back of the 4th floor. To my supposition, the motion sensor lights were all off on the whole floor. Reassuring me the alone time I needed. To me shelving is therapeutic, its time to reflect on my day, time to relax, usually I bring my iPod, click to Rick Ross and pretend I’m the librarian Katt Williams so frequently jokes about and sometimes I might stumble upon a remarkable book that seizes my concentration. That day I didn’t bring my iPod, perhaps for the better. I digress.
So the motion sensor lights are on in the section I moved in. I work my way around to the main floor in the middle of the stacks to activate the other lights and assure I am the only one on the floor. I see a shadowy figure coming from the lobby of the fourth floor. It is a teenaged black male in a sky blue hoodie and dark denim jeans. I find it very weird that this “patron” does not have a backpack or a book in his hand. He did not look like he attended FSU or any school for that matter. He looked scruffy, had severely red eyes and rough around the edges, very odd. But I moved on my merry little way, who am I to presume anything, he could very well be a student or legit patron. At this time I had no reasons to be concerned. I went back around to the corner where I parked my truck of books to continue my shelving expedition.
I grabbed my first book and walked down the fourth aisle from the back. Already I could feel the cares of the world melting off my body. In the corner of my left eye I could see the shadowy “patron” heading down my aisle. Again silent abstract alarms started sounding off in my psyche. Something was not right. But again the sensible logical me brushed off my intuitions as pre judging. Lets stop right here. I should have ran away or screamed or said “can I help you?” But before I could inquire my intuitions or the “patron” grabbed me in a choke hold from behind and dragged me to the floor. I was so stunned, surprised, afraid, unaware, naïve I had no time to counteract. I tried to scream but he had his dirty filthy hands around my mouth. Whats would have been the use? We were alone, there was nobody on the 4th floor.
“Shut up, don’t say nothing” He said in a husky dirty voice. “I have a gun and if you say anything I will kill you!” He pointed to his pockets on his hoodie.
Gosh he smelled like pee. I was disgusted and still unaware of his intentions. What did he want from me? My mind raced. Rape was the last thing on my mind. Untill he commanded these words “Take off your pants!” I shook my head which seemed to infuriate him even more. He punched the floor as if he were about to hit me. My mind raced with thoughts of me on the 6 o’clock news, my mom crying and saying “I knew she shouldntve moved so far away from home”, images of my roommates and friends at my funeral crying and sobbing “She was such a happy girl, always smiling”. You know the funny thing is that those images did eventually come true and that a little piece of me would actually die that day. But I digress.
I dragged off my pants and panties. Images of a pistol still ingrained in my mind.
“I seen that tight ass, I knew I had to have you” the nasty SOB stated.
I was disgusted when he touched me there. I'm pretty sure you know what happened next so, I won’t go into details. Just know I was violated. He took away a piece of my soul and for the rest of my life I will endure the task of trying to get it back.
After he was finished, he made me promise not to tell anyone. He then attempted small talk. I was really calm and played it very cool (I surprised myself). He took my name tag badge, made me count to a 100 (which makes me believe he has done this before) and fled.
My world turned to slow mo during the whole encounter. And surprisingly afterward everything went by fast. I got up pulled myself and my clothes together, and went around the book stacks. To my amazement there were patrons in the study area. I saw my co-worker and beckoned her over. She came and I pulled her into the bathroom in the staircase. I told her what happened and we immediately went to HR. I was terrified because I kept imagining him with the gun if he found out I told. I explained what happened to the lady in HR. Time went on a standstill from when she phoned FSU PD to when they came. It was the longest 10-4 shift in my life. A victims advocate lady came and talked to me, she had a gentle voice and helped me through the whole process.
Now I'm a big fan of SVU and the emotional victimized helpless female was not the role I wanted to take. So for the next three days I hide in my room and cried 24/7. I was alone, desolate, devastated, demised, depreciated, defunct. Monday came around and I faked the funk. Under that guise was a terrified female. I was back at work on Monday with a smile. I hide under my guise to heal, not letting anyone in. Some people deal with rape different ways. I was emotionally detached, passionately absent.
Numbness was my friend.
My mentors and soothers emotionally poked me to get some kind of reaction from me. They were more terrified than I was. It was awkward. I was fine. They were shaken up. I couldn’t understand why they were more distressed than I was. Outwardly I was fine, inwardly I was a ticking time bomb. Thankfully that time bomb hasn’t gone off.
I don’t expect sympathy from anyone. “How are you doing?” “Omg are you fine?” I don’t care if you ask me these things, but only ask them if you mean it. Cause when I tell you I feel like shit, what then? Will you talk to me? Well, why haven’t you talked to me before? Don’t treat me like I'm brand new. Treat me like Kassie, or Kass for my close friends. You may wonder why I am writing this, anybody who knows me knows my writing is therapeutic. My victim advocate gave me a copy of Esperanza magazine and an article on Mariel Hemingway and depression on the job. It inspired me to have hope and to know that I am not alone!
You may find it a great deal of grace to know that the assailant has been captured and is behind bars for a long long time.
I may never be the same Kass, but please know that I am taking back a piece of me one day at a time.
I hope you share my story with other women so they can be inspired to know that RAPE IS NEVER THE VICTIMS FAULT. It doesnt matter if you run down the street naked, it is not an excuse for someone to violate you.
I am very concerned with as the rate of rape on college campuses is 1 in 5 so I hope none of those 20% of women are not deterred from reporting rape. Rape happens ALL the time at FSU campus. Almost twice a semester there is an incident of rape or sexual assault on FSU campus. Can you imagine which other ones do not get reported?
Please make readers aware of this issue.