My name is Joanna Bourain and two and a half weeks ago I was raped by a student on campus. I took my case to the administration through the channels that they have set up for this purpose. The rapist went unpunished by the administration and still walks this campus. There is nothing stopping him from raping someone else. Even though I went through the administrative processes, no one ever told him what he did was wrong or illegal.

In the past two weeks, my life has been flipped upside-down entirely. I have had to take emergency contraception, get two HIV tests, and have repeated Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia tests. I have had to go to multiple meetings with medical doctors, therapists, and various deans all over campus. I have had to withdraw from a class. I had to skip work for two weeks. And all I was told in the end of this matter was that there was not enough testimony in order to make any kind of decision. I was supposed to feel reassured by the fact that it is a hard process for four strangers to sit in a room and try and conceptualize an assault they were not present for.

The rape culture on this campus is deeply internalized within our system of student’s sexual interactions. I sat through a one-hour skit of “Unspeakable Acts” during my first week at college but I was never sat down and explained what sexual assault was. I had to come to the realization by actually being assaulted. The title “Unspeakable Acts” is even more poignant to me, as the administration made me feel as if I should have kept my own experience an unspeakable act. Even after reporting it and going through the school’s justice system, I was denied my own personal experience of being sexually assaulted.

There is a serious disconnect between the infrastructure set up on campus for victim of sexual assault and the administrations follow through. Perhaps the fact that the two deans of students are both men makes it hard for them to conceptualize and personalize sexual assault beyond what they read and cases they encounter.

  • Student ’12

    My heart, soul, everything just sank after reading your Wespeak. Joanna, you are not alone, you are not in the wrong, you are not to be told that you don’t matter. I am sick after reading this. I’m making a commitment right now to help SART be what it needs to be.

  • Student ’12

    Joanna, I just want you to know that those of us who know you peripherally, while wanting to respect your privacy, are thinking of you and are extremely angry about what happened to you and the administration’s response. To echo the above comment, you are not alone.

  • Sarah
  • Student ’13

    This is so horrible and I would really, really like to help you pursue justice and continue brining this extremely important issue to the attention of Wesleyan students. Please don’t give up hope!

  • Student ’12

    Joanna, I do not know you well but was shocked and saddened to read about this. I respect your courage in speaking out and am reminded to pay greater attention to discussion of issues of sexual assault on campus.

    Please take care and know that you have the support of your peers.

  • Anonymous

    How could the situation have been handled better? What, specifically, was done wrong? I feel like this type of situation begs for privacy – which we are all willing to respect – but it’s hard to figure out how things were handled poorly if details aren’t disclosed. What should have been done? What wasn’t done? I certainly sympathize with what happened, but I can’t point fingers at the administration if I don’t know what they did.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me like you should take some legal action Joanna. It’s a pity that Wesleyan hasn’t done enough to help you though, although I can see why it may be difficult for the administration to come to a conclusion. Nevertheless, you are extremely brave, and you should make sure this guy gets the punishment he so rightfully deserves.

  • Alumn ’09

    My heart is with you Joanna, and I admire your bravery. I’m angry at Wesleyan for not doing enough to alleviate your distress. The guy has to face serious consequences for what he did. No one should remain quiet about this.

  • Uhh.

    Did you file a police report?

  • Anonymous

    That’s what I was thinking in the back of my mind. I know if it were me, I would’ve called the police and slapped a felony on his record like he deserves. I think that’s what you should do, too.

  • Student ’11

    Joanna, words cannot express how sorry I am that this happened to you and that the administration has so clearly ignored your bravery to speak out about the situation. It is absolutely despicable what has been done, and just know that you have most (if not all) of the campus behind you. I am certainly behind you. Know that this is NOT the end of the situation. I will speak out with other students. Keep your eyes open in the next few weeks.

  • LMAO

  • Hank

    I’m an outsider, but I did witness my fair share of harassment/assault cases back when I was in school. If the administration is not taking any action whatsoever, chances are the sick fuck has backing – wealthy family, perhaps? If you suspect that’s the case, then go out and press charges against him NOW. Otherwise people might think you want to settle or worse, you already did.

  • Chelsea

    As a best friend of someone who sadly experienced the same unacceptable response from the administration, I’m deeply saddened to say I’m shocked, but not surprised. Please make sure to keep your friends as close as possible, and take care of yourself.

  • Did you go to hospital and take a rape exam? And did you go to the cops? That’s what I would have done… it should not just be an on campus issue. And notifying the police and local hospital will help make you’re administration more accountable for their actions. You are brave for speaking up!

  • Also, get your parents/family/ friends involved maybe even contact your local newspaper… if you spoke and were not listened to get louder! This is ridiculous and saddens me to no end this is 2010 not 1910. Sexual assault and rape on woman is not acceptable! And should be punishable my law!

  • Kim

    Joanna, I admire your bravery–telling your story publicly isn’t easy! Please keep doing what you’re doing. Go to the police, get a lawyer, and follow through. I can imagine that, after your previous efforts were frustrated, pressing charges can seem equally frivolous. But it’s not. Make your case known. Make it unavoidable. If you stop now, this guy has gotten away with the crime 100%–we alums don’t even know his name! If you press charges, no matter the outcome, he (and his family) will at least be forced to recognize the gravity of his actions.

  • Alumni’07

    I think this is an entire farse. The young lady was obviously not raped, wesleyan is the most sensitive of all colleges in its area in the arena of sexuality, sexual crimes and harassment of any kind. If the administration did nothing its because they do not believe you. If you got raped why havent you pressed charges? I think this is disgusting that young ladies go out and get too intoxicated to think and want to blame someone else for what happened that evening.. Shame on you.

  • Alumni’07

    That was meant to be sarcastic. Obviously, there is a problem and no one would ever lie about such a thing.

  • Anon

    Except people DO lie about this.

  • Anon

    that is absolutely no excuse to deny justice to the truthful majority.

  • Anon

    Obviously it’s no excuse to deny justice to those who were actually assaulted, but we can’t just assume we know who those are.

  • Anonymous

    who raped her? i want to know who the rapist on this campus is for my own safety.

  • ’10

    I personally know of at least one case in which the university has acted to protect a sexual assailant by having his victim sign a form saying she would not go public about the assault nor go to the police. In this same case Michael Roth personally decided to reduce the already mild punishment that was handed down–30 hours community service and suspension–so that the assailant continues to walk the campus, frequently running into his victim.

  • David Lott, ’65

    “I personally know of at least one case in which the university has acted to protect a sexual assailant . . .”

    So did Roth just decide to intervene, or was there a formal appeal process that got the case before him?

  • alumni

    To the ignorant 07 alum, in my case the student admitted to sexually assaulting me, (in writing and in person)yet the university forged an agreement between us two that they could not keep. by the time i went to the police all of the meddling of the university (ie sharing of my personal statements) had greatly reduced my ability to actually make any charges stick. If you do a search for “rape” and “sexual assault” you will find articles going way back into wes’ history that speak of many, many times the university has found people guilty of sexual assault/rape yet has allowed them to remain on campus (or come back after one year). Around 2002 students actually sent out mass emails urging students who had been assaulted to contact the police and to not allow public safety to get involved. (the middletown police provided me with a copy of this email)The university obviously prizes money and reputation over the safety of their students.

  • Male ’13

    I sympathize with you in a way that most don’t, Jo. Though I hated when people, who were also raped at some point in their lives, pitied me. So I didn’t speak of what happened to me until three years afterwards… that’s beside my original point. I simply do not appreciate the whole, “the fact that the two deans of students are both men makes it hard for them to conceptualize and personalize sexual assault beyond what they read and cases they encounter” bit. Women might get raped more (insert some imagined statistic), but some men get sexually assaulted too.

    I just thought I should point that out.

  • Anonymous

    PLEASE GO TO THE POLICE. This is a crime and he deserves to go to jail. Yes, Wes needs to have handled this better. But our criminal justice system is available and though it may not ultimately lead to a conviction, the guy would not get off scot free – at the ver least, he would have his reputation harmed. Please pursue this with the authorities. And at the very least, please out him. Tell everyone his name.

  • female ’13

    the criminal justice system SUCKS. it didn’t help me when I was raped, and the guy who raped me still has the freedom to talk to me and see me (which he does). and after taking psychology and the law, I see that this is a scarily common situation. maybe you’ll get lucky if you go to the courts, but probably you won’t. I would say file for a restraining order. it’s less risky (for reverse harassment, etc.) and still gets what happened out there. and if that works, then take him to court. you’ll be much more likely to win if you already have a restraining order. but more than anything, tell your friends. spread who he is around the wes community. the anger and disgust he’ll receive from the students could be a powerful deterrant. and get psychological help. you deserve better than this

  • Anonymous

    anonymous poster advising girl to go to police here. i agree, the criminal justice system often sucks in these situation. but son’t you think that the process of being questioned by the police, faced with the threat of jail, might maybe give some would-be rapists or repeat rapists pause? but yeah, spread the name. tell everyone. write it on the bathroom walls.

  • John Wesley Hardon

    Lets burn him at the stake along with Kannam.

  • David Lott, ’65

    The lady’s reasons for not going to the police are personal and hers alone. It’s crazy for anyone else to think they can substitute their judgment for hers on that decision. Leave her alone.

    It is also purely her decision whether to “spread the name.” There are many good reasons why she might decide not to, completely apart from guilt or innocence.

  • Aluminum

    Her decision too to write this article.

    I have question for OP – when you went through Administrative process you were asked if you wished to file charges correct?

  • WesProf

    Unfortunately, things don’t seem to have changed much at Wes.

    As a student there 15 years ago, my friend and I were viciously beaten by a gang of (presumably local, non-student) gay-bashers as we walked across the quad one evening. (Never mind that we weren’t gay — it’s still a hate crime).

    When we reported the attack to campus security and the police, their primary response was to snigger and ask whether we’d done anything “provocative” like holding hands.

    Never was there any indication that they viewed a violent hate crime committed on campus as a matter of vital importance to the mental and physical well being of the student body.

  • johnwesley

    you sound like a troll.

  • Alex

    Agreed with JW that WesProf is likely full of shit.

  • Outraged

    Why is this not being prosecuted criminally? The rapist should be in jail.

  • Parent Comment on Show Re Sexual Crimes at Wesleyan

    The facts are stark and undisputed. A male Wesleyan University student commits a violent sexual assault against a female student whom he does not know at the school library. An eye witness confirms all details of the crime and fully corroborates the victim’s statement. The perpetrator does not dispute committing the assault. Moreover, the perpetrator admits that he had taken psilocybin, an illegal drug, prior to committing the assault. Yet Wesleyan University has failed to punish the perpetrator. Why? Does the administration actually hold the view that illegal drug use excuses violent sex crimes? In the year 2010 Wesleyan University must start protecting its female students.

  • luna

    i was rapped 3 months ago and the person who rapped me has gone unpunished so i have an idea how you feel just know youre not alone

  • mariah

    First, I want to say to Joanna that I am sorry for the horror and pain you have gone through. Rape is not just a physical assault; it is an assault on the soul and leaves you questioning yourself, your community, and your life. The concept that a rapist could still be a student at Wesleyan University not only makes me sick to my stomach. It also makes me seriously question whether I should send my daughter back to a college with an administration that is so negligent, so elitist and so decietful. If I have any power in the decision, she will not be returning to Wesleyan and I will make sure that others considering this university are aware of this as well.

  • YourDaddyNow

    What do you want to bet that there’s been tons of comments on this subject?