Negron said she lay there stunned. Still locked out of her room, she waited until morning to sneak away. In the days that followed, she tried to move on, to rationalize the night and put it behind her.
But just two weeks later, she found herself in a situation all too familiar.
The world moved in slow motion as a different “friend” blocked the door to the Craige North TV lounge when she tried to leave.
“I thought he was joking at first. But then he said, ‘No, you can’t leave until you do something for me,” Negron said. “I was still recovering from the rape, and I just had this feeling like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again.’”
It has taken a year for Negron to navigate through embarrassment, anger and depression but she has emerged on the other side — a survivor, not a victim.
And she’s not alone. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, each year one in eight college women is raped. An estimated 77 percent of rapes are committed by non-strangers, but only 2 percent of victims report the crime.
Last year, 43 sexual assaults were reported at UNC, but administrators say only one case made it to the Honor Court.
Though UNC advertises resources for students who have been assaulted, Negron said as a freshman she was completely unaware of her options.
She said she didn’t know about blind reporting — the University’s confidential way of documenting an assault without revealing the victim’s name. She added she was unaware the dean of students could have moved her to a new residence hall.
And she knew she wouldn’t be able to discuss the incident with strangers because she was still struggling to admit it to herself.
She didn’t open up to anyone about her assaults until she started volunteering at the Durham Crisis Response Center almost a year later. During training, she watched a documentary about people sharing their experiences with sexual assault.
“While I was watching the video I thought, ‘Wow, that’s really sad,’” she said. “It wasn’t until the next day when I was shelving books at work when I realized … I was in that situation; that happened to me.”
That realization inspired her to tell her friend, sophomore Dominique Moore, what happened.
Moore said Negron’s confession completely took him by surprise.
“I could tell she really wanted to tell somebody, but that was the first time I was ever put into that kind of situation,” he said.
“But the biggest part of me wanted to make sure that I was there for my friend.”
Moore said Negron has inspired him to go through HAVEN training.
“How she holds herself now, how she promotes herself — she’s always making sure she’s advocating for girls who have gone through the same thing,” he said.
Negron said she is open about her experiences because she wants to reach people who don’t think sexual assault is an issue at UNC.
“I went to a SlutWalk last week and this guy came out there with a sign that said, ‘Skirts — it’s a perfect excuse for rape,’” Negron said. “If that doesn’t show you how much people think this is a joke, then I don’t know what does.”
A SlutWalk is a form of protest that challenges the use of women’s dress as an excuse for rape.
Negron’s trials have evolved into a personal mission — to do her best to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to others.
“I want my picture in the paper and I want people to look at this and say, ‘I know her,’ and realize that it’s around them.”
Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.