Open letter from a sexual assault survivor

The following letter is from a sexual assault survivor and in reference to articles about the recent conviction of Laurier student Adam Hughes.

In January 2013, I was sleeping in my residence when a boy came in my room and decided he was having sex with me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t want to. It didn’t matter that I said no.

I do not know why the media picked up my story over every other girl who has gone through the same thing. But it did. I didn’t get to choose what happened to me that night in first year. I had no say over the legal process. I didn’t decide for The Record to take an interest in this. But now I have the opportunity to say something.

Wilfrid Laurier University is being put in a very negative light based on comments made by a judge. Did Laurier do everything they could have to help me? No. Did they do nothing? Definitely not. I had accommodations made for me in my classes that year. I have had accommodations made continuously throughout my university education whenever I needed it, and I still have them being made. I have been connected to multiple people both on and off campus who have been able to provide me with support. I couldn’t list all of the things the school has done to help me, but if I could that list would be much longer than the things they didn’t or couldn’t do.

I now get the opportunity to sit down with people at Laurier and go through everything that I had to deal with. I get to help fix the gaps someone who hasn’t been impacted by sexual assault would never think of. I am proud that I go to a university that is able to say they could have done better and is willing to sit down with me to make sure that they do better.

In the past 28 months I have had to deal with a lot. I had court proceedings cancelled and rescheduled five times. I had to wait almost two and a half years from the day I was raped to get a verdict. I remember getting the phone call in April saying that he had been found guilty. The feeling of relief that this was finally over was amazing.

But a judge decided to use my case to make a point, and people started talking. I think that is one thing that people never really think about; I see every article and every comment that is made about this situation. People forget they are talking about a person who has to relive everything through their story.

The past two years have hands down had some of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with. But if my story is able to help one person reach out after something happens to them, or stop even just one act of sexual assault from occurring, then I am grateful that my story was told.