The Silent Survivors of Adrian College

Written By: Catherine Weddle

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of our sources (Amanda Smith, Emily White, John Davis)

The end of fall semester was coming and the feeling of Christmas spirit was right round the corner. Amanda Smith* and her teammates prepared for a fun night out at one of Adrian’s fraternity houses. For Smith, it was a night she would remember forever, unfortunately not for the right reasons.

Smith says the party took place in the basement of a fraternity at Adrian. The place was not packed, she recalls around 25-30 people in the room. To her surprise, a group of guys walked in, and she recognized one of them. The boy was someone she had previously tutored. Smith adds that tutoring math and biology was something she regularly did. The boy started to approach Smith, and she began walking in his direction. 

“Before I could say anything, he grabbed my butt with two hands,” Smith said. “He pulled me in so tightly I couldn’t back away and said ‘Amanda you’re so damn hot’.” 

The aftermath of an alleged sexual assault on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has once again sparked the conversation of rape culture on college campuses, including Adrian College. Multiple sexual assault survivors at Adrian College have failed to report thier experiences due to fear of judgement.

On Aug. 23, a 17-year old reported a sexual assault at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house at UNL late Monday night. The alleged victim of the assault was driven to the hospital by a friend shortly after the incident, where police met her around 3:40 am the next morning. 

Phi Gamma Delta, commonly referred to as FIJI, has a history of assault allegations. However, the fraternity has only ever received a suspension, which is unsatisfactory to many students on campus. The students’ concerns started a series of protests outside of the FIJI fraternity house, piling in hundreds of students every night. 

College campuses are a hub for sexual assault. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation in their undergraduate career. Although coverage is commonly focused on larger universities, the issue is just as prevalent on small campuses, including Adrian College. 

The UNL annual fire and safety report confirmed 14 sexual assault and rape incidents in 2019. Adrian College reported five incidents that same year. However, UNL’s student population is almost 14 times larger. 

Smith says a friend in the fraternity saw it happen and reported it, something she wouldn’t have done otherwise. The follow-up for the incident was less than ideal for Smith. She recalls an officer showing up to her dorm at 3:00am with absolutely no empathy or condolences. Smith says the officer pressured her to decide if she wanted to press charges right then and there, in the middle of the night. 

“The follow up was good, but the timing and aggression of the officer was not,” added Smith.

Another Adrian College student, Emily White*, was unfortunately no stranger to sexual assault. White says she wasn’t someone who usually drank too much, but she became extremely intoxicated one day. It was St. Patrick’s Day her freshman year. She describes herself as being ‘blacked out’ and was at a point where she could barely move. However, the alleged perpetrator saw this as an opportunity. According to White, a boy forced oral sex from her while she was still in a very intoxicated state. The ability for it to progress anymore was stopped when someone walked in. White chose not to report the incident. 

“I’ve actually experienced sexual assault to a more serious degree in high school, and actually went through a trial for that one,” White said. “That was just so draining, even though it was rewarding, because I never felt like I was being taken seriously.”

Thomas Doney, Adrian’s Student Life and Title IX Coordinator, assures that all incidents reported to him or other staff are present on their annual report. Doney acknowledges that many incidents are never reported to them, but states they take every incident they know about very seriously. 

“I know that everyone does not report,” Doney said. “I know it’s a tough subject to really come to terms with, but I do know the numbers on the report are as accurate as our knowledge can be.”

An important, yet not as well acknowledged, issue regarding sexual assault is male victims. John Davis* was a member of a fraternity at Adrian. Davis says after a party, a group of girls stuck around to hang out, which he says was pretty typical. After a brief conversation with one of the girls, he packed up his things and headed back to his dorm alone. Shortly after returning to his dorm there was a knock on his door, which he ignored because it was so late at night. A few moments later, a banging on his window began. It was the girl from the party. 

After some thought, Davis says he opened the door to his room because it seemed like something might be wrong. Immediately after opening the door, the girl jumped onto Davis, began ripping his clothes off, forcing her mouth onto his, and begged for him to sleep with her. Luckily, Davis was able to control the situation and remove her from his room. The harassment continued for a week as the girl continued to come back and knock on his window and door. Davis did not report the incidents to the school. 

“As for after the incident, I truly figured it would get washed under the radar with me being a guy,” said Davis. 

The issue on the campus of Adrian College, along with colleges across the country, is not only how to prevent sexual assault, but how to create an environment where students feel they can report sexual assault. 


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