UT Rape Victim’s Roommate Speaks Out

UT Security Photo

This week the roommate of a campus rape victim described her encounters with the rapist, and administration admitted to notification mistakes and outlined changes to campus policy (See related story: Dept. of Education inquires into university’s response to campus rape).
The victim’s roommate told a slightly different side of the story from those previously published.
Returning from Gasparilla, the roommate entered the dorm to respond to screams coming from the victim in the shower.
The suspect came out of the shower nude and put on his clothes in the dorm’s common area. Meanwhile, the roommate checked on the victim.
‘After I found her in the shower, she was crying. As for her reactions, she was just really quiet and didn’t say much.’
The roommate then came out to ask the suspect what happened. He told her his version of what had occurred and spent several minutes in the room talking to the roommate and her boyfriend.
He said he had found the victim and helped her back to school. He also took a phone call before leaving the room.
‘I was shocked. I really didn’t know what to say,’ said the roommate. She also recalls the suspect being ‘a little bit tipsy.’
The victim moved home two days after the incident and intends to begin school in fall 2007 up north, the roommates said.
Though the roommates acknowledge being close with the victim, one of them said, ‘I spoke to her a little bit. She doesn’t say much about [the attack].’
After the incident, UT offered counseling to the victim and her roommates.
‘They’ve contacted me a couple times, and they were really good about making sure we were okay,’ noted one roommate.
Handling sexual crime victims often starts with the victim’s request for help, experts say.’
Student Affairs’ first responders have checklists to assist the victim and answer any concerns.
UT has two available state-designated victim advocates, Nora Bugg and Monnie Wertz. They discuss the reporting of the crime, the availability of counseling, changing rooms and/or changing classes, all as part of a checklist.
‘We have a good working relationship with TPD, so we can facilitate some things for our victims of campus crime,’ Wertz added.
UT offers counseling to all students at the HealthCenter through its Crisis Management Program. Six counseling sessions are available on campus per semester.
If necessary, additional counseling is set up through psychiatrists on campus and made available through the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Students may also request prescription medication.
Sexual Assault victims may experience an array of psychological after-effects such as, ‘feelings of guilt, feelings of being damaged, loss of trust, general fear, sense of vulnerability, loss of innocence, uncontrollable flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disruption, anxiety attacks and general depression,’ noted Dr. McReynolds, a professor of psychology at UT.
Some will leave the university. If the victim desires a refund of tuition, financial management considers each instance on a case-by-case basis. The victim in this incident has decided to not return to the university.
There have been no developments in the case as of Feb. 20, according to TPD, which is still searching for a male approximately 20 years of age, six feet, one-inch in height and 200 pounds. He had a brown goatee that was six inches below his chin line (no mustache).
He was seen in the picture entering a dorm with what appears to be a woman (only an arm is shown).
If anyone recognizes the suspect, knows his whereabouts or has additional information connected with the incident, contact Tampa Police Department Detective E. Wilkinson at (813)276-3637 or Detective M. Sutkoff at (813)276-3542.
Related Stories:
Letter to the Editor: Date Rape Is Sexual Battery

Leave a Reply

Back To Top