A UCR alumnus says she feels “a shame” to be seen as a victim of sexual assault on campus.
Alicia Hernandez, a former UCR student and graduate student, said her first year on campus was “terrible” and “unforgivable.”
Her story has been featured in multiple outlets including the New York Times, CNN and the BBC.
She is one of the only women of color on campus who has spoken out about her experiences.
“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but I did have a lot of support from other students, I had a lot people who believed me,” Hernandez said.
“It was so much easier for me because I didn’t have a huge network of people who were supportive.
I was just kind of like, ‘Okay, this is going to happen to me, I’ll just accept it and move on.'”
Hernandez says she was assaulted by a male student during a party in a dorm on campus in August 2016.
The alleged assault happened at a private residence.
“The student was a bit more intoxicated,” Hernandez told the Times.
“It was a private house, which means there was not much interaction, so I was sort of left to fend for myself.”
Hernandez said she had just left a party with other students when a male friend came up to her, and he asked if she wanted to go to the dorm.
“He’s a very shy person, he doesn’t really talk much, so he didn’t really say anything,” Hernandez recounted.
“So I was a little hesitant.
He kind of leaned down to my ear, like, `Come on, you’re going to the hospital, I’m going to do this.'”
Hernandez alleges the student then kissed her.
“Then he grabbed my breasts and squeezed them a little bit and he put his hand up my skirt and he started rubbing my tits, like rubbing them,” she said.
Hernandez’s alleged attacker left her in the hallway and she was left alone in her dorm room.
“All of a sudden I heard a knock on the door, and then the door opened and it was the person who had raped me,” she told the newspaper.
“That’s when I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.'”
Hollingson said she decided to tell the story in order to highlight how many women experience sexual assault.
“If we’re going forward as a society we are going to have to recognize and deal with this,” she added.
“This isn’t just happening to women of colour.
It’s happening to everyone.”
Hollerson said the assault was “unthinkable” and she has since begun “careering forward” through life.
“You don’t want to be the one who’s being called out for something like this,” Hernandez added.
I’m not blaming the person.
I don’t know if I can ever be the person to say I should have said something, but at the same time, it’s the way it was.”
Hancock University has suspended Hernandez from her course.
“We will continue to monitor her and ensure she does not repeat this incident in future courses,” the university wrote in a statement to Campus Reform.
“As she has said publicly and privately throughout her ordeal, we understand her feelings about the incident and we will be taking this extremely seriously.”