Rob Le Cates

Madelyn Kidd is a senior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

I have never publicly told anyone this, but reporting on other students sharing their experiences on sexual assault and harassment made me want to do the same. 

 When I was 18-years-old at my first job, my now ex repeatedly sexually harassed me. Personally, I spent months in denial of labeling what it was. I thought by not labeling it as sexual harassment it would not be true. In a way, it really just delayed the realization process. 

At the time, it was my first year working at a student-run newspaper at Lake Land College and while there I met a guy who I found attractive. For about a week and a half we pursued a flirtationship, in which various instances occurred that I was very uncomfortable with. However, I didn’t know how to react in those situations. 

I was a late bloomer in the relationship world. I didn’t first have my first relationship until I was 17. This flirtationship I was pursuing was only my second, and he was several years older. It started with just kissing but that was when we were alone, and then because we both worked at the same place we were around our coworkers and bosses a lot. 

It was not until he started touching me in ways I didn’t want in front of our coworkers and bosses that I first experienced sexual harassment. He grabbed my butt in front of our boss when our boss wasn’t paying attention. When I whipped around and confronted him about it he played it off as if he was trying to put a pencil in my back pocket. That did not make any sense because it wasn’t my pencil, and there was no reason for him to do that. 

Suddenly, I didn’t know how to trust him, and I didn’t know how to handle the situation anymore. Eventually some of my friends helped make sure I felt comfortable without fully knowing what happened, and they hung out with us to keep us from being alone together.

Because I was being weird he got really angry. We were alone again, and I was sitting on the floor. My ex was a very tall and large man but he was very angry and he just started yelling at me asking what was going on, why wasn’t anyone saying anything to him, etc. I was just trying to play it off so I didn’t have to say anything to him. Thankfully my friend got out of class and came back for me and pretended like we had plans to go somewhere else. 

It was then I knew I needed to get away from him and with us being co-workers I couldn’t get very far, but I did the best that I could. However, for months the denial set in. I thought that because we were flirting and we were kissing that meant I couldn’t have been sexually harassed by him because I liked him. 

However, I remember crying in a restaurant with my friend when I for the first time told someone what really happened. That was the moment I knew that I couldn’t deny it anymore. It sucked having to go through those feelings to relive how I felt in the moment that he grabbed me without my consent but I moved on with my life. 

Then I came to Eastern and at a welcome weekend event I saw him and realized he was here too. I left early and had a panic attack in my car before going home.

I didn’t know what to do with this information so I went on with the beginning of my experience at Eastern. That was until another co-worker on The Daily Eastern News staff got angry at a computer and he was a tall and large man, and it wasn’t until that moment that I realized when my ex verbally attacked me trying to figure out what was going on that it left damage. It left trauma. 

Once again I was having a panic attack over my ex and the parts of him that he left with me that I can’t escape. 

Every once in a while I see him on this campus and while I don’t panic as much as I did the first time I still feel fear. I still want more than anything to run away and pretend like he isn’t here. 

The upsetting thing is I don’t think he even knows how he hurt me and how it still affects me to this day because that’s the world we live in. Where men aren’t taught properly how to keep their hands to themselves, how to take responsibility for things they do wrong and more that leads us into situations like this. 

The most important takeaway I have recently have tried to come to terms with my experience is that just because I have this trauma or these upsetting memories does not make me weak. And while it took some time and was not instant it did make me stronger. I’m not over what happened and I don’t know if or when I will ever be, but I do know I have amazing friends and family who are on my side and support me and love me and at the end of the day that’s more than I could ask for. 

For anyone else who reads my story or the other stories within this edition for Sexual Assault Awareness Month please know you are not weak, it’s not your fault and you can forgive yourself. Because I know that even if logic tells you it’s not your fault you still blame yourself, so now I’m telling you it’s time to learn to forgive yourself.


Madelyn Kidd is a senior JOU: Public Affairs Reporting major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].