Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Students trying to beat the mid-semester blues

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Emily Fehrman
Social Media Editor

During this time of the year, it’s often found that not only do students’ grades start to slack but so does their mental health. Two Hutchinson Community College students – Burrton sophomore Maddie Winter and Salina freshman Slade Negus – sat down to discuss having the late semester blues.

Maddie Winter, Burrton sophomore

Emily Fehrman: Why do you think it is that around this time that students get so burned out?

Maddie Winter: It’s starting to get colder out, which makes it harder to get out of bed in the morning. A lot of times we put our school work over our self care. We start to feel overwhelmed and eventually give up. In this instance, eventually means around this time of year.

Slade Negus: I think for the students (more so freshmen) the new feeling and freshness of the off the going to a college starts to wear off so they lose motivation.

EF: Do you think it has anything to do with the holiday season?

SN: I’m almost certain the holidays have something do with it missing family or just feeling lazy.

MW: I think that students are excited for Thanksgiving break and winter break, so it makes classes seem a lot more dreadful. I mean, who would rather be in a classroom than spending time with friends and family.

EF: What helps you personally to get through this rut?

SN: Personally working or accomplishing tasks helps me get through it because once i finish something I feel better about doing more.

MW: I just tell myself that the semester is almost over and to not give up. If I made it this far, I can finish strong.

EF: Do you maybe have any tips to help other HutchCC students from falling behind on their school work this semester?

MW: Don’t save all of your homework for one day of the week, spread it out as much as possible.

SN: Focus on the big grades that matter, tests, big papers, etc.

EF: Is there anything you would do differently this semester?

MW: Study more. I always wait until a day or two before my exam to start studying.

SN: I would have studied more for college algebra it is easier to maintain than to catch up.

Retail me, RetailMeNot

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Pablo Sanchez
Campus Editor

If students recall, there was a review about the “Honey” app earlier this year.

“RetailMeNot” is basically like that, but this time you can download it on your computer by looking it up, or you can use your phone, as it is totally free in the Google Play Store.

The only information needed is your email, or you can use Facebook login. It will then ask you if you want to enable your location to find stores near students that will help find deals that are near you, which is highly recommend because if adults or students are using their phone they can find malls or stores that are near them.

Once you progress through the app, it will show you nine different categories, but you can only pick four. Once you selected those four it will inform you that you can save up to $20 or more. This app is better than “Honey” and the reason is because it offers more deals, and it will inform you on how to qualify for cash back when you click on whatever it is that you are wanting to spend your money on.

These deals that students see will change every month. Students then will have to go into a store and show the coupon to the cashier and it will be applied to whatever it is that you are buying. Some coupons may not work. If it doesn’t work, be sure to report it to customer service and they will have it removed within a few minutes.

This app will also inform you of free shipping and will give you a code that you can use, so be sure to pay attention to that. “RetailMeNot” will even offer discounts on hotels, plane tickets and car rentals.

Don’t be a total Boo, and get some discounts on Halloween candy or costumes. If you are looking for ways to save money, then this app is definitely for you.

New campus group looking to give a spark

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Jared Shuff
Staff writer

When looking at the number of students who attended church regularly throughout their youth, many studies estimate nearly 70 percent of those students leave the church once they hit college.

This could be due to a change in ideology, a chance for rebellion, or the simple lack of time and energy.

It could also be the fact that many students are now on their own, and don’t have a connection with any of the local churches. One student at Hutchinson Community College had made it her goal to create an open environment for people to worship and discuss the Bible.

Genesis Schmutz, freshman at HutchCC, works as an intern for Spark United, a church that consists of multiple small locations rather than one big building.

“It’s a network of house churches, and I’m in charge of starting a house church here at HutchCC,” Schmutz said.

She became involved with Spark United through her friendship with the lead pastor.

“I loved the concept,” Schmutz said. “It was less structured than normal. It’s all about the church meeting the people rather than people meeting the church.”

Schmutz describes the small group that meets on campus as a church of its own. A normal service consists of worship, a bible study, and then a discussion about what the story means in everyday life.

“People bring instruments, we sing a few songs, and we talk about Jesus,” Schmutz said. “It’s very discussion oriented.”

Her main goal for the house church is to share the love of Jesus. It’s a place to make friends and ask one another hard questions.

Attendance for the church is usually a hit-or-miss.

“It’s crazy, we have a really varied amount of people,” Schmutz said. “It can be anywhere from two to 13.”

When asked what she would say to anyone considering coming, but may not be sure about it, she had a simple and sweet answer.

“Just do it. It’s a great place to build community and make friends,” Schmutz said. “It’s also cool to listen to music. Sometimes I tell people we’re ‘jammin with Jesus’.”

Services take place on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. in the basement of Parker Student Union.

Giles fitting in at HutchCC

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Rebecca Carney
Co-Sports Editor

For sophomore basketball player Chris Giles, coming to Hutchinson Community College, or attending any junior college, was never the plan.

Giles, a Dallas native, had his college plans set after graduation from Findlay Prep in 2017: Attend the University of Oklahoma and play basketball there, just like his dad did.

That’s exactly what Giles did for the 2017-2018 basketball season, until he and his family decided that playing basketball at Oklahoma wasn’t quite the right fit for him.

“I had a great time there, but things obviously didn’t work out,” Giles said. “As a family, we decided to come here to Hutch. We felt like that would be the best situation for my future down the road.”

Coming to HutchCC has worked out so far for the sophomore guard. The coaches expect a lot out of Giles, but mostly, they just want him to be a leader on and off the court.

“Lead the team and be a coach on the floor. Obviously, he wants to score some points, but I told him I don’t care if he scores at all. Just lead the team and the points will come,” coach Steve Eck said.

This is not the first time this century a basketball player from Oklahoma has transferred to HutchCC. Bobby Maze, who played for former Blue Dragon coach Ryan Swanson during the 2006-2007 season, also transferred to HutchCC.

Maze played for the Blue Dragons for 2007-2008 season and was named the Most Valuable of the Jayhawk Conference West Division. He also set a school record with 16 assists in a game against Barton Community College.

With basketball season starting to gear up, Blue Dragon basketball fans are starting to get excited. The Blue Dragons have played three regular season games so far, winning all three of them.

Giles has started in all three those of games and has been a huge strength on the court. In the three games the Blue Dragons have played, Giles has averaged 11.7 points, has three assists, two steals and six rebounds. ;

Doreen Welsh, ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ flight attendant, speaks at Dillon Lecture Series

Friday, November 9th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

Flying is a common source of transportation for people all around the world. Some people love it, others fear it, but it’s a necessity nonetheless.

For Doreen Welsh, flying was normalcy because it was her job for 38 years. She spoke Tuesday at the Sports Arena during the Dillon Lecture Series. But on Jan. 15, 2009, her life changed in 90 seconds. She was on the crash of flight 1549 but it was later renamed the Miracle of the Hudson. According to Cliff Moore, they were “hailed as heroes,” and will forever be known as that.

Welsh was on her final day of a four-day flight journey and was ready to go home to her son. The flight was taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She did her normal routine with the other stewardesses and flight attendants, and she headed to her set position in the back of the plane and buckled up.
Minutes after takeoff, the plane made a jerking motion and Welsh caught a whiff of a “burning smell” that was not normal. She, at first, thought it was something technical and thought that they would just go back to the airport to fix it.
After checking around for signs of danger, she noticed that it was eerily quiet.
“It was total silence,” she said.
Welsh realized the engines weren’t running.
After gesturing to the flight attendants up front, she decided that the pilots didn’t have time to announce what was happening. So she sat back down and buckled up. Seconds after, she heard three words that came from the cockpit that she had been training for in her 38 years. She never thought she would actually here it.
“Brace for impact.”
After a pause of silence, she said, “I remember the terror rippling through my body.”
In the seconds that she had to process it, her thoughts exploded.
“I was in denial,” Welsh said. “This happens to other people, this does not happen to me.”
She then thought through her whole life of the good times. She saw her family, her son, and everything that made her life good.
In those moments, adrenaline kicks in and the brain is put on survival mode. Welsh’s went from zero to 100 in a split second. Truly, that is what kept her going through the whole crash.
She looked in front of her at the passengers and they were praying, phoning loved ones, and holding hands with the people around them, whether they knew their neighbor or not. She remembers thinking, “Everyone had a set of eyes to look to, but I was back there alone.”
Ninety seconds of bracing, and then impact happened. The back of the plane was the first to crash, which is where Welsh was stationed. Because her adrenaline was so high, Welsh didn’t realize that a piece of metal actually came through the bottom of the plane and sliced into her leg on impact.
At this point, water was seeping into the aircraft and was accumulating fast. She kept trying to close the seal of the door, but she didn’t realize that a huge hole behind her station had been torn open. Knowing that no one could evacuate through that door because of the water, she yells for passengers to go forwards because backwards is a complete no-go.
By this time, the water has increased up to her chest and three passengers were frozen with fear and aren’t responding to her commands to move. She could have easily put her life first and gone past them for her own safety, but she couldn’t do that. At that point, she stood at a certain point and accepted that that was where she was going to die. But she had this voice in her head that said, “One more time, go for it.”
So the next thing she knew, she was closer to the exit and the passengers. Welsh managed to make sure that everyone in her group was out of the plane before she left and went to one of the rafts.
When she went to grab her life vest, this is when she saw her torn up leg for the first time. It was a shock. Especially when she was the person with the worst injuries. She was the only one from the plane that had to have surgery.
Welsh had two heroes that night, one being a ferry boat passenger that helped her from the raft and keeping her warm and calm. The second was an New York police officer who stayed with her until her son showed up for her.
After two courageous people helped her on her way, Welsh was taken to the hospital for surgery. The first face she saw was her son and he greeted her with an “I love you but you are done flying.”
From this whole experience, Welsh has gained a new perspective on life. She’s made relationships with the people on that plane that would have never been if this didn’t happen.
Yes, this was a very difficult experience to go through, but it taught Welsh a lot about herself and life. There are many things she wants people to take away from her emotional story but there are two that she pointed out. The first is to “tell the people you love that you love them because you just don’t know what’s around the corner.” And the second is life is just about the people you love and making memories that make life better.
The reason this event is so incredible is because there were no fatalities. It could have been known as the crash of Flight 1549 but because the plane staff did their jobs and everyone helped others out, it has gone down in history as the Miracle of the Hudson. Welsh is known to many about her experience, but to those passengers, she is know at savior of that day.

Flying is a common source of transportation for people all around the world. Some people love it, others fear it, but it’s a necessity nonetheless.

For Doreen Welsh, flying was normalcy because it was her job for 38 years. She spoke Tuesday at the Sports Arena during the Dillon Lecture Series. But on Jan. 15, 2009, her life changed in 90 seconds. She was on the crash of flight 1549 but it was later renamed the Miracle of the Hudson. According to Cliff Moore, they were “hailed as heroes,” and will forever be known as that.

Welsh was on her final day of a four-day flight journey and was ready to go home to her son. The flight was taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina.
She did her normal routine with the other stewardesses and flight attendants, and she headed to her set position in the back of the plane and buckled up.
Minutes after takeoff, the plane made a jerking motion and Welsh caught a whiff of a “burning smell” that was not normal. She, at first, thought it was something technical and thought that they would just go back to the airport to fix it.
After checking around for signs of danger, she noticed that it was eerily quiet.
“It was total silence,” she said.
Welsh realized the engines weren’t running.
After gesturing to the flight attendants up front, she decided that the pilots didn’t have time to announce what was happening. So she sat back down and buckled up. Seconds after, she heard three words that came from the cockpit that she had been training for in her 38 years. She never thought she would actually here it.
“Brace for impact.”
After a pause of silence, she said, “I remember the terror rippling through my body.”
In the seconds that she had to process it, her thoughts exploded.
“I was in denial,” Welsh said. “This happens to other people, this does not happen to me.”
She then thought through her whole life of the good times. She saw her family, her son, and everything that made her life good.
In those moments, adrenaline kicks in and the brain is put on survival mode. Welsh’s went from zero to 100 in a split second. Truly, that is what kept her going through the whole crash.
She looked in front of her at the passengers and they were praying, phoning loved ones, and holding hands with the people around them, whether they knew their neighbor or not. She remembers thinking, “Everyone had a set of eyes to look to, but I was back there alone.”
Ninety seconds of bracing, and then impact happened. The back of the plane was the first to crash, which is where Welsh was stationed. Because her adrenaline was so high, Welsh didn’t realize that a piece of metal actually came through the bottom of the plane and sliced into her leg on impact.
At this point, water was seeping into the aircraft and was accumulating fast. She kept trying to close the seal of the door, but she didn’t realize that a huge hole behind her station had been torn open. Knowing that no one could evacuate through that door because of the water, she yells for passengers to go forwards because backwards is a complete no-go.
By this time, the water has increased up to her chest and three passengers were frozen with fear and aren’t responding to her commands to move. She could have easily put her life first and gone past them for her own safety, but she couldn’t do that. At that point, she stood at a certain point and accepted that that was where she was going to die. But she had this voice in her head that said, “One more time, go for it.”
So the next thing she knew, she was closer to the exit and the passengers. Welsh managed to make sure that everyone in her group was out of the plane before she left and went to one of the rafts.
When she went to grab her life vest, this is when she saw her torn up leg for the first time. It was a shock. Especially when she was the person with the worst injuries. She was the only one from the plane that had to have surgery.
Welsh had two heroes that night, one being a ferry boat passenger that helped her from the raft and keeping her warm and calm. The second was an New York police officer who stayed with her until her son showed up for her.
After two courageous people helped her on her way, Welsh was taken to the hospital for surgery. The first face she saw was her son and he greeted her with an “I love you but you are done flying.”
From this whole experience, Welsh has gained a new perspective on life. She’s made relationships with the people on that plane that would have never been if this didn’t happen.
Yes, this was a very difficult experience to go through, but it taught Welsh a lot about herself and life. There are many things she wants people to take away from her emotional story but there are two that she pointed out. The first is to “tell the people you love that you love them because you just don’t know what’s around the corner.” And the second is life is just about the people you love and making memories that make life better.
The reason this event is so incredible is because there were no fatalities. It could have been known as the crash of Flight 1549 but because the plane staff did their jobs and everyone helped others out, it has gone down in history as the Miracle of the Hudson. Welsh is known to many about her experience, but to those passengers, she is know at savior of that day.

Dez-ert storm: Blue Dragon running back has been dominant

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

By Amanda Carney
Co-Sports Editor

It’s week nine for the Hutchinson Community College football team, and one it’s one of the biggest weeks for the Blue Dragons.

The No. 4-ranked Blue Dragons will face No. 2 ranked Garden City at noon at Gowans Stadium, one of the biggest games of the season.

Growing up, sophomore, Dezmon Jackson, from El Dorado, Arkansas, went to a small 2A high school, Parker’s Chapel, playing running back on offense and linebacker on defense. Jackson then came to Hutchinson Community College, where he has made a name for himself.

Jackson received his third straight Jayhawk Conference Football Offensive Player of the Week award. Jackson has had four straight games with at least 100 yards and six games with at least one touchdown.

“My last couple of game has been great,” Jackson said. “I’ve had four to five straight 100-plus-yard games so I’m just trying to keep my head on steady and improve my game every week.”

As a sophomore, Jackson has doubled his stats from the 2017 football year, and has a total of 10 touchdowns for the season already.

“I’ve developed so much that I amaze myself,” Jackson said. “I just changed my whole mindset, being that I didn’t play as much I think I should have last year. So, I was just itching to get back out there and every game and that has helped me this year.”

Jackson also has another motivation – New Orleans Saints running back, Alvin Kamara. Kamara is a pervious HutchCC football player.

“It’s a motivation to me mainly because we played the same position,” Jackson said. “So, when I put it into perspective it just drives me to know I can make it out of here.”

Jackson is currently undecided what school he will be attending next year but plans on narrowing down the list soon.

“I have offers to choose from and I plan on narrowing the list by November,” Jackson said.

In Their Words: “I was left to pick up the pieces and move on with me life”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Social Media Editor

Sexual assault is a hard thing to hear about, but it’s even worse to go through.

For Nichole Alexander, she was taken advantage at a very young time in her life. She was in the fourth grade when she started talking to a boy. He was two grades above her, so their main way of communicating was through email. They were a grade school couple, so it was just playful messages back and forth. He liked her, and having him there “made (her) feel better about (her)self.”

That was until he started saying things that were over the line of innocent and crossing into inappropriate. She remembers one of his messages asking her what color of underwear she was wearing. Because their way of communicating was through email, Nichole’s mother had access to it. Her parents found out about the private messages and immediately sit Nichole down. They told her to stay away from this boy because he was bad news. This was during Thanksgiving break, so she had space away from the situation. When school started back up, the boy still wanted to talk to her. So from then on, their only way of communicating was on the bus. They conveniently rode the same bus, and it just so happened that his mom was their bus driver.

A year went past. They just talked to each other on the bus. Their relationship had gone to just friends and everything seemed fine. But her fifth grade year is when things turned south. On the bus, Nichole was the first to get picked up, and the last one to get off. But this didn’t include her assaulter because he was on the bus as long as his mom was driving it. So that meant there was a lot of bus time where not a lot of people were around.

The boy’s mom was the bus driver and that gave him access to any seat. So when the bus was less crowded, he would come and sit in the seat behind Nichole. On buses, there is this gap between the seat and the window that students can talk to each other through. However, it wasn’t used for talking in this situation, but for something unfathomable.

“He would stick his upper arm in the gap and then reach his lower arm down into my seat where I was sitting,” Nichole said. “He would unbutton my pants, and he would finger me.”

During the series of molestation, he would ask her if it felt good. With tears in her eyes, she would say yes.

“What else can I say? I was so scared,” she said this with a tone in her voice that conveyed more emotions than almost any human can take on.

Part of the reason she went with it was because she had told a couple of her friends. But none of them knew what to do, who to tell or even if they should.

He did this to her for the entire school year. But in the beginning of May, Nichole had grasped enough courage to tell him he needed to stop. She was utterly terrified but she told him that he needs to stop, it’s wrong, it hurts and that she doesn’t like it. After this, he lessened his intensity but he didn’t stop pestering her. He would constantly ask if she had changed mind and would touch her on her thigh to convince her. She remembers shaking, telling him no and praying that the bus driver would quickly get to her house. She was scared everyday to ride that bus and there was no way to escape it.

Exactly one week into sixth grade, she finally told her parents what had been happening to her. That night, her mother called her best friend’s husband, who was an on-duty police officer. He ended up taking Nichole’s statement that night.

The process of pressing charges was started and they went to court for a restraining order against him. Being in court at such a young age was difficult for Nichole because she had to tell everyone what happened. At the end of this, she remembers the judge looking at her attacker and saying “son, you better get an attorney.”

That quote is one that stays with Nichole, because a couple months later, the detective working on the case told her that she was lying. He told her that there was absolutely no way that the situation happened and the case was dropped.

The case being dropped was only part of the fallout, because she could no longer attend therapy for free because she was no longer a “victim”. With therapy costing hundreds of dollars an hour, Nichole was no longer able to attend because her family couldn’t afford it. She was dropped, just like the case had been.

“I was left to pick up the pieces and move on with my life,” she said.

Her attacker wasn’t punished, not through the law, and not through the school.

“Nothing changed,” Nichole said. “Here I was, feeling so lost and broken. I was just trying to put myself back together again.”

The trauma doesn’t stop just because he did. She went through a long period of depression and anxiety. Self-harming was a way of letting out her pain because she had lost sight of her worth. She’s gotten better, but she still suffers with knowing her own self-worth.

Just recently, Nichole shared her story on social media with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. With the events of the Brett Kavanagh hearing, she wanted to help other people realize why sexual assault isn’t reported immediately. To show that someone people know personally, didn’t report when it started happening. When she watched Blasey Ford’s testimony, she saw herself. She saw herself going through everything all over again.

“For so long I kept it to myself,” she said.

But she said that she knows that it’s helped people actually listen and not just argue. Because “this is not a political issue.” Nichole said sexual assault is a human problem that needs to be heard and stopped. For everyone who hasn’t experienced it, she wants them to know that sexual assault really happens and it’s a big deal. She hopes that sharing her story will help those who have gone through similar situations.

She is still here, she has shared her story, and she’s living her life despite her past. Nichole is 18 years old and is currently a freshman at University of Missouri-Kansas City studying, chemistry and pre-med.

In Their Words: “It was their fault, not mine”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Emily Fehrman
Social Media Editor

Editor’s note – This story was told to Social Media Editor Emily Fehrman. The subject wanted her story to be told in first person. This is her story as told to Fehrman. Names used in this story are not the real names.

When I was 17, a big part of me disappeared for what felt like an immeasurable amount of time.

I took a chunk of myself and tucked it away just so I wouldn’t have to think about the events that happened that summer. I completely blocked out the fact that I was sexually assaulted, by someone I never thought would hurt me. A friend who was also friends with my then-boyfriend.

It was Friday night, which meant everyone would be out partying, including myself. I always surrounded myself with people who would keep my best interest at heart, or at least I tried to. I never in a million years thought that I would ever be put in an atmosphere that being taken advantage of was even an option.

The whole evening everything was fine. I was around friends, so I took the opportunity to get intoxicated. We weren’t moving parties or doing anything wild, so I thought, why not live a little. Henry, my then-boyfriend, and I were having fun with all our friends, including two of his “best buddies”, John and Patrick.

The night went by in a flash, and before I know it, I’m laying down to sleep in Henry’s bed while he is still at the party downstairs. I decided to go to bed because I was too drunk to function any longer, and literally kept falling asleep on Henry’s shoulder.

I was woken up with a set of hands running up my thighs, and a set of hands keeping my mouth and eyes shut.

I was so drunk there wasn’t much I could do, except try to beg them to stop, cry and pray for it to end. I didn’t know how to stop what was happening, let alone how to figure out who the boys were that were doing this to me. Once the hands were removed from my eyes I thought maybe that signified the end of the torture. But all that was revealed was who my attackers were and that it wasn’t going to end any time soon.

I saw that the two boys that were touching me were John and Patrick. Two people I had never thought would hurt me. They were my friends and they had betrayed me. As they switched places with each other all I could think about was how embarrassed I was, and all the ways I could have prevented this from happening. I could’ve locked the door, maybe I was just too friendly, maybe I shouldn’t have worn a low cut shirt that night, or maybe I shouldn’t have gotten drunk in the first place.

But really, it comes down to the fact that it was nothing I did that made this horrible thing happen to me. It was their fault, not mine. I didn’t ask to be taken advantage of. What it comes down to is when they saw a defenseless, unsuspecting, sleeping girl, and they thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of her.

It felt as though it would never stop. I prayed and prayed that it would end. In that moment, I wished I were dead. They took turns giving oral sex to my limp body, and then the rest is a blur.

I have glimpses of memories every once and awhile of that night. And when I do remember bits and pieces, they are so horrible for me to think about that I get physically and visibly sick.

The next morning, I woke up and they were gone, but Henry was there. Not knowing how to handle the situation, I got up and left. Walking past my rapist on the way out the door. I couldn’t look at them. Even while they were asleep they were still the most terrifying thing out there to me.

The drive was completely silent because what music do you play the morning after you’ve been raped? I had a 20-minute drive home to contemplate the night before and come to terms with what had happened.

I decided I should call Henry and tell him what happened. But before I had even moved to grab my phone it was already ringing, and it was him. Thinking I would pick up the phone to a curious boyfriend wondering where I was, I was shocked to hear such loud screaming on the other end of the phone.

He was screaming things at me I would never wish to repeat to anyone. John had came up with this lie that I had tried to touch him inappropriately. Claiming that in my drunken haze I tried to rape him, but that he had thrown me off and went back to down to the party.

Completely shocked by this I tried to tell Henry that it was the other way around, but he wasn’t having any of it. Called me a liar and said I should go to hell for what I put his friend through. I didn’t tell anyone what happened that night for two years.

During that two years, I blocked everything that had to do with that night away. I broke up with Henry and I stopped hanging out around those people I had thought were my friends. It wasn’t until this last summer that I really came to terms with everything that happened that night. I never filed any charges because I assumed no one would believe me. If the boy who was supposedly in love with me didn’t even believe me over his friends then who would?

In the end, I’d like to say I’m healed and all is forgiven, but it’s not. It’s been two years, but it still feels like it was yesterday. I never thought it would happen to me, until it did.

In Their Words: “I didn’t think they were going to believe me”

Friday, October 26th, 2018

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

Editor’s note – The following story was told on the condition of anonymity. At the request of the survivor, the names have been changed.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It can happen at any age. And it can happen more than once.

Carter’s story doesn’t have one instance of violation, but two different instances with two different assaulters.

The first time happened when Carter was 14 years old. She went to school with Ian and developed a crush on him. He ended up taking that to his advantage. One night, they were hanging out in his truck off the road, hidden from sight. They started making out, but it quickly turned into something much more intense. Ian maneuvered his way on top of Carter, pinned her down, and put his hand down her pants. She didn’t fight back, she just laid there because she didn’t know what to do.

It is common to freeze in these situations because it’s a shocking violation. After everything settled down, Ian ended up dumping her in a church parking lot.

“It was always weird after that, because he didn’t see it as I saw it,” Carter said.

She would see him almost everyday because they went to school together, and there was nothing that can be done to change that. It was uncomfortable to be around him.

The second time she was sexually assaulted is the one that came very close to ending her life. She was 17-years old and was best friends with Nic who she also worked with. They had known each other for about six months and were close. At that time, Carter was in a relationship and thought nothing of her co-worker in a similar way. She did know that he liked her, but she made it clear that nothing would become of it.

One night, Carter went over to Nic’s house to have a drink. The night went on and time had flown to early the next morning.

“I was s— faced,” she said. “I couldn’t move at all. I was so drunk.”

Suddenly, Nic started kissing her and he asked her if she wanted it.

“I told him no, but in that situation, I couldn’t fight back,” she said.

She was so intoxicated that she couldn’t do anything about it. Nic picked her up and took her to the bedroom.

“He threw me on the mattress and he pulled my romper completely off.”

Carter was left in her bra and underwear and completely unable to defend herself.

“He got on top of me and started raping me,” she said.

She couldn’t do anything to stop him. She could only lay there and “take it.”

After a little time had gone past, he got off of her and told her he wanted to switch positions. Carter saw this as her only opportunity to escape and ran for the bathroom, saying she didn’t feel good. She locked herself in the bathroom and immediately texted her then-boyfriend and another friend what happened. Nic came banging on the door, questioning if she was OK, but eventually went back to bed and was waiting for her to come back.

When she could tell he was no longer by the door, she grabbed as many of her possessions as possible and “ran down two flights of stairs, got in a car, and drove home drunk at 3 a.m.”

But the story doesn’t end there. When Carter went back to work and saw him there, that’s when things got more complicated. She pulled another co-worker to the side and told her what had happened. This led to Carter telling her manager about that night and how Nic raped her. The manager asked the questions of “did you promote this kind of behavior?” and “were you drunk?” The questions seemed to be pointing judgment instead of empathy.

Two days later, Carter overdosed on pills.

“They didn’t think I was going to pull through,” she said. “They had me on a ventilator, they had me so sedated I was pretty much in a medically induced coma.”

Her then-boyfriend was actually the one that saved her. He found her and called 911. If he hadn’t been there for her, she would not likely be here today.

She actually lost her job over this. That day, she tried hard to find someone to cover her shift but she finally just said, “f— it. I’m going to be dead in however many hours and I don’t care.”

In the hospital, her parents asked her then-boyfriend and her other friend if they knew why she would do something like this, and that’s when they told them that she had been raped.

She woke up two days later with “an IV in my neck and arms, a catheter in, and cops in my room with an advocate for the domestic violence sexual assault center.”

After Carter was released from the hospital, she was sent to a mental health facility in Topeka. She stayed there for a few days, but was then able to come home.

When she got home, her parents actually tricked her in riding with them to the courthouse.

“They dragged me into the police station,” and had her tell her story to officers.

During this time between that night, she had many people say to her that they didn’t believe her. That she shouldn’t ruin this boy’s life just to get attention. When speaking to the detective, she ended up telling her that she lied. She just didn’t want to look like she was cheating on her current boyfriend and that it was all consensual.

The next day or two, Carter got a call from that detective saying that the district attorney was wanting to press charges against her for a false claim. But she was given a deal that the charges would be dropped, if she was to tell her parents the truth. And so she did.

The whole situation was pushed to the side. Five months later, she ended up telling her parents the truth.

“I didn’t think they were going to believe me,” she said.

It was a big deal because she had been alone in this with no one who knew what really happened.

During the time after, her mental health suffered tremendously.

“I questioned my sanity,” she said. “I didn’t know if I believed myself anymore.”

Her mind was playing tricks on her, denying that it ever even happened. She had a hard time believing that it wasn’t her fault.

Part of the reason she had such a hard time was because there was no legal action against the assailant.

“People would tell me, ‘he doesn’t seem like that kind of guy,’” she said. “He denies that it ever even happened. It’s my word against his. And I know the statistics. I don’t want to be violated all over again just for him to get away with it.

“It’s an unfortunate thing that happened, but I have learned to forgive, not only him, but myself.”

These events have shaped Carter’s life into what it is now. They are gruesome and horrifying.

The statistics are scary. Out of 1000 cases of rape, only 994 perpetrators will walk free. But the conversation has started.

“You just have to hold on,” she said. “It is so hard and I get it. I’ve been at the very bottom. I think about it and I still want to die and I still hate the situation.”

But Carter is now living her life. She is pushing past the huge obstacles of the past and striving for a bright future.

“It is worth it in the end,” she said. “It is worth the struggling, it is worth the crying and wanting to die over. You just have to keep your head up and know that you never are alone.”

Scenes from ‘Our Town’

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Photos by Natalie Devena