I No Longer Feel Safe on My Campus

Working on the night desk of my school’s newspaper for the last three years, I’ve gotten used to walking home alone between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. It used to be the most peaceful part of my day. It was my time to unwind from the five hours I just spent glued to a computer screen.

I’d slow down and close my eyes and just breathe in the beauty of my favorite place on earth. I’d stop and stare at the gorgeous library straight-on — something I’d never do in the daylight for fear of looking like a weirdo.

But I don’t do that anymore.

Sexual assault has been an issue permeating my university in recent months, and now, every person I pass across our tiny campus is a rapist.

Tonight was a beautiful night, the air heavy with the coming storm. I wanted to slow down and smell the spring time.

Instead, I walked as fast as my legs would let me, feet sticking to the insides of my shoes. I zigzagged out of my way to avoid passing groups of people. I flinched and looked over my shoulder every few steps. I constantly evaluated my surroundings for my six-minute walk.

A sigh of relief is what greets the door of my residence hall every night I make it there safely.

It wasn’t like this four years ago.

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