by Mikaela Moracco-Schelp

CW: sexual harassment, abuse

 

Fear
“Okay, are you ready?”
“Nah, are you?”
“Nah, but it’s now or never. Let’s go.”
I grabbed the door handle before I could change my mind. My hands were sweaty and cold; a lovely combination.

“Hello, my name is Lydia Carson, this is my friend, Taylor Robbins. We live on the 3rd floor. Our RA, Sam Jenkins, has been sexually harassing us. We’re here to report it. Oh, also, we found out that he had been sexually harassing female residents before, while he was an RA, so yeah. There’s that too.”
That was fast, I didn’t even sit down. Didn’t even ask how his day was going. Should I have asked that?
“Lydia, Taylor, please, take a seat.”
We both sat down on scratchy chairs facing his desk. He looked surprised and concerned. That’s a good sign, right?
Taylor sat there while I explained the whole thing; she nodded and agreed when appropriate. We decided that I would do all the talking.
“Documentation? Sure, we can get that for you. Thank you. Hope you have a happy holidays.”
We were out in 15 minutes.

 

Hope

“That wasn’t so bad, huh? He seemed to believe us. We just need to provide documentation and then hopefully that creep will get fired. Or at the very least moved to a different floor. Maybe nursing majors are his type?”
Taylor looked at me like I had just kicked a dog.
“It was a joke. You know, cuz all the floors are divided up by majors? We live on the education majors’ floor? Nursing majors are on the 2nd? I was trying to make light of the situation. I’ll stop talking, I’m sorry.”
Taylor laughed and rolled her eyes.
“Alright, let’s dig up all the evidence we can find about Sam being a power-abusing creep. I’ll touch base with you tomorrow?”
“Sounds good, thanks for being brave in there. Love you, Lyd.”
“Love you too, Tay. You’re the brave one. You put up with his harassment longer than I have. We’ll get through this. See you at dinner.”

 

The Wait
“Okay, we have five pages of documentation, clearly depicting what he said and did. We even have screenshots of text messages he sent us. This is good, I feel good about this. Ready for me to email this in?”

“Ready.”
I took a deep breath and clicked send.
“Okay, it’s done. I sent it in. Now, we wait.”

And wait.

One LONG month of waiting.

Can you guess what happened?

 

Disappointment and Shame
When we came back from winter break, he was still our RA. We talked to our CRL (Coordinator for Residence Life) again, and he informed us that we seemed to be leading the RA on. That we were encouraging him (definitely not the case). I kept fighting and advocating for my safety, and I kept going up the chain of command. Taylor gave up. I kept fighting.

But nothing changed. He remained our RA for the rest of the school year. The next year he got promoted to SRA (Senior RA). He is now a TA at my university.

 

Doubt
Did the sexual harassment even happen? Did I really lead him on? Were we encouraging his inappropriate behavior?

 

Believe Women

 

Mikaela Moracco-Schelp is from Durham and is a recent graduate of UNC-Greensboro. She is a Christian who is passionate about dismantling systems of oppression