How I Stopped A Serial Assaulter In His Tracks

Photo: Jose Luis Carrascosa / Shutterstock
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Self

College wasn't what I expected.

All the movies forgot to mention the part where a global Coronavirus affects everyone in the entire world. So, yeah, my college years weren't like Rules of Attraction, Legally Blonde, or American Pie 2.

I went to an all-girls high school so boy territory was new to me when I went to college — but not completely foreign. 

I knew college boys were a different breed, though.

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As a woman, I was raised to be afraid of men. Not on purpose; just societal conditioning. I heard one too many stories of friends getting assaulted — or worse — and that was just in high school. I knew not to expect kindness or safety from men. I knew to walk alone with caution. 

There's a phrase that's been going around the internet for a while: Not all men.

The concept of "not all men" began in reaction to women sharing their stories and cautioning women to be wary. Men would then retaliate in comment sections saying, "Not all men are rapists, not all men sexually assault, not all men do X, etc."

But here's the issue with not all men: there are good men and bad men — but women don't know which are which off the bat and sometimes, it takes a seriously risky situation to find out. So, if women assume that all men are potentially dangerous, we're actually safer.

When I started college, I guarded myself with the mentality that any man could hurt me at any time — no matter how drunk or sober I was, and no matter what clothes I was wearing. 

I didn't enjoy always being on high alert, but sadly, that's the reality of being a woman. 

When I arrived at my first college party I entered a room that could only be described as sweaty: the walls, the people, the air. Everyone was drunk out of their mind, like a bunch of caffeinated toddlers bouncing off the walls, except the caffeine was alcohol. One guy literally jumped off a dresser. The music was pumping louder than any thought or conversation, so I started dancing.

I danced to the point where I couldn't breathe but then I realized I couldn't breathe and freaked out. I turned to my friends and pointed to the chair in the corner and took some deep breaths. I finally looked around the room for the first time since I got there and saw typical wall posters and LED lights.

As I was scanning, I saw him. He was standing next to a girl I vaguely recognized from freshman orientation. Her body language showed she wasn't interested.

I could tell whatever was happening she was not comfortable with it. His arm was placed sloppily around her shoulders. He tried to offer her a beer but she rejected it which seemed to upset him. Soon enough her friends walked over to her and said something to the guy to get him to drop his arm around her. 

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For the rest of the night, I watched the girl to make sure she didn't go near the guy again. She didn't. I left the party feeling weirded out by the situation but didn't dwell on it. 

I went to a party a week later and the same thing happened with the same guy.

He had his arm around a different girl and sure enough, she wasn't comfortable with it and made eyes to her friends to help her. I knew I would have involved myself if it weren't for her friends — no question.

Sure enough, week after week, party after party I attended, he would continue his creepy routine with a different girl, and time after time, the girl's friends would whisk her away.

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I started to get really pissed off. I had never seen someone so persistent with women so uninterested but I didn't do anything about it until one of the last nights before the holiday break. 

I was at a party and the guy was up to his typical routine. Except for the girl he was hitting on was drunk this time, drunk enough for his unwanted advances to work. Her friends were far away, on the other side of the party, not paying attention. He started dragging the drunk girl toward the door; she was barely walking. He opened the door to leave and I knew I had to follow them.

As I entered the fluorescent-lit hallway, blinking from the light change, I saw them heading towards the hallway exit. I yelled at him and asked where he was going with my friend, even though I didn't know her. He said they were going to hang out. I asked her if she was okay with that. He said yes.

Lies. She was barely conscious, her eyes were fluttering closed, and her posture was slumped against him. I knew if I didn't stop this situation, things were gonna go bad. 

A few people stepped out of the bathroom and asked what was going on, so I explained and they helped deescalate. Thankfully, we were able to get the intoxicated girl away from him and I had one of my guy friends talk to him and explain the gravity of the situation. I don't know if what my friend said sank in, but the creepy dude left soon after. 

I found the girl's friends and we all helped her back to her room. A few days later, she came up to me in the dining hall and thanked me, saying she never wanted to hook up with the guy but she was too drunk to realize what was going on. I told her not to thank me.

I said I did something I wish someone had done for me.

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Kat Mackay is a writer who covers entertainment, news, and personal essays. Find her on Instagram @kattmackay.