Lindsey, a 20-year-old college student, was visiting a friend at another school earlier this month when an armed intruder broke into a sorority house while she slept and sexually assaulted her, she told Business Insider in a recent interview.
Lindsey said her alleged assailant also stole an iPhone and credit cards from various purses before leaving the scene. Police were able to track down a suspect due to three factors; how quickly Lindsey called 911, DNA testing, and the Find-My-iPhone app.
A suspect was identified the day after the alleged attack, and the suspect is now on trial for rape. It has since been discovered that the alleged assailant is a former sex offender who has been charged with theft and armed robbery in the past. If convicted, he could serve up to 20 years in prison.
Lindsey agreed to speak with Business Insider Wednesday about her experience. What follows is a lightly-edited version of her account of the alleged attack based on that interview. Names have been changed and specific locations have been omitted to protect identities of those involved.
It happened on June 8th, early in the morning, the same day as my brother’s graduation. My call to 911 is at 4:42 am. That night, we went out for my friend’s 21st birthday. We went to a couple different bars and got back around 3:30.
I was in one of the main sorority houses on campus. Eight other girls live in this house, three of which were in the basement. The other five were upstairs. I have spent the night on this campus probably 50 times in my life and I normally am in a bedroom. It just so happened that night that we decided to sleep on the couches on the first floor. All together, there were probably 13 girls sleeping in the house.
My friend Annie, who was next to me, checked and locked the back and the front doors and drew the blinds closed on the front porch before we went to bed. So, we think he broke in somehow, either through a basement window or through the side door.
I woke up to someone fiddling around in the couch and I thought it was someone looking for a phone. But I looked over, and saw that his pants were completely down. And I realised that he was trying to pull at my pants. But my saving grace was that I had my mum’s industrial Spanx on. My mum says I have to email Maidenform Spanx and thank them for saving me from getting vaginally raped.
The man was very calm, serious, and to the point — basically giving me orders. He grabbed my head and it felt like there was a gun, but I never actually saw it. He kept saying ‘suck it’ and ‘shut up or ‘I’ll kill you’ over and over again. Eventually he forced himself into my mouth. I kept trying to force him away, but at the same time, I was trying not to get killed. All I was thinking was, ‘I don’t want to die.’
The weirdest part about it is that you never imagine the exit scene of rape. You always see the horrible middle parts. But the end was so bizarre — he just pulled up his pants and walked away. And I sat there thinking that it was the strangest thing.
I was sitting there trying to figure out if he was definitely gone, because I thought it might have been someone’s boyfriend who could still be in the house. And then Annie woke up. She has since said that I was shrieking, but at a normal, inside-voice level.
Annie has been my best friend since elementary school. She woke up to the worst thing that could have happened. And it happened while she was in the room and sleeping. She was like, ‘Lindsey, what do you mean? Did you have a really bad dream?’
For the first 35 minutes of it, I thought I had to convince people that it happened. Don’t get me wrong; I have a ton of confidence. My friends make fun of me because I’ve never had any problem with that. I cannot imagine what it’s like for girls who might not be that way. People might not trust you at first, but it’s not because they don’t believe you. It’s because they are protecting their own innocence and purity that you just had stolen from you. They don’t want to believe that something so awful actually happened.
The cops came in at 4:50 a.m. banging on all the doors. They searched the house and realised the phone was missing. They were able to pretty immediately use the app, which sends them a notification as soon as the iPhone is turned on. So then, they were able to pinpoint where he was.
I would definitely tell people to download the app. If you don’t have tracking on your phone and are assaulted, call the police as quickly as possible. If you really can’t do that, get yourself to the hospital. You need that hard evidence. You’re not going to get in trouble for reporting this. And then, at least, you’ll have the police supporting you.
The steps I took were so difficult to take, but they were the only things that reassured me that what I was doing was right. That was key, because you lose a lot of strength and confidence in this. There is shame involved. So hearing the cop just as pissed off as me was the most comforting thing. I said I wanted this guy to sit in a chair and have his balls punched for the rest of his life, and the police told me not to worry, that it would be worse in prison for him. And it hit me that this isn’t all of humanity. These attackers want it to be a power thing, they want to have that control over you, but I can’t give him that.
I have had angry thoughts, and I have tried to figure out an intellectual way to explain this. But you can’t reason with unreasonable. So no, I wouldn’t want to speak to the man who assaulted me. Because anything I would say would, in some sick way, justify his existence. I’m angry and so are my parents, but I would just look at him in disgust. I would want to move on with my life. I’ve spent enough time thinking about someone who is not worth it.
I have not gone one day since telling my friends about this without being contacted by them multiple times a day. Just to know that they know, and they care, helps immensely because they take a little bit of my pain away and share it with me. I have been so lucky in the aftermath, and that has meant everything. So my advice to other girls is to be there for their friends in these situations, in any way that they can.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, roughly 1 in 6 women nationwide are victims of sexual assault, with the rate being higher for women in college. However, just 4.8% of campus rape occurrences are reported to police, according to research done by The National Institute of Justice.
Immediate reporting to authorities and apps like Find-My-iPhone and other recently released safety apps like Kitestring, which sends you check-in text messages at designated times, can help to raise the number of assailants who are prosecuted for rape.
More information on safety apps like these can be found here.