My Story of Sexual Assault

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My Story of Sexual Assault

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 My Story

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I'm Jordi — Writer, speaker, podcaster, and permission slip writer for those who need that lil' nudge to keep writing their stories.

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Jordi Tiffany

At midnight on September 20, 2014, I was a typical college student who wanted to use her life to change the world. Instead, life ended up changing my world, and by 12:30 AM, I was a sexual assault survivor. In the seven months that followed leading up to my university court hearing, I experienced what I can only describe as my own personal hell. 

In the early morning of my assault, a friend convinced me to speak to university police. Once I finished my statement, the male officers told me the next step was to get a rape kit done at the local hospital. When I asked for a female officer to bring me, I was told that no females were on duty that evening. The thought of being touched and probed with a male officer in the room terrified and sickened me, so I said no.

2 months later…

Months went by and I stayed quiet. I was terrified. Terrified that my name would be slandered. Mortified that I’d have to remember him pressing so hard into my back that he bruised my ribs. Embarrassed that I’d have to admit to wearing a skirt and a shirt covered in Marilyn Monroe’s kisses and having a few drinks while underage. Afraid because he had texted me he was sorry the next day and I didn’t know if my pain was worth him losing his future and reputation. Most of all, I was scared to lose the reputation I had worked so hard to build.

That all came crashing down while I was home for Thanksgiving break. I received a text that the person who assaulted me was elected to a position of power in his fraternity. I instantly felt like it was my responsibility to stop him from hurting anyone else. I texted a person who I thought was a friend in the fraternity the night of the elections and told him I was moving forward with turning the person who attacked me in. That night, I received countless texts and phone calls from the president and other members of the fraternity, begging to meet with me so we could work this all out. I said no and moved forward with Title IX, a program that is meant to reduce and eliminate sex descrimination on college campuses.

I had to re-state everything. I suddenly had to dig deep into my brain and recall all of the memories I had desperately tried to forget. I had to give a statement with the local police department, then the university’s police department with Title IX, the Dean of Students, as well as my sorority’s house Mother. It felt like I had dropped a stack of notecards of all the facts on the floor and I had to try to remember everything out of order: Did we kiss before Mr. and Mrs. Smith started playing or after? Did I try to leave once or twice? Which brother did I run into on my way out first? I knew the answers, but it was so cloudy. I didn’t feel like they believed me. But I wasn’t lying. How could I make this up?

Weeks passed and the decision was made. Because I denied the rape kit after the assault, the State Attorney denied my case due to lack of sufficient evidence. Fortunately, the university court was based on a system of “if it more than likely happened”, so fortunately, my hearing went through.

Rumors swirled and I felt like the walls were caving in on me leading up to my hearing. If that wasn’t hard enough, I discovered my situation was being belittled and I was being bullied on online platforms such as Greek Rank and Yik Yak, which allows users to post behind anonymous usernames. From whispers behind me in lectures on campus, to being cornered by a drunk upperclassman in my sorority who told me “this was a gray area… not black and white issue”, I didn’t feel safe on campus, let alone in my own home. I belonged to a greek organization with over a hundred members. I lived in a house with 40+ of them. Sisterhood had never felt further away, but I had nowhere else to go.

I slept during the day because I was too afraid to close my eyes at night. I researched symptoms and pretended to be sick at student health in an attempt to self-medicate. I drank heavily, and I engulfed myself in every possible committee and club to the point of not knowing what I cared about anymore. After seven months of burning myself out, the time came to face him in court.

7 Months later…

It was April 20, 2015. I couldn’t fathom the thought of having to look at him, but it turned out that I didn’t have to. The university provided a shield between us so that I couldn’t see his face or look him in the eyes. The only thing that separated us was a moveable room divider, but I finally felt a sense of security.

I sat listening to hours of testimonies from witnesses on both sides. When it finally came time to hear him speak, I broke down and cried. It was the first time I had heard his voice in months, and every word felt like a literal knife in my back. He was someone I once trusted, and now it felt like he was assaulting me all over again by speaking against me.

The hearing started in the afternoon and went into the early morning. I had spent seven months defending my name, my body, my decision to stand up. Yet in the few short hours, I had never felt more defeated.

How could the people I trusted with the truth sit in front of a panel and say I was psychotic, disturbed, and looking for attention? That I was a liar, a belligerent drunk, and nothing more than a common whore? 

Hours passed and then came the moment in which a group of complete strangers were about to tell me about how they had judged my character. 

As I sat  waiting for the final decision as to whether or not they believed me, I tried to hold back tears. I focused on trying not to vomit. I dug my fingernails so hard into my skin that little red moons formed in my palms. Anything I could focus my attention off the immediate moment.

At approximately 12:30 AM, nearly the same time my assault happened exactly 7 months prior, they called us back to our seats with nothing more than the room divider to protect me. There was a thick silence over the entire room, until one word broke it: Guilty.

Guilty

So why did I feel guilt? 

My mind started internally debating with itself: I wasn’t in the wrong. I said no. I tried to stop him, to stop it all from happening. But if I just  retreated on my words, he could still graduate. His Dad, recently diagnosed with cancer, maybe he could see his son and still be proud. Maybe I could…WHY DID I FEEL GUILTY WHEN I WAS THE VICTIM?

That same week…

The week of the hearing, my sorority notified me that I would be sent to Standards (a group of members that act as an advisory board for members’ behaviors) for mistakes that I had made in a state of numbness. I had been crying out for help. Looking back, I do not condone my actions, but I acknowledge that at 19 years old, it’s not easy to navigate circumstances such as the one I had been going through alone. I was doing my best with what little resources and support I had at the time.

In the same week, the university and my parents decided it was best for me to be removed from campus. I was given 24 hours to pack my belongings and leave the place that I called home for nearly two years. 

Behind my back, I discovered my sorority had planned to kick me out and strip my membership away. I called the National Panhellenic Council and my sorority’s headquarters (both of which knew me by name for my passion and dedication to the organization and boards I had served on during my membership). With their help, they spoke to the university on my behalf and reversed the decision of my local chapter. However, the damage was done. I made the decision to become an alumni instead of continuing as an active member, as I did not feel I could continue relationships with a group of women I felt so far removed from. 

I still believe that the sorority at a national level is doing great things, but in my greatest time of need and desperation, my chapter not only lacked empathy, but did not support me when I needed it most.

Almost 6 years later…

It’s been 2,123 days since that night in a musty room on the top floor of the fraternity. 303 weeks of contemplating my worth. 69 months wondering if what was said about my character in the hearing was true. 50,947 hours wondering if I’m capable of being more than just a statistic. 3,058,260 minutes of an inner dialogue telling me I am at fault for what happened. 183,495,600 seconds of telling myself that I deserve to love and be loved, held without being hurt, and surround myself with people who believe me and in me. 

Since that night in 2015, I’ve spent countless hours in therapy, working with mentors, coaches, and building myself back up from the lowest of lows. And with each day that passes, the numbers grow and my voice still shakes when I have to say his name out loud, but I’m no longer afraid of him and my past.

In 2014, I became a sexual assault survivor, but today I have used my painful experience to defy the odds and build a life that I am proud of. I am not weak, I don’t cower when someone enters the room, my name and identity is something that no one can take away from me.  My name is Jordi Tiffany and I am a podcaster, writer, and permission slip writer who empowers womxn to control their own narrative. Womxn who are liberated by their own consent to build a world that they wish to live in, because that is the world I wish to live in.

______

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, please reach out to RAINN or the Joyful Heart Foundation and get the help you need.

Jordi Tiffany

At midnight on September 20, 2014, I was a typical college student who wanted to use her life to change the world. Instead, life ended up changing my world, and by 12:30 AM, I was a sexual assault survivor. In the seven months that followed leading up to my university court hearing, I experienced what I can only describe as my own personal hell. 

In the early morning of my assault, a friend convinced me to speak to university police. Once I finished my statement, the male officers told me the next step was to get a rape kit done at the local hospital. When I asked for a female officer to bring me, I was told that no females were on duty that evening. The thought of being touched and probed with a male officer in the room terrified and sickened me, so I said no.

2 months later…

Months went by and I stayed quiet. I was terrified. Terrified that my name would be slandered. Mortified that I’d have to remember him pressing so hard into my back that he bruised my ribs. Embarrassed that I’d have to admit to wearing a skirt and a shirt covered in Marilyn Monroe’s kisses and having a few drinks while underage. Afraid because he had texted me he was sorry the next day and I didn’t know if my pain was worth him losing his future and reputation. Most of all, I was scared to lose the reputation I had worked so hard to build.

That all came crashing down while I was home for Thanksgiving break. I received a text that the person who assaulted me was elected to a position of power in his fraternity. I instantly felt like it was my responsibility to stop him from hurting anyone else. I texted a person who I thought was a friend in the fraternity the night of the elections and told him I was moving forward with turning the person who attacked me in. That night, I received countless texts and phone calls from the president and other members of the fraternity, begging to meet with me so we could work this all out. I said no and moved forward with Title IX, a program that is meant to reduce and eliminate sex descrimination on college campuses.

I had to re-state everything. I suddenly had to dig deep into my brain and recall all of the memories I had desperately tried to forget. I had to give a statement with the local police department, then the university’s police department with Title IX, the Dean of Students, as well as my sorority’s house Mother. It felt like I had dropped a stack of notecards of all the facts on the floor and I had to try to remember everything out of order: Did we kiss before Mr. and Mrs. Smith started playing or after? Did I try to leave once or twice? Which brother did I run into on my way out first? I knew the answers, but it was so cloudy. I didn’t feel like they believed me. But I wasn’t lying. How could I make this up?

Weeks passed and the decision was made. Because I denied the rape kit after the assault, the State Attorney denied my case due to lack of sufficient evidence. Fortunately, the university court was based on a system of “if it more than likely happened”, so fortunately, my hearing went through.

Rumors swirled and I felt like the walls were caving in on me leading up to my hearing. If that wasn’t hard enough, I discovered my situation was being belittled and I was being bullied on online platforms such as Greek Rank and Yik Yak, which allows users to post behind anonymous usernames. From whispers behind me in lectures on campus, to being cornered by a drunk upperclassman in my sorority who told me “this was a gray area… not black and white issue”, I didn’t feel safe on campus, let alone in my own home. I belonged to a greek organization with over a hundred members. I lived in a house with 40+ of them. Sisterhood had never felt further away, but I had nowhere else to go.

I slept during the day because I was too afraid to close my eyes at night. I researched symptoms and pretended to be sick at student health in an attempt to self-medicate. I drank heavily, and I engulfed myself in every possible committee and club to the point of not knowing what I cared about anymore. After seven months of burning myself out, the time came to face him in court.

7 Months later…

It was April 20, 2015. I couldn’t fathom the thought of having to look at him, but it turned out that I didn’t have to. The university provided a shield between us so that I couldn’t see his face or look him in the eyes. The only thing that separated us was a moveable room divider, but I finally felt a sense of security.

I sat listening to hours of testimonies from witnesses on both sides. When it finally came time to hear him speak, I broke down and cried. It was the first time I had heard his voice in months, and every word felt like a literal knife in my back. He was someone I once trusted, and now it felt like he was assaulting me all over again by speaking against me.

The hearing started in the afternoon and went into the early morning. I had spent seven months defending my name, my body, my decision to stand up. Yet in the few short hours, I had never felt more defeated.

How could the people I trusted with the truth sit in front of a panel and say I was psychotic, disturbed, and looking for attention? That I was a liar, a belligerent drunk, and nothing more than a common whore? 

Hours passed and then came the moment in which a group of complete strangers were about to tell me about how they had judged my character. 

As I sat  waiting for the final decision as to whether or not they believed me, I tried to hold back tears. I focused on trying not to vomit. I dug my fingernails so hard into my skin that little red moons formed in my palms. Anything I could focus my attention off the immediate moment.

At approximately 12:30 AM, nearly the same time my assault happened exactly 7 months prior, they called us back to our seats with nothing more than the room divider to protect me. There was a thick silence over the entire room, until one word broke it: Guilty.

Guilty

So why did I feel guilt? 

My mind started internally debating with itself: I wasn’t in the wrong. I said no. I tried to stop him, to stop it all from happening. But if I just  retreated on my words, he could still graduate. His Dad, recently diagnosed with cancer, maybe he could see his son and still be proud. Maybe I could…WHY DID I FEEL GUILTY WHEN I WAS THE VICTIM?

That same week…

The week of the hearing, my sorority notified me that I would be sent to Standards (a group of members that act as an advisory board for members’ behaviors) for mistakes that I had made in a state of numbness. I had been crying out for help. Looking back, I do not condone my actions, but I acknowledge that at 19 years old, it’s not easy to navigate circumstances such as the one I had been going through alone. I was doing my best with what little resources and support I had at the time.

In the same week, the university and my parents decided it was best for me to be removed from campus. I was given 24 hours to pack my belongings and leave the place that I called home for nearly two years. 

Behind my back, I discovered my sorority had planned to kick me out and strip my membership away. I called the National Panhellenic Council and my sorority’s headquarters (both of which knew me by name for my passion and dedication to the organization and boards I had served on during my membership). With their help, they spoke to the university on my behalf and reversed the decision of my local chapter. However, the damage was done. I made the decision to become an alumni instead of continuing as an active member, as I did not feel I could continue relationships with a group of women I felt so far removed from. 

I still believe that the sorority at a national level is doing great things, but in my greatest time of need and desperation, my chapter not only lacked empathy, but did not support me when I needed it most.

Almost 6 years later…

It’s been 2,123 days since that night in a musty room on the top floor of the fraternity. 303 weeks of contemplating my worth. 69 months wondering if what was said about my character in the hearing was true. 50,947 hours wondering if I’m capable of being more than just a statistic. 3,058,260 minutes of an inner dialogue telling me I am at fault for what happened. 183,495,600 seconds of telling myself that I deserve to love and be loved, held without being hurt, and surround myself with people who believe me and in me. 

Since that night in 2015, I’ve spent countless hours in therapy, working with mentors, coaches, and building myself back up from the lowest of lows. And with each day that passes, the numbers grow and my voice still shakes when I have to say his name out loud, but I’m no longer afraid of him and my past.

In 2014, I became a sexual assault survivor, but today I have used my painful experience to defy the odds and build a life that I am proud of. I am not weak, I don’t cower when someone enters the room, my name and identity is something that no one can take away from me.  My name is Jordi Tiffany and I am a podcaster, writer, and permission slip writer who empowers womxn to control their own narrative. Womxn who are liberated by their own consent to build a world that they wish to live in, because that is the world I wish to live in.

______

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, please reach out to RAINN or the Joyful Heart Foundation and get the help you need.

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My Story

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Join the Community

podcast episodes

top downloaded

tune into the show on apple podcasts!

I'm Jordi — Writer, speaker, podcaster, and permission slip writer for those who need that lil' nudge to keep writing their stories.

Lessons I Learned On
My Solo Road Trip

I Jumped Out of An Airplane... Here's What It Taught Me

Building a Community with Lizanne Dooner

Breakups Suck,
But You Can Get Through This

search our show notes!

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