Survivors Share Some Of The Hidden Costs Of Sexual Assault In College

In the Rolling Stone piece on rape at the University of Virginia that's garnered significant attention in recent weeks, one component that struck a particular chord is what prompted the woman at the center of the story to first disclose her assault.

"Jackie" told Rolling Stone she was gang raped by seven fraternity men, but didn't tell school officials until months after the incident took place when she started to struggled academically.

Another former UVa student, who spoke with The Huffington Post and asked to remain anonymous, said she too struggled in classes following her assault, and that was the only reason she told a university employee about what happened to her.

Struggling academically is something survivors say is common, and that schools aren't always the best at accommodating. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, for example, one student said she was told she was being "lazy" when she needed help in her studies.

But there are other costs many people may not realize can come with being a sexual assault survivor.

For example, Know Your IX co-founder Alexandra Brodsky explained in a recent Washington Post op-ed how it could cost a survivor thousands in expenses to break a lease and move away from an abusive ex. One woman, who Brodsky referred to as Allison, essentially lost a semester at her college and was denied a tuition refund, what Brodsky called "a $19,000 fine for victimhood."

Wagatwe Wanjuki, a survivor and activist, said she struggled in school after her assault and was forced to withdraw due to academic concerns. She eventually obtained her bachelor's degree six years later than originally planned, with a mountain of student debt to show for it.

After discussions with several survivors, HuffPostCollege asked people on Twitter to share, if they could, what surviving cost them. In case you missed the discussion online, you can see what some survivors chose to share in their own words below:

#SurvivingCostMe my comfort, my sanity, years of my life. What I gained was indispensable experience and compassion to help other survivors.

— Rachel Fisher (@TheRachelFisher) November 24, 2014

#SurvivingCostMe my sense of security, faith in law enforcement and all the expenses of a cross country move

— Amanda Tripp (@Amanda_Tripp) November 25, 2014

#SurvivingCostMe Years lost to shame, self-harm, an eating disorder, & fear...but earned me my strength, & dignity

— Morrigan (@Morrigan_Roars) November 24, 2014

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