LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A female student at the University of Kentucky says she's been suffering in silence for a year until finally coming forward with allegations of rape just a few days ago.
She chose to remain anonymous for this story and our televised versions but did share her story on her personal Instagram account. There, she accused a current UK student of rape and hinted at the year's worth of humiliation and frustration she's dealt with since. She filed a protective order against her alleged attacker and discussed having to undergo an "extensive" medical exam at UK Hospital in the hours following the alleged incident.
Rylee VanDeCar is a UK student. She doesn't know the alleged victim but felt it was important to share this story as she says incidents like this are becoming too common on the UK campus. Other students say they feel safe in their element on campus.
"Yes, normally. It's all lit up at night, and I carry pepper spray in case anything does happen," said freshman Olivia Jacques.
Jacques added that she appreciates the university's transparency when it comes to crime on campus, as students receive an e-mail when a serious crime occurs within this school's boundary.
Officials are limited in how they can respond to this situation, given it is part of an ongoing investigation, but Jay Blanton, the university's head of Public Relations, offered the following statement.
"…It is important to reinforce how seriously we take these issues, how intentionally we investigate them, and how members of our teamwork as closely as possible with students to protect their privacy, their rights, their health, their safety, and their well-being. We care deeply about our students and know these issues can be traumatic. That is why we are committed throughout this process to treating all students with dignity and respect while ensuring that everyone received the due process they are – and should be – entitled to receiving."
Vendela Norris spoke with LEX 18 about campus safety matters as well. She is the Student Government Association's campus safety director.
"We're on a college campus. Things happen. We have to recognize those things and take them seriously," Norris said. She also pointed out the blue light phones located all over campus, which give students a direct link to campus police. They also encourage students to download the LiveSafe app, which also links to campus police in the event of an emergency.
But this emergency that the alleged victim shared came inside a dorm room, and as she explained, she was powerless to do anything.
"There is no right way to 'act' or respond when you're being assaulted, or the long days that follow," she wrote on Instagram as part of her lengthy post.