She wanted to be heard. So Alyvia Pauzer set up a silent protest to bring awareness for sexual assault victims.
“My only way to get help is to make noise,” she said Wednesday, standing alongside more than 35 of her peers on the University of Delaware's North Green.
Pauzer, a 19-year-old sophomore at UD, explained that she was raped in January by someone who, at the time, she would have considered a friend.
The protest was borne out of her frustrations of no one listening. She said that she texted a group of her friends and asked if they would stand with her.
“I was fully prepared to stand out here alone,” she said. But after the message got out, it spread like wildfire.
“I could either sit in my room, cry about it and never get over it or take this anger and turn it into something good,” she said.
She explained that on the night of her assault, she was drunk and thought she had left a party with a group of friends, but ended up back at her dorm room with the man she says raped her.
She said she recalls her body being whipped around and the feeling that something was wrong.
“Your body goes into fight, flight or freeze,” she said. “I froze.”
She said that her alleged perpetrator texted her several times later, admitting that what he did was wrong.
Pauzer said that she reported the incident to the university police and is going through the Title IX process, in which school staff investigate.
The Title IX process is, by law, required to be completed within 60 days, but it has gone on for over 100 days, she said. State prosecutors declined to take the case to trial, saying they didn't believe they could get a conviction, she said.
“It happens everywhere. I'm not saying UD is the only campus, but I hope they take away that you need to believe victims. You need to stand up for them. A lot of victims feel like they have to hide and they're not accepted, but they did nothing wrong. And I just want the students to be there for each other. Because right now, they're all being there for me in ways they don't even know,” she said.
She said she has a meeting with prosecutors this week to understand why they don’t think they can convince a jury, but she said that she plans to keep pushing for justice.
“I'm going to keep pushing until I get justice. Because they're just gonna push me around. And at the end of the day, if I let them, my perpetrator will just walk around, and nothing bad will come of it, and he won't learn anything from it,” she said. “A lesson needs to be made, and I'm trying.”