What to Know
- A former college student is speaking publicly for the first time about being brutally gang-raped at a frat party while bystanders watched
- It happened at a frat party at Ramapo College in 2014. She said she's still dealing with the trauma years later
- She's suing the college, believing it failed to to protect her and says more security could have prevented the assault
A New Jersey college student who was brutally gang-raped at a fraternity party while bystanders videotaped it in 2014 is telling her story for the first time in an exclusive interview.
The woman said she now wants to share what happened to let other women who have been assaulted know they're not alone.
"I need to hold my ground," said the woman, who asked to keep her identity hidden in the interview with News 4 New York. "I need to say this is where I said, 'It's not OK what happened, and we need to do something about it.'"
The woman, who was then a 19-year-old student at Ramapo College, said she only remembers taking a few shots in the kitchen at the party from that night. She blacked out and woke up the next morning in a stranger's dorm room.
"I was completely naked," she said. "All my clothes were folded on a desk next to me. And there were two boys I didn't know in the beds across from me."
She immediately went to a hospital and notified police. Detectives pieced together the horrifying details of what happened to her and told her she'd been raped.
"It felt like it happened to someone else," she said. "When you don't remember something like that, something so dramatic like that, it's very scary."
According to a lawsuit filed by the victim against Ramapo College, while she was passed out, two fellow students "played the juvenile game of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'... in order to determine who would get to sexually assault and rape the plaintiff."
"It makes you feel like, that's what you're worth to people," she said. "Like they don't see you as a person, they just see you as something to use."
It didn't end there. Prosecutors said while she was incapacitated, she was taken to another dorm room across campus, where she was assaulted again. Three students there watched the rape but did nothing to help, according to the lawsuit, instead "falling down laughing, hysterically, while also videotaping the sexual assault."
That people had witnessed what happened to her and took videos, "that's worse than the people who actually did something, in my opnion, because I feel like there were so many people, even at the party, that had opportunities to step in."
She dropped out of school a week later and now continues to struggle from the trauma.
"I have anxiety. I never had anxiety before," she said. "I felt like I had a plan four years ago of where my life was going, and then this happened and everything was just thrown off course."
Nakeem Gardner and Christian Lopez pleaded guilty to sexual assault and were sentenced to five and seven years, respectively. Three other students were charged with endangering a victim, and they accepted a deal to have the charges dismissed in exchange for completing a pre-trial intervention program.
"If one person would have intervened, they could have stopped this whole night from escalating into what happened," the woman said.
But she believes Ramapo College also failed to protect her, and is suing the school and the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. She said more security could have prevented the assault.
"I was driven through campus checkpoints, I was taken into dorms where I had no business being, where there's supposed to be someone monitoring who comes in and out of these dorms," she said.
In response to the assault, Ramapo College commissioned two independent investigations. The reports from the investigations, obtained by News 4, recommended more security and training for staff.
The school would not comment on the pending lawsuit or security changes they've made, but told News 4 in a statement, "Ramapo College takes seriously and investigates all complaints of sexual assault in compliance with federal and state laws and guidelines, including Title IX. Due to the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and because this matter is the subject of pending litigation, the College will have no further comment."
Pi Kappa Alpha said it revoked the Ramapo chapter's charter. The five former students charged declined News 4's requests for comment.