Surviving sexual assault: Sac State student Shelby Vice

Shelby Vice, a political science senior at Sacramento State, is also a survivor of sexual assault.

Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Shelby Vice, a political science senior at Sacramento State, is also a survivor of sexual assault.

Souvanna Jarvis

Sacramento State senior Shelby Vice attended the Take Back the Night and shared her experience of sexual assault and the effects it has had on her life.

“I’ve done counseling every three weeks since then and gone to therapy and worked on it and done brainspotting for trauma,” Vice said. “It still affects me and it still affects my life.”

Vice was sexually assaulted at the age of 18 when she was a freshman at another university; she said talking about the encounter still haunts her.

“I had nightmares every night, I had uncontrollable shaking and I couldn’t talk about it,” Vice said.

Vice said she had been led to an apartment under false pretenses and raped by an athlete at the university she attended.

Vice said sharing her experience became tougher, as her abuser told her that nobody would believe it happened, which Vice accepted to be true for some time.

“He was on the football team, he had influence at the school,” Vice said. “I didn’t know how to report it, I didn’t know what my options were, [and] I didn’t know what to do.”

Vice eventually reported the assault to her university’s Title IX office months later. The university followed through on the case and the assaulter was found guilty of sexual misconduct, she said.

However, Vice was left feeling angry after finding out the consequences from the university a place she said was supposed to protect her, included the perpetrator writing a paper on the meaning of consent and attending an educational course.

“The fact that they had found him guilty and that was the punishment that they had thought fit the crime of rape, of sexual assault, still infuriates me when I think about it, because it’s on a lot of different campuses, too,” Vice said. “It’s not just that school. This happens all the time.”

Through therapy, Vice said she has been able to cope with the experience and has made a career out of helping others who face similar situations.

“Now I work at a rape crisis center,” Vice said. “I love my job. I love being able to use what I went through to help people.”

Vice recognizes the difficulties of speaking out on sexual assault and said there are people who are willing to provide support.  

“There are people here that will listen,” Vice said. “If they find someone that they think they can trust, please talk to them. Please talk to your local rape crisis center. Please call someone, talk to some hotline. Just get it out. Write it down even if that’s what that means.”