Surviving sexual assault: Sac State student Alanna Price


Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Sacramento State student Alanna Price describes her life as a survivor of sexual assault.

Francina Sanchez

When Alanna Price walks into a room, you see confidence, shining eyes and a glowing complexion. But like many other women on campus, her exterior hides a title she does not display for the world; sexual assault survivor.

Price is a fifth year Sacramento State student majoring in forensic psychology. She said she loves to get to know others. She likes to learn about their history and wanting to see those people have successful futures in anyway that she can help.

She was an 18-year-old freshman at Sac State, excited to be in college meeting new people, who didn’t expect to walk through campus scared for the next few years.

Price met a man on Tinder in October of 2014, her first semester. They decided to meet by The WELL one night after 9 p.m.

“It was a very brief introduction before we started walking back to his place,” Price said. “And I wasn’t completely comfortable with it the whole way there.”

The man was another Sac State student, older than Price. He walked her to his apartment at The Element apartment complex.

Price said she didn’t know why she just couldn’t say no, but made several comments expressing her disapproval of the situation.

“I don’t know why I didn’t say no, but my version of no was, ‘Not right now, maybe in a second, I’m feeling very uncomfortable, I’m very shy right now, can you please not touch me like that, maybe just like this.’ ” Price said. “So I was open to it, but the more I said no, the more pushy he got. We ended up having sex, it wasn’t enjoyable.”

Price recalled her assaulter nonchalantly saying that the condom had broken, and then getting cereal. Price said he claimed to be too tired to walk her back to her dorm. She stayed the night because she didn’t know how to get home on her own at the time.

The next morning, Price was woken up and rushed to get on an shuttle back to campus so that the man could get to class on time.

Price remembers she had nowhere to put her contacts away the night before, leaving her with very little clear vision that morning.

“I had to walk all the way from The WELL, all the way back to the dorms feeling as shitty as I did and not being able to see,” Price said. “I couldn’t tell if anyone was looking at me and I just felt awful.”

Price said she was in a daze, and didn’t think of reporting anything to police or the school, and probably would never have. In the end, she didn’t have a choice.

The choice was made for her by a friend who saw her when she got to her dorm and reported the incident to their resident adviser. Price had to tell and repeat her story to the RA, the resident living coordinator (RLC) and a Sac State police officer.

“They didn’t really let me collect my thoughts as much, it was very pressed,” Price said. “There were a lot of questions thrown at me. And if I said I couldn’t remember it was like ‘Try, try and remember.’ ’’

Sac State’s “We Care. We Will Help” website  says it’s obligated to keep their campus safe for everyone, but also says on their website that they offer confidential and advocacy services to help survivors of sexual assault make a report if they desire to. Price feels the university was insensitive and pressed her more than comforting her.

“I think Sac State’s policy on needing to report the events is a good policy to have, but I would have preferred consent,” Price said. “I didn’t have consent when the assault happened, I would like to have consent if it’s going to be reported.”

The university’s former victim advocate made Price an appointment to get checked at The WELL, where she was hit with a hard reality.

Her decision to shower immediately after she got to her dorm didn’t allow for the doctor to perform an evidentiary exam.

“Because I had taken a shower, there was no proof of anything except for a tear inside,” Price said. “It was awful.”

The victims advocate at the time offered to sign up Price for counseling sessions at The WELL, but Price refused saying it was too easy to deny because it was the same day.  

For the next few weeks she received emails and phone calls, but doesn’t remember ever getting asked about how she was feeling, instead only being asked to give her side of the story in another meeting.

Sac State did contact and question her attacker thanks to the vague description Price gave them. However, Sac State told her they could not proceed with the investigation because she did not follow up to give her side of the story even though they had her original police report and medical history.

The outreach ended and her anxiety grew. For the next couple of years, Price walked through campus feeling scared and alone without a real support group.

“I had a really hard time just attending my classes,” Price said. “Just thinking that he could find me or that I would see him again; it kept me locked away.”

Four years later, Price wants to send a message of help by telling her story and letting other victims that they are not alone and should not be ashamed to come forward.

“Don’t be afraid of people judging you, don’t be afraid of slut shaming,” Price said.

Price realized that, just like her, there are other people having similar experiences as her or going through their own battles and that helped her become more empathetic for people.

“You have more respect and trust for people in the world,” Price said. “And that sounds crazy; you would think it would be the opposite after being assaulted by somebody. You just have to learn to look out for the right people.”

She urged other victims to talk to someone they trust and not to keep their experience to themselves because it doesn’t just go away.

“I feel like that would have saved a lot of internal pain, if I would’ve just said something,” Price said.