Huffington Post Arts and Culture
3.15.16 | Priscilla Frank
During her freshman year at Wesleyan University, Karmenife Paulino was raped in the basement of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. Up until her junior year, Paulino said nothing of the assault, feeling that, as a woman of color, the attack on her body and mind would go unrecognized.
On campus in Middletown, Connecticut, Paulino saw her rapist everywhere. As she explains in her short memoir Sea Salt and Sandalwood (she was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing): "I would see him in the eating hall, in the coffee shop, in the campus grocery store. I would see the length of his limbs stretching over the steps of the library. I would smell his presence wafting through the mailroom. I'd freeze, my brain begging my legs to stretch and take me away from his frame, his eyes. M.'s eyes would shoot straight into my abdomen, twisting my insides until I found myself in a bathroom assuming the position."
Paulino also saw her rapist's name all over campus. He came from a wealthy background, she said, and two of the buildings in which Paulino had classes bore plaques reading his family name.
But, during her junior year, the same frat, Psi Upsilon, was hit with a separate sexual assault lawsuit, and Paulino couldn't stay quiet any longer. "I felt so powerless on campus," she explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.