The first words that caught my eye were the words “University of Minnesota student”. The second words were “pleads guilty to rape charges”. I read the story anyway and was horrified. It includes the full victim’s statement, and it was gut-rending. I can’t quite imagine the mind of Daniel Drill-Mellum — how can he do what he did to that woman? How can anyone cause that much pain to anyone?
Don’t read it. I regret having done so.
But there is one somewhat milder piece of the story that jumped out at me. The rapist was an acquaintance, as they often are, and a friend, the kind of friend you call after a traumatic experience, had praised the guy and acknowledged, after the fact, that Drill-Mellum had hurt other women before.
I remember stumbling out of the apartment and running in fear, thinking that he would surely come after me. That feeling still sticks with me to this day. I first texted a friend to come and get me, and then called another. The friend who, earlier in the day, told me, “I love Dan”. This friend answered the phone to me sobbing uncontrollably and said “don’t even say a word, I know what happened. He raped my friend too”. In the months to come, I would become angry about this statement, and the fact that this wasn’t the first time he had done this to someone, but at the time I was just happy that he had said “rape” so that I didn’t have to. I had no words for what I had just experienced, and I still don’t.
How do you do that, too? I hope this “friend” is also feeling some fraction of the guilt that ought to be wracking him right now.