Shannon Keeler was enjoying a weekend getaway with her boyfriend last year when she checked her Facebook messages for the first time in ages. A name popped up that stopped her cold. "So I raped you," the person said in a burst of unread messages sent six months earlier. "I'll never do it to anyone ever again." The person added: "I need to hear your voice" and "I'll pray for you." The messages rocketed Keeler, 26, back to the life-shattering night in December 2013 when an upperclassman at Gettysburg College stalked her at a party, snuck into her dorm, and barged into her room while she pleaded with him and texted friends for help. Eight years later, she still hopes to persuade Pennsylvania authorities to make an arrest, armed now with his alleged confession, sent via social media, per the AP. Before and after the attack, Keeler followed protocols meant to prevent campus sex assaults or address them when they happen, including having a male friend walk her home from the party.
She reported the rape that day, met with police, and endured a painful and intrusive rape exam. And she pushed for charges. Yet, at every turn, the justice system failed her, just as it fails most college rape victims. The suspect, IDed by other partygoers, left Gettysburg but denied any wrongdoing in an email to school officials, per records Keeler obtained. His withdrawal ended the school's Title IX investigation, she says. Two years later, just after the window to file a civil suit closed, then-District Attorney Scott Wagner said he wouldn't file charges. Keeler recalls him saying it was difficult to bring cases when alcohol is involved. She learned last year that her rape kit had been destroyed after the case was initially closed. Adams County authorities are looking anew at Keeler's case since she showed them the Facebook messages in June. Keeler says her anger is "more at the criminal justice system than what actually happened." More on her story here, including how very few campus rapes are ever prosecuted, per victim advocates and limited available crime data.
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