The Victim

Chapter Three: Ascent

#MeToo

Finally we get to our midterms. Stress strains me as I plough through the different projects I have to deliver in quick succession. Then there’s studying, which I’ve always hated. I can’t rest until I feel I’ve covered everything that might be asked. I read, reread, summarize, memorize. The exams take about four hours each. Then I come home to study for the next day. After two weeks of extenuating work, I get through the midterms.

The next week, some of the exams are already corrected. Subject after subject I get an email saying the grades are up. Subject after subject I pass them all. Or at least until I get the last grade, the one taught by the creepy professor. I stare at the screen in silence. I failed the exam. How? I know I got most of the answers right, I really knew the stuff. Tomorrow I should talk to the professor, see what happened.

After waiting over an hour for him to get to his office, he starts reviewing the exams individually with each failed student. Finally my turn is up. I step into his office. He’s wearing his smug smile. “Please, sit down,” he says. The room is cold, very cold. I notice my nipples getting hard and instantly realize that’s the reason why it’s so cold. “Hmmm,” he mutters as he looks for my exam from a pile. “Oh, here it is,” he says. “It seems like you only provided answers for about half the questions.” My heart pounds. I open my mouth, but I choke. Then I manage to say, “No, the-there must be some sort of mistake, I answered everything.”

He stays silent. “Well, there’s only two sheets here when you should have turned in four.” He stares at me for a few seconds. “I have no option but to fail you. I’m sure you won’t make this kind of mistake the next time.” Oh, I see what he means. He “lost” the rest of my exam. “Maybe there’s—” I stop. “Yes?” he asks, leaning forward. “there’s a way…” I finish. His smile becomes even wider. “Yes, there is. Come into my office tomorrow after class. We’ll have a private lesson.”

I leave feeling sick. The good thing is I won’t have to do anything. I reach into my pocket and stop my phone, which has recorded the whole thing. I know who I should take this to. I knew it before I started. I call her from my phone. “Yes?” my brunette friend answers. “I got him on tape offering to change my grade for sex,” I say excitedly. “Wait, who?” she asks. “Our creepy professor, he teaches us—” “Right, right,” she stops me. “Meet me at my apartment. I’m texting you the address now. And don’t do anything yet. Promise,” she says very seriously. “I promise,” I reply.

I take a cab to get to her apartment. I spend my way over there thinking about my next steps. Should I go public, or threaten him? No, this has to go public. He’s not only hurting me, he’s hurting everyone. Then I plug my headphones in the phone and listen to it again. Oh no. I play it again. There’s no explicit mention of what he wants. It’s obvious by his tone, but he doesn’t really say the words. And he’s a lawyer, he’ll find some way to defend himself against this. “S-word!” I exclaim. “Miss, are you ok?” asks the cab driver. “For f-word’s sake can people stop asking me if I’m ok!” I burst angrily. Immediately I take my hands to my mouth. “I’m sorry, I didn’t… It’s been a long day,” I say. The driver smiles and says “It’s ok, miss. Don’t worry.”

I soon arrive at the address my brunette friend gave me. I walk up the ladder to her apartment in the fourth floor. I ring and she opens. There’s bustle inside. I can see the blonde, the brunette and other girls from class I’ve seen but never met. Then I see my friend from school. She smiles at me and I smile back, not understanding what’s going on. “Oh god, you too?” asks the blonde sympathetically. “Me too… what?” I ask distracted. The girls all look at my friend from school. “She has him on tape making a pass at her,” says my friend from school looking at the other girls.

I feel violent letting the others know, but say nothing. “These girls are my friends,” she continues looking at me. “They have been… molested by the professor,” she explains. I look at them. They are truly fired up about the whole thing. “We’ll fire that a-wordhole (a s s hole)!” says one. “Wh-what did he do to you…” I ask my blonde friend. “If you don’t…” I look at my blonde friend for approval, “mind my asking.” My blonde friend gets up. “Oh, that pig. I asked for some private lessons, and when I got there, he made me take my top off and—” She stops, disgusted.

The blonde strikes me as an attention w-word, unlike some of the other girls. There’s one in particular who has remained quiet this whole time. “I-I,” she stutters. “It’s ok,” whispers my friend from school, sitting by her side and taking her hand. “I was r-raped. That man blackmailed me into having sex with him.” She breaks down crying. My friend looks at me, and I quickly understand what she’s been up to.