The #MeToo and Times Up Movements have repeatedly made headlines over the past year.
This week, sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh fueled the conversation once again.
Senior Shay Friedman started a relationship with a man online during her sophomore year.
“I had begun talking to another student online, and he told me his name and sent me pictures," Friedman said.
After a few weeks of sending intimate messages, it became clear, the person on the other end of the conversation was not who he said he was.
"It turns out the pictures and the name belonged to a different Elon student," Friedman said. “I received the number of the person he pretended to be and he said I have no idea who you are and I think that was one of the most gut-wrenching moments."
That gut-wrenching moment spiraled into months of crippling anxiety. Friedman said knowing there was another student on campus who sexually exploited her was frightening.
According to Title IX statutes — which ensures fair treatment for sexual harassment victims under federal law — sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non consensual, unjust or abusive advantage for his or her own advantage or benefit.
“It’s hard to put into words because there is just this feeling of not being safe ... in a place where you are supposed to be so safe," Friedman said.
During the summer after her sophomore year, she decided to take her case to Elon Title IX Coordinator Mike Neiduski.
Neiduski is unable to comment on the case due to privacy statutes of Title IX, .
Friedman said the support of the Elon community made it easier to get out of bed in the morning, which had become difficult.
"I'm an introvert. My room has always been my safe space," Friedman said. "But there becomes a point when it is healthy and not unhealthy."
It was not until recently that Friedman decided she felt comfortable talking about the trauma she had faced.
"I didn't want to tell anyone about this because to me, it was like so many other worse things happen to other women on this campus; 'Why should my story be featured?'" Friedman said.
Now a senior, Friedman said she decided it was time to share her story to hopefully change hearts and minds on campus.
"I think it’s knowing you don’t have to go through the worst thing in the world to have a valid experience, and that I hope I will help someone else," Friedman said.
Felicia Cenca, the coordinator for violence response at Elon, works with students confidentially after traumatizing situations and helps to inform them of campus resources.
Cenca said sharing stories of sexual misconduct helps others to come forward.
"There’s power in the people. So, the more folks that you see connected in bonding and posting the #MeToo movement, then maybe you are more likely to share your own experience," Cenca said.
Friedman said she wants other students on campus to know they are never alone.
"You can remain strong knowing that there are support systems," Friedman said. "You can feel safe in speaking."