Lead Division of Student Affairs and It’s On Us committee reveals sexual assault experience

By Ruth Willis

When Jake Burns was in high school, one of his ex-girlfriend’s friends—who was older—started to hit him up a while after him and his girlfriend ended the relationship.

He was just a nerdy 17-year-old guy with a few friends. This older girl would occasionally hang out with them. Jake and his friends had gone over to her house a couple of times, to watch movies and such. He had thought to himself, “Oh yeah, I really like hanging out with this girl”.

She had asked him before if he wanted to have sex with him. Jake simply said, “No.” He had only had one girlfriend at the time and was not in a hurry to jump into another sexual relationship. She replied, “Okay, that’s fine.”

They continued hanging out as friends, but she kept insisting on having sex with him. He told her that he had been looking to eventually date someone.

Burns was not interested on dating her. One night, Jake was hanging out at her house. It was late and some of his other friends were there but they ended up leaving.

Jake did not want to drive back home too late because he lived about forty-five minutes away, so he decided he would stay over. In the middle of the night he woke up to her sitting on top of him.

It was a big surprise. “Obviously, I didn’t expect to having sex when I woke up”, Burns explained. As soon as he became conscious of the situation, he stopped immediately. He tried to leave quickly but his keys were locked in the car.

Jake had to go back inside to get a coat hanger from her closet, and picked the lock to his car; and left. After that, they did not hang out again.

“She was a cool person but I don’t get what she didn’t understand” when Jake spoke about how he denied her in several occasions before the incident, “Clearly there was something that she did not understand.”

Today, Jake Burns works at FIU as chair of the Division of Student Affairs It’s On Us Committee and I help advise the It’s On Us Student Campus Organizers. Jake’s story, like many others, shows that sexual assault can happen to anyone, by anyone.

Fortunately, he was able to overcome this and is able to apply his experiences to his current position.

“I felt like there was a lot of possibilities to improve the It’s On Us campaign and the other sexual assault awareness initiatives on campus as far as prevention education,” said Burns.


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