Concealed Carry (courtesy safetysolutionsacademy.com)

I am typing this letter from a Starbucks in Tallahassee, where I am situationally aware, trained, and well armed. Although I do not expect anything drastic to happen today, I am still prepared if something does go down—either to get the heck out and dodge, or tackle whatever happens head on, and I am prepared to do so with deadly force if needed. Although I now maintain great situational awareness everywhere I go and have self-defense training in disarming, and in fighting off, an attacker, there are times where I am legally left without the tool that could best level the playing field in protecting me—my gun . . .

Currently under Florida law, I am not allowed to carry on my campus, Florida State University. On my campus that reported 17 sexual assaults in 2014; on my campus that uses maybe 10 uniformed officers at any given point in time to protect the whole campus; on my campus that refuses to back campus carry as a way for women to legitimately protect themselves from assault; and on my campus which claims sovereign immunity when they are unable to protect these women: I am told I am safe and I do not need a gun.

While President Thrasher and university officials would have you believe that I am not defenseless, and even, that I am safe on campus, I would beg to differ. I already used pepper spray once; do you want to know how that ended for me? I was left shaking and crying, half-naked on campus grounds, with cut marks all over my body. That’s what pepper spray did for me.

As a gun rights activist, I can write all day about our Second Amendment rights. I will throw down statistics like how 0.1 percent of rapes were completed when women used a firearm as compared to a 34 percent completion rate when women used any other form of self-defense. Or how with the exception of two, all the mass shootings since the 1950’s have been in gun free zones.  Stats are easy to discuss, but when it comes to talking about being raped, my throat gets dry and my hands freeze up. It’s a lot harder to write about nightmares than it is to write about numbers.

And I do have nightmares from being raped on campus. Sometimes they are so bad I wake up at three in the morning sweaty and terrified because in my mind I am being raped again. In my mind I am there: I am forced into a secluded area, forced to unzip my pants, forced to lay down as tiny cuts are made all over my body and a man I do not know rolls on a condom and forces himself on top of me.

I remember how cold the asphalt felt as I distracted myself from the sting of the knife. I remember looking into his eyes and realizing there was no emotion behind them, no sympathy just sadism. And I remember thinking: this is how I’m going to die and then getting up after it was done, tears streaming down my face and neck wondering how I even survived.

I was already raped once off campus my freshman year of college, but this time I used pepper spray. This time I ran, heading for those blue lights staggered around campus to signal the police I was in danger. I did everything right but when he pulled a knife I stopped fighting. Instinct told me to cooperate if I didn’t want to get stabbed to death, and here I am today—sitting at Starbucks, simultaneously trying to remember the exact details and forget this ever happened.

I fight for my Second Amendment rights because I believe I should never have a chance of getting raped again. I won’t deny the possibility of getting injured, but my gun gives me a chance that pepper spray, stun guns, and pocketknives never will. It prevents a knife being held at my throat and the voice of a stranger promising me he won’t kill me. And I won’t be denied the right to have that chance of surviving a potential attack rather than being assaulted again.

Sen. Diaz de la Portilla, why are you so adamant in denying me my right to protect myself and have a gun on campus? Why have you not schedule the campus carry bill for the Senate Judiciary Committee you chair? Why have you not met with me for 15 minutes since October when I began sending you and your legislative assistant weekly emails asking for an appointment?

I hope this open letter will engage opposition to campus carry. I hope everyone will understand why it’s so important that the bill be scheduled for a vote. Senator Diaz de la Portilla: Don’t let me be raped on campus again, let me arm myself, and whether you vote yes or no, at least schedule the campus carry bill for a vote.

Lopez-Rivas is an undergraduate student at Florida State University. She is an intern at the University’s College of Social Work and is the Women’s Representative for Florida Students for Concealed Carry.

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39 Responses to Rape Survivor to FL Senator Diaz de la Portilla: Pass Campus Carry

  1. Ugh. I know. Damn RINO. I told him he better not look for higher office. I am a floridian republican voter and i will vote anybody but him in the primary. And if he passes that stage, i will vote a democrat for the first time in my life. Better the devil i know than the one i dont. He has proven he cannot be trusted with defending a simple liberty. O dont trust him with any others.

    PS. He is also stalling on Senate Bill 300 for open carry. Said he doesnt plan on putting it to a committee vote.

        • I’m in his district, and I already emailed him my thoughts. Crazy how he wields the power to not let it come to a vote, knowing that it has overwhelming support and would easily pass the FL senate as well. What does he have to gain? Democrats aren’t going to vote for him, and besides he has no real competition. The Diaz de la Portilla family has a lot of influence down here, and has always had my support. But now with this stunt…

    • I am not a Poli-Sci student and so this whole issue escapes me. How has our system of representation been so corrupted on the state and federal level that a single person in a position of power can prevent a vote on a topic or bill that he/she personally opposes? How is this in keeping with our representation in these legislative bodies?

      No single person should EVER hold that kind of power in a free country, and that goes for the swing vote in SCOTUS as well.

      • This isnt corruption and was built into our system of government from the beginning. Chairmen can kill bills in their committees. Senate and house leaders can kill a bill before it reaches the floor. Knowing this now, how does it make you feel that the republicans claim they are powerless against Obama? They dont even try.

        • Article V convention – term limits for all, especially RINOs.

          Was this concept built into the Constitution or only allowed to evolve based on the idea that the Senate and House could establish their own working rules?

          IMO, the lack of term limits gives too many politicians the ability to remain in office and establish base of power that allows them to obstruct the intent of the system, such as blocking legislation they do not support from ever coming to a vote. I sincerely doubt this was ever the intent of the Founding Fathers.

        • Florida has term limits. That is how this guy got elected. He replaced his brother when his brother hit the end of his term limit.

      • Cliff H,

        Part of my doctorate was in political science (its joint in polisci and crim from UF). I’m guessing a lot of what I’m going to write below you, and almost everyone else here knows, but most likely doesn’t think about in the way I’m going to lay it out. The simple answer to your question is that we have a high veto point system. The complex answer is that while the formal veto is only at the executive level – presidents or governors, we have a number of other informal veto points built into the system as process to both slow things down/make each action more deliberate, as well as to force points of coalition building and compromise. Because we’re not a parliamentary system it becomes necessary to build a coalition for each separate legislative initiative. Using the Federal system as the example (and almost each state system is parallel to the Federal one) before we even get to the executive/formal veto legislation has to be brought up in committee or subcomittee for action (veto point 1), then it has to survive the committee/subcomittee process and be voted out (veto point 2). Once out, on the House side, it goes to the Rules Committee for a determination about which rules to bring it to the floor (veto point 3). If it makes it to the floor then it has to pass (veto point 4).

        In the Senate everything works the same way except there is no Rules Committee – the Majority Leader determines what comes to the Floor (on the Senate side this is veto point 3). Because of the Senate’s internal rules everything now requires a cloture vote with a minimum threshold of 60 in favor (veto point 4) to actually end debate and bring the bill up for an actual vote on whether it passes the chamber. This has defacto created a 2/3 majority requirement for every piece of Senate legislation, because without passing the 60 vote threshold, even bills that require only a simple majority to pass (which is almost all of the bills that the Senate deals with), and have the 51 votes to pass, cannot pass. The Senate has created a 2/3 majority requirement vote on voting. Once cloture has been achieved, then bills in the Senate come up for the actual vote to determine if they pass (veto point 5). If the Senate or House bill is different than the equivalent bill passed in the other chamber, then it goes to reconciliation (this is veto point 6 for the Senate and 5 for the House). If it is successfully reconciled it has to go back to each chamber for approval of the reconciled bill, which is veto point 7 for the Senate and 6 for the House. If it survives this then it goes to President.

        So before pending legislation can even get to the executive we have 7 informal veto points in the Senate and 6 in the House. But wait, there’s more! Because of the Senate’s (the World’s Greatest Deliberative Country Club) internal rules of procedure (which are largely set by the Senate with only a few formal Constitutionally required rules), Senators can place both formal and informal holds on legislation. Formal holds are where the Senator or Senators are actually identified as placing the hold, informal is when its done and the Majority Leader shields the Senator/Senators identity. So this is an additional, informal veto point on the Senate side.

        Now if a bill gets all the way through and is signed into law it’s Constitutionality can still be challenged in the courts. This adds an additional set of veto points. There is also the tradition of Presidential signing statements. Fairly or unfairly, this got a lot of press under the Bush 43 Administration where President Bush (43) would sign legislation into law and append a very detailed statement under his signature explaining how he and his Administration understood, interpreted, and intended to implement the law. While not an informal veto point per se, it can radically change the intent of the legislation if not completely derail it and make it dead on arrival.

        Most state legislatures parallel Congress in regards to their procedures and rules. So at the state level you will have between four and seven informal legislative veto points in addition to the formal executive level veto of the governor (or line item veto depending on the state), followed by potential veto points that arise from state and/or Federal level judicial challenges and review.

        Our system was, in one way, intended to mirror the three parts of the English parliamentary system, but without a parliament. So instead of Commons, Lords, and Prime Minister/Cabinet we got Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. In other ways it was intended to force coalition building that couldn’t occur before each government took office because it is not a parliamentary system. So coalitions had to be formed for each issue/legislative effort. And it was intended for stability by slowing everything down. Finally, it only really works when the members we elect into it actually understand and work within the process and the system. Otherwise everything grinds to a complete halt.

        I hoped that helped without creating a migraine.

    • “And if he passes that stage, i will vote a democrat for the first time in my life.”

      No! Don’t do that!

      Simply don’t vote on that section of the ballot rather than vote for Democrat…

      • If he is facing off against Rep. Rehwinkle-Vasilinda, my vote most certainly would go to her. Despite being a democrat, she fully supported HB 163 for Open Carry and co-authored HB 4001 which is the Campus Carry bill. She is an rabid supporter of the 2nd Amendment.

        “If it is my time to go and somebody is pointing a gun at me I just assume to try to get off a shot,” said Rehwinkel-Vasilinda. “That’s who I am. I don’t envision waiting patiently for law enforcement to come and rescue me.”

  2. Same Florida senator (Judiciary Chairmen) on SB 300 for Open Carry.

    “I’m very, very seriously considering not hearing (the open carry bill) at all.” Sen. Diaz de la Portilla told the News Service of Florida

  3. I hope her painful to write letter isn’t failing to make a point with Florida State Representatives. I have a daughter and I couldn’t imagine the pain this would cause. Ladies stay armed and aware.

    • He is refusing to speak with anyone pro 2A. Including his senate colleagues including those in the judiciary committee regarding both the Campus Carry and Open Carry bills sitting in his committee. If the Senate president had any cojones, he would strip the chairman of his position. But unfortunately, he is another RINO as well. I wish Daniel Webster was still Senate President. Oh well.

  4. Feminists say that a woman is too unstable emotionally to use a firearm wisely and with prudence.

    They say it’s best just to teach the men that no means no and to trust the police will provide deterrence by their armed presence.

    But in every other area, the feminists believe that a woman is the equal too any man.

    Hear Woman Roar!!

    It’s not that there are organizations based on contempt for women with the desire to keep them powerless, helpless and defenseless where it really matters.

    But for a woman in the street, not in the rarified heights of the command structure of the feminist movement to call herself a feminist but be against the carrying of a firearm by a woman, is to me, insane.

    This woman on the other hand, sounds like a real woman empowed.

    • But you see the issue is not limited to women on campus arming themselves to prevent rape. There are other types of assaults to consider, and robberies and burglaries and travel to and from campus. And these issues are also not limited to women; men need and are entitled to the same ability for self defense, even if the issue of rape is not considered.

      If the issue is that (in theory) women cannot or will not arm themselves or use their weapons in the event they are needed, at the very least there will be others on campus who ARE armed and who can and will come to their assistance. This is not a strictly feminist issue.

      • I don’t think the writer is arguing that only women should be allowed to campus carry. I think she is advocating for campus carry for any and all permit holders, but she is using her very compelling story to make this senator look like the jack ass that he is.

        • Understood. My comment was only to clarify the larger issue and rebut the claim that women cannot or will not defend themselves as an argument against campus carry since the addition of male concealed carriers would significantly deter assaults.

          Next they will try to argue that the male concealed carriers will use their weapons to assault women. IN 3…2..1…

  5. This is the same Senator Portilla refusing to hear SB 300, which will give Open Carry back to Florida. Florida is 1 of only 5 states that ban it. Senator Portilla is a true turd. The state is truly evil.

  6. Diaz de la Portilla is from Miami-Dade and a lawyer by trade. Sorry lawyers, but your industry has a problem with guys like this who were repeat losers in one political run after the other finally finding power taking over his brother’s seat after the brother was term-limited out. Sounds like a big-city boss wannabe. I don’t live in FL but I hope that the campus carry bill ultimately prevails and when it does it will push the envelope in other states as well. The daughter went to another big state university in an otherwise firearms friendly state, but campus carry is not “really” legal here either (have to leave it in the car where it will do no good at all.) There were numerous crimes right off campus. Fortunately no rapes or murders, at least none that were reported.

  7. Thank you for giving this issue the attention it deserves. Hopefully in due time we can pressure Sen. Diaz De La Portilla to reconsider.

    Donald Trump is visiting campus this Friday. It would be perfect if he could bring attention to this Senator’s behavior.

  8. Seems senator-diaz-de-la-portilla is a legislative rape enabler or if I may, a rapist pimp allowing men to prey on his constituents. An elected representative refusal to hear a graphic discripton of a brutal rape while denying lawful self defense is a morally depraved individual not worthy of his charge and should be dismissed from the people’s work.

  9. Sen. Diaz de la Portilla, why are you so adamant in denying me my right to protect myself and have a gun on campus?

    That’s easy: because he could care less what happens to anyone other than himself. There is nothing in it for him. Now if an attractive woman offered to sleep with him if he would bring the bills to committee for a vote, those bills would be on the agenda the next day.

    If only there was some way to convince that Senator of his error in judgement … something to help that Senator see that it was in his best interest to bring those bills to committee for a vote. Any ideas anyone?

  10. “I am typing this letter from a Starbucks in Tallahassee, where I am situationally aware, trained, and well armed.”

    Heeey? How did she get passed that Shannon Watts anti-gun force field around Starbucks?

  11. As a father of two girls and a recently converted 2A enthusiast and gun owner, this girl’s story is compelling and unnerving. My oldest just got her degree from the University of Houston, another gun free zone. It’s surrounded by shot gun houses on its crime-riddled perimeter and in the worst part of town. She is well trained in gun safety and range time, but unarmed and vulnerable during classes. Only got campus carry after her graduation, and unfortunately most of these young students are legally too young to carry anyway. So what recourse?
    All I know is that disarming law-abiding citizens is not the answer, and gun free zones is a cruel joke.

  12. God bless you for fighting the good fight so that students in the future will, hopefully, not have to make the uncomfortable decision of either violating the law or leaving themselves defenseless.

    Until then, absent metal detectors or gun-sniffing dogs– carry anyways. Carry anyways, carry anyways, carry anyways.

    • ^ This!
      The old saying that it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 applies here, and make no mistake any man who would rape a woman is fully capable and in fact likely to commit murder as his next step.

  13. Carry concealed anyway. If it’s between your life and a stupid law, I suggest going with your life. However, if you’re unwilling to go against the law, get a good quality knife and learn how to use it. It never runs out of ammo and can be extremely effective at close range.

  14. Does Florida not honor petitions to put laws to a vote on the ballot? Get a petition started to put both items on the ballot so that the people of Florida can vote it up or down. Once you accomplish getting it on the ballot the work has only just started. You have to work to educate the people to 1) go out and vote and 2) the this bill (s) are important. I live in Arkansas and have lived in NM, MD, TX, and AZ, all of these states allow petition to get items on the ballot for the PEOPLE to vote for the item to become law. This prevents things like this from happening. Get out the signatures and get the voters out.

  15. I e mailed and called my senator to express my support for SB 300
    I am not in this senators district
    I carry concealed at all times except
    A court or police station ( where I never go anyway)
    My employer does not need to know that I violate their no guns policy
    The school, symphony, state fair, movie theater and Starbucks are all better off when I am there, armed and concealed

    • I do the same. Been carrying since way before there was any debate about having a right to do so. My right to self preservation trumps the states right to restrict, permit, or tax my ability to carry.

  16. Same shit white some freaks as joe straus in texas thats bastard !
    They have to mutch power but why not bring up an bill that limit this near an dicator ship / undemocraty /good near power ??
    If this assholes don t give them an hearing it speak for it self and media are like to see it and the voter see where the dicator sit ?!

  17. I know several gals who for this very reason would call him pro-rape to his face. All were attacked by rapists; only one didn’t get raped — you don’t need three guesses to know why she ‘escaped’.

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