Rape Survivor Fighting for Campus Carry Laws

“Because pepper spray and blue lights weren’t good enough to protect me.”

A student at Florida State University who was raped at knifepoint is fighting for campus carry laws so that students don’t have to rely on campus police who are always just minutes away. In a Facebook post, Shayna Lopez-Rivas is pictured standing in the same place her attack happened, advocating for her Second Amendment rights to no longer be denied while on campus.

“[H]ere I am in the same spot where I walked away broken 2 years, 7 months, and 14 days ago,” Lopez-Rivas writes. “I drove on campus that night a stressed-out student, loaded with schoolwork that needed to get done. I drove off campus that night a victim of one of the most vicious, violent attacks a human being could endure.”

Taking the picture, Lopez-Rivas said, was very cathartic because she had avoided walking near that spot for so long. But she no longer wants to be just a victim and points to something in the picture that motivates her fight:

[S]ee that blue light in the background? It’s not the one I originally ran towards but it’s right there, 10-15 feet away. The police were 10-15 feet, a push of a button, and less than 2 minutes away and yet they were too far.

This is why I fight for campus carry. Because pepper spray and blue lights weren’t good enough to protect me. Instead of relying on others, I protect myself with something that actually can protect me—my gun.

My gun: the great equalizer that I cannot legally have on me at the same university where I was raped. Florida State University, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and apparently even Republican Legislators (Senator René García and Senator Anitere Flores I’m talking about you) think pepper spray and blue lights are…good enough. But this photo and my personal story should tell you that it’s not.

"I am going to ensure Campus Carry passes, one way or another, so that no woman (or man) is stripped of their rights to choose how to protect themselves,” Lopez-Rivas added. “So that no one is forced to the ground, with a knife held to their throat, thinking they are going to die.”

While some students advocate for teaching men not to rape — as if men don't already know it's wrong to rape — Lopez-Rivas knows the only thing that gives her the greatest protection against someone who does is a gun within arm's reach.

For more about her story, click here.