Hockey player Tori Sullivan shares details of alleged assault by Boston College football player

Tonight Tori Sullivan spoke publicly for the first time about the circumstances that led her to leave Boston College in 2017. Sullivan, who played for the BC women’s hockey team from 2014 to 2017 before leaving transferring to Northeastern, discussed her story with TVC’s Rick Westhead. She reached out to Westhead after he helped Kyle Beach to share that he was abused by a member of Chicago Blackhawks staff, which she says gave her the courage to recount her own experiences.

You can hear Sullivan discuss her story in her own words in the video below.

(Trigger warning: Please note that this video and the following article will deal with sexual assault.)

Sullivan tells Westhead that in 2015, she attended a party with friends from the Boston College football team. She alleges that at that party, a Boston College football player sexually assaulted her. Sullivan further reports that that night, the anonymous football player crossed the boundaries she had set for herself throughout their relationship and raped her.

Sullivan shared texts with CTV that she exchanged with the unnamed football player after he allegedly assaulted her. In them, he apologizes to Sullivan and then says “I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble for this and your [sic] I’m gonna tell people I did this to you.

As the CTV video notes, most incidents of sexual assault reported by students are committed by someone known to the survivor. In all genres, 90% sexual assaults on college campuses are committed by perpetrators known to the survivor. It is estimated that between 19% and 26.4% female university students are sexually assaulted, while 43% of women attending college report “violent and abusive behaviors in dating, including physical, sexual, technology-facilitated, verbal, or other forms of controlling violence.”

The first person Sullivan told about her alleged assault was a Boston College teammate, who she said responded by saying “maybe you shouldn’t have been so drunk.” Being incapacitated by drugs or alcohol means can’t consent to sexual activity, and blaming the survivor fuels rape culture that only results in 20% female students who are raped report the crime to the authorities.

Sullivan says she continued not to receive the support she needed from her BC community after the alleged rape, and has since struggled with depression and alcohol abuse. Like Sullivan, 33% of students who survive sexual assault end up suffering from depression, and 40% surviving students later use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Sullivan’s parents say it was his friends who told them of their concerns about him, and Sullivan credits his friends for calling the police to stop him from killing himself. However, she says she woke up the next morning without any worried messages from her friends or teammates.

Sullivan took time off from British Columbia in late 2016, when she says she was removed from the hockey team’s group chat. Sullivan alleges that a few months later she discovered that a member of the BC coaching staff had asked the team to block her.

Sullivan also alleges that when she returned to campus in 2017, the Boston College coaching staff told her she was no longer allowed to play for the team. She reports that when asked why, the coaches told her “you are disrupting the team”.

Boston College released the following statement to CTV when asked about Sullivan’s allegations:

Boston College treats all allegations of sexual misconduct with the utmost seriousness and provides extensive care, support, resources, and legal options to all of its students. This standard is met in all cases, and any insinuation that a student-athlete has not been supported is patently false.

Sullivan recently asked BC to investigate his assault, but the university responded that it could not compel the alleged attacker to testify since he was no longer a student.

Since graduating from college, Sullivan has spent 3 years playing professional hockey for Boston Pride in the PHF (formerly NWHL). She also recently went through treatment for the alcohol abuse she used to deal with following her experiences at Boston College.

Sullivan tells Westhead that she hopes sharing her story will help ease the shame of other survivors.

For help and resources, survivors of sexual assault in America can contact RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673). Boston-area survivors may also receive support from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

BC Interruption encourages everyone to visit RAINN’s website to learn more about the importance of believing survivors and supporting those who have been sexually assaulted.

Catherine J. Martinez