‘Bachelor’ Contestant Caelynn Miller-Keyes Reveals On-Air She Was Drugged, Sexually Assaulted In School

Caelynn Miller-Keyes’ story of being drugged and raped at a fraternity house made for a poignant moment on the reality show.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

“The Bachelor” shed light on the reality of sexual assault on Monday’s episode, when one of the contestants, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, opened up during her date with this season’s bachelor, former NFL player Colton Underwood, about being drugged and raped during college.

Miller-Keyes, the 23-year-old former Miss North Carolina, said during her one-on-one date that her assault happened at a college fraternity party, and that she and two friends were targeted, the Huffington Post reports.

“They drugged our wine,” she said, according to the outlet. “I woke up the next morning and I was completely naked in my bed and had no memory of the night before. I had a small vision of a guy in my bed and I just had this pit in my stomach that something really bad happened last night. My girlfriend called me and said three of us were all sexually assaulted.”

Miller-Keyes reportedly said that she later learned from a friend who was at the party but was not drugged that another man there had lifted up her dress and took photos of her, and then shared them on Snapchat. He did it “in front of his fraternity brothers,” who all “watched and laughed,” she said, according to PEOPLE.

The fight for justice that followed was fraught with speed bumps, Miller-Keyes explained, according to the outlet. When she went to the hospital to get a rape kit, the staff turned her away and said that they wouldn’t do it if she did not also file a police report. She wasn’t sure she wanted to take that step at the time, but she did later go to police and then got a rape kit at a different hospital. By the time she was seen at the second hospital, however, so much time had passed that the results were inconclusive, she said.

“The reporting process is a lot more difficult than people realize. I had no idea what to do. I was completely stranded, I was completely alone. I didn’t even think it was possible to be turned away from a hospital,” she said, per PEOPLE. “Thankfully, I had a good support system and people went to a second hospital with me and I was able to get a rape kit and speak to authorities and go through that process. But it’s a lot more difficult than it seems.”

One of the men responsible for that night’s assault was expelled from the university, but the rest went unpunished. Miller-Keyes said that she has since forgiven the men.

“It’s something that will always be a part of me and will always come up in relationships, and that’s why I wanted to bring it up to you,” she said to Underwood, adding that she struggled with feeling guilt and shame over it.

Underwood responded to Miller-Keyes' story by reassuring her that she was safe, according to The Washington Post.

“I want you to know: With me, you’re safe,” he said.

He also shared that he’d once dated a survivor of sexual assault, perhaps referring to his past relationship with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, one of numerous female athletes who were victimized by Larry Nassar, the former national team doctor for USA Gymnastics who, last year, was sentenced to 175 years behind bars.

Following the episode’s broadcast, Miller-Keyes thanked Underwood and the “Bachelor” team for listening and allowing her to share her story, and thanked her supporters on Twitter.

“I am truly grateful for everyone who has sent me messages telling me their stories of fear, bravery and strength,” she wrote on Instagram. “The world can be a really dark place sometimes, but these survivors who stand up and speak their truth, they remind me that there is good and light and that everything is not broken.”

In a tweet of his own, Underwood described the conversation as a moment that was bigger than the show itself.

Monday’s episode was not Miller-Keyes’ first time raising awareness of an issue that affects one in five women. She held the title of Miss North Carolina last year, during which time she shared her story in an effort to educate others and to inspire universities to change the way they handle sexual assault on campus, Washington, D.C.’s WUSA-TV reports.

Miller-Keyes went on to become the runner up in the 2018 Miss USA pageant.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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