For Savannah Lindquist, Temple University in Philadelphia was a dream school that offered the excitement of big city living and the chance to pursue a degree in neuroscience. That dream became a nightmare when Lindquist says she was raped during her final year of school.
"All that was running through my head was that, I just wanted to get out of there alive," Lindquist said.
She had invited a man she had just started casually dating to her off-campus apartment.
"It was someone I thought I could trust and that I didn't have to worry about you know, if I said no, I assumed, like most men know that no means no. But unfortunately, that day, he didn't take no for an answer," she said.
For Lindquist, who grew up around guns, she said the best way to defend herself would have been to use her pistol, but because of Temple's policies prohibiting concealed carry on campus, she didn't have her gun.
"As things started to get a little more violent, I knew that I had no way to defend myself," She said. "I couldn't carry, I didn't have my gun. My gun was unloaded and locked in my gun cabinet."
Growing up with guns
When she was little, Lindquist says she was fascinated watching her grandfather use guns.
"That was something I always watched him do, and he was very specific about how to properly carry a firearm and all of that," she said. "It was this huge responsibility and it was something that I wanted to experience."
She started off with a BB gun in the backyard, but before she could graduate to a real handgun, Lindquist said her "pop-pop" made her read the instruction manual cover-to-cover and quizzed her on it. When she was finally ready, Lindquist said her grandfather took her to Bob's Gun Shop, a local gun range in Norfolk, Va. and let her shoot. She was nine years old.
"It was this amazing experience being able to bond with my pop-pop over something that he was really passionate about and being able to share that passion with him," she said.
Norfolk has higher than average violent crime rates than many cities in Virginia. In 2016, about 240 people were shot and 48 people were killed in the city of close to 250,000, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Robberies are even more common. In Norfolk alone there were nearly 500 robberies in 2016.
The Lindquist's, like many in Nofolk, warn criminals to stay away with signs and stickers on their front door cautioning that this home is defended by firearms, and when out and about in town, Lindquist says her pop-pop was usually carrying a weapon.
"I always felt so much safer when I was with him or with my dad, and I knew my dad was carrying because you know that God forbid, something happens, they have the power to protect you because all the love in the world isn't going to stop someone with evil intentions," she said.
Concealed carry, but not on campus.
So, when she turned 21, getting a concealed carry permit was a given for Lindquist.
She's not alone. In fact, women are obtaining concealed carry permits at a faster rate than men.
Fourteen states report concealed permit data by gender. According to a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center, women accounted for about 36 percent of those permits. Data gathered from eight states that showed that from 2012 to 2016, women were obtaining permits 326 percent faster than men.
But when Lindquist was at school in Philadelphia, carrying her gun wasn't an option. Ten states have laws that allow students to concealed carry on college campuses and there are 16 states that have laws banning concealed carry on campuses.
Pennsylvania and Virginia are 2 of 23 states that let schools set their own policies regarding concealed carry. Temple does not allow students to carry concealed handguns on campus.
Although Lindquist could have obtained a concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania to be able to carry her gun when she was off campus, she decided not to since she spent the majority of her time at school.
In fact, Lindquist said having her gun at her apartment in Philadelphia would have been irresponsible because break-ins were so common.
After her assault, Lindquist's entire outlook on Temple University changed. What was once her dream school was now her nightmare.
Lindquist chose not to report the assault to police or university authorities because she said she didn't think there would be enough evidence to prosecute her attacker.
Although she did seek out counseling, Lindquist says she so shaken by the assault that it changed her view of the world around her and how safe she really was.
"To say that I felt unsafe is quite an understatement," she said. "I tried to go on with my life like nothing had happened, but in reality, I was completely shattered inside."
Frozen by grief and fear, Lindquist was unable to leave her apartment and stopped going to classes.
"I was failing all of my classes. I wasn't able to go into lab. I wasn't able to really do anything. That I realize that if I was to stay, I would be doing a permanent damage to myself," she said.
All the while, Lindquist said she kept thinking about her pop-pop and what he had taught her about self defense.
"Growing up, my pop-pop always told me that, it was better to be judged 12 than carried by six. And whenever he would say that, I always feel like, 'Okay, pop-pop, like calm down.' But it was sort of after what had happened to me that, that sort of hit me," she said.
"After the assault and sort of realizing what he said, I would have much rather had to be judged by a jury of my peers for having defended myself than having been raped."
With just a few months left in her senior year at Temple, Lindquist decided it would be better for her to transfer to Old Dominion University in Norfolk. She could live at home, commute to school and once again carry her pistol.
"I felt a lot better," she said. "I was obviously still struggling with what had happened to me, but I, at least felt like God forbid, someone was to ever try to hurt me again in that way, I had a way to protect myself."
But she still couldn't bring her gun to campus, where she spends a majority of her time.
"Not being able to carry on my campus felt like I was sort of being victimized all over again," she said.
#MeToo and #2Amendment
When the #MeToo movement picked up steam as women across the country spoke out against sexual abusers this year, Lindquist joined the wave.
She shared her story in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, and called for women to be able defend themselves in the way they chose, including carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus.
"I think the #MeToo movement and the movement for women's right to self defense or really anyone's right to self defense, they sort of go hand-in-hand," Lindquist said.
"It's frustrating, but it sometimes feels like when you're pro-Second Amendment that your story doesn't matter as much," she said.
Lindquist stressed that she doesn't think everyone should carry a gun, but said the choices women are given when it comes to self defense are limited and that should be a part of the #MeToo discussion.
"Regardless of the reason why, I think it's important that we have that choice because it seems like right now the #MeToo movement is all about just having women's autonomy and being able to make these decisions and say, 'This is what happened to me, but I'm gonna get through this, and I'm strong, and I know who I am,' and that sort of understanding, but it seems sort of like it's stopping there, that everyone is like ... The award show that was a few nights ago, we saw people wearing the Time's Up pins. It's like, 'Okay, well that's great, but what are you doing?' You're not doing anything to actually fix the problem, and that's sort of what I'm trying to do here," Lindquist said.