New York (CNN)It took Jane Doe three years to file a federal lawsuit against Michigan State University and three of its former basketball players who she says raped her at what was supposed to be a party in 2015. It took another year for her to shed the anonymity and make her name public.
MSU student is no longer Jane Doe. She publicly identifies herself as rape victim after accusing 3 basketball players
Bailey Kowalski, now a 22-year-old senior at MSU, was tired of hiding and acting like what happened to her was something she needed to be ashamed of, her attorney told CNN Wednesday. Kowalski was first publicly identified in a New York Times article earlier in the day.
"She wants to be able to let others know that there are people out there who will protect you, that it's safe to say something, and that you don't need to hide," attorney Karen Truszkowski said, adding that her client also wants people to understand that "she did not make this up."
MSU wouldn't comment on the specifics of the complaint. But it filed a motion to dismiss it, saying Kowalski fails to allege facts that would make MSU liable for assaults that happened off-campus and that she fails to show the school knew the assault was likely to occur. The athletes are not identified in the lawsuit.
In early April 2015, Kowalski, who at the time was an 18-year-old freshman pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a sports journalist, went to an off-campus bar with her roommate, where she met members of the famed MSU basketball team, according to the lawsuit.
One of the players bought her a drink and offered to introduce her to some of his teammates. She was later invited to a party, and as an incentive, the complaint says, she was told by one of the basketball players that her roommate was already headed there.
On arrival, she quickly realized something was wrong. The party turned out to be at one of the basketball player's off-campus apartments, her roommate was nowhere to be found, and there were few people present. "She tried to send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text," the lawsuit says, adding she believed she may have been drugged.
She was in a bedroom with one of the players -- referred to as JD2 in the complaint -- when the room went dark and he raped her, her lawsuit states. The complaint says she was "crying, she could not move, nor could she speak." Afterward, two other players -- referred to as JD1 and JD3 -- each came in, held her down and took turns raping her, according to the complaint.
Kowalski, her lawsuit, and MSU have never publicly disclosed the names of the three basketball players.
A few days after the incident, a friend took Kowalski to the Michigan State University Counseling Center (MSUCC), where she disclosed what she says happened to her.
"The MSUCC staff made it clear to Plaintiff that if she chose to notify the police, she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity as had happened with many other female students who were sexually assaulted by well-known athletes," the lawsuit says.
Kowalski's complaint says she wasn't advised by MSUCC to seek medical attention, to have forensic evidence collected, or about the option to file a report within MSU's Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). They did refer her to the university's Sexual Assault Program (SAP), but according to the suit, that interaction with MSUCC left her "frightened to the point that she decided she could not report the rape(s) to law enforcement," and so discouraged that she didn't seek assistance at SAP until 10 months later.
By October 2015 Kowalski had become so "traumatized, depressed, and withdrawn" that she was admitted to an outpatient intensive psychiatric treatment program, according to the lawsuit. She eventually withdrew from the fall 2015 semester.
"She took time off because she didn't have any choice -- her mental stability and frame of mind were such that she had to step out," Truszkowski, her attorney, told CNN.
She returned to MSU in January 2016, after the players she says raped her had left MSU, and changed her major to biological sciences.
"It wasn't easy, but the guys weren't on campus anymore, so she doesn't have fear that she was going to bump into them" and Kowalski was "bound and determined to finish her degree," according to her lawyer.
In a statement, the university said it "takes sexual assault and Title IX situations very seriously and is dedicated to making sure every student receives fair treatment and support when they need it."
MSU is still reeling from the aftermath of Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor for USA Gymnastics and MSU who is spending the rest of his life behind bars after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
"Over the past year, we have increased staffing and financial resources to our Sexual Assault Program on campus, mental health services, investigators within the Office of Institutional Equity and creating a new Prevention, Outreach and Education program along with a SANE nursing program," the university statement said.
However, Kowalski's lawsuit alleges that "MSU created an atmosphere and culture in which female victims became vulnerable to predatory athletes."
Her attorney maintains it's that culture that needs to end.
"When you don't address what people are doing -- athletes or non-athletes -- you increase risk that they're going to do it. If you don't address it, they get away with it," Truszkowski said.
"Bailey's been afraid all these years that someone would figure out who she is. She's not afraid anymore, and that's why she's coming forward."