On September 5th, 2015 you raped me. I was a virgin at the time and in my eyes still am today because I believe that sex is a choice that you get to make. It is pretty difficult to make a choice while unconscious.
I wanted to get the story straight for you because apparently you do not remember any of it correctly.
I had been single for the summer for the first time in a long time and was excited to talk to someone new. You told me over Facebook that you had seen me around school and thought I was cute and that your friends had bet you that you wouldn’t ask for my number. I told you that you could win the bet and gave you my number.
We texted for a few weeks and then met in person on August 15th.
You brought me to the bar and ordered my drink for me. This wouldn’t be the first time you decided something for me.
Your smooth talking and confidence enchanted me. You wore a messy bun and talked about your band and the environment. We laid out on the docks and got eaten up by mosquitos. I came back to my room and called my best friend to brag about you.
Over the next two weeks we hung out often. You were my chemistry lab partner. We laughed and joked and shared music. But I was never good enough for you. I never felt cool enough. I didn’t smoke weed or routinely break laws. One day while walking to class I put my hair up in a ponytail and you said, “Ya know, you look better with your hair down”. I took it down. We went on one “date.” I paid.
I tried to become clay, molding myself into whatever shape you wanted. I didn’t realize it at the time, but your emotional abuse was already changing the person I was before you.
On the night it happened, I came over expecting it to be the same as any other. I hadn’t drunk with you before but after repeatedly feeling like you were ashamed of bringing a “loser” over I gave in. You brought me one beer, opened. I drank it. You asked me to smoke weed. I gave in to that as well. I had never smoked weed before, as I had told you multiple times, and you lit the bong for me each time.
I didn’t know how much was “a lot” of weed but that night I must have smoked a lot. Either that, or you drugged me. Because later in the night while lying on your bed, the room became a blur and I could no longer hear what you were saying even though I saw your lips moving. I thought you asked me if I liked salads and I laughed.
That is the last thing I remember until I woke up with you inside me.
You had taken my pants off but left my shirt and cardigan on. Weeks later I threw my favorite shirt in the trash because of you.
You shook me awake and told me that I was bleeding on your bed. I didn’t know what was happening at first and it would take me months to truly process it. You got off of me and told me to go to the bathroom and wash the blood off of me. You pulled your sheets off your bed and put them in a pile. I faintly remember walking down stairs to the bathroom with no pants on but do not remember being in the bathroom. I came back upstairs and you were already asleep. I laid down and fell asleep instantly. You woke me up at 6am and told me I had to leave so you could go to work. I walked 3 miles home.
Once in my dorm room, I took a long hot shower. I wanted to wash you off. I sat on my bed and wondered if I was pregnant, as I didn’t recall you taking a condom off when I woke up. I asked a friend to take me to get the morning after pill. We had plans that my parents would eat at the restaurant you worked at. What was I supposed to do? My parents met you that day. I hate you for fucking up my life but I hate you more for fucking up theirs.
A few days later you asked me to come back over and I did. While this action may seem confusing to others and it was confusing to myself, I wanted a redo. All my life I have been someone who sees the best in people and believes they are truly good. I wasn’t ready to accept what you had done to me and I wanted to see you make up for it. Instead you were angry that I would not drink and flirted with another girl in front of me and screamed at me while I was crying.
At 4am you screamed at me that I was stupid for thinking you would ever be with someone like me and that I was the “least chill person” you’d ever met. I told you I was walking home. You didn’t stop me. You didn’t check to see if I got home safe during a 3-mile walk home at 4am. I called a cab for the first time and sat on the curb down the street to wait for it.
The months following that night I was raped would be the worst in my life. I changed my major to avoid future classes with you. I switched my schedule. I became glued to my bed but sometimes slept on the floor because the thought that you had been on those sheets before made me sick. Leaving my room was a huge task and I started to distance myself from those who cared about me. I thought about dying. I thought about climbing to the top of a tall parking garage in Madison and jumping off.
When I did build up the courage to leave my room I was in a constant state of anxiety walking from building to building. I was always on the lookout for you and I am still that way. I search for you in every crowd and on every street. I am terrified of you. Every time I hear a skateboard I am convinced it is you. I skipped over 40 classes because it was just all too much. I was only safe in my room with the door locked.
You will never know what it feels like to never feel safe.
When I decided to report it to our college, I thought that they would believe the truth. I thought they would see the damage that you had done to me and give you a punishment you deserved. Instead, you lied through your teeth, hired a lawyer and private investigator, and won.
But I want you to know that while you took away a year of my life and damaged many parts of me, I am not broken. I am whole. I am okay.
I spent the last half of the year focusing my energy on helping others who have endured similar pain as mine. I became an advocate for rape on a campus that let me down in the worst way. You have no idea the kind of strength that took from inside me to do and you will never know because you are a weak and small person who does not do things to benefit others.
I want you to know that I never stopped smiling.
While I forced many fake smiles, I never stopped and as the months passed they became more and more real again. I want you to know that I am slowly building up the courage to let someone in my life again, after months of believing that would never happen.
Although I doubt I ever cross your mind and when I do I doubt it paralyzes you the way it does to me, I need you to know that I forgive you.
I forgive you because I cannot hold on to this anger any longer. I cannot keep asking myself what my life would be like if I had decided to stay home. I didn’t stay home.
This is my story, but you were just one evil part of it.
I forgive you because I need to breathe again.
I hope that one day you will realize that what you did to me was incredibly wrong and I hope you never do it to anyone else. I hope you learn how to be accountable for your own actions and to be honest about them.