We’ve all seen it in TV Shows, read about it in books, and watched it happen in movies. It’s always the same, any time rape is ever introduced to the audience, it is dramatic and thoughtless, for lack of a better term. Loud and ominous music play while the audience has to suffer through a “Deliverance-esque” seen that leaves us both horrified and slightly nauseous.
For some lucky people, these fictional stories are all they know of that nasty “R-Word”. That word that makes everyone uncomfortable, and hoping to change the subject as soon as humanly possible. Until my nineteenth birthday, I was one of the lucky ones.
I was a virgin, and had just gone up to a nearby University to stay for the weekend for the very first time. The evening transpired, and before I knew it, I could hardly walk anymore. My slurred speech and my bloodshot eyes all shouted what I was physically unable to, well, I was drunk beyond all belief. Before I could even blink, a stranger zeroed in on me.
I thought that this situation was one I had wanted. My virginity was something that had been becoming a burden on me, and I thought having some stranger take it would solve all of my problems, and also maybe make me feel desirable for the first time in my life. I don’t remember this strangers face, nor do I remember his smell or the sound of his voice. I remember only random moments from that night. I remember him leading me down the stairs and out of the apartment building I was in. I remember stumbling the entire walk I took with him, especially on those stairs. He lead me two his car and we drove for what felt like an eternity. I didn’t know where or even who I was during that car ride. My drunken haze refused to subside no matter how much I tried to will it so. I wanted to know for sure that I was doing the wrong thing, because in that moment it felt like it was right. He parked by a lake, and I remember how beautiful it was with the moonlight and the stars, not that I had much time to appreciate them. He had pinned me down in his back seat, and before I even knew I was undressed from the waist down and he was inside me.
He never once asked if I was okay, or if I wanted this. I was a mindless body to him in that moment. A warm blow up doll, for all intents and purposes.
Two confusing years later found me in a University of my own. My incident on my nineteenth birthday was the last and only time I had had sex. I don’t know exactly why at the time, but I was physically and mentally unable to be intimate with anyone after that night. I was at a bar, celebrating St. Patrick’s day with hundreds of other college students. All of a sudden, I realized that the Long Island Iced Tea I was just handed by a stranger was my ninth of that night.
I woke up the next morning miraculously in my best friends apartment. My head was pounding with the vengeance of the god Zeus himself, and my stomach was being stabbed over and over while a gremlin was trying to tear it apart. I was certain of it. As I was making myself vomit in the nearest bathroom, I began to have quick flashbacks of the previous night.
That was the moment I began to vomit for an entirely different reason. I saw myself in these flashbacks as if I was in a dream. I saw the stranger, and his pickup truck. I saw the hotel room he bought and that he snuck me in to so that no one would see how drunk I was; I heard his cruel, sarcastic laugh. A laugh I wish I could erase from my memory still to this day. A laugh that still crawls through my brain on my worst and weakest nights. He violated every hole on my body, and I hardly remember anything, which is the most terrifying part. The short flashbacks are all that I have of that night. Flashbacks like me falling on my face trying to dress myself afterwards. How I walked back to my friends apartment. How I was completely confused, alone, carrying my bra, and had my Jeans on inside out which is an accomplishment I still to this day do not understand.
Many people many call me a drunken whore with no honor or self respect. For all I know, these people are completely correct. It wasn’t until very recently though, that I started to question if what I encountered may have been rape. “Impossible,” said twenty one year old me. “Where was the dirty, toothless man holding me at knifepoint? What about that loud, ominous music?” I now see that rape can come in all different ways. It doesn’t have to be a strange man jumping out from behind a bush when you’re walking home at night.
Once rape become a part for your life, it stays there and it festers. It’s almost like a virus that is slow and malicious, giving you no option but to live with it and pray that it does not kill you. I’m also praying that one day the thought of sleeping with a man who I am actually in love with isn’t enough to send me running in terror.