It is time to write about the thing that I have never wanted to admit to anyone before: the time that I was raped. I never wanted to be a victim, so it took me a long time to admit to myself, let alone anyone else, that rape is what happened to me, but when I look back on it now, I know that it is true. I was raped. And although I am writing this anonymously, at least I am finally writing it.
The whole thing started out innocently enough, a guy messaged me on a social media site and said he thought I was cute and asked if I wanted to meet.
He was a bit older than me, but he was pretty attractive too, so I responded. I had never met anyone from the internet before, so I told him I wanted to meet somewhere public and that I wanted to bring a friend with me. He agreed and we made plans to meet out at a bar later that week. I told my friend that she was going to be my body guard to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid and that I would pay for her drinks for coming with me. By the time that we were supposed to meet him, I had gotten my period so I felt very confident that I wouldn’t let things go too far at our first meeting.
When we met the guy he seemed very charming and he was as attractive in person as he was in his profile. We hit it off pretty well and all three of us were having a good time socializing at the bar. I was doing my best to show restraint in how much I drank because I wanted to be able to drive home. However, the bar he chose for us to meet at was owned by a friend of his and he kept on offering and pouring us free drinks and shots throughout the evening. Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’ve had too much until it’s too late, and after a while I realized that driving us home would put me, my friend, and anyone else on the road in danger. The guy lived close by the bar and offered to let us crash at his place so we wouldn’t have to drive. I was a little nervous about it, but after telling him that I was on my period and that we were not going to have sex that night, my friend and I agreed to stay at his place. He said he was fine with the arrangement and we all left the bar.
The three of us hung out for a while and had a couple more drinks at his place before deciding it was time to crash. He told us that sleeping on the couch was not a good idea because his sister would be home early and that we should all three just sleep in his bed because it was king size and had plenty of room. I reminded him again that I was on my period and we would not be having sex that night and once again he said that was fine and my friend and I agreed to sleep in his bed. She had had quite a bit to drink and fell asleep very quickly and deeply. He was lying in between us and so while she slept he and I made out some. I told him once again that we couldn’t take it any further that night, but maybe next time and then I fell asleep, too.
The next thing I know, I wake up and he is on top of me.
He has moved my panties to the side (I was wearing a skirt) and is forcefully inserting himself inside of me. I am gripped with fear and stay completely still. I have no car and am in no way familiar with the part of town we are in so fleeing doesn’t seem logical at the time. In my mind I thought, what is going to happen is already happening and if I put up a fight it will only make things worse. So I just lied there pretending to still be passed out and he continued to rape me. He was unable to finish but eventually gave up and lied back in between me and my friend. She had not awoken during any of this and part of me was really glad because I thought that if she had then she might have put herself in danger. I was glad that I was the only victim that night.
In the morning I was very quiet and feigned that it was due to a hangover. He drove my friend and I back to our car and then we drove home. I did not want to tell my friend what had happened because I knew she would feel guilty, so I jokingly said, “Worst bodyguard ever, we totally made out,” and left it at that.
I dropped her off at her place and then went back to my parents’ house where I was living at the time. I went up to my room and closed to door and had a small cry about what happened. I didn’t let myself cry too much because in my mind I knew it was my fault. It was my fault for meeting someone off the internet. It was my fault for having too much to drink and it was my fault that I agreed to go to his house. ALL my fault. Not his fault for ignoring the several times I said I did not want to have sex that night. Not his fault for forcing himself on me while I was unconscious. Not his fault, mine.
After a while of mentally shaming myself I realized that when I had gone to the bathroom when I got home, I had inserted a tampon without having to remove one. Something was wrong about that because I knew that I had had one in when I’d gone to sleep the night before. That’s when I had the terrible realization, when he raped me he had forced the tampon deep inside me.
I went back to the bathroom and pulled out the new tampon I had just inserted and could not see a second string hanging out. I reached my fingers inside me and could not feel anything. I started to panic and sweat because I knew that it was in there and if I could not retrieve it myself I was going to have to go to the doctor and admit what had happened. Somehow that was more terrifying than what was happening right then. I took a deep breath and reached inside myself again as deep as I could and finally I felt it. I couldn’t find the string and I couldn’t get a good enough grip on it to be able to dislodge it. After about fifteen minutes of futile struggle I decided I had to try something else. I grabbed a pair of tweezers, stuck a finger in to try to figure the best way to guide them towards the tampon and then stuck them in my vagina, hoping they grabbed the tampon and not part of my body. After I felt like I had something, I pulled slowly as to not tear it until the tweezers were completely pulled out. Then I reached back in to see if it had moved. I repeated this process over and over for almost an hour before I finally got the tampon out.
I heaved huge breaths in and out in relief, partly simply because I had gotten it out, but mostly because it meant that I wouldn’t have to tell anyone what had happened to me.
I sat there on the toilet for a while just breathing and thinking about how close I was to having to tell my parents what had happened. I was so relieved that I wasn’t going to have to make my parents picture the ordeal I had endured the night before as well as moments ago. That is where my head was. Not, I can’t believe this guy did this to me. Not, I am so upset that I got raped last night. But, I am so glad that I do not have to shame myself in the eyes of my parents and the rest of the world. Today when I look back on that moment, I realize that those feelings are exactly what are wrong with rape culture.
Now, this is the part that I am sure will make a lot of people upset and probably make the victim blaming in my story go haywire, but this is what I did and I am going to share it. My actions will probably not make sense to most of you, but I did what I thought I had to do to get myself right with what happened to me.
I wanted to pretend that the entire incident had not happened, and even though I thought about it constantly, I kept up my outwards appearances and no one was the wiser.
Then, about a week later, I got a text message from him. He said he had a really great time and wanted to see me again. I was completely outraged that he had the audacity to message me after what he’d done. Then, I realized that he probably thought that because I hadn’t shown any sign of knowing what he’d done, that he thought I was completely unaware. I ignored the message. About another week after that, I got another message. They kept on coming, making it impossible for me to pretend that nothing had happened. So, I decided to respond.
I pretended like I didn’t know what he’d done but kept on making up excuses why we couldn’t meet up again hoping that he would lose interest. Despite my many times blowing him off and inventing fake plans, he kept persisting that we see each other again. So, I made a decision in my mind that I would see him again, and in order to officially not be raped by him, I would sleep with him voluntarily.
I had moved out of my parents’ place and back up to school, so I invited him to come over one night. I thought that if I slept with him on my terms that it would somehow undo the fact that he had forcibly had sex with me before. He came over, we had a couple drinks and I took him up to my room. I have never been so dominating in the bedroom as I was that night. I insisted on being on top the entire time, I told him not to talk and I tried to imagine that I was raping him back while we had sex. Once again, he couldn’t finish but eventually grew tired and we stopped. I lied next to him on the bed while he slept and rearranged everything in my head so that I was no longer a victim. If I had sex with him voluntarily, then there is no way that he raped me before. I am no longer a rape victim, and that’s what I fell asleep thinking.
He left in the morning and I still felt good about what I had done. I was no longer a victim. I no longer had to feel ashamed about what happened. I was a strong, independent woman who had chosen to have a one night stand. And for a while, this worked for me and I was able to let it go.
Now, nearly a decade later I found myself sobbing in bed next to my husband after reading about the lenient sentence given to Brock Turner. I was sobbing because it made me realize that I am part of the problem. I should have spoken up back then. I should have forced myself to go through the shame and horror of letting my family know what happened to me. I should have gone through the agonizing torture of reliving the event over and over while trying to bring this man to justice because by ignoring it and trying to erase it I have only left the door open for it to happen again to other women. I am so sorry to any other women out there who were victims of this man.
Victims are the worst victim blamers of all and that is why they stay silent. Letting Brock get off with almost no punishment is only going to increase how many women keep their mouths shut. What is the point of going through the perceived humiliation of admitting that you were corporally violated if there is no retribution for it? But maybe, just maybe, if all of us silent victims raise our voices, even to a whisper, society will start to shift and we can begin to be more confident in speaking up loudly when someone violates us so that sexual assault is no longer ignored by our own minds and by the world as a whole.