I was drunk as hell when it happened.
Intoxicated, powerless, body limp, mind slipping out of consciousness. I was a breath away from passing out when I felt an unwelcome presence trespass the privacy I thought I had in my friend’s room. I thought I had locked the door; I was mistaken.
He was a friend of my friend, a long-time member of a prominent fraternity in our country. I’d known him for about two hours before the incident; he was a complete stranger. And suddenly he was there, lying next to me. He had slipped in my friend’s room after the party.
“Will anyone be mad?” he asked while inching closer to me.
Go away. No, I don’t want to. Go away. Go away. Leave me alone.
I remember mumbling these words over and over. I didn’t know him, and I most certainly did not want to have sex with him.
He ignored my protests and thought it was okay to proceed, seeing we were both drunk. I turned my back on him and buried my face on the pillow, all the while telling him to go away. He didn’t stop; he was too strong for me. My side of the bed was against the wall, so I couldn’t roll off to escape. His entire weight pinned me down. I didn’t have enough strength to push him off me even though I had both my hands against his chest in a feeble attempt to create a sort of barrier between us and protect myself from the assault. My arms felt like jelly; I was too, too weak. Despite my weakened state, I didn’t stop resisting and pushing him away. It felt like a foreign object was forcing itself inside me, again and again and again. It was revolting beyond belief.
I was raped that night.
I couldn’t remember his face the morning after. And up until now, over six years later, I still couldn’t recall what he looked like. I try to, but all my mind can come up is a blur. Maybe that’s how the mind works when it tries to shut off a terrible memory.
I spent a long time blaming myself for what happened. I hated myself for getting drunk that night. I thought it was my fault for putting myself in that situation; I hated that I let myself become an easy victim of a sex-hungry predator. I think I probably hated and blamed my younger self more than the man who actually raped me.
Until now, a lump forms in my throat when I remember that night. I still fall silent and lower my eyes to the floor each time the subject of rape is raised during conversations with friends or discussions with colleagues. I haven’t forgotten, and I never will.
This is actually the first time I had enough courage to write about the incident. And I’m doing this because I think it’s time for me to stop blaming myself. Writing down this dark memory seemed like the best way to let it go. Eventually.
I want to say thank you to all the brave women who’ve come forward in light of the Elliot Rodger shooting to remind the rest of us that it isn’t our fault. It is empowering to read all the tweets and articles defending women against abuse.
It gives me strength to know that I am not alone.
It makes me realize, little by little, that it wasn’t about what I was wearing or how drunk I was when I was raped. It gives me the courage to say it wasn’t my fault when people use the alcohol card. It makes me brave enough to finally say that it was his fault for taking advantage of my weakened state. As I write this, I feel more and more liberated of the ghost that has haunted me for the past six years.
It was never our fault. It’s time to set ourselves free.