I don’t remember. I can’t remember; it’d be impossible even if I tried, even if I truly wanted to. But part of me is glad I don’t, another part thinks it might be better to at least have a sense of what went down between those four walls, that blue bed spread, and my forcefully opened legs. I was way too gone, too drunk to probably even recognize myself in the mirror.
Last I remember I woke up naked at 3 A.M. in the common room down the hall. I was dazed and confused, don’t ask me how, but I got up and walked down door-by-door until I recognized your name on a typical college nametag next to your roommate’s. I opened it and walked over to your bed and got inside, and wrapped myself around those blue sheets, while you squirmed to make room for me.
Your alarm rang early in the morning, you probably told me you had an early class, but how would I know, if I can’t even remember how I got here? I was too embarrassed to expose myself as you walked over to get dressed, so I stayed wrapped in your blue sheets, ironically feeling safe in the place where I was anything but that. It happened again and this time I remember, just not why I decided to do it, or why I even considered doing it. You left for the bathroom and I lay staring at the ceiling thinking about nothing, not understanding what had just happened.
So I asked you about the night before when you came back, fully groomed in grey sweat pants ready for your 8 A.M. class. But you felt uncomfortable; I could tell by the way you tried to avoid eye contact, even after I had sat up on your bed, sheets still around me, clothes nowhere to be seen. I said the word “first,” and if there’s anything I remember clearly is you stopping midway while packing your bag as the word left my tongue. “Don’t play dumb, you know what happened…it happened.”
I didn’t, I truly didn’t. And you didn’t believe that, or the fact that you were my first, or the fact that I had woken up naked in your common room in the middle of the night. So that leads me to believe that you probably didn’t believe I was drunk enough the night before, wasted, blacked out, and that I had no way of telling you whether I wanted it to happen or not.
Or maybe, you believed I was drunk enough to get what you wanted, a few seconds-yes people, seconds-of hot sex and a few hours of sleep next to another one of your conquests. Who knows, I bet you don’t remember half of it either. You begged me to stay before you left, you knew I had class later, but you offered me breakfast anyways.
But how could I stay when I didn’t feel like I truly belonged, when I didn’t even feel like myself? I wanted to crawl out of my skin, to shed it and leave everything that happened behind. So I dragged over to grab my clothes, got dressed, and walked flushed and hurriedly for twenty minutes until I got back home.
Everything hurt, from the pit in my stomach, to the walls of my uterus. I vomited as my friend held my hair and the tears rolled down my cheeks. “It’s okay, calm down. It honestly doesn’t mean a thing, I swear.” And to some extent she was right. I started feeling much better after a long nap, after I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and blaming myself for everything. I felt much more relieved after I stopped regretting not telling my best friend I was too drunk to go home with this guy, after I stopped regretting going to the bar with them in the first place. But now I realize how truly bad it was; sure it doesn’t define me and I am never going to let it define me, and maybe if it happened to you, and it doesn’t define you either because you haven’t let it, but it does say a hell of a lot about our society.
If she is too drunk, keep her safe. If he is too drunk, keep him safe. If she’s wearing something provocative, she’s not asking for it. If he buys you a drink, he’s not asking for it.
Ask for consent; make sure you re both on the same page. Because if not, one day you’ll find yourself crying at a nurse’s office taking Plan B and praying to God everything will be alright while he’s sitting in calculus thinking about numbers and not about you. One day you’ll feel the need to text her not to know how she is doing, but to know if there’s something you should be worried about, like an STD or maybe a baby. One day your friend will hug you tightly, another one will look at you sympathetically and you’ll have to lie and say you’re all right while you cry yourself to sleep that night. One night you’ll see her at a friend’s house and you’ll feel forced to show her you’re actually a good guy who just wanted to get laid.
And one day you’ll find yourself thinking about how truly awful it was, and you’ll have to write about it, to save yourself from blaming yourself all over again, and to hopefully let others know there is no excuse when it comes to rape.