He doesn’t even know. He doesn’t know how deeply he hurt me. Probably doesn’t think he did a single thing wrong. He’s not on campus now and there’s nothing to show for the internal pain he caused me. But it’s there, and the way he treated me then has impacted my relationship with someone I love very much.
On a weekend night during my second semester at Middlebury, I found myself reading a text from a senior guy I barely knew: “This is _________ and I want your bod.” Followed 4 minutes later by “Sorry my friend is not funny.”
I didn’t really know what to think; especially because I was pretty uncomfortable with the idea that he ‘wanted my bod,’ even if it was his friend who phrased it that way.
But I was curious to see where it could go. With the support of some friends (“he seems like a really nice guy, he wouldn’t hurt you”), I met him at the Grille. And then my first kiss was gone.
We walked hand in hand to his room in Porter and I said, “I feel like you should probably know, I’ve never really made out with anyone before.”
“What do you mean you’ve never made out before?”
And he was gentle that time, took things slow. I’ll give him that much.
The second time we “hung out,” he asked for sex. I reminded him I had never even hooked up with anyone before the one other time with him. “That’s ok, you don’t have to give a reason.”
Then he repeatedly asked for a blow job: “It’s not that difficult, just try it.” The idea was terrifying, so I told him no, and that I didn’t think I’d be very good at it. Exasperated, he stopped kissing me, looking me in the eye: “Are you sure you don’t want to give me a blow job? Just try it.”
The next time he came over, I finally gave in. The entire time, I ached inside. My heart hurt. “Deeper. Go deeper. Thaaat’s it.” I wanted to throw up. Besides the fact that I was nowhere near ready nor comfortable with having his penis in my mouth, I cringed at the way he coerced me. It was the most demeaning and degrading interaction I have ever experienced. After that, he made it clear he wanted me to “practice,” and only after I expressed that I didn’t want to keep going (and said no to sex again) did he suggest we go out on a date.
When I tried to pay for dinner, he said “No, no that’s not how this works.” Apparently his understanding of how it worked was that paying for my dinner like a gentleman would win me over for sex.
I found out later he had been hooking up with two other girls during the time I thought he was interested in me. I really should have known.
From the standpoint of a girl who is now in a serious relationship with someone who actually does have a tremendous amount of respect for me, while he-who-must-not-be-named really did seem like a “nice guy” in all other contexts, he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew what he wanted and he knew that it did not match what I wanted, but he strung me along like a piece in a game anyway.
I debated writing this story because it does not involve overt violence or rape. But even so, what happened has caused significant psychological blocks that unexpectedly bring me back to that moment of fear, disgust, and shame to the point of uncontrollable tears. If this memory causes me such pain, I cannot even imagine the ordeals that authors of other stories read tonight have faced.
I decided to submit my story in order to let it be known that extreme cases of sexual violence are not the only instances of sexual harassment that leave an impact. SO many other hurtful interactions happen here all the time. It’s not just a matter of violence or not. It’s a matter of giving a shit about someone and treating them in a way that honors them as a person.
Forcing any kind of sexual favor on someone is not something to be proud of. I believe that in the context of such a strong hookup culture, both men and women should be aware of how important it is to have respect for each other, even for the most random or drunken of hookups.
Author: Anonymous Middlebury College Student