Author: Anonymous Middlebury College Student
I had always prided myself on what I thought of as “growing up gracefully,” something I’m sure is largely a product of my fortunate upbringing. When it came to experimenting with alcohol and sexual adventures, I took calculated baby steps dependent on my comfort level. I always felt prepared and ready for whatever came my way.
It wasn’t until August 24th 2012, that I felt I had fallen flat on my face. I had been living in a frat at Northwestern for the past couple months. We had made out on a few occasions early on, but as signs of your reputation for being handsy and overly aggressive began to show through, I became a little uneasy around you, and so I moved on. Over a month of platonic coexistence in the house had passed, and things seemed pretty OK.
But I started this night with too much alcohol. What they say about long island iced teas are true. I was wearing a crop top that showed off my brand new naval piercing. I was being flirtatious and enjoying my sexuality.
Fast forward to the end of the night and I’m slumped over on a couch at a friend’s house. I’ve never felt this drunk or this sick. I’m not sure what’s really going on around me, but I overhear someone tell another to not let you near me, which sticks out in my mind as a warning I should remember.
Everyone decides to get Burger King on our way home. As I sit waiting in pain, you come over and ask if I’m all right, you promise you’ll take me home. I can still hear the voice’s warning from earlier, but I want nothing more than to be in my bed, and all good judgment has escaped me. I stumble along as I walk home, and you give me your hand for balance. Halfway home, you turn and lean in for a kiss. I dodge it, mumbling that I don’t feel well and I just want to go home. I think this is polite but clear. When we finally, after what feels like hours, make it to my room on the fourth floor, I say “Thank you; you should go to your own room now.” I think this is polite but clear.
But you didn’t listen. You never really listened. Instead you followed me into my room, and when I crashed onto my bed, you followed me again. Everything is hazy, and my eyes can hardly stay open. I remember being pinned on my back with you mostly on top of me. I remember your hands and lips were moving too quickly for me. I remember shaking my head side to side in slow motion with all the limited energy I had left, I remember trying with all my might to find the words “no” over and over again. But I was fading quickly, and I think only a couple of them were audible. The last thing I remember before slipping into unconsciousness is the overwhelming feeling of being trapped.
When I rolled over in the morning, my pants were unzipped and you were gone. You would later tell me that I yelled at you to get away from me in the middle of the night. It was what I had been trying desperately to say the whole time, but only able to voice too late.
After I inquire, you would also tell me there’s no way you could have had sex with me, could have raped me, because you were too drunk. I don’t know how I’m supposed to trust your faulty memory, but I like that answer better than the alternative. You would later tear up and panic as I recounted what you’d done.
But you don’t know the half of what you’ve done. You violated MY space and MY body, but what you did to me on the inside is far worse. You RUINED me. You took a happy, confident, and outgoing girl, and turned her into someone who felt frightened, small, and helpless. I did a damn good job at hiding it from the world, but I was broken. I hated you for this, but I blamed myself more. It was me that lost control after all. It was me who had flirted and it was me who wore suggestive clothing. I was “asking for it” wasn’t I?
In the beginning of the summer, a fraternity brother had told me that if someone sees me running in street clothes, they will look behind me for an attacker. But too often, the attacker is the one walking us home, not chasing us. It’s never black and white. So maybe I wasn’t clear enough, maybe you’re incapable of reading signs. I never said anything because I didn’t want to cause trouble, especially with such blurred lines. But the damage is crystal clear, and sometimes my loving boyfriend’s hands still feel like yours.