I didn’t think that would ever happen to me
*This is an unusually long post and pretty personal but thank you so so much for reading…
I’ve been having a bit of a writers block lately. More like a block in all aspects of my life. And it sort of has to do with something that happened to me about a month ago. And now I’m seeing more examples of it every other day.
A couple weeks ago I was raped. By a friend. By someone I trusted.
He texted me after I got out of work and asked if he could come over for a few minutes while his roommates got ready to go to the mall. I told him “Sure, I just got out of work so I’m going to go home and shower real quick but I’ll leave the front door unlocked and be down in a few minutes”, I figured that he would take that as “please sit downstairs and I’ll be down when I am done.” For some reason, he took it as “come into the shower with me.” I didn’t lock the bathroom door because, silly me, I figured he wouldn’t come in. By the way, I live with two guys who I ALWAYS feel safe with and they have NEVER come in the bathroom when I’m in the shower. But yet, he barged into the shower and started groping me. I asked him to stop multiple times, trying to hide the growing worry from my face. But he just kept going. I eventually realized that the only way he would stop was to just let it happen. When he was done he walked out of the bathroom and I immediately sunk to the floor of the shower and started crying. I honestly didn’t really understand what had just happened but I knew that I asked him to stop repeatedly and he wouldn’t.
I kept going back and forth with myself for days and weeks. Do I trust my feelings and realize that he’s to blame? Or do I trust the societal norm and believe that I was somehow asking for it? Did I make a mistake by saying I would be in the shower? Should I have literally said “Sit on the couch in the living room until I’m done”?
I didn’t think it was a big deal until recently. I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Honestly, I never thought it would happen to me. I mean, does anyone? I thought it was something that happened to some people, but not me. No way could it happen to me. I have always had guy friends and never once have I been worried about whether they would hurt me or not.
Which is why, a week later, I didn’t feel worried going to meet some friends who I hadn’t seen in a couple years. One of them is this guy whom I used to work with and haven’t seen in a while and the other was a friend who I hadn’t seen since Freshman year too so it was nice to see them and catch up.
I could tell that they had been drinking for a little bit already but they didn’t seem out of control. I was on my second Bud Light when the guy I used to work with randomly put his hand down the back of my pants. I was in the middle of talking to a friend from back home who was in town visiting his girlfriend when this happened, and I was focused on saying hi and seeing how they were doing. I excused my extremely embarrassed self from the conversation and ripped his unwelcome, drunk hand out of the back of my jeans. Being the nice, trusting person I am, I politely told him to stop (which he did) and went on having fun and drinking with them. We ended up going to another bar which was closer to my house pretty soon after that. The person I used to work with was pretty trashed at this point, so I stopped drinking so I could be sure to keep myself safe (funny how I need to make sure I don’t get assaulted, instead of guys just not assaulting).
We were all just sitting at the bar having a good time. Except, my attention was fixated on the hands that wouldn’t stop rubbing my legs. The same guy was touching me again but I didn’t want to cause a scene or bring attention to myself so I just kept brushing his hands off…figuring that he would be able to take a hint.
Then I saw my escape. Across the bar staring right back at me was one of my good friends from work. I was thanking the little baby Jesus at this point. I gave him the “COME-SAVE-ME” eyes across the bar and he came right over. Luckily he already knew the guys I was with and was able to diffuse the situation without them realizing it. After hanging out for a few more minutes I was ready to leave and my saving grace from was able to walk me home since he lived right down the street.
All of this happened a few weeks ago. I don’t think about the drunk guy groping me at the bar often, but the one who came into the shower is still pretty clear in my mind. I’m not angry at him, I’m not upset or depressed about it. I have struggled enough over the past 7 years to learn to love myself and stop thinking I’m worthless. I wont let someone’s crap decision make me feel bad about myself.
But I do keep wondering… Did he realize what he was doing to me? Do some guys really, truly, honestly think that no can mean yes? Is he really that brainwashed by society into thinking this kind of behavior is okay?
Unfortunately I’m going to have to choose the later for the explanation. Girls keep getting told to walk in groups, keep an eye on each other, don’t take drinks from strangers, and don’t wear that super short skirt out at night. Which I totally agree with, whatever you can do to feel safer, do it. But why are we are constantly taught that it’s going to come from a creepy man in a dark alley, or a stranger who “roofied” your drink at the bar? And we aren’t always taught that it can be a friend who you actually trusted while in the “safety” of your own home.
We are so conditioned to think that women need to make the effort to avoid being raped or sexually harassed or assaulted, yet we can’t figure out how to just teach people to not rape…period. Just don’t do it. What’s so hard about that? No honestly means no.
I’m sorry for such a depressing blog post. But this has been weighing on my heart lately and I just needed to get it out there. I didn’t write this to get sympathy or as a cry for help. I am okay. To my family (some of whom are hearing about this for the first time), I’m okay, really. I’m fine. Yeah, I’m a little emotionally hurt and was messed up for a little bit but I’m okay now.
Unfortunately, I have no idea how to help solve this problem that is such a norm for so many people (men and women). Not many people who go through this will speak up… in fact, most don’t. Luckily for me, I don’t have a problem with being an open book and I don’t mind talking about something that might make others uncomfortable.
Since this happened, I have talked to 3 of my very best friends, all of whom said something similar has happened to them. Can you believe it? I think I read somewhere that one in four women will be sexually assaulted before graduating college, yet here are FOUR women, all whom have been assaulted. That’s just flat out gross.
If you or someone you know needs help or to talk to anyone, please call the Safe Helpline for Sexual Assault at 877–995–5247 or visit their website.
*I didn’t include the names of the guys involved because this post isn’t about them. I ask that you please do not ask me about them or any details from these nights. What I’ve written is all I’ll say about it. I just wanted to bring awareness to something that happens daily on college campuses and around the world.
**Also, this is a pretty awesome documentary, check it out.