I Was Non-Violently Raped And I’m Not Sure How To Feel About It
The year 2002 was strange.
I internally refer to at as “shit 2002” because of a moment that impacted the year for me, something that I never spoke about, something I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about, but that I, objectively, knew to be a bad thing to happen to a person.
I think it was early, very early, the first day of 2002. I’m not sure what the time was, exactly. I was drunk and I wasn’t keeping check of passing time at that point. Who does after the countdown to midnight on a new year’s eve?
I hate that abstract indecipherably vague garbage like “something happened” and “this experience”. I suppose until recently it’s been difficult for me to name it, to name the moment. I’m not comfortable allocating a title to it, to be honest. And I know I’m feeding something terrible by not being forthcoming about what happened to me.
The Bill Cosby revelations have incensed me.
I tweeted: “Saying ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in rape claims like the #BillCosby horror is why 68% of sexual assaults aren’t reported to police.”
I am angered by it. I want people to hear that anger — obviously, because I bothered to join the #BillCosby conversation, courtesy of a hashtag.
And at the same time I feel like a knowing hypocrite for saying that.
That’s because I am a damn hypocrite. Because I’m one of those people who aren’t talking about it, but care so strongly about the fact that other people don’t do it. And I allocate blame to people like the Cosby apologists for preventing people from talking about that godawful, defining moment they’ve had to experience. Instead I could have been the person preventing that awful statistic I mentioned above from being so overwhelmingly, distressingly high.
I got raped on the night that the year 2001 turned into the year 2002.
So this is when I talk about it:
He was a fine guy. I was happily chatting to him and kissing him about the turn of the hour into a new year. We were in a public place. He was cute. There was a group of cute friends staying together who wanted to take the party back to their place. I was in. Cute guy I’d kissed, a bunch of friends doing similar stuff (I wasn’t the only girl there) - they all seemed like any other decent crew of early twenty-something people who could have been my life-long friends.
I went back to the place they were staying. Not because I was thinking it was a categorical sex-invite; just because it seemed like the next place everyone was going on New Year’s Eve.
I was really drunk — it was new years after all. But you know what? I was just really drunk. That’s just a fact, actually. Who cares? I had been drunk before.
The cute guy took me for a tour of the house. When we got to a bedroom (a barely-furnished, vibe-less, holiday rental style situation with no decor except for a double bed with gripping white industrial hospitality sheets and generic framed painting of a coastal scene on one wall) — I was thrown on the bed. It started with laughing and chatter.
But then he went for the white top that I had fashioned as an appropriate outfit earlier that day (I think it was made out of a catering apron. It was 2001/2 and I was a student). It was all a bit fast. He then went for my jeans. Started to pull them off at first. I said: “no, leave them on” for a long time. He kept trying to peel them off me while I scrambled.
It was the first time I felt a bit out of control. Then, while smiling, he started trying to take my underwear off. They were standard black cotton undies. Not ones you want to be wearing when someone else is taking them off.
Now I was near naked. And he was pulling my underwear and I was saying “please don’t”. I was trying to cover myself with my hands and that was about as much as I could protect myself, I suppose. But then it happened and that’s it. It wasn’t violent. I wasn’t bruised. And I’m sorry if that’s too much or too confronting or too much detail. But I guess this is the real version of it that is worth hearing because it was too much and is too confronting and that’s the reality of what happens.
I don’t remember it well.
I left and walked out onto the street.
Someone ran out of the house and gave me my stupid little perforated clutch bag back. I had left it there, presumably in my haste to leave after that happened. Strangely, someone — not the guy — but someone knew to run it down the walk from the house to me, where I was sitting in stunned tears. It was dismissive. That’s okay. I sat there.
Later — but not much later, some of my favourite people found me. I was crying on the curb. That was a coincidence that they came along. I was guarded and vague about what had happened.
There was no moment taken to accept the experience that had been had; the something that had been done. I’m not weak, I thought.
I never said anything. I got the tests done. It was fine.
How do I feel? I’m not sure I know.
I should feel so strongly about “it”. I don’t feel haunted or traumatised or like my life has been dictated by that moment. I simply don’t. But I hate myself for not being that person at the time - the person I would want any other woman or girl or man or boy who was raped to feel they could be. The person who talked about it, who didn’t feel shame about it. Who wasn’t quiet and closed and private about something that is so much better brought out in the open.
I am frustrated and disappointed that, maybe in some way, my silence wasted time for other people and added to a culture of shame and denial, and unaccountability for the ones who are enabled to do it.
I should have said something.
I never will do nothing again.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted and need a person to speak to hit me up here. Or contact your nearest clinic or call centre for victims of violence and sexual assault. Or go to the cops. DO go to the cops.