Trigger Warning: This piece contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and rape. The word R*** is not censored in the piece itself. It also contains references to illness and injury.
When I was sixteen a girl in my year said she had been raped by a friend. She never gave any details except that it went to court. Everybody- Everybody- said she was lying. At the time I had a niggling feeling about it, but it wasn’t until years later that I thought, If only a minuscule amount of rape cases lead to an investigation, let alone a court case there must have been some pretty solid evidence.
This girl did not fit properly into the role of victim, which in Western Culture means the assaulted person must be impeccable. She drank and smoked at 12. She said nasty things and she got into fights. She came from a troubled background.
I believe her. I wish I’d said to her then, I believe you.
Maybe then when my own time came, somebody would have said to me,
I believe you too.
I can’t talk about it in real life. My brain doesn’t want to process it or think of it as rape. It falls too much into the category of But Maybe. Or, maybe he was drunk too. Or, but he was my friend.
He was. He wasn’t a particularly good friend as I recall but we had known each other since we were 12 or 13. He came from a troubled background, too. The usual. He seemed safe.
I hate how safe he seemed.
I am writing this bit to make myself fit better into the narrative I want. I am writing this because I have a sexual dysfunction that results from trauma and it wasn’t even violent. I am writing this because I am scared of what people think of me. I am writing this because this wasn’t the first time I had a ‘grey’ encounter. It’s too elusive. Too elusive means pain. I’m already in pain.
I have an extremely low tolerance for alcohol. Normally this means people get drunk faster. It is inherited from my Mother and both my sisters have it.
It means when I drink (which I don’t anymore, incidentally) I am completely incoherent. I might say yes to things I don’t really want. I become, essentially, paralytic. I can still talk, but I’m not especially aware of what’s going on.
He knew this. He was my friend. Friends know things about each other
I don’t know how much or even what I had to drink. I remember kissing him, or him kissing me and me not saying no. He asked if I wanted to have sex. I said no, no no. He kept asking. I was tired. I said no again and then gave in. I remember telling somebody a long time later that I felt something was going to happen, that at some point the question became a non-issue.
I didn’t know how to say NO enough to be convincing. I was so frail, back then. Vulnerable, I suppose.
I remember nothing except the no and that it hurt. I remember being surprised at how much it hurt. I don’t think he finished. I remember blood.
It was tearing me in and later it would tear me up.
He never spoke to me like a friend again.
He always said it didn’t happen
He said nobody believed me anyway.
I didn’t know it was anything but normal until over a year afterward. Nobody told me it might be rape and I had no frame of reference. So I thought it was just, you know.
When you ask a woman why she kept talking to/being friends with her rapist, consider this:
If I told myself it wasn’t rape then it was just bad sex.
If I told myself it wasn’t rape we were just friends having a fight
If I told myself it wasn’t rape then my best friend dating him was just her being able to move past it. Mature.
I never wanted him to go to jail. I’ve never told anybody about how it really was. Not only because nobody would believe me- they wouldn’t- but because I can’t. I
I was a virgin.
I casually saw a man years after this. He hurt me. When I told him to be gentle he wouldn’t.
Another time I was called weak when I couldn’t handle a fist.
Yes, I ask the same question a million women ask:
Why do they do this to us
Because they can. Because they can convince our best friends, our parents, our sisters and our friends and teachers that what they did was normal, or the trade off for supporting a victim is not worth it. Worst of all are the ones who would defend a victim theoretically, who agree that if a person has sex with another person while person 2 is incapacitated, that’s rape, but never in real life, or men who would defend their girlfriends with their fists but only if they could be completely sure.
Rapists thrive on silence while inside victims are thinking ‘rape? rape?? rape?’ over and over and over.
I tried to be his friend. We went on double dates, he and my bestfriend, myself and my beautiful boyfriend, who didn’t know until just recently.
Do you know what I wished?
I wished he would drop dead on the floor.
I can only write this because when I told the story to my new doctor she frowned at me and wrote down in my files previous sexual assault.
She knew it wasn’t right
She saw how I reacted when she pressed the cold instrument against my thigh and it jumped and screamed too get away from its touch.
What did I do?