I didn’t report my rape because I don’t know if it happened.
I was in my late teens, and going through a tough transitional period. Most of my friends had moved away or we had grown apart. I was lonely, had low self-esteem and was desperate for a new circle of friends. I met A in a college history class and we hit it off. We started hanging out, and into the early days of it, she invited me to a party at a friend’s house that evening. I was trying to get out more, meet new people, and I wanted to meet guys. It seemed like the perfect chance to do all that.
We drove to a house, where two guys lived, real muscle-heads, not my usual sort at all. They were older, by how much is hard to say. Three, four years?
On a table in the kitchen was a lot of hard liquor… I think I remember there being mostly vodka. We started to drink. I remember doing shots, I remember drinking a lot… but this was during my brief drinking period and I didn’t think I had drank so much that I would black out, which I had never before done. I did though. I blacked out. I remember very little of that night. I remember drinking in the beginning, I remember the layout of the house. The only brief memory that seemed to really stick in my mind? I remember I was sitting on the lap of one of the two guys, A was with the other one. I kissed him and he said, “I don’t kiss on the first date.”
That’s the last thing I remember from that night. I woke up the next morning in his bed, fully clothed, but with my jeans unzipped and unbuttoned. He was laying next to me.
I got up, I asked what happened last night. He said they found me passed out on the bathroom floor with my pants at my knees, and had put me in his bed to sleep. I felt okay… but I couldn’t remember anything from the night before. I asked A what happened, she said she wasn’t sure, she had been very drunk too. I remembered the kiss, I remembered what he said. I shrugged it off. I figured whatever had happened had happened and there was nothing I could do about it now. At the time, I figured if anything HAD happened, it was my own fault, and from my brief memory, I was content to believe he wouldn’t have done anything.
A and I’s brief friendship lasted only a little while after that. We fell out of touch, I completely lost contact with her. I can’t even remember the guy’s name, I never saw him again after that one night, and I am not sure where the house they lived in is. Years later, and recently, doubts and worries crept into my mind, resurfaced by the Steubenville rape. What had really happened while I was unconscious, blacked out? I had been in his bed, pants undone… had he touched me? Fondled me? Worse was the paralyzing fear which sprang into my mind, years after the fact–what if there were pictures? Video? I suffered panic attacks, depression. Could I really have gotten so lucky, as to wind up so vulnerable in the bed of a stranger who wouldn’t take advantage of me? What if this could come back to haunt me? I desperately searched for A, wanting answers, but couldn’t find a trace of her, not even to this day. I realized I may never know. At this point, I hope I never do know… because to not know, means that maybe, it didn’t happen.
If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.
Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.