[Disclaimer: this post discusses sexual assault. Though it is not explicit, it does contain descriptions of my memories from the night that could be triggering.]
“Kendra the Collapsible emerges at last,” that certain someone said with a smirk, followed by a kinder smile.
“I’m so sorry,” I said, leaning on the doorframe to keep myself from falling over.
“It’s okay; we all do stupid things when we’re drunk. Though, I am going to make fun of you for making out with my dad.”
“I WAS NOT MAKING OUT WITH HIM!!! There was no tongue involved, he just kissed me. It was parental!”
After the last two nights, he would have had every right to simply write me off, tell me I was dead to him, and never talk to me again. That last night he’d put me to bed no less than five times; three of those times he had to physically put me into bed and tuck me in. I wouldn’t stay there because I was afraid to be alone.
“Look,” I said, surprised that he was still listening to me, “I needed to talk to your niece about something that I never should have discussed while we were drinking. I…”
“Reliving bad memories?” He asked in a softer voice.
That’s exactly what had happened. It had been almost four months and I was finally cracking. Over that weekend, I simply broke.
On April 17th I went out with a friend to jokingly celebrate my unemployment (or new freedom, as he called it) and the fact that I was finally well after weeks on end of various obscure illnesses. It seemed like the right thing to do on a Sunday night since usually I’d be going to bed early in preparation for the Monday weigh-in and the impending work week.
This friend was someone I had gone out with a few times at my mother’s insistence, but I had realized quickly that I had no romantic feelings for him and told him plainly that I just wanted to be friends. He said he was okay with that. We had become good friends quickly and spent hours walking around the city, talking about whatever came to mind. I trusted him.
That night we talked at his place for a few hours and then decided to check out one of the new clubs down the street. He’s one of those hip, wealthy urbanites who live right in the thick of it all. At the club we sat and talked while sipping 44 North. While alternating between dancing and talking, I noticed that a few other men were taking note of us.
I left to go use the bathroom and started a new drink when I returned. Suddenly, things became very disconnected.
I was laying there on the couch when a bouncer came up to see if I was okay. I told him that I was waiting for my friend.
I was playfully running down the street.
I was suddenly in his bed, wearing only my pants; he was doing something I thought felt good but that I didn’t think he should be doing.
I have a memory of him at some point taking off my pants as I said, “No, we can’t be doing this.”
I have a two short moments of when the sex was actually happening.
The next moment I became aware of was some point after the fact. I don’t know how long after. I finally became fully aware that unprotected sex had just happened and was livid. I got up, said “I didn’t want to do that,” got dressed, and left. I sort of remember him asking me why we shouldn’t have done it and him saying something about sex being natural but it’s vague, fuzzy, and possibly my imagination trying to fill in the blanks.
The moment I got outside I suddenly had the urge to have sex with someone else. I didn’t understand at the time that I was trying to regain control; I just felt like a slut. I texted two of my guy friends, neither of which replied, so I called one of them. He was too asleep to talk so I gave up. It was 4:00am after all.
I don’t know how I got home, I might have taken a cab but I probably walked. The next moment I remember is standing outside my apartment building texting the most provocative thing I could think of to my certain someone just because I was hoping for some response. I knew that he’d be awake but I wasn’t sure if he would be too busy. He didn’t respond.
I don’t remember going inside or going to bed.
The next morning I woke up, still fully clothed, furious with myself for letting that happen. I couldn’t conceive what would have made me choose to do that. I mean, I had just stopped taking my birth control, I was still bleeding badly, I was in love with someone else, and I had made it clear that I only wanted to be friends. As I walked to the bus to meet friends for lunch I agonized over what I remembered and tried to put the pieces together. Standing at the bus stop, though, I suddenly realized that I had no idea how I let that happen because I had no idea about what happened for most of the night.
I didn’t choose to let it happen.
I was raped.
The word rape couldn’t have hit me harder if I had been donkey kicked in the stomach with it. In the middle of downtown Seattle, I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I fought to stay present as nausea consumed me.
Given the aforementioned circumstances, I never would have made that decision. I was past my phase of “Is it hot? Does it have a penis and a healthy 401K? Than I’ll fuck it” that I all too publically aired. I was being careful now with both my heart and my safety.
I faked my way through lunch, got Plan B, and intended to never tell anyone what had happened. That lasted until I realized that I had just walked several miles without any memory of it. I knew I was off and that I had to be honest.
Having not showered yet or cleaned the clothing from the night before, I contemplated whether or not to report it. I walked past the police station several times but ultimately knew that I wasn’t going to go in. I didn’t feel like I made a credible victim given all that I had done in the previous few months and the fact that I had bruises on my wrists, hip, and thigh from that Friday night spent with my certain someone. I had none from that night.
Also, I just wanted it to go away. I didn’t want to be a victim again. I had played that part and I didn’t want to reprise the role. I was finally happy and starting to build the life I wanted. Things were good.
I told my mom and my closest friends and then I buried it. I was going to be strong and get on with things. I did damage control with the friends I had texted that night and made sure they understood that it wasn’t actually an option. My certain someone just thought that the texts I sent to him were funny. He informed me as such the next weekend as he pulled me in his arms and whispered, “I like it when you sext me.” All I could do was blush and giggle. I never wanted him to know what happened. I didn’t want him to see that when he looked me.
Yet, I became erratic. My anxiety flared. I drank far too much. I mostly stopped posting because I didn’t know how to be emotionally honest without telling the story. I couldn’t be alone. I coped in ways that were self destructive. I wouldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Then, a few weeks ago, I broke. I lost it.
This whole time I’ve felt like my experience wasn’t valid because I don’t remember enough of it to properly tell the story. I don’t have all the pieces to put back together. The loss of power terrified me. The loss of memory terrified me; I don’t drink enough to black out, except for the absinthe incident. I felt like it was my fault. Because of all the mistakes I had made a few months before, I felt like I had gotten what was coming to me; karma coming back around. My changed behavior didn’t matter because I had to pay for the past.
Apparently these are common feelings but they’re also wrong. No one ever deserves to be raped, no matter what they’ve done.
I decided that it was time to unearth the secret and destroy its power over me. I’ve told several people over the last two weeks and now I’m telling you. I won’t let it continue to break me and I won’t hide from the fact that recovery is extremely messy. Healthy habits are not currently my forte and I’m struggling, but I’m bringing it out into the light. I’m destroying the secret.
On April 17th I was raped.
[About the heading Skanky Tuesday: If you have not been reading long, you may not be familiar with Skanky Tuesday. Originally I started the feature to discuss body image issues, childhood sexual abuse, sex, or anything I deemed dirty (funny or not). This post fits directly into that category and that’s why I used the heading, not because I think that being raped is skanky.]
Wow, Kendra, it is so hard to know what to say. I wish instead I could hug you. I feel so bad for you, so mad (take that back, I feel so MAD)! I’m glad you’re taking these baby steps toward recovery and I hope that you’ll do more. We can’t always do it alone (or even with family/blogging friends). There is help out there for you. It has happened to so many women and they are a wonderful support group too. I know you said this, but I’m not sure you believe it yet: It. Is. Not. Your. Fault. Not in any way, shape or form. Even if you were the drunkest you have ever been in your life. Even if you’d screwed the whole Eight Fleet the night before. Not your fault.
Have you thought that you may have been drugged? The symptoms, the memory loss, all sound like some kind of date rape drug. You’d left your drink alone.
Take care of yourself, get help, and get healthy.
You know, I go back and forth on the whole issue of whether or not I think I was drugged. Really, I don’t know and I never will so it seems better to just call it a moot point.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate the support.