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Still Unable to Tell People

What I remember from that night is feeling flattered that someone older was paying attention. I was underage in a bar. I don’t remember much after that except three men carrying me into a motel room, all at least ten years older. One was the owner of the bar, who was at least 20 years older. I only vaguely remember that. I woke up in the morning next to a man who told me nothing happened, but I had an odd recollection of some kind of sexual act. I felt tremendous shame because I was a “nice” girl and now I could see a neon “MOTEL” light blinking through the curtain. I don’t know when the other two men left or if anything had happened with them. I just knew that we were there with no car and needed a ride. I was too ashamed to call any of my friends so his friend came to get us, one of the men from the night before.

His friend didn’t drop me off first and that made me very nervous. I didn’t know why he’d want to drop his friend off before me. He drove in the opposite direction of my house telling me he needed to get something from his house before taking me home. When he pulled up he turned off the car. I told him I’d wait and tried to say it in a breezy way like I didn’t know he expected me to come in. He looked at me and told me to come in that he would be a minute or two. The sad part is I knew one of his neighbors. I could have went there, but I was so ashamed and I was nervous that my parents would realize I never came home the night before and that I’d be in trouble.

I went in and he made a pass at me that I tried to reject but he made it clear that he was not asking. There was a handgun on the table next to him and he pushed my head down in his lap. I remember being scared and also horrified that this older man’s penis was in my mouth. He seemed annoyed that I wasn’t enjoying it and eventually pushed my head away and pulled up his pants.

He drove me home and my mother was waiting. Instead of being worried that I had gone out the night before with my sister and friends and was the only one to not come home, she screamed at me and accused me of being wild and out of control despite the fact that I was a pretty good kid. I felt ashamed and her not being worried confirmed what I had already felt about myself. That I deserved anything that had happened. Good girls don’t put themselves in a position to be sexually assaulted by men let alone a group of men. Of course it was my fault.

That night my sister and our friends were going back out to that bar. One of the men was the bouncer. I made an excuse not to go but my mother was upset that I wasn’t going to go out with my friends. She wanted me to start acting like a normal social teenager. I did not want to face those men but my mother who had treated me like a wild child was now treating me like a social misfit. I went and confided to my sister and friends on the way there hoping they’d support me. For some sad reason the only support I was seeking was for them to choose another bar but they didn’t. My sister told me to stop seeking attention. My friend told me that the bouncer had really liked me, but I had probably ruined it by being with his friend. We got to the bar and it was humiliating walking in past the bouncer who pretended to look through me. My other friend must have confronted one of them because he stormed over to me and screamed for the entire bar to hear that I had fucked his friend and then blew him. He was in a rage that I would accuse him of forcing himself on me. I was humiliated and to add to the humiliation, none of my friends or my sister defended me. All I could do was run to the bathroom and cry until it was time to go home.

I watched this movie with my daughter who is going off to college next year. I have never feared her driving or any of the other things parents worry about. I worry about rape on college campuses and all of the messages we send to victims that tell them it’s their fault. I have never told my kids and don’t know that I ever will. I have been a very different mother than mine was but rape is not something that follows rules. I am trying to balance teaching her about being aware without making her afraid of everyone and also without putting it into he psyche that God forbid it ever happened that she put herself in the position to be raped. One mother in the film said she was unable to protect herself, so how could she protect her daughter. It brought me to my knees.

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