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Circumstances Collided That Night

I was 16, and a sophomore in high school. I had developed a close friendship with Jesse, a junior. He was nice and cool and I had started to develop feelings for him, and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. I had had an extremely rough year that year, I had been in a bad car accident the previous summer and my grandpa, whom we lived with was dying of cancer. I had to slowly watch him wither away, Jesse seemed to understand this and he was there for me. My grandpa died in December. Jesse had a dark, bad boy thing I was drawn to. He wore a leather jacket and was from the poorer side of town like me. He was bipolar and dealing with issues of his childhood abuse. I’ve always been a “fixer”, I try to fix people..
It was March of 2005 and my school had planned a trip to Canada for our chorus class, and even though I couldn’t afford to go, my teacher worked it out since I had such a rough year and she thought I could use the getaway. On the way up there Jesse and I sat together and talked and I fell asleep on his shoulder. When I woke up I felt his hands on my breasts, touching my nipples under the blanket I was covered up with. I remember feeling really groggy (I had to take a Dramamine for motion sickness) and thinking this has to be a dream. I looked over at Jesse and he was asleep too (looking back, maybe he was faking.)
I didn’t think anything of it and went back to sleep. To this day I dont know if that had anything to do with the rape.
We got to Canada and Jesse and I had a spat over something stupid and I went to my hotel room while everyone else was at a “party” in the lobby. When I say party I mean, a G-rated party, pizza, soda, music. My other friend came to check on me because he knew I was upset. I was talking to that friend, when there was a knock on the door. I opened it and it was Jesse, not wanting to see him I walked into the bathroom and shut the door. I sat down on the edge of the tub. To this day I cant remember what I was so upset about, I’m sure it was a mountain of things that I’d bottled up and came pouring out over something small.
I could hear my other friend telling Jesse to just talk to me, and work it out. Jesse came into the bathroom and sat down next to me on the side of the tub. We talked about the feelings we had for each other and that we should just stay friends because our friendship was too important to blow it over something that might not work. He put his hand on my knee and kissed my cheek. Something washed over him, and I saw a change in his eyes. He became someone I didn’t recognize at all. It scared me. He tried to kiss me, and I let him at first but when his hands started roaming my body I pushed him away. He grabbed me by the legs and pulled me really hard into the floor. I hit my head on the toilet on the way down and it knocked me unconscious for a minute.
I came to just moments later feeling really weak and disoriented. Jesse was pulling my pants off, I tried to squirm and fight but my whole body felt so heavy. He held me down as he raped me on the bathroom floor of that hotel room. He held his hand around my throat and choked me until I was sure I was going to die. Everything was blurry and I blacked out.

When I woke up, Jesse was gone and so was my innocence. I felt so ashamed, and humiliated, confused. Why would he do that to me? What do I do now? I didn’t tell anybody, and the rest of that trip is a blur. It felt like I was a zombie.
I told my mom and her first response was “If you liked him, why did he have to rape you?” and that’s the response I thought I would get from the authorities, so I never said anything. I did confront Jesse about it eventually and he claims not to remember. He says he might have blacked out and he’s sorry IF he hurt me.
For a long time I had conflicting feelings, like should I even blame him if he’s sick? Did I lead him on? Did our feelings for each other give him an excuse to do what he did? I did my best to block it all out, all the memories of it. But it sneaks up on me when I least expect it.
It’s been 10 years and I still struggle with this all time, even more so in the spring, around the anniversary. My boyfriend now has helped me through it more than anyone has. I confided in him about it and he was very understanding. I’m starting to heal, but it will always be there. Its like he took a piece of my soul and I dont know how to get it back.

— Genna, age 27


  • Alissa Ackerman
  • Tori
  • Genna


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