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Forgiving myself

My story starts off with one of the best trips of my life. For a friend’s 21st birthday we went on a cruise to Mexico. Over the course of a long weekend, we had the times of our lives. I was in the best shape rocking my bikini poolside. I was in graduate school pursing my dreams. And I was surrounded by the best group of girlfriends a girl could ask for. On that trip we met a group of guys who were part of the bachelor party. We spent the last part of the trip with these guys we dubbed “the sailor.” After a fun weekend, us girls went home with fun memories of bonding and having met a cool group of dudes.

A few months after the cruise, one of my girlfriends, who kept in contact with the sailors, received an invite to one of their birthday parties a few hours from where we lived. We talked about it amongst ourselves before we consulted with the family my friend lived with. I was 27 at the time and felt confident going to a party out of town. We had made plans to stay in an adjoining city with another girlfriend so lodging wasn’t an issue. And to be safe we knew we could crash at the condo if we had too much to drink. So we went without a care in the world. The night started off like any other night of drinking. I paced myself knowing at some point we would need to leave. But, being a veteran partier, we drank most of the night. We went from dinner to a club and I was feeling tipsy but under control. I decided to stop drinking as I wanted to have the option of driving to our friends when the night ended.

One guy, who had left at some point of the night came back into the club and bought me a drink. I was familiar with him as we had met and hung out on the cruise. I was not into him or remotely interested in him. But he bought me a drink and I didn’t have a second thought of having one last drink.

Before I knew it he and I were dancing and laughing and getting close. I remember saying to my girlfriend that I was ready to go back to the condo because I had hit my limit. At that point the entire group of us decided to go back to the condo.

On the walk home I remember talking to the guy. Holding hands. Being flirtatious. I remember the walk to the condo adjacent to the beach. I remember getting to the gate, waiting for the code. I remember conversations walking to the condo. “You were my favorite sailor” I remember saying to another guy in the group.

That’s the last thing I remember until we’re in a room I didn’t recognize. We were making out. Pretty heavily. But nothing I wasn’t uncomfortable with. I should mention, I was a virgin at this point. I had made the decision a while before and at no point did I think I was going to “give it up” to anyone who wasn’t going to be my husband.

I remember being kicked out of that room and moving to the next room over. Again, I remember making out. Kissing and touching. Nothing I hadn’t done before.

The very next thing I remember was waking up. I was woke up be the sheer pain I was feeling. I remember so clearly saying “that hurts! You have to stop!” And he did. But I had no idea what just taken place. The next thing I remember is waking up yet again. Completely naked, I had been before but hasn’t realized it. I had no clue where I was or where my clothes was. I was in such pain. I didn’t know where my friend was. I remember I needed to pee so badly. I found his shirt nearby and threw it on to find a bathroom. I apparently was in a converted garage and had to walk out into the cold and walk back upstairs to the main door.

The door was looked and had to wait for another guest to walk up and attempt to wake someone inside. I remember sitting with my bare ass on the concrete planter and I waited to use the bathroom.

Once inside, I realized I didn’t even know where the bathroom was and looked around until I found it on the second floor. I sat down to pee and felt discomfort. It wasn’t until I stood back up that I noticed I was bleeding. I freaked out. I walked back down to try and find my clothes. I noticed I had bled on the concrete planter I had sat on earlier.

It was dark and cold and I found my clothes as quickly as I could. I walked back upstairs and tried to find my friend. Thankfully she was ok. I told her I couldn’t remember what happened. She suggested I ask the guy. The next morning I did. He blatantly stated we had not had sex and I wanted so badly to take his word for it.

We were scheduled to have a beach day that next day but I felt like I was the walking dead. I just wanted to go home. I remember leaving that day, he came to say bye to us. I hugged him. I didn’t know what to think. How to feel. I was so confused. So scared. Felt a million things all at once and then, nothing.

The next few days are still a blur. I don’t know remember much other than just mechanically going through my days. Three days later I went to the clinic on campus because I was still bleeding. The dr asked me what happened and I couldn’t tell her. I told her I wasn’t sure. She asked me if I wanted to press charges and I didn’t. I didn’t know how to. I couldn’t even make sense of it in my mind.

I haven’t looked at my charts in the 3 years since my rape. But I know I had trauma and needed stitches.

I’m still healing. My sister and a few close friends know what happened. I haven’t shared it with many ppl. My fear is I’ll be blamed. And I’ve already done so much of that myself. And there are still so many black holes where I don’t have memories of the night.

I’ve never confronted the guy. I don’t know if that would be healing so long after the fact. But I want to share my story in case here is another girl who went through a similar situation. YOU did not deserve this. YOU didn’t do anything wrong. Something was done to you that you did not consent to. No matter how drunk, how flirty, how much you had consent before. YOU are not guilty.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for letting me share my voice.

— Survivor, age 32

1 comment

  • Alexis

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