One night while 18 years old and out partying with a girlfriend, I ran into an old friend. He was older – 27 – and I had known him for about 4 years, since he was good friends with my neighbor. I thought he was a friend because he seemed to look out for me in the past. When I was 16, my mom kicked me out of my house. He picked me up with all things and even let me stay at his place for a few days. I trusted him.
So we keep drinking and end up at a hotel with him and his friend. They are pouring us drinks and handing them to us, but not drinking themselves. The last thing I remember is fading in and out and laughing, having a good time.
I wake up in the morning laying on the bed beside him with nobody else there and no pants or underwear on, just my top clothing. I get up and go to the bathroom and see a condom in the toilet, with shame immediately over coming me. I’m thinking to myself, “did I actually get that drunk and sleep with him!?” I wake him up and ask him to drive me home. I have an incredible migraine and am mortified at my drunk choices. I ask him what happened and he tells me I drank the whole bottle to myself, which of course I don’t remember. We get to my house and in trying to seem normal, I reach over saying thanks and give him a hug before I get out of the car.
Then the flashbacks started. I didn’t drink the whole bottle like he said, because I remember spilling 75% of it. The alcohol tasted funny, almost like salt. Him and his friend weren’t drinking with us, just insisting on making us drinks. I start remembering how heavy he was on top of me, crushing me. The feeling of being choked. His forearm pressing heavily across my chest and neck… I couldn’t even breathe. I tried to scream. I squirmed and tensed my whole body, yet he was still penetrating me. I even remembr giving up at some point and letting it happen. He drugged and raped me.
I carried shame and guilt for a long time. It was hard enough to deal with being sexually abused as a young child, but this incidemt unleashed a lot. My family and friends were not supportive and blamed me. I tried to numb the pain with drugs and sex and experienced similar situations. Over 10 distinct incidents of sexual assault in total. I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD and have been managing the symtpoms for the past 10 years. I have flashbacks when I am intimate with my husband. My body automatically reacts and I am often jumpy or sensitive. But through years of counseling and self-acceptance, I don’t blame myself anymore. Maybe that’s a triumph in itself.
— Survivor, age 28