“Mom, Dad, there’s this party tonight, everyone from school is going, I promise I’ll be safe…can I please go? Please?” I remember asking my parents to go to this party, I remember pleading with them, trying to make deals with them. But they wouldn’t have it. My father looked me in the eyes, and using my childhood nickname, he said “Letti, nothing good happens at those kind of parties, we’re not trying to be mean or strict, we’re just trying to keep you safe.” At the time, I thought that being mean and annoying was their ultimate goal, to make my life boring and miserable. I went to my room and pouted for the rest of the night. I refused dinner and did not answer their good night calls. My phone was blowing up. “Are you coming to the party?” When can you get here?” It’s already insane you need to come!” At first I tried to ignore them, I typically listen to my parents, and if they tell me no, I obey. However, I felt as though I was missing out way too much. I waited till my parents tv was shut off for the night and I opened my window and made my way to the party. It was a Friday night in early November. My father would get up around 4 to go to work so he could be home at 2. He never comes into my room to check on me. My mother would get up around 7, she would usually wait till around 10:30 to wake me if I’m not already up. My siblings know better than to disturb me and my twin brother was right behind me, on his way to the party of the year. I get there, and it begins as the best night of my life. The music was pumping and the drinks were flowing. I decided to have a few drinks early on so I could sober up a bit later before heading home (typical high schooler train of thought). However, a few drinks turned into countless, and by time my boyfriend of 14 months arrived, I was plastered. He was able to get me to quit and drink water. At this time, it was 12:30 a.m. My boyfriend wanted to take me to a room so I could rest a bit. I threw up in the bathroom before he was able to get me to an empty room and a bed. He had missed curfew by an hour already and called upon my brother and best friend to stay with me so he could go home. They took longer than expected to get to me, so I told my boyfriend that I was alright to wait a couple more minutes by myself and that he could leave. He left, very hesitantly, and I had to tell him multiple times that I was okay and that I’d go back downstairs and find my brother. He left and I stayed in the bedroom. My brother and friend never came. They never even saw the messages. One person did come, however. He was the host of the party. I was asleep when he first entered the room. I awoke to the sound of a lock being turned on the door. I was to out of it to process what was going on. He can’t towards the bed, I was too groggy to make much of an effort assess the situation. At that point, it had been about 2 hours since my last drink, so I wasn’t as drunk as he probably believed. He hadn’t been drinking, not one bit. He was a hockey and football player. He was strong. He climbed on the bed and started tearing away my clothes. I tried to put up a fight, but my small, intoxicated frame was no match for his strong, sober one. He held me down and forced himself inside me. He pounded me over and over and over again. I was yet a virgin then. It hurt. I cried. I begged for him to stop. But he kept going. He took me to the floor and forced himself in my mouth, then back on the bed for another round. He finished and left me sobbing in pain on the bed, a whispered threat that he’d make my life hell if this ever got out, not that id remember anything anyways. But I did remember. I remembered everything. The physical pain left my memory but the mental pain still clings to me. Never giving me a moment of peace. It was two weeks before I reported it. I was scared. Not only if him, but being caught sneaking out and drinking. I only came to tell my story because I went off the deep end. I didn’t eat. I skipped school. I lashed out. I never spoke beyond a few words at a time. Above else I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t even be alone. I made a bed in my brothers room. I passed out from lack of food and sleep and was taken to the hospital where I finally had to own up to what happened. My family was devastated. Not mad. Devastated. My brother felt guilty. So did my boyfriend. They could barely look at me without needing to apologize. My family believed me. The police, the lawyers, and the school didn’t. I had to relive that night over and over and over again, only to be told my story held no ground. I was drunk, he wasn’t. There was no proof. No rape kit. Too much time between the “alleged incident” and my “fall from grace.” That’s what they called it. I was a mentally troubled girl who finally snapped. But I persisted. I demanded that charged be filed. That’s when the game changed. The monster who took away my sanity claimed to have seen me stumble to a room on the second floor. He paid no attention until he saw a guy walk in after me. The guy he said, was my boyfriend. He said that he followed and saw him on top of me while I was laying on the bed. He couldn’t tell if I was passed out until he pushed him off of me and saw that I was only slightly conscious. He then claimed to have kicked my boyfriend out of the party and lock himself in the room with me to keep watch and protect me. I was drunk. He was not. My boyfriend was tipsy. He was not. He was sober. He was believed. It was then decided that in my drunken state I had confused my attacker with my rescuer and that charges were needed to be filed on my boyfriend. There was nothing else for me to do but recant. I retold my story so that I had agreed to go to the bedroom with my boyfriend. I said I had consented to sex and that we’ve done it before. I said that when my “rescuer” came, he was mistaken. That I was sober enough to consent. That we didn’t put up a fight because we realized that this was not the time or the place to do it. I was humiliated. I was the girl who cried rape. I was mocked. I was in pain. I wanted it to end. I took a bottle of Advil and spent three months in the hospital. When I recovered. I was charged with a minor for that night. As was my boyfriend. My attacker was labeled guilty by association. A minor which has since disappeared was all the retribution he got from that night. My family uprooted our entire life and moved three states over. My boyfriend and I mutually split. I miss him every day. I still don’t sleep every night. And when I do it is on the floor of my brothers room. I’m in therapy four times a week. I get monitored on the daily to make sure I get proper nutrient intake. I have antidepressants and anxiety meds. I’m scared to be alone and I can’t function normally in social settings. I’m home schooled now and am looking towards online university. My whole life crumbled to unfixable pieces that night. Try as I might I can’t glue them back together. I know I need to be strong but it’s just so hard. After all, it’s my fault. As society would say, “I shouldn’t have gotten myself raped.” I wish I could say I’m the type of survivor that turned their story and their trauma into a building block to help spread the word about rape and victim blaming. I’m working towards that. But right now, I need to focus on surviving. I need to focus on making it through another day. I know that one day I’ll be able to help others in their struggles with sexual assault and rape. But my advice to give to anyone who may read this is that there is zero excuse for rape. I don’t care if he’s drunk, she’s drunk, she’s dressed a certain way or if she has kissed him before. There is zero excuse for rape. And girls, it is NEVER your fault, I still struggle to believe this fact. But it is true. Don’t ever let someone steal your voice. Speak up, speak out, and help put an end to rape and victim blaming.
— Survivor, age 17