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I Thought I Was Safe

It was sophomore year of college and I was so happy to move back on campus. It had never occurred to me that with the independence and freedom I found in college, there also came many things I needed to be aware of that could compromise my safety. I was naive. I never thought it would happen to me in a place I loved so much. I never thought I was unsafe.

I moved back on campus early, as did many of my friends. A couple of nights before classes started, my friend Hannah and I decided to have a quiet night and planned on having a couple of drinks and listening to music. After an hour or so, one of Hannah’s friends (we’ll call him Ted) came in. I knew of him and had seen him around campus, but this was my first time really meeting Ted. We hit it off right away and had a fun time, but then I got up to use the restroom and realized something was very wrong. As soon as I stood up my head felt extremely heavy. Everything sounded very far away and I barely managed to stumble to the bathroom and back to my friend’s room again. I knew I didn’t have that much to drink and didn’t understand what was happening to me. When I got back to the dorm room, I told them that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to sleep. Tom left, and Hannah took the bed, and I slept on the floor across the room.
Everything else, I can only remember in flashes. I remember waking up with Ted laying next to me. He had his arm over me and he was kissing me. I thought I was dreaming and did not fight back at first. I blacked out again. Then I remember him on top of me, taking my shirt off and putting his hands on my breasts. He went to unbutton my pants and I said “no, stop” and pushed his hands away. My words didn’t even sound like words. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t think or speak or move properly. I tried to push him off me, but when I said no, he pinned my wrists above my head with one hand and told me to shut up. I was struggling, but was too weak to fight him. He laughed and teased me because I couldn’t free myself. Like it was just a game and I was being ridiculous for not going along with it. I was confused and thought maybe he was just joking around and didn’t understand I was scared.

He warned me to keep quiet again and put his hand down the front of my pants. I tried to push him away and I tried to kick him, but I was too weak. I blacked out again.

When I regained consciousness I was on my stomach and he was straddling my legs. He zip tied my hands behind my back, turned me onto my back, and told me that was what I got for trying to stop him. He pulled my pants off and pinned my legs down to the floor so hard that it hurt even after I stopped struggling. He covered my mouth and started raping me. The zip tie holding my wrists was cutting into my skin and I had never had sex before. The pain was excruciating. I thought (and maybe hoped) I was going to die. I felt used, dirty, and worthless.

I blacked out again sometime while he was raping me and woke up to him pulling me off the floor by my arm and forcing me to my knees. At this point I remember begging him to leave me alone. He covered my mouth again and told me to shut up and stay still. He got dressed, let me go, and left the room. I remember leaving the room soon after and wandering the city feeling lost, alone, and broken. My whole world went completely dark. I tried to get help through the school, but that went terribly as I was blamed and he was allowed to stalk me and threaten me for a year and a half before I quit school to escape him.

This happened to me when I was 19. I am 33 and just dealing with these memories now. I still have nightmares and flashbacks. I blocked out most of what happened, especially surrounding being restrained, and convinced myself that it was my fault. I convinced myself that I didn’t fight hard enough. That I wasn’t loud enough. That if I really wanted him to stop, I would have found a way to wake my friend. I know now that none of these things are true and the blame rests with HIM, not me. I’m finally gathering the courage to tell my therapist the whole story of what happened and I hope telling my story will help me to finally move on.

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