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I was 17 and survived

My story began when I was 17 years old. Two of my friends and I went to a party, but it was cancelled due to the risk of police. We were invited to go to someones house to drink and have fun. His name was Jamil who was 26 or 27 at the time. My friends and I drank a lot and were there for hours drinking. During the party I spent time talking to Jamil, thinking that he was cute and nice. We played 3 rounds of mikes hard lemonade beer pong. Then the party started to wind down. I was at this time Very drunk, I asked where I could sleep. Jamil said I could in his bed, me not thinking about it stumbled to it and passed out. Later I woke to find him on top of me. I couldn’t move. I was still so intoxicated that it’s even now hazy. He asked if he could as he moved my underwear out of the way and I said no and then I just stayed quiet. I still only remember bits of what happened that night.

When I woke up sober in the morning I realized that I had been raped but was scared he was next to me sleeping. I quickly got dressed and went to find my friends who were passed out in the living room under the table that had the beer pong cups set up. I woke them up quietly so no one else woke up. As we were leaving I started to tell them what happened. They said I was lying, it didn’t happen and that I was just trying to make an excuse as to why I had sex with him. It hurt, I was confused barely remembering anything except the beginning and my saying no but they were my friends. So I believed them and stopped talking about it. Soon I had made myself believe it didn’t happen and when my friend took me back to his place I still forced myself to believe that it didn’t happen. She was dating his best friend and so brought me along.

After that time, I realized how much I had been trying to forget and believe it didn’t happen. I didn’t drink for almost two years fearing anyone I was drinking with would do the same. I never told anyone except my best friend Caitlin who understood why I stayed quiet. I was also using a lot of drugs trying to numb the pain and shame away. It took over a year after the rape to have sex again and never while I was drunk ever again. After a while I finally told my mom that it happened when I was 19 almost 20 her reaction was more of a “I told you so” reaction which pushed me further into drugs. I felt completely abandoned.

Then at the age of 20, almost 21 I finally got sober. The drugs had destroyed my body to the point I had no choice. It was at this time I finally acknowledge what that event did to my self confidence and my view of myself. That I was better than what I was doing to myself and that I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO AND CHOOSE WHO I HAVE SEX WITH. That no one has the right to take that away from me. Four years later I’m better, I never called the cops or legally did anything to the man who raped me but I wish I had.

Now I’m okay. I survived and have found the support I needed. There are still days or nightmares that come back every now and then but it gets less and less. This event unfortunately and fortunately happened when I was young and beginning my sexual experiences. So unfortunately I had to get to the point where I respected my body again and fortunately have the time for the pain to fade with the help of my lover and fiance and family.

— Claire, age 24

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