One week ago at a Halloween party, I blacked out and woke up with a woman from the party. I was with her for eight hours, but remember less than 10 seconds. The last thing I remember is feeling somewhat drunk, but still alert and having fun with a big group of people at my friend’s house. Then everything goes black and the next memory I have is of being in a room alone with this unfamiliar woman, apparently interacting with her sexually. I don’t remember what was happening at the time. I felt sluggish and heavy. I don’t know how I got there, how my clothes were removed, or if I was even conscious the whole time. I have a few one second memories, but none of them include giving my consent to be touched. I don’t know if I simply had too much to drink or if I was drugged. There were a few times when I didn’t guard my drink well, and a couple of people with motives.
I am happily married to a man whom I love with all my heart. I have no interest in cheating on him. After an agonizing week dealing with this alone, I told him what happened. I was afraid he wouldn’t believe that this was not consensual. Instead, he has been as understanding and loving as possible. Still, we’re both struggling to reconcile what seems like rape with one gut-wrenching fact: several hours in, while still blacked out, I somehow willingly participated/engaged for a short time. I wasn’t aware of the situation as it was happening. I actually thought I was dreaming in some of those fractional moments of consciousness. But still, I essentially said “yes” with my body…right?
I struggle to call this rape. What if the woman didn’t know I was black out drunk? What if I WAS drugged, but not by her and she didn’t know? What if (my worst fear) I was the one to initiate, but I just wasn’t mentally conscious of my actions? And ultimately, is it really rape if I participated?
I don’t feel much right now, but I do feel some of the common emotions associated with acquaintance rape: confusion about what “counts” as rape, embarrassment, self-doubt, shame, guilt, and anger. If I wasn’t drugged and was just really drunk, I feel this is my fault, like I that demotes this from rape to cheating. I feel out of control of my body. (How can someone just *take* something so personal and intimate from me?) I’m going to work and interacting with friends as though everything is normal, which sends myself the message that rape is normal. Shouldn’t the world stop a little bit? Since nothing around me is changing, I’m tempted to take my anger out on the only thing I can usually control: my own body. Cutting is my preferred form of self-harm, but I’ve resisted so far. I’ve been aggressively consuming things that are bad for me, as though that somehow punishes everyone else. Since I don’t know if that woman deserves punishment and have no proof against her anyway, at least *somebody* is paying – even though that’s me. I will be pursuing healthier means of grieving very soon, as I know that’s what will truly help me, but for now I’m just…lost.
Please help me. I feel alone and confused and silenced.