Only three weeks ago, I had my first kiss. About 3 minutes later, I had my first sexual experience, against my will.
It was the Friday before Halloween, and I was spending it with kids from my school, all of whom I felt comfortable around and felt safe with. All of these kids knew me; they knew I was smart, I was funny, I sometimes talked too loud, and I was a person deserving of respect. We did shots, laughing about the college application process and the burdens of taking 4 AP classes. I remember getting more and more drunk, but feeling okay – usually everyone left before midnight (it was already 11) and I had plans to spend the night at the host’s house, who happened to be one of my closest friends.
The host had some friends from a neighboring town; a few of them I knew from previous parties and from hanging out during the day and such, and one in particular had always caught my eye. I really felt like this guy truly liked me, and he was smart and funny and cute and it was easy to like him. I still didn’t know many of these people, and quickly realized that I was too drunk for the situation.
I headed upstairs to my friend’s bedroom to cool off, feeling lightheaded and unable to completely control my body. I didn’t realize there was someone following me until he locked the door behind me, pushing me down onto the bed and grabbing at my body. I was startled when he kissed me – I had never been kissed before and was in shock at how fast it happened. I kept asking his name, telling him that I didn’t even know him, that I couldn’t, I just remember that I kept saying “I can’t. I can’t. I don’t know you. I can’t.”
He kept daring me to do things, telling me that I wasn’t brave enough to ______, too cautious to ______, manipulating my severely limited mind to do things I didn’t want to do. So much of it is hazy, but I remember the things he called me and the phrases he used so vividly that hearing a sentence with parallel structure makes me almost cry. He was violent; I remember him grabbing my throat, slapping my face, telling me to open my mouth before spitting in it. He made me call him daddy, and just wouldn’t stop using such vulgar words and just said horrible things that I can’t get out of my head. He pushed me to my knees and forced me to take him in my mouth. I don’t know how I got there, but I passed out with my back against the wall next to the door and him standing over me.
I think I woke up about two minutes or so later to him grabbing the back of my head, pulling me onto him and choking me. I pulled away, slapping at his legs and told him he had to stop, that we had to stop. There were people knocking at the door, telling him that his ride was leaving and that if he didn’t leave now he would have no way home. I remember him telling his friends to wait, that he was getting head from “some random chick” and that he would be “done soon.” I told him again to stop, and when he didn’t, I just began to cry. I don’t remember how but the next thing I remember was sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing and screaming that I couldn’t stop him and that my throat hurt.
The next day, the host tells me that she was the one to unlock and open the door, the boy who had attacked me was the lifelong best friend of the boy I had a crush on, and the boy I had a crush on was the one to pull him off of me and out of the room.
Two days later, the boy who attacked me told his story in a group chat filled with other acquaintances at the party, including the host, the boy I liked, and at least two or three other people I had never met before who knew what happened to me. He told everyone that I was flirtatious and led him on, that he didn’t know I didn’t want it until I started crying, and that when he realized I wanted to stop he had stopped and comforted me. He says that I did not have consent to perform oral on him since he was also drunk, and therefore had technically raped him too, and that the two somehow cancelled out. He says that since he himself was a child of rape, it would be impossible for him to rape another girl, as it was against his morals. He sent photos of the hickeys he had and told a story that painted me as a guilty, lying, dumb girl who couldn’t handle being with a guy. Out of sheer panic of hearing him tell this story, I had the host send him a message from me that, in s hort, apologized for accusing him and begged him to just drop it, never speak about it again, and allow me to deal with how I felt about it on my own. He told his friends that he had “settled it”, that I had apologized to him, and that it was over.
It’s been three weeks, and I’ve gone through so many feelings, ranging from days of not going to school and sitting alone at home in my bedroom with the lights off and the curtains drawn, doing absolutely nothing, to not eating for days and feeling like the entire world had it’s hands around my throat, to sobbing into my pillow as I felt my pulse in my fingertips, heartbeat going faster than I ever felt it before, to feeling such anger and heartbreak and I lie awake at night. The smell of alcohol now makes me sick, and I get panic attacks from discussing male anatomy in my sex-ed class.
No one has heard the entirety of my side. I can’t tell my story to any of the people who simply know that I was attacked, who simply know that “_____ forced _____ to do ______ when she was blackout drunk and I feel so bad for her.” It’s so demoralizing, shameful, and depressing that I feel like by bringing it up to my closest friends I am dragging everyone down, and that three weeks has been enough time to be sad about it. I haven’t told my parents, and only a handful of people know, and even fewer know the extent of what happened.
This past weekend in a casual get-together session, I met with all of the people who had been in that group chat, some of them for the first time, and watched as each of them didn’t look me in the eyes and didn’t mention what had so obviously happened. Later in the night someone accidentally brought up my attackers name, and everyone else shushed her and shifted uncomfortably in their seats as I pretended I just wasn’t listening.
The boy I had a crush on still has my attacker in all of his instagram photos, with captions like “if I had a brother…” and “my better half”. He won’t talk to me about it, either out of fear of hurting me or because he doesn’t want to think about it. He tells me that although he believes me, he won’t leave his friend’s side. I feel like I lost him too, someone smart and witty who had genuinely liked me.
I know this isn’t my fault. But I don’t how to make it feel okay again.
I just hope that eventually I’ll go a day without it being present in my mind, and find someone who loves me and won’t freak out when I tell them that my first kiss was followed by sexual assault. Until then, I just take each day at a time.
— Survivor, age 17