I was nineteen years old when I lost my virginity.
I wasn’t really saving it for anyone special; I just hadn’t done it yet. I was somewhat embarrassed about it, but most of my friends were virgins too, so it was okay.
For my first real college New Years Eve, I went to a party at my friend Mary’s, who was attending a pretty large school in the State of Michigan. She’d been a friend of mine from High School, and our entire friend group was staying at her place for the night, with no reason to walk around the campus or make our way to bars (as we were underage and only some of us had fake IDs). I had never been to this campus, and though my university was much larger than hers, I was happy to stay at her place all night because the area wasn’t the safest.
I wore a tight black t-shirt and sparkly shorts that crossed over the front to look more like a skirt. The shorts were probably the shortest I had ever owned, and were pretty snug, so I wore tights. I wore spanks to suck in my little muffin top, and ate little that day to feel even thinner. It was absolutely freezing, so I brought my giant parka that went to my knees.
When we got to the house, I was ecstatic. It had three levels, six bedrooms, two living rooms, and two bathrooms. This place was huge, and there were so many places to sleep. I knew almost everyone there, and the unfamiliar faces were few and far between, so I let myself go a little nuts a little too quickly.
We started playing a wide variety of drinking games as more and more unfamiliar faces started showing up. Obviously it’s not that great of a party if you don’t meet new people, so this was a very good thing.
Having not eaten much and haven drank so much I quickly became thoroughly intoxicated.
I don’t remember much of the next few hours. I met an amazing (though my inhibitions may be exaggerated) girl named Lindsay, and as it happened to be her birthday and as both of us happened to be missing our boyfriends who were unable to attend, we decided to be each other’s midnight kiss. So we were… and it was hilarious… and in the bathroom.
After midnight I don’t remember much of the party. A friend later told me I was all over the place, having the time of my life. Dancing with my friends, laughing with Lindsay, singing every word to every song they played. I was told I kept my parka on all night since it was so cold even in the house, and had it zipped all the way up, which I saw in pictures.
Unfortunately I remember less pleasant things from the rest of the night.
I remember waking up on a futon after 4 in the morning, and never feeling so tired. I remember wondering why I woke up and being irritated that I did. I remember realizing that I wasn’t alone under my blanket that I had brought for myself, the blanket my mom had knitted for me when I was nine. I remember feeling fingers inside of me and not understanding why they were there. I remember looking at the face that they belonged to and having no idea who this person was. I remember very weakly but instinctually pulling the arm out of my underwear, and I remember saying “no”. I remember this foreign voice bitterly replying with a “come on, are you really gonna leave me with blue balls”. I remember my immediate reaction to these words being guilt. Guilt. I remember apologizing. I vaguely remember kissing as I started to drift back to sleep, and I remember nothing else.
I woke up in the morning with those memories having not yet come back to me, which took a couple days. I woke up and found a guy spooning me and thinking it felt nice. Upon realizing I didn’t know him, I felt guilty because I had a boyfriend, but I thought I remembered everything from the night before and was sure nothing happened. Plus my boyfriend was long distance, so we were doing an open-relationship-type thing. He woke up when a friend came down the stairs saying they were leaving, and I pretended to be asleep. He started walking toward the stairs when his friend said, “who is she?” to which he replied, “I think her name is Bridget. She’s hot right?” I thought that was sweet.
Then he left. And I never got his name.
I got up shortly after to go pee, and I realized something wasn’t right.
I had scratches near my vagina, my spanks were gone, my tights were ripped, and when I wiped myself, there was blood. But I was three weeks away from my next period.
It didn’t take me very long to understand what must’ve happened. When my friends and I went to breakfast later they pointed out hickeys on my neck. I started feeling a painful pinching sensation deep inside me. I felt sick and dizzy sitting in this Coney Island in a town I didn’t know, surrounded by friends who knew I had lost my virginity (some who physically heard it) but assumed I was happy about it. Some of them jokingly called me a slut, and some of them gave me a cheerful “Get it B!” So I didn’t say anything. I went along with it, and acted like I was so happy.
But I felt humiliated, I felt worthless, I felt dirty, and I felt sick. I got up from the table to go to the bathroom and asked my friend Shannon to come with me, determined to tell one person the truth, but fainted almost as soon as I got up. I later found out that was my first ever panic attack, of which I would continue to have over the next few years.
“I’m not a slut. I said no. What happened to me was not my fault. What happened to me and my body was not okay.”
This is my mantra now. I am better for knowing it’s true.
— Survivor, age 21