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November ’08

Hi, my name is Erica. On November 4th, 2008, the day the results of the presidential election were announced, I was sexually assaulted. It was a Tuesday night. Myself and a couple of friends were at a bar across from Union Station, having drinks while waiting to find out the results of the recent election. I was 19. Obviously Obama was the victor of this election. Everyone at the bar (including myself) was in good spirits upon hearing the news.

Eventually, my friend (K) and I ended up going back to my ex-boyfriend’s house to celebrate. After we arrived, we had a few drinks with my ex (R) and his friend Phil. At the time, I was a sophomore at Catholic University (in NE, DC), and I knew R from college. R was also a bartender at a local bar and Phil was an occasional DJ at the bar. Phil was much older (mid 40’s) and he was also the bar’s resident dealer of cocaine. Incidentally, Phil happened to be a retired policeman, and he made it very clear that even if he were to be ‘caught’ dealing drugs, he would never be convicted because of his affiliation with the fraternal order of police. He emphasized this frequently, including one specific incidence where he was extremely intoxicated and I asked him if he was ‘ok’ to drive home. Upon asking him this (in concern) he replied that he ‘was an ex-cop’ and that ‘no cop would ever say shit about it’ if he were to be pulled over. Aft er that, R had cautioned me not to ask Phil something like that again because it would make him angry.

Anyway. On the night of the election, K and I went back to R’s house with Phil & R. Once we got there we did a couple lines of coke, and had some more drinks. After a while, I told them (Phil & R) that I didn’t want to drink any more because I knew my limit and I didn’t want to get sick. At this time, K had already gone to bed in the guest room upstairs. When I told Phil and R that I didn’t want to drink any more, they joked around that I was ‘a pussy’ and that they expected more from me. Regrettably, I gave in and I took another shot. Soon after, I started to feel extremely sleepy, so I went to the living room to lay down on the couch. Phil and R were still in the kitchen talking, and at that point I guess I fell asleep.

A while later, I remember waking up slightly and hearing Phil talking to R as R walked upstairs. He was telling R that I was “totally passed out” and wanted to know if R wanted him to carry me up to his room. R said no and told Phil to let me sleep, and then continued climbing the stairs to his bedroom. At that point, I must’ve fallen back asleep because the the next thing I remember is waking up to someone pulling down my underwear. Then I realized Phil was getting on top of me. It happened so fast and I was so groggy that I just froze. I didn’t scream or push him away. Then he was inside of me. It hurt incredibly. I had only had sex 3 times in my life, and those 3 times were with the same person (R), other than childhood abuse. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. I just remember feeling like he was crushing me because I could hardly breathe. Apparently, Phil still thought that I was asleep, and for some reason, my initial reaction was to go on pretend ing that I was asleep. In retrospect, I don’t know why I did that. It was stupid of me not to yell or push him off. I guess I just kept thinking that if he knew I had woken up, he would get angry or worried that I’d scream, and then he would hit me or something. I don’t know why I was so scared of being hit by him, considering what he did to me was a million times worse… I don’t know why I reacted the way I did.

At any rate, I pretended to be asleep throughout the entire time he was raping me. I don’t know if he thought i was sleeping or if he knew i was awake and just didn’t care because even though I didn’t try to move, he kept grabbing and squeezing parts of my body. He also kept whispering things to me about how bad I needed this and how he’d show me what it was like to be with a black man. He said other things too but I tried not to listen. I was so embarrassed. I just laid there and kept my eyes shut tight while trying not to cry. After what felt like an eternity, he came inside of me. I didn’t even care at that point, i just remember being relieved that he was finally going to get off of me. Once he did, he went to the kitchen to make himself a plate of nachos – as if nothing had even happened!! After he finished eating, he walked to the door and he left. He didn’t even bother to pull up my underwear and sweatpants.

After he left, I waited for about 15 minutes just to make sure he was really gone. Once I was sure, I ran upstairs to the guest room and woke up K. I told her that we had to leave right away and that I’d explain later.

By the time we got back to my dorm, it was almost 6am. My roommate had just gotten out of the shower and immediately asked me what was wrong. I sort of waved her off but I was crying and she kept asking, so I briefly explained and said we could talk about it after I had slept. Then she asked me if I was going to class that day and I told her no.

I told K she could go home and that I would be fine, but she insisted she was staying. She slept on the floor until late afternoon, but then had to go home and have dinner with her parents (she lives in Columbia, MD). She said she was sorry and that she would call me as soon as she could.

I turned off my phone and stayed in bed the entire day trying to sleep but having little success. I just remember being so tired that I couldn’t even make myself shower. I felt like scum and all I could think was how I couldn’t tell anyone else because I hadn’t even fought back.

That night I eventually turned on my cell and checked my texts. One was from R asking why we had left so early, and the other was from my friend Erika. Erika was a couple years older than me and she went to a nearby university. We had met while waitressing at the same restaurant the previous summer.

Anyhow, Erika was like a big sister to me, so when I got a text from her asking how I was, I just broke down. I called her, hysterical, and tried to explain. She asked me if I had showered and then she told me to stay where I was because she was coming to pick me up.

Erika told me that I needed to go to the ER and get an exam. Being a broke college student, I told her I couldn’t afford to go to the emergency room and she told me that they wouldn’t charge me for a rape kit. I didn’t believe her, but she said she was sure of it and not to worry.

The closest hospital to Catholic University is Washington Hospital center, and after checking in at the ER, a nurse came to talk to me. She was the sweetest woman I’ve ever met. She helped me through the whole exam and didn’t pressure me at all. She is the reason I decided to go into nursing.

The rape kit was brutal. Being that Phil was an ex-cop, I refused to press charges, but I was never judged by any of the women helping me. I credit my life to those women.

I guess I’m not sure how to end this, because it’s not quite over for me, but it’s quite a relief to get it out. I hope it will help someone else 🙂

— Erica, age 28


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