I was on Spring Break in Cancun (my first and only time to go somewhere for Spring Break). I was a Junior in College and knew that I should always, and only, accept a drink (non-alcoholic or not) from the employee serving the drinks. I always followed this rule. I met a guy on the first night while I was dancing. At the end of the night, the guy asked where I was staying and what room number so that he could call me and we could meet up again. He was with a friend and I was with 3 of my friends. The next night he and his friend came to the bar I was at with my friends. Two of my friend’s were drunk and went back to the hotel room. One of my friend’s had met another guy and was hanging out with him at the next table over. My friend told me she was going to leave with the guy and asked if I would be okay or if I wanted her to go back to the hotel with me. I said that I was fine and she left. I was a very independent woman and so was she. She and I went dancing together a lot so we had a code to know if we wanted to get away from someone. I told her I was just going to hang out a little bit longer and head back to the hotel. I went to the bathroom and when I came back a beer bottle was sitting in front of my chair. I explained to the guy that I didn’t drink anything that someone had bought me without it going directly from the bartender’s hand into mine. He acted as though I was foolish to think he would have put anything in my drink, so he said he’d take a drink to prove to me it was fine, which he did, but in hindsight I think he just had the liquid touch his lips and that was it. This was only my 3rd beer in about 2 hours, and I was used to drinking 5 or 6 beers at a party before I was drunk, just to give a frame of reference on my alcohol tolerance. J I was not even buzzed. So, back to the beer the guy bought me. I went ahead and started drinking it, but I don’t remember finishing it. A have a quick flash memory of walking in an alley behind a hotel and then a blink memory of laying in the grass behind the hotel. The next flashing memory was me telling him I was a virgin as he took my panties off. I remember feeling like I couldn’t move as he got on top of me. The next thing I remember was having a cleaning lady wake me up yelling to get out of the yard. The guy was no where. I went back to my hotel and realized that I had some dry blood on my panties. I felt so ashamed that I must have had sex with this guy. I blamed myself. I wanted to cry and scream, but I swallowed it all down inside of me. It was early so I crawled into the bed and no one knew I had been gone all night. I didn’t tell any of my friends what had happened. In my mind, I now had to be in a relationship with this guy because I felt as though it wouldn’t make me feel like I had a one-night stand with the first guy I ever had sex with. So, I called his hotel and room number and he answered the phone. He said that he was going out that night but didn’t know when and where. I told him to let me know where he was going and I’d meet him there. There was no phone call back. My friends went to dinner and I said that he was supposed to call me back so I had them go to dinner without me. When they got back to the hotel, he still hadn’t called me. I went from this independent woman to someone who sat by the phone shaking inside waiting for the phone to ring. My friends talked me into going to a bar with them and wondered why I was waiting for a guy to call me back. When I was at the bar, I saw him. I went up to the guy and asked why he didn’t call me back. He had some story, but I didn’t hear it, my heart was loudly thumping and nerves were shaking and I was on the edge of tears– but I bottled it up and didn’t show any of that. When I asked if we had sex he said yes and then said that he had to catch up with his friend and rushed to get in a cab with his friend. I was saying to myself that it was my fault, that I must have blacked out from drinking, even though in my heart I knew I hadn’t drank enough to black out and the fact I couldn’t move my body. The remainder of that trip I was numb. I had already lost my virginity, so from then on, my body wasn’t my own. I dated a guy a few months afterword for 2 months and he asked me if I had ever had sex and I had to say yes. He hadn’t ever and we never did have sex. I explained what happened, but I still denied that I was raped. When he broke up with me because we were in separate towns and he said he needed to focus on grad school. His last comment I can remember him saying was that I needed to admit I was raped. That was the first time someone, not even me, said the word, “rape”. The conversation ended like that. What a weird and horrible way to break off a relationship. I still hadn’t told any of my friends about that night in Cancun. I was disconnected with my body and this comment made me feel even more alone. From that point on, whatever the guy wanted to do I did. Even if I really liked the guy and I was consenting to everything, even when I was in a relationship with a guy, once it got to the point of sex, I just shut my emotions down and laid there for the guy to have sex. I didn’t respect my body at all. I had lost all self-esteem. After 2 years, I came to the point I knew I needed counseling because I just couldn’t keep this inside of me and I felt I couldn’t ever tell anyone I knew (even though they would have been 100% supportive and they loved me). I didn’t feel worthy of support from friends and family. Through counseling, I let all the emotions out and I SLOWLY learned how to take back control of my body. However, when I had sex for the first time with my now husband, he stopped and asked if something was wrong because my body just froze. It was then, and only then, that I realized that even when I was with someone I deeply loved and deeply wanted to have sex with, my body reverted back to that night I got raped. Also, this was the first time a man ever stopped when I turned from pre-raped body into post-raped body. He and I stopped and both talked, with me crying in his arms as I told him everything. When we did have sex again, he first asked if I was ok with having sex, I said yes, and my body didn’t go stiff like it used to. I finally had control over my body and respected myself. As the years went on, I slowly told a friend at a time and they were so supportive. However, even though it’s been 14 years ago, even as I write this, every time I think about it, I feel the lump in my stomach, my body gets tight, and my heart pounding. I still will wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and the rape passes through my mind. I sometimes softly cry. Even though I know I have an excellent supportive husband lying next to me, I have the memories rush back and I feel the way I felt after the rape all over again until I can talk myself back into sleep and reminding myself it was not my fault that I was raped. I didn’t do anything wrong. That man did something wrong. That man raped me.
— Survivor, age 37