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That One Night

I can remember so many things about that one night so clearly. I went to have dinner at a friend´s house because we were going to the pub later to celebrate another friend´s 21st birthday. I was wearing a black dress. I usually don´t wear dresses when I go out. We had drinks at her house already, but we weren´t drunk at all. We bought donuts at the train station and the Italian girl had brought tiramisu to the pub. There was a band playing and we were having a good time. At first it was just us girls.

The local rugby club always went to that pub too, most of the guys were British. They started giving out drinks, they were being really nice. We, the girls, started dancing. One of the guys out with the rugby team kept starring. He seemed to be nice. He was going to leave and I was outside with one girl who was smoking a cigarette. I did notice the alcohol at that point, but I still knew what I was doing. We talked and then we kissed. I usually don´t that, but I just went for it that night. Then he took a cab with his friend to go home.

The birthday group decided to go to a club which was less than 5 minutes away. It was 20 francs to get in and when we got there, it was super full. We went to the bar first and got something before we were going to give up our coats.

The guy from before suddenly stood in front of me. He asked me if I wanted to go outside with him for a minute so he could smoke a cigarette. I lost sight of the other girls in the crowd and went outside with him.

That´s when everything gets blurry. All I remember that I was so cold. And that we didn´t just go in front of the club, we crossed the street and were right by the water. All I wanted was to go back in. It was cold and rainy and I didn´t have a good feeling. He wanted me to go home with him and I didn´t want to. I kept saying no. I told him I was here for my friend´s birthday and there wasn´t a chance I was leaving. He got really angry. I remember his eyes. They looked right into mine. I blacked everything out that happened then.

The next thing I remember that it was cold and everything hurt. He had pulled off my tights and my underwear. He kept saying ´shit´. I was bleeding. I ran away barefoot. Somewhere in the dark. I tried to text my friend in the club, I managed to write that I was outside.

The guy left. I got my clothes and put them back on. Everything was wet and I only could find one shoe. Two of the girls I was going to get the train with later had come outside and they were calling my name from the other side of the street. I finally found my other shoe and decided to pull myself together. I never felt so weak. And humiliated. I went to them, I told them I had a cigarette with the guy, they didn´t think anything else happened. I wasn´t gone for that long. I had only known the girls for a couple of weeks because it was just the beginning from our au pair year. We took the train home.

Everything hurt and washing everything off in the shower didn´t work. Forgetting that night and washing all the memories away never worked. In ten days it´s going to be three years ago. And everything seems like it´s stuck since then. I don´t know how it happened. I keep blaming myself. And there are all these questions. Did I drink too much? What if I had gone home with him, would he had hurt me then? What would I have done if the morning-after pill hadn´t worked? What if? How was I not able to defend myself? What would have happened if he would have respected me no?

— Survivor, age 21


  • Dylan smith
  • Alissa Ackerman


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