For some reason I still can’t come out and say that what happened to me was rape even if everything in me says it was. I often refer to it as a “passive sexual assault” even though friends I’ve told about it have all said that it was rape. I was 19, had just finished my first year of college, and was seeing a guy who wasn’t good for me at all, but I was young, naive, and a little too adventurous.
I never dated anyone in high school, and the only boyfriend I had had in college dumped me soon after the first semester of school. So, I was pretty easy prey. I had also slept with the guy soon after meeting him and was very sexually open, which is probably why he felt he could do what he did to me. He took me to his friend’s house under the guise of us drinking and hanging out with his friends. The house was a mess, and as soon as I walked in I got a chill and realized something was wrong. He took me to the bedroom where his friends were. I immediately knew what was going to happen but was too scared to try to leave. He tried to get me to drink, but I told him I didn’t want to. We sat there for awhile, and I watched t.v. while he and his friends talked quietly and drank. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to leave, but he had driven us there and we were a long way from my home. Finally he asked if I would have sex with him and his two friends. I told him I didn’t want to. He tried to talk me into it, telling me they were nice and were like his brothers and it would be okay. I was scared. I didn’t think I’d make it home if I was to put up a fight, so when he began to kiss me and take off my clothes I froze. I literally curled up into a ball and tried to become as small as I could thinking he would stop if I made myself small enough; it was almost like I was trying to be invisible. He didn’t stop. He and his friends gang raped me. I’ve never used that term t o describe it before.
The issue I continue to struggle with is trying to identify it as rape in my mind. Yes, I told him I didn’t want to, but I didn’t put up a fight. I didn’t yell “no” or tell them to stop while they were doing it. But I also knew with every thing inside me that I didn’t want to have sex with three men that night. And I was in such shock and so gripped with fear that I couldn’t fight back. I was also blaming myself and thought that I deserved what happened to me because I was dumb enough to put myself in that situation.
Afterward I became cynical, promiscuous, bitter, and sad. I allowed men to do things to me that I probably wouldn’t have had this never happened. Besides a few friends and an ex-boyfriend, I’ve never told anyone, including my family, about what happened. When I did tell people it was difficult for me to not make it sound like I was blaming myself. I’m slowly healing now, over 10 years later, and starting to share what happened to me with more and more of the important people in my life. Hopefully one day I’ll get the courage to share it with my family.