When I was 13 years old I got catcalled for the first time. And to be honest, I was proud. I had been conditioned to value the worth of my body based on what a man thought to be attractive.
When I was 18 years old, I had my ass grabbed by a stranger for the first time. It was my very first college party.
I walked into a upper class men’s apartment and while everyone in the group I was with was greeted with a hug or a handshake, I was greeted with a hug and a grope.
When I told one of my friends what he did, she laughed and said I’ll get used to it. That he’s cute and I should pursue him.
I wish I could say this was the first time I had been groped by a stranger. It happened again and again throughout my college experience. My friend was right. I got used to it.
I thought that was just what men did, as if they were entitled to touch my body and I should feel flattered or grateful that they did so. That they chose me to give the attention.
I got so used to it that when I was raped I didn’t fight back. I didn’t even identify it as a rape because once again, I thought that this was just what happened.
Because I was too drunk, I should’ve known better. I got myself into the situation.
The reality was this. I was 18 years old. I was at a frat party, and I was way too drunk. I remember I was making out with one guy that I was interested in.
A couple drinks later I was too drunk to know what was going on. One second I was kissing this guy, the next I’m kissing another man who I didn’t know who he was.
I went looking for my friends who I’d came to the party with but I was told that they’d left. The man overhead and took that as an opportunity to take me back to his place.
He said I was too drunk to go back to the dorms (which I was) and he said his apartment was nearby and I could stay the night.
I was confused and I was nearly black out drunk with no one I knew around and so when he took my hand and led me away from the party, I didn’t resist.
The rest of the night was in bits and pieces. I don’t remember walking to his apartment or making it into his room. What I do remember is him kissing me and taking my clothes off.
I remember letting him. The rest I don’t remember much accept the sense of dread. And I remember grasping onto the dog tags around my neck so tightly that my palms hurt.
They were the tags of a close friend which I wore religiously.
I remember opening my eyes which face into the mattress and having the feeling when you want to cry but you can’t and the sob sits in the back of your throat, unable to escape.
After that I can’t recall anything until the morning. I left the minute I opened my eyes. It was 5 or 6 am. He thanked me for a good night and hoped we’d talk again. And he smiled at me as I left.
It wasn’t a cruel smile. It was a blissful one.
I honestly don’t believe that he does know that he didn’t know he raped me. That he just had a fun night and “got lucky”.
I haven’t actively recalled this event for almost 2 years… while I know it wasn’t my fault, I can’t shake the feeling that it was.
That there were so many things I could’ve done differently to have protected myself. I left that morning feeling like a slut. I felt guilty. I felt unsafe. Unclean.
I continued to blame myself because I was to be considered provocative. I coped with my feelings of worthlessness with sex or acts that made me feel worthy of male attention.
I used this as a method to combat my feelings or worthlessness, while often times this made me only feel more worthless.
But all of those times, it was in my hands. I had the power over my body. It was my decision.
That night at that party, I did not want to have sex. The decision was taken from me. My body was used by a stranger. I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same.
I am nearly incapable of receiving any sexual actions from someone I am dating because I have so strongly associated sex with feeling or worthlessness, of pain, dread. I feel like my body is disgusting….
that my body isn’t worthy of my partner. And in general, intimacy makes me panic. It makes me scared.
I’ve taught myself that someone who wants to have sex with me is someone I cannot trust.
I don’t know how to heal from this.