To be or not to be a victim.
I might have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was visiting my best friend at her university. Every single person I encountered was intoxicated and to their limit, with out regard to the time of day. There was an unfamiliarity in the environment that made me both eager and slightly anxious. It was my first time out of town on my own, and I remember how I felt incredibly independent.
As the weekend progressed, I made a discovery. I was an outsider. Like many people my age, I had always enjoyed my fair share of partying. What’s not to like about harming your body in a socially acceptable way, right? Takes the stress away. I thought I understood that. But in this town there was something different about that notion. Something extraordinarily unbearable about the way people displayed themselves and interacted. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
My best friend was busy for some time that weekend and I took the time to catch up with an old high school friend who lived near her dorm. He was almost too happy to see me, which made me feel better about where I was at. He showed me around town and throughout the day repeated in different phrases that he used to have feelings for me in high school but never knew how to approach me. He brought it up frequently, each time growing more and more serious. I laughed nervously because i didn’t know what to say. His unsmiling face remained and I remember how it made me feel awfully uncomfortable.
The night arrived as did I to another party. My best friend was staying sober in respect to her sorority. Despite this, she encouraged me to drink and have fun. I do remember drinking, but I don’t remember having fun. I remember the event I wish I didn’t remember. I had become one of the individuals I felt an outsider to. I was intoxicated well beyond the point I was comfortable with, and I was with the wrong people. My best friend had fallen asleep with what I figured out to be her latest crush. He was the owner of the apartment we were at. The two were sprawled across the floor of the living room. Little by little bodies dispersed and poured out of the apartment. I lost track of time. I looked to the left of me to the only person left. It was him. My friend from high school.
I sat there for a second indulging in my drunkenness and decided that I should probably stumble my way to the restroom. I remember the girl I saw in the mirror that night, staring at the back at me with half open eyes—vision slightly blurred and a mind full of wonder. When I opened the bathroom door, I was not surprised to see him waiting for me. I examined his clumsy stance and his pleading eyes. I believe a part of me must’ve felt bad for him at that moment, but for the most part I felt numb. He reached in for a kiss that I neither desired nor rejected. He began to touch me and I was unresponsive. He took off all our clothes and threw me on the bed. He spread my legs and pumped his disgusting pale body into me. I looked up to the corner of the room and moved my eyes towards the window. The sun was coming out. Although I felt no physical pain, I wondered where the awkwardness of my friend hid, that he now held a dominance over me.
I woke up with a brief feeling of not knowing where I was or who’s arm was around me. Images of the night before rushed through my mind and liquor churned in my belly. Perhaps it was an amalgamation of the two which had me nauseated instantly. As I got up to go to the bathroom I noticed a small amount of blood on the sheets. I suddenly became aware of my dizziness and rushed to the bathroom floor where I kneeled and dry heaved into the toilet seat until I recollected every memory of the night that I could possibly recollect. I remembered him telling me I was beautiful and I remember not caring. I remembered wanting to tell him I didn’t want to but not knowing how to speak. I remember him stopping and saying “I’m sorry I’m too drunk” and seeing the truth in this statement. The best part of that night was when his disorientated green eyes skimmed over my senseless body and realized he was too drunk to keep fucking me. I pushed myself up from the frigid bathroom tiles and saw a conflicted face in my reflection. Not many words were spoken that morning.
The hardest part of this event was the aftermath. Trying to figure out what exactly happened and if I was going to be alright. I knew that I was not ready for what happened and tried to make sense of how it did happen with someone I barely ever talked to. I tried to blame him, but the more I analyzed the situation the less malevolent his intentions were to me. After all, in his mind he was only sorry for his poor performance. In my mind I was sorry for anything happening at all. How was he supposed to know where I stood sexually? I also considered the idea that it was my fault, for not rejecting his approaches. But then I remembered that a teacher of mine once said not saying no doesn’t mean yes. I couldn’t agree more. And there was always a slight portion of me which believed I took it because I was tired of feeling like a prude. Everyone around me was always fucking or getting fucked. I never really believed that virginity mattered, that is until I had to question my own.
I decided that no person was at fault for what happened. By definition, I don’t believe I was raped that day, but I do believe I am a victim. Not a victim to him, not a victim to myself, but a victim to the way our genders are set up in relation to each other. I was raped, but not by a person. by society.