Written by: anonymous
*trigger warning: sexual assault, harassment, rape, victim blaming*
I was 20 years old when it happened. I had just moved into a new apartment in the 3rd district. One evening, he texted me if I wanted to go out with him and his friends. I answered „sure!”, looking forward to a fun night out. He said he was in a park nearby and I invited them all for predrinks at my place. So, he came and we started drinking and waited for his friends to come, but one by one cancelled, until him and me ended up being alone. My flatmate was at home too, but she left at some point to catch a flight somewhere, I don’t remember where.
He and I had gone to school together and had been in the same class for 3 years. We had always been sexually attracted to each other, but as I was in a relationship, I didn’t aim for anything; we were friends. But around that time, I had just broken up with my boyfriend, so I thought that maybe this would be the night. We kept drinking.
At around 4 am we went to bed and started kissing. I was on my period and wasn’t comfortable having sex. We kept kissing, took off each other’s clothes and I gave him oral sex. I fell asleep naked afterwards, facing away from him and lying on my stomach.
I woke up from the pain. I felt him thrusting into me again and again – he pressed my head into the pillow. I was still drunk and barely knew what was happening. I ended up just falling back to sleep, thinking it must have been a nightmare.
A few hours later I woke up sore. He was still lying next to me and I asked him: “Did we have sex?” – “yeah” – “did you use a condom?”, “no, but don’t worry, I didn’t come anyway”
We both got up, I made breakfast for the both of us and he left.
The thought of rape crossed my mind but I shrugged it off quickly. Stories about rape didn’t go like mine. Rape happens in parks at night by random strangers. There is screaming and hurting and blood. I didn’t look anything like a rape victim; I didn’t have any marks, he hadn’t even finished. I was just sore…
The next few weeks are a blur. I remember feeling confused about the whole situation, thinking something wasn’t right about this encounter. I mean, I had wanted this to happen before, right? But I didn’t that night.
A part of it, the first part, yes, but everything after? What the hell had happened? Why didn’t he wake me up? Did he see me sleeping? Did he try to wake me up?
I met up with a friend, telling her about it and she said, “He raped you.”
“No… I wanted to have sex with him generally… I just… I wasn’t…”
“You were asleep, he did not ask for consent in any way. He raped you.”
“But I would have consented like… if I hadn’t been on my period…if I hadn’t been asleep… I wanted him, too”
“Yes but still – you did not give consent to him entering your body while you were asleep. No ‘Yes’ still equals a ‘No’”
I had been raped. By a friend. A guy I felt attracted to. And still I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
I wanted to talk to him about it, so I messaged him if we could meet up, but he didn’t answer. I started to get angry. I messaged him that I wanted an apology for what he had done to me. Back then, the actual word “rape” scared the hell out of me, the whole concept of rape, and the thought that it had been done to me hurt too much to be able to utter it in any way.
He replied that he didn’t know what I was talking about, that I had wanted it, that was not responsible for my ‘decisions’. At that point I got angry. How can you hold someone responsible who is asleep?!
In the end, he apologized via Facebook messenger. I should be happy, right? I got what most rape victims don’t get: a half-assed apology. I took screenshots of the whole conversation.
Should I have gone to the police? The thought has crossed my mind so many times. I know his name, I even sort of have a confession, even though he doesn’t admit to having raped me. But is this story worth ‘ruining his life’ over? He has two sisters – is it worth destroying the faith that his family members put in him? I thought: surely he hasn’t done this to any other girls. He was the sort of guy who told me he couldn’t watch movies in which women were mistreated. He was just drunk…. I was just drunk…. and still – I am the one who got hurt.
My body wasn’t hurt, but my soul was, still is. He took something from me, my sense of security, my trust in men, even in friends that were men.
I was confused about the whole situation, but I never blamed myself. I might have been naïve about the concept of rape but I did know: victims are NEVER the ones to blame. I know I am not to blame for what happened. He is. Even if he was drunk. So, I told my mother about it a few weeks after it happened.
But still, the word “rape” was so, so hard to utter. Instead, I tried to describe what had happened for my mother. She had met him once or twice and she had liked him. I also told her I had been drunk and naked… What she told me in that moment still breaks my heart, even almost five years later. She said “well, just don’t drink that much” and “well yeah, it wasn’t okay but it’s not as bad as you make it out to be.”
I was still so confused and fragile at that stage that I couldn’t argue with her. Instead, I just dropped the whole thing and thought I would get over it eventually.
Obviously, I didn’t. I tried going to therapy a few months after the rape happened but she wasn’t the right therapist for me. She tried making me talk about issues other than the rape as well, which I was not ready for back then. I wanted a magic formula that would make everything go away but that she could not provide; because there is no such thing. So instead I just swallowed the whole story and the emotions that came with it, which made it worse. My pain and anger surfaced at seemingly random intervals.
Until I discovered that there is power in this story. This is not an unusual story; this is not an extraordinary story. If you talk to the women in your life, you will find out that almost every woman has a story involving the lines concerning their own bodies being crossed. So that is exactly what I did. I talked to my friends, and sometimes even to complete strangers, finding out that most women have been seriously harassed or assaulted, even some women in my own family. I have also met men who were raped – usually by other men.
The magic of being open with your story is that some people will open up to you themselves and will tell you theirs. By sharing your story, you can start to heal yourself and help others do the same.
After talking to these people, I felt a bond with them. We are all survivors.
People think I fear sex. I don’t. I never did. I still like sex. I am afraid of what happens when I fall asleep. I am afraid of what happens when I have no control over what happens. I am very aware of my boundaries and when people cross them.
I still live in the same apartment, but in another room. I finally gave the bed in which it happened away and bought myself a new one. I started going to therapy three years after it happened and it’s been one year since I started going regularly. I have found a wonderful therapist who has helped me stitch my soul back together. I still have a long way to go but I am getting there. People in my own family still try to blame me for what happened, but I know better.
What I want you to take away from this is:
If you have been raped, talk about it when you are ready, find power in it. You are a survivor. There are other survivors out there who need someone to talk to them about it. There are so many people out there who still need to learn about rape. Particularly men need to realize how real this problem is. Hell, all of society needs to realize how real this problem is!
And if you have been raped or mistreated in any kind of way, then I am so sorry you had to go through this. No one deserves this. You are not alone. We are all allies. And you can always go out and come find us, because we are everywhere.
If you have not been raped and someone chooses to share their story with you, believe them. Do not belittle them, do not ask them if they were drunk or what they were wearing, because none of it matters. Appreciate their strength, ask them if you can comfort them in any way, tell them they are beautiful in every way, admire them, for they have been through something no person should ever have to go through. They all are survivors.