Delayed Reactor

In high school, I was in the band. My best friend would always be perfectly fine all of band camp, but the week after she would be incredibly sore, because of this she said she was a delayed reactor, doing what she needed to in the moment to get through something and then later feeling the consequences. I never considered myself a delayed reactor, I always called myself the firecracker, ready to go off as soon as the flame hit, but today I was proven wrong.

I recently joined an on campus organization called SAVE; this stands for sexual assault and violence educators. This weekend, we have had 12 hours of training and it’s been very extensive. The first day, I knew I was feeling emotional about some of the topics and they struck a cord with me, especially the topic of being raped while drunk or survivors being reluctant to report due to backlash. Today, little things resonated with me, one girl said it didn’t matter if the rape happened two years ago, it was still valid. Our Title IX coordinator looked straight at me and said “God forbid if you walk into my office…”

So after training today, I asked our adviser if I could talk to her privately. We then went into an empty room and I poured my heart out about my own rape. I’ve told people about my rape, but I’ve never told them that it was rape. I would always say “Oh, it was a drunken one night stand and I made him mad and we don’t talk any more.” Or things around that nature in order to normalize it so I could keep going, but this definitely wasn’t normal.

We went to my friends beach house. There were about 6 of us. I got so trashed. I probably had 6 shots of vodka and tequila and 2-3 Mike’s Hard Lemonade. He was drunk too. We were all playing around and singing and we eventually all laid down and he asked to cuddle, I said sure and we laid down beside each other. He kept kissing my neck and pulling me closer and trying to make me touch him but I kept saying no and that we were too drunk for this. He eventually fell asleep and I got up and moved to a bed. That was at about 12-1amish. I got up to get water at 4:30am, then went back to the bed. He then weirdly friended me on Facebook and messaged me asking why I was up. I said I couldn’t sleep. I don’t understand why but he took that as an invitation to come into the room I was in and before taking his pants off said “You’re not going to tell any about this right?” I said no and the next thing I know he’s in the bed and he’s on top of me. I just laid there, moaned occasionally, just went through the motions of how you’re supposed to act. After he came, he got up and left the room, just as the sun was coming up through the window. We had one more day at the beach, I told my friend whose beach house it was what had happened but I joked about it and acted like it was a one night stand, she’s had sex with him since and fondly refers to us as Eskimo sisters. I later messaged him and told him I hoped we could still stay friends (normalizing it) and he angrily replied about how he knew I had told our mutual friend and how upset he was and that he didn’t even remember much about that night. We never talked again and he denied that anything ever happened between us. I know he recognizes something happened though because one time he was having a bad day and texted a mutual friend of ours about how he wasn’t ok and she snap chatted him and I was in it and he said “well I won’t come over because she doesn’t like me very much.”

I can’t confide in my sorority because he’s a friend of many of them. I feel like I have to keep it to myself and after this training it just got too much. I know my SAVE adviser has to report it and I’m going to have to talk to our Title IX coordinator and that’s fine, but I’m not going to give his name. At this point I look at it this way, it was 2 years ago, if I tell, then I’ll get backlash from a lot of my sisters and I know that’s not how it’s supposed to be but it is. Maybe I’ll see a counselor, maybe I’ll keep it to myself, I don’t know what’s going to happen from here, but I’m glad I’m not lying to myself anymore.

To other survivors who are trying to normalize what happened to them: I get it. Dealing with rape is hard and suppressing it is so much harder than you think it is. Please get help and please know that you are loved.

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