I hear you loud and clear.
In light of all of the stuff going down in Hollywood lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of the same old “they should have reported” bullshit flying around. Few things make me more angry than that cold mentality.
There’s a number of reasons why someone wouldn’t report their assault, and I can’t believe that people still have to be told this. It should be common sense by now. Of course, you’d hope and pray that no human would ever harm another in that way, or any way, but realistically that’s not the case. They do, all of the time.
I’ve never really shared my story with the internet, or anyone outside of 5 of my very closest friends. But I’m about to.
Content warning, I’m on mobile so I can’t do a “read more”.
When I was 15 years old, I ran around with a bad crowd. I knew they were bad at the time, but that didn’t stop me from running with them. They knew people who knew people who could get their hands on all sorts of things, and I was down to try pretty much anything. In hindsight, that’s probably why I’m overly cautious these days, but that’s neither here nor there.
One night I pulled the whole “I’m staying at so and so’s house” to get me out of the house. We’ll call her A1. My mom loved A1 and considered her another daughter so there was no argument. A1 and I had another friend, A2, whose boyfriend, B, lived about 45 minutes away, had a car, and was older than the rest of us. He was kind of a dickhead and had a lot of shit friends but we wanted to go joyriding with him, so we did. A1, A2, B and I drove around the backroads until we were bored and decided to go back to B’s house to hang out.
B called some of his friends over to the house and there were like 7 of us or so. I ended up hanging out with a guy who everyone called Bud because this was a hickass town with hickass people so of course his name was Bud. He was in his early 20’s and so he brought liquor. This wasn’t a red flag for any of us since it’s not like we didn’t already drink. Vodka, weed and coke were pretty pretty prevalent with most people we hung out with.
So we’re drinking and we’re smoking and yeah maybe some coke why not. I was 15 and indestructible and I can’t really remember but probably manic at the time. Things get a little hazy and I remember A1 saying we should just stay the night there and that she was going to sleep on the couch. A2 and B took it to B’s room and that left Bud and I to ourselves. I do remember continuing to drink with him and fooling around but that’s where things go dark. Late the next morning I woke up pantsless, sore, confused and alarmed with Bud next to me. I don’t remember anything in between the fooling around and waking up. And that’s when I realized that he’d taken advantage of me. I got dressed and woke my friends and we left. I didn’t say a word about it. We got coffee at a gas station and got B to buy us cigarettes. I still kept my mouth shut. I never told anyone anything.
Why didn’t I? There’s a number of reasons.
I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was supposed to be at A1’s house.
I had been drinking. I had been smoking. I had done cocaine.
I had willingly fooled around with him.
I was already labeled a slut at school and in town because yeah, I slept around a bit but it was mostly my bisexuality that earned me that label.
But most prevalently, it was because I was sure no one would believe me. Why would they? He was older and yeah, cute. Why wouldn’t I have given it up to him, why would he have to take it when I blacked out? I was a slut, and obviously a little freaky because I was also into girls, that was the perception of me. And it’s not entirely wrong, to be honest, but this was not the same. And hey, I was that crazy chick, the bipolar girl who tried to kill herself a few months ago, look at this lying cry for attention!
And so I sat with it. I never told anyone until years later, when my current fiancée and I were really getting into the nitty gritty of our personal histories.
I had it buried so fucking deep that I had been wronged that it took me 13 years to even realize what had truly happened and call it what it was. It took nearly half of my life to realize that I had been assaulted. I never even called it rape, which is what it was, until two fucking weeks ago when telling my best friend of 10 years the story for the first time. Fuck, I even made jokes about it, like it was a crazy party story, that’s how deep the denial was. My fiancée hated that story and now I really understand why.
Even now I think, I totally deserved it, didn’t I?
I still sometimes believe I had it coming.
I still sometimes doubt that even my fiancée, the woman I’m marrying, the one who has loved and supported and carried and trusted me for all these years, believes me. She must think I’m lying, why would anyone ever do that to me?
I doubt that my best friends believe me. I’m not traumatized. I’m living fine. This couldn’t have happened.
I know, none of that is true. But that’s how deeply engrained the guilt and the shame and the conditioning to believe that the other party is innocent is. It makes you doubt yourself, heavily, and sink into denial. And you never tell a soul. Or if you do, it’s too late. What could they do?
I’m sure my story is the same as many people. I’m sure there are countless men and women (and those who are both or neither) and children who share my story and feel the same way, have the same thoughts. The same feelings.
And it’s important to know that others hear you and believe you and are there for you. We have your back and we care.