Sexual Assault, Rape and the Burden Many Years Later

March 24, 2018. A day that will forever change my concept of sex. 

It was my friend’s birthday weekend trip and everyone brought a guy to hookup with. I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, so my friend brought her boyfriend’s roommate as an extra guy on the trip. As everyone else shared beds, the roommate and I split a bunk bed, me on the top, and him on the bottom of the bunk.

For the sake of the story, we can call the roommate Ezra.

On the second night, March 24th, everyone was having a good time. I was singing old pop songs and dancing with my friends, until I started losing vision and couldn’t stand up straight.

I did edibles that night and had gotten way too high. I felt like it was probably best I slept it off, so I decided to go to bed and continue the fun in the morning.

Ezra was not done having fun.

It was 5 am, and I was asleep in my top bunk when I was awoken to the bed shaking as Ezra climbed up the ladder. I looked down the bed to see him crawling into my bed.

I was still high and couldn’t comprehend the situation. I didn’t say anything.

He started to get closer and try to kiss me.

What I wanted to say was “No. I am sleeping. Go to your bed,” but all I managed to get out was “I have dry mouth.”

He continued to kiss me and started to reach into my pants. 

Next thing I knew, we had sex.

Not we, but he. He had sex with me.

I was unable to kiss back, unable to respond, and unable to discourage the situation. All I know is that I was lying there with no thoughts and he had violated my privacy.

The rest of the night was blurry and I woke up the next morning, disheveled, but continued on my day with no comprehension of the situation. 

Life continued, and I had forgotten about March 24th until months later, when one of my classmates started talking about the symptoms of STD’s. I did not realize this before, but I had all the symptoms. Peeing had become so frequent, it was a burden in my day-to-day.

I immediately became concerned and that day I went straight to my doctor to get tested. A few days later, I vividly remember sitting on my bean bag and receiving a voicemail, “Your urine sample has come back positive for a chlamydia infection.”

I paused. No reaction. Still no comprehension of the situation. I was unphased.

They were asking me to talk to my partner and work through it with them, but I did not have a partner. They told me that I should talk to my parents, but I was too scared. I was on my own.

The next day I went to the pharmacy and picked up the antibiotics. I had told my mom it was acne medication and she was happy to take me. 

The pills became my life. They were only supposed to take one week, but it took me months.

I took three bottles of them because every time I got retested, I did not believe the negative results. I kept asking for more pills, telling the doctors that I had lost the last bottle. They kept giving them to me and I continued this cycle for over a month.

At this point, I was not trying to get rid of the infection within me, I was trying to get rid of the feeling Ezra gave me. I was trying to comprehend the situation by swallowing my thoughts in pills.

I finally stopped asking for more pills and went off to college. 

During my first few days at orientation, I attended a mandatory sexual assault awareness lecture.

“Sexual assault is illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent or who places the assailant in a position of trust or authority.”

I had been sexually assaulted. I did not come to the realization until the exact moment I heard the definition.

I immediately felt a weight on my shoulders and ran to the bathroom to call my home friends.

Although I didn’t say the word “no,” there was no force, and the situation does not affect my day-to-day as much as it affects other survivors, I was sexually assaulted.

As time progressed, I started to tell more of my close girlfriends about my situation.

Fast forward two years later, and I have told most of my girlfriends, but hadn’t told any guys. Over quarantine, I was driving to the grocery store with my brother and we were talking about how common it is for people our age to be sexually assaulted and I abruptly told him.

I briefly explained the situation and he turned to me, “You were not sexually assaulted. You were raped.”

My heart started to race. That word took me by surprise. The word “rape” had always scared me because of the the connotation it is. I had always associated the word with aggressive situations where the girl had to fight back.

That didn’t happen to me.

But that is the problem. I was raped. It was not the type of rape people talk about in the news, but it is just as valid. 

I had always brushed off my experience because I didn’t think my situation was valid enough, but everyone’s situation is valid.

Even as I write this, I am questioning whether or not some of my peers would even believe my story.

I am here to tell you that I believe you. If you have ever been raped, sexually assaulted, or been a part of any sexual situation that has made you uncomfortable, I want you to know that all of your feelings are valid. I see you, I hear you and I believe you.

Please do not diminish your situation and let it develop within you as I did. 

Don’t hold the burden for a situation that you never deserved to be a part of. 

Tell someone and get help. You deserve to be heard, and most importantly, it was not your fault.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

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