*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those who don’t deserve it.
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT.
We’re stopped at a late-night drive-thru before heading home from a party. The driver of the car asks if I want anything, “No, I don’t have any money.” “I’ll get you an order of chicken nuggets, you love those,” Chuck* says. I see myself in the backseat of the car, looking out the window, telling myself that I hope he isn’t expecting anything in return. And then I tell myself I’m crazy because we’re friends, of course he wouldn’t expect anything.
That night would be the first time he sexually assaulted me, even though I wouldn’t realize it until years later. We’d planned on me sleeping over since I had an early class the next day and his roommate wasn’t sleeping at their place that night. The only thing was his roommates bed didn’t have any sheets on it, so Chuck told me I could sleep with him in his.
I can see us laying there for a moment. I was ready to go to sleep; it was late and we’d shared half a handle of rum before going out. “So, what- we’re not going to do anything?” he said as my eyes started to close.
I’d never been with a guy before. In any sense of what “being with a guy” means. I turned to look at him even though it was dark. Somehow we started kissing. It wasn’t technically my first kiss though. That had happened about 45 minutes earlier, while we waited for our ride, and he came up to me without saying anything and leaned down to kiss me.
Not much time passed before he started trying to put his hand into the athletic shorts I’d taken to sleep in. I see myself grabbing his wrist and trying to push him away. I move my face away from his and plead with him not to. I tell him no. I tell him to stop. I hear his voice as he says, “chill the fuck out, I’m not going to rape you.” His third roommate is in the room down the hall. It’s like my vocal chords are paralyzed and I can’t scream. I keep trying to hold him off, but I’m tired and I’m drunk and I give up fighting.
I can feel his fingers in my body. He’s rough and I don’t want what he’s doing, but he’s not stopping. I’m laying there motionless and he keeps going. I want it to end, but when will it? How will it? I’ve never had an orgasm before, but it’s just heavy breathing right? I tell myself to breathe heavily. Finally, he takes his hands out of my shorts.
I don’t say anything. I’m still laying there, motionless. He grabs my head and starts pushing it towards his crotch. I tell him I don’t want to. He doesn’t stop. He uses one hand to hold my head and the other to pull his boxers down. “Now blow me as a thank you.” I still can’t speak. I’ve never seen a penis before, but my lips are touching his. He’s still holding me down. “Are you gonna do it or not?” I do. Not even a minute later, without warning, he finishes in my mouth. “I hope he doesn’t have an STD. I hope he doesn’t have an STD. I hope he doesn’t have an STD,” replays over and over in my head.
When we wake up the next morning, he acts normal, like nothing out of the ordinary transpired just a few hours earlier. I can still look at him. I tell myself what happened was fine, he was just really drunk and didn’t know what he was doing. I tell myself that I gave up fighting so it’s as much on me as it is on him. I tell myself that if I really didn’t want it then there’s no way my voice would’ve been paralyzed the way it was. I tell myself that friends don’t rape friends.
A few weeks pass and someone mentions that night. “Yeah, I wasn’t even that drunk that night,” I hear him say from the room over.
My stomach sinks.
“Friends don’t rape friends. Friends don’t rape friends,” plays on loop in my head.
I pour myself a drink.
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE NUMBER IS 1-800-656-4673.