Editors note: *Trigger warning*
I’ve had numerous conversations about what defines sexual assault and what it means to be raped in the past. Making the leap from being someone who has been assaulted to someone who identifies as an “assault victim” can be somewhat unnatural. I only thought that in theory, going off of my few bad encounters with some drunk make outs that I regretted in the morning and what I could piece together from testimonials of what I had thought of as “Real Victims.”
So, I woke up on Sunday morning with a slight headache (which could be explained from the drinking the night before) around 9:15 AM. The first thing I realized was that it was very bright for 9:15, then the dull ache at the very lower end of my abdomen, my tender breasts and my entirely naked body. I had just had sex the night before.
I remember drinking shots before going out, having a drink or two with my friends, dancing a lot, seeing people we didn’t expect, sitting next to my friend’s friend Paul on the way home… and being on the floor looking up at a man… and having someone bite and lick my chest… and being happy about it. I know I had sex last night and it’s not just because the feelings on my body linger but because in between my black out I have glimpses. Who was it? Did we use protection? Why did we have it in my apartment? Where is my roommate? Am I going to be pregnant? Was he drunk too?
After struggling to put clothes on without leaving my covers, I ducked into the bathroom to inquire my roommate of my own whereabouts. It was Paul, he and I were busy for about two hours or so (she slept on the couch)… “Did you not Know? Well, at least you can’t be pregnant because — oh you don’t know at all do you… Well, you both were making out for the half hour ride home, I didn’t want to stop it because it looked like a good thing. Plus, you and Paul are kinda friends right? I saw him earlier in the night and he was really drunk, too, so it’s not bad. I know that he sleeps around a bit, but he’s hot so it’s probably fine.”
When I chronicle my morning, it sounds a lot like I either don’t care about sex and it’s just a thing to do. Or it sounds like assault, or rape. But at the time I seemed to have wanted it. At the time, I had said yes — a drunken yes, a blacked out yes, but what happens if he is drunk too? My roommate saw me make out with him for a half hour (all of which i do not remember) and take him home, why question it?
I cried for three hours. My body still feels weird to me, days later. I’ve had sex with two other men before him. One of whom I loved for two years. Another who I interned with for two terms and will be moving to the Gulf with this summer to continue where we left off, my body and mind intend to love him with a little bit more time. So what is Paul? I don’t know. He was very drunk, too, but he remembers and swears that I “didn’t seem so bad.” He told me what I was telling him leading up to it, and it all sounded like things I was supposed to save for someone that I will be with on the Gulf of Mexico in a month. I knew I had said them, and through them and through my black out I verbally consented. I opened myself up with words were not meant for him. My body was not meant for him, but now I can’t take any of it back.
All the while, I don’t feel like a rape victim, an assault victim — and he does not seem to be my rapist or attacker. How am I supposed to think and keep from crying inside?