I Survived

Something about the exposure of the abuse at Penn State has moved me to come forward. Something. Or maybe it's that my own daughter is moving into a world of beginning to explore the idea of dating. Either way, it's time. It is time to talk about it. It is time to talk about what went wrong.

In the early 1980s the concept of date rape didn't exist. The concept of somebody forcibly shoving his cock down your throat against your will while you were drunk or less-than-willing? That did exist. And it happened. More than once. To me. So did the rape. I said no. He didn't stop. Years later, in a college town, with a boyfriend who would have killed that guy if I'd ever told him what he looked like, I would leave bars suddenly upon spotting him. Him. The 6' 4+ guy who raped me in high school. One night while out with my sorority sisters, I said we needed to leave the bar we were in after I spotted him. I didn't want a confrontation. I just wanted to go. One of my sisters wanted to know why. When I told her what had happened in high school, an entire state away, she said, "Wow, he did that with another girl I know."

That's all I needed to know. He was still the same guy. He still had the same m.o. Years later, nothing had changed.

Some people will read this and think I was a slutty girl. Some will read this and think I was asking for it. Some will get it. Some will know it wasn't my fault. It took me a LONG time to realize that. DECADES.

It wasn't until I met my then boyfriend, who eventually became my husband that I learned I had the right to say no. And I used it often, probably more often than he liked for a while there, but he respected that need. He was also the same guy who, as a frat boy, would find nefarious situations happening in the frat house, and stop them whether they were his brothers or not. Whether he was drunk or not. That's how he was raised. It was ingrained in him. He wasn't able to be anybody else. He could only see that a woman was being wronged. He had sisters. You would be far more likely to get knocked out than get your cock out if you were found to be violating a girl in that frat house. Yet, he never talked about these incidents. I only found out about them years later.

What I was able to learn with a partner who supported my rights to my body as my own was that I could decide when and who had access to me. What I lost with his death was that confidence. Finally, I have it back. It is unfortunate that I tied it to him and not to me, because I am absolutely worthy of that respect.

So are you.