Anybody who has mustered up the courage to type those words out and then share them to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook is brave beyond belief, at least in my eyes.
I, unfortunately, am not one of those brave souls.
How could I be? When I told my best friend about my assault, she told me, “Well, you were both drunk, so, technically, you raped each other.”
That’s not how I felt when I woke up, not wearing panties, in a house that I did not fall asleep in.
That’s not how I felt when I went home and showered for hours, just trying to feel clean again.
That’s not how I felt when I slept the whole next day, just trying to avoid dealing with what had just happened to me.
Not when I was a virgin, prior to that night.
That’s not how I felt when I had to find out what happened from his girlfriend, who I didn’t even know, messaging me, calling me “gross.”
That’s not how I felt when I texted him the next day to tell him I didn’t remember anything that happened, and he responded, “Well, let’s do it again tonight and make you remember it.”
That’s not how I felt when I asked him to help me pay for a Plan B pill, which he didn’t end up contributing to. ($60)
That’s not how I felt when I asked him to help me pay for STD tests (because I was so terrified of what he might have), which he also didn’t contribute to. (Another $60)
After the man who assaulted me realized that I might report him, he then turned it around on me and told everybody in my town that I raped him. It was his get out of jail free card; his way out.
He was the high school quarterback, and I was a nobody in that town. He used his platform and his popularity to ruin my reputation. After I found out about the rumors he was spreading, I realized that nobody would believe me if I said he was actually the one that assaulted me.
So, I remained silent.
I handled everything myself.
I didn’t have my license at the time, so I asked my friend to pick up a Plan B pill for me. He drove to my house at 2am, after everybody was already asleep, so that we would not get caught.
I had my other friend drive me to Planned Parenthood so that I could get tested. I told my parents we were going to an art museum. I would have much rather been there.
Planned Parenthood could only test me for “the 3 most common types” of STD’s if I paid with cash. If I would have put it on my parents’ insurance plan, I think there were more tests they could have done, but the whole point of my friend driving me was so my parents would not know.
That meant I could only get tested for the 3 STD’s. They told me they would only call with my results if they were bad. “No news is good news!” one of the ladies working there said. A few days passed, and I got anxious, so I called them asking for my results. I tested negative on all 3.
Because testing negative for “the 3 most common” STD’s was not good enough for me to stop worrying, I Googled, “ways to get your parent to take you to see a gynecologist for the first time.” I wanted to get tested for every STD, because, I remember thinking what if I have the 4th most common STD.
I found out that many people take birth control to clear their acne. I had been struggling with acne for a while, and my mom knew that, so it was a little bit easier to bring up the gynecologist when it didn’t have to do with my vagina.
My mom scheduled the appointment, and a couple of months later, I was able to see the doctor. When I got there, I told her that while yes, I would still like to start birth control for my acne, I also had another thing I needed to talk about. I didn’t even tell her what had happened. I said that I think I hooked up with somebody who gets around a lot, so I wanted to get tested to make sure I was all okay down there. She said I was good to go, gave me my birth control, and I was on my way.
After she said that, there was nothing more that I needed to do to, physically, to deal with my assault.
A year later, I told my mom.
1.5 years later, I told my sisters.
I usually try not to tell more people than I have to tell.
Today, my rapist works at a church as a youth minister.
He goes about his day, never even giving a second thought to what he did to me and how it affected my everyday life.
He never apologized. He never reached out. He just pretended it never happened, so that he could keep his reputation of a good person who works for a church.
Today, I have been in and out of therapy, and on and off of depression pills.
Today, I am still affected every day by what happened to me two years ago.
Today, I am still trying to be whole again.
Most importantly, today, I stand with the millions of women out there who have also experienced the horrific violence that is sexual assault, when I use the hashtag #MeToo.