Hi. I just wanted to share my story today after listening to the Sword and Scale podcast where Jamie spoke.
I’m a female. I live in the PNW and I was a member of the rowing team. At the time I was 18. It was the summer after my freshmen year, just before I started my next term. There was a man, Ben, who was alumni of the team at this point. The year following the incident, I had looked up to him. He was in the same position as me. He drank a lot and would often call out to me for help or comfort or company. I enjoyed it, having this guy who I viewed as superior coming to me and flirting with me. We sexted a lot, even when I had a boyfriend. I had traveled back home for the summer then returned to the PNW for school. I was single at this point, and we had made plans to see each other again. I walked to his house, not very far, and met up with him. He was always trying to hide that we saw each other, telling me never to tell anyone. I remember entering through the garage and going to his room in his new house. He had been drinking and we got down to business. It was always a little rough, I didn’t mind. But that day was different. I wasn’t ready, but he kept trying to insert himself, even when I tried a slew of safe words and said no. He told me I wasn’t allowed to say no. I remember just giving up, allowing him to do what he wanted. When he laid down next to me, I turned over and cried.
We didn’t see each other after that. Maybe in passing or at parties, but we never slept together again. One day, when I showed up to practice, he was an assistance coach for our team. I thought I could handle it, but when he was selecting people and avoided me, I got horribly upset and knew I couldn’t hide it anymore. I went to the assistant athletic director and he was barred from the boathouse. I was given a counselor and I launched an investigation on him with the school. I failed classes, dropped out of terms. I ran from parties when he showed up, had ‘bitch’ yelled at me, and lost connection with the sport I loved. I returned to rowing the following year, rocked it for a term, then was told the school wouldn’t pursue charges. I was devastated and fell in the same depression. I ended up in the psych ward after trying to kill myself — I knew that if I went home, I’d just end up in the same hole and do it again. The worst part was losing my team, being paranoid about who believed me and who would talk to. I didn’t even know if anyone else knew. Would they still invite him to parties if they knew? Would I be? It all hurt so much. To make matters worse, he had two businesses downtown, one of which I would walk by nearly everyday.
Flash forward to now: I moved to a new city and feel loads better. I had to leave behind a lot of my friends, but I needed out of that town. I still think of him sometimes, obviously, but less now. Maybe it hurts less. Being able to tell people, people who don’t know him, helps so much. I know my friends and family believe me. I still miss rowing, this city doesn’t have a team, but I hope to return to it someday soon. Thank you for reading. 💕