A teammate

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. 💕


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29 comments

  1. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Thank you for trusting AVFTI with your story, we are happy to be here when you need us.
    I’m so sorry for what you went through, I’m so sorry it’s caused to much negativity in your life. You didn’t deserve that, and I hope you know it wasn’t your fault.
    You are so strong for removing yourself From the toxic environment. Not many people are strong enough to do that and put themselves first like you are.
    I hope you continue to move down the path of healing and continue to be happier in life.
    We are always here if you need us
    – Lexi

  2. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear aquietgirl,

    Thank you for coming here and sharing your story with us, I just want you to know that you can always come here to get things off of your chest and we will always be here for you no matter what <3 I can't imagine the whirlwind of emotions that you were going through when all of this was happening. I just want you to know that none of this was your fault. Consent can change throughout the course of intimacy all the time and that is okay. What is not okay is someone literally telling you that you are not allowed to say no, and continues to do things to you that you never wanted. That is not, and will never be, okay. Ever. It sounds like things really started to turn around for you though once you got out of that town. It may have been one of the best things you could have done for your physical, mental, and emotional health <3 I hope someday you are able to return to the sport that you love so dearly, I don't want this guy to have that power over you. You deserve to be happy and do the things that you love <3 I think it is awesome though that you have a good support system, that is not always the case with a lot of survivors. I am sending you hugs your way as you continue your healing journey. I hope we hear from you again in the future <3

    – Jordan

  3. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello aquietgirl,

    I’m thankful that you are still here to share your story.

    During this time, it sounds like you felt uncertain about who you could lean on to receive support. When it comes to your body, you have the right to express what makes you feel uncomfortable. I’m sorry that Ben placed you in a situation that caused you to feel powerless; you are not to blame for his actions. I commend you for confiding in the assistant athletic director and beginning an investigation. Although the school decided not to pursue the charges, I can tell that you did what you could to ensure that Ben would be held accountable for his actions.
    Hearing that you found comfort by moving to a new city is wonderful. I hope that you can eventually return to rowing too 🙂

    Take care of yourself.

    Ashley

  4. zoeyb

    hi aquietgirl,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so glad you’re in a better and safer environment for yourself where you can continue to grow and heal safely. I’m so sorry that you had to go through that- what he did to you was abuse of his authority and wrong. I’m so proud of you for asking for help during such a hard time, you are resilient. It’s so good to hear that sharing your story helps, we believe you and are fully supporting you. I hope a team forms in your city soon so that you can continue your passion! I hope that if you choose to continue sharing, you’ll let us know how you are anytime.

    – zoey <3

  5. grothkat8 Volunteer

    Hello aquietgirl,

    thank you for sharing your story with us, and I am so sorry this happened to you. You’ve been through quite a lot, but just know you did the right thing. It takes a lot of courage to speak up, and sometimes the after effects can be really difficult to deal with. Losing friends and your favorite sport has to be hard, but I’m glad you prevailed and moved away from what hurt you.

    I hope you are able to get back to rowing someday soon also, and please let us know if you need anything. We are always here for you!

    Katie

  6. Kayla Volunteer

    Hey there,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. We believe you, and we’re here for you. I’m really glad to hear you’re doing better – a change of scenery can really do wonders. I hope you can find a rowing team, even if it’s a casual league team? It sounds like reclaiming rowing could be so helpful for you in a lot of ways.

    Sending you love,
    Kayla

  7. zelda Volunteer

    I’m sorry you went through something so horrible. That’s definitely rape and it is definitely not okay. I know the pain of learning that they’re not going to press charges. When I was last raped by two different men the police did nothing to help me as well. Charges weren’t pursued. But I hope moving to a new city as helped you. What’s helped me is leaning on friends, family, my boyfriend, and AVFTI. It’s done wonders.

    I’m glad you reached out to us and if there’s anything more that I can do, please feel free to message me.

  8. Lizzi

    Hi aquietgirl,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you. It was wrong of him to take advantage of you, when you made it so clear that you weren’t ready. You shouldn’t have even had to say any safe word for him to know this wasn’t okay, and not only did he ignore it but told you that you couldn’t say no. That’s so wrong. I can imagine it was hard to deal with everything after this, as it seems like he was so connected to a lot of parts of your life. In college you want to be able to be a part of groups or sports, go to parties, and feel safe overall. I hate that he ruined this sport for you. I hope that maybe there’s a similar activity you can do now that would still give you the feelings you loved when you were rowing. I’m glad that you’re still alive. I’m glad you’re in a new city away from him, although it makes me sad you have to leave friends behind. I hope that life continues to get better for you. Thank you for trusting us with your story.

  9. Harton.13 Volunteer

    Hey aquietgirl,

    It’s really hard when we feel like sharing with people could make things worse, so I’m glad you’ve found people that you can trust with your story. I’m so sorry you went through this with someone you thought you knew and could trust, but you’re showing a lot of strength by trying to move forward. I’m sure some days are better than others, but we are always here for you!

    Sam

  10. Megan Volunteer

    Hey aquietgirl,

    Thank you for sharing your story; I know it takes a lot of courage to do so. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. You deserve to be treated so much better. And I’m really sorry about the after-effects of the assault too. Struggling in school, the depression, and losing your team are all really hard things to go through. It shows a lot of strength that you have made it through it all, and I’m so glad that you did. It’s great that you are feeling better now! Sometimes getting out of the old environment helps so much with healing, as well as knowing that your friends and family support you!

    We are always here for you if you ever need anything,
    Megan

  11. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi aquietgirl,

    I’m so sorry about what happened to you. It’s very unfortunate that schools often side with abusers instead of protecting victims. You definitely are not alone. I’m glad that you had the courage to move and start fresh. It takes a lot of strength and resolve to pack up leaving friends behind. We believe you, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Please feel free to share with us again if needed.

    All the best,
    Becca

  12. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi aquietgirl,
    I’m so sorry about what happened to you. You are allowed to say no, and the person should listen and respect that. You can stop when you don’t feel comfortable. This wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. I’m also sorry that the school didn’t pursue charges for what he did – it’s unfair and frustrating. However, you’re so brave for reporting what happened and for barring him from the boathouse.
    I’m glad you’re feeling better now. It makes sense that being in that other town and seeing him/reminders of him is exhausting. I hope you’ll be able to get back into rowing somehow. Maybe you could create your own team in the city you’re living in now! just a thought.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re here to support you in any way we can, so please reach out if you need anything. You are strong and courageous!

  13. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry this happened to you. You didn’t do anything wrong and none of this was your fault. It takes a lot of courage to share your story. I am happy you moved to a new place. Please keep us posted and let us know if you need anything we are here for you.

  14. musicislove

    I’m so glad to hear that you got a fresh start and are doing better than you were. Thank you for sharing your story, you didn’t deserve any of what happened to you and I’m sorry that your school didn’t pursue charges like they should have. I hope you’ll be able to get back into rowing at some point since you love it so much, hopefully you can also find other hobbies that you love just as much if not more in the future. We’re here for you and if you need anything else just let us know.

    -Delaney

  15. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi aquietgirl,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you and that the case didn’t go the way it should have. You didn’t do anything wrong and none of this is your fault. I’m happy that you feel better now and are in a new place. I hope you are able to enjoy your rowing again. Keep in mind that you have shown tremendous strength and perseverance through all of this. You can do this and are doing a great job. Just take it a day at a time. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Please let us know how else we can help.

    Thomas

  16. rkr18 Volunteer

    A quiet girl,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you went through this, you did not deserve it. I’m happy that you moved to a new place and it has helped you. I do hope that you can go back to rowing! Please keep us updated and know we are here for you.

    -Marie

  17. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, aquietgirl. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry you went through that. It wasn’t your fault and you didn’t deserve to go through all that pain and give up your passion. I’m glad to hear you where able to get away and have support. Talking about it has helped me a lot too. I think you are incredibly strong for making it through that and having the courage to talk about it. It’s not easy. I hope you can return to rowing again soon! Let us know if we can help in any way. We’re here for you.

  18. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that he did this to you. You trusted him and he took advantage of that. I’m sorry to hear that your school wouldn’t pursue charges. You did not deserve for any of these things to happen to you. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing well now and working on healing. Thank you for trusting us with your story. We are always here and we believe you. <3 Stay strong and keep fighting.

    -Jess

    1. dzreid Volunteer

      Hi there
      I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you & the school didn’t do anything. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad that your choice to move has given some hope. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well & are taking steps towards continued healing. It sounds like you’re heading down the right path. You have another resource now, you now have AVFTI. I believe in you & believe you.
      Dawn

  19. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I am so sorry about everything that happened to you. You didn’t deserve this and this wasn’t your fault. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We are here for you. Let us know how else we can help you.

    Erin

  20. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi aquietgirl,

    Thank you for coming here to share your story with us. AVFTI is a safe space and we are all here for you. I’m so sorry that Ben ignored you when you said no. What he did was wrong. You didn’t give him consent to have sex with you. I’m sorry that the school didn’t give you the support that you need by pursuing charges. It’s great to hear that you have moved to a new city and are feeling so much better. I’m sure you will be able to return to rowing some day.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  21. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi aquietgirl,

    Thank you for coming to share your story. I am so sorry that you went through this, and I hope you know that you did not deserve this and this is not your fault. You had said no and he disrespected it. You were so incredibly brave for reporting this, and the university should have helped and protected you, and I am sorry that they failed to. I am really glad to hear that you’ve moved to a new city. It can be a bit scary, but a change of scene is sometimes immensely helpful! Please remember to be kind to yourself and engage in some self-care. You are so strong and have made it so far. You can always come here to talk! You are never alone in this, my friend. Stay strong.

    Sending you love and support,
    Bre

  22. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear aquietgirl,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I hope that being able to tell it in a safe place is helpful for you. I am so sorry that this happened to you and that the university did not protect you and help you in the way that it should have. It took a lot of strength to get yourself better and to be able to move and start life somewhere else. You are very brave and resilient. I hope that you are able to find or start a rowing team or find another activity that you love. Please feel free to write to us as often as you would like and let us know if there is anything we can help you with. Our Find Help tab has a variety of resources that you may find useful as well. We believe you and you are not alone in this!
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  23. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. You did not deserve what he did to you; you clearly said no and he chose to ignore that which was wrong. I am glad to hear that you are moving on doing great in a new city! Keep on sharing your story to show others that it does get better; stay strong and we are always here for you <3

  24. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi aquietgirl,
    I’m so sorry this happened and I’m sorry that you aren’t still rowing. I hope you can do it again in the future. What he did to you was not okay. If you say no, that means stop. He should have listened to you. I am heartbroken that the school dropped the charges. That is horrible and is not something that they should have done because he can do it to someone else. I’m happy that things are getting better and you like your new town. You deserve to be happy and have friends and family who support, believe, and validate you. If you need anything else we are here for you. Continue to stay strong. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI.
    -Alyssa

  25. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi aquietgirl,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry about everything you went through. I can definitely relate to how you were feeling before everything went downhill – feeling special because an older guy is paying attention to you and flirting with you, coming to you with his problems. From my experience, it seems like a manipulation tactic. He got you in a vulnerable position and then took advantage of you, and that’s definitely not ok. He should have listened to you when you said no. Just because you allowed it once doesn’t give him the right to your body any other time.

    Your reaction was completely understandable. It’s hard enough that you were violated, but then when the university didn’t press charges, I can’t imagine how you felt. How others treated you was completely unfair and you didn’t deserve that. I’m so happy that you were able to start over somewhere else. Being able to discuss your experience with people without any sort of preconceived notions or judgments is probably such a breath of fresh air, and it’s so great you were able to make that happen for yourself!

    Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We support you 100%!! Stay strong, you’ve got this 🙂
    Marissa

  26. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi aquietgirl,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you experienced this. You didn’t deserve to go through that. I’m glad that you are doing better in your new city. Please feel free to continue sharing your story and update us. Let us know if you ever need anything. We’re always here for you.

  27. Solongago

    I’m sorry you went through that. I wonder if there is a another sport you can embrace with the same fervor, like maybe trying a triathalon. That way you won’t have to run into him if you are at a tournament. But I hate that you would have to leave something you love.

  28. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey aquietgirl ,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry for what you have been through, what happened was not your fault and you did not deserve any of it. It’s great to hear you are in a better place now, and if you ever need to talk or want to update us with how you are doing, don’t hesitate. Thank you for sharing. Be kind to yourself

    Shannon