I never thought I would be writing here again about what I’m about to say. I thought that, being an expert in sexual assault research (I wrote my senior thesis on the topic for Christ’s sake), I would always know how to react if I ever got into another situation like this. I thought I would know, definitively, the answer to the question many survivors ask themselves: Was I raped? But here I sit at my desk at work, still wondering, still confused. How could I still not know?
Last night, I went out with a couple of the Teaching Assistants that I TA a night class with. We had all gone to happy hour together earlier, because, per tradition, when the class takes the exam (in our case last night, the midterm), the TA’s get to go out for drinks. We went to happy hour and had a great time. We had to come back to facilitate a problem-solving task with our groups (the course is called Groups at Work, and that’s our job as TA’s). We were all pretty buzzed, so trying to facilitate those problems were hilarious. After the class was over, a couple of us decided to continue on with the partying. We went to one of the TA’s apartments nearby and continued to drink, all chatting, laughing, and having a good time. One of the TA’s, let’s call him John Doe, I have kind of liked and flirted with a lot since we started TAing together this semester. He asked about my tattoo that says survivor, and I talked to him about what that meant. After drinking more at the apartment, the three of us walked to the bar close by and got more drinks there. John and I kept talking, and we tossed around the idea of us hooking up. We were drunk, single, and stupid-so why not?
We left together. And that’s where it all gets….confusing. He kept trying to have sex with me while we were walking. Out in the open. In public. He pulled me down to some side streets-inevitably someone’s driveway, from what I can remember. I remember saying I didn’t want to do that outside (or some form of refusal)-why couldn’t we just go back to my place? I remember him yelling at me…I think saying, “Are we going to hook up or not?” and “Come on, Erin!”. It’s all a little fuzzy, but I know that we did have sex in a driveway-even though I know I said I didn’t want to do that there. I know the words “No” came out of my mouth. But we had, at least partially, sex. I would have never wanted to do something like that in such a public place. I didn’t want to do something like that in the open. He was being really aggressive and forceful. He grabbed my head to kiss me-he forcibly put his hand down my pants and fingered me. I didn’t necessarily say no to those things-just that I didn’t want to do them in public.
I ended up convincing him to walk to my place. I thought if I could just get him to my house, maybe we could just do it and then he would leave. I’m not really sure what I was thinking. We got to my house and went into my room. He immediately grabbed my head, started kissing me, shoved his hand in my pants and shoved his fingers into me. I didn’t say anything at first, but I really had to pee, so after I got him to stop (I feel like I remember it taking a second) I went to the bathroom. I told him I was going to go to sleep. And, thankfully, he said he was going to leave. I remember feeling incredibly relieved. I walked him out, he left, and I went to sleep.
So why is this so hard for me to comprehend? Why can I still not answer that question? We still have to TA together-I’m not really sure how to look at him the same way. I’m not sure why this keeps happening to me. I’m not sure how to stop from being victimized. Again. The really fucked up thing about it is that he knew what my tattoo meant. He knew that I had been raped before. And yet, he did this, still. I don’t understand. I don’t feel like there is ever any man that I will trust to not hurt me in this way.
I don’t want to report what happened. In fact, I would rather forget this even happened. I don’t even know if I’ve decided that anything really did happen. But I guess that’s why I’m here. I’ve answered story after story on here telling people it isn’t their fault, and that they didn’t deserve this. And yet here I am, thinking that it is all my fault, and why couldn’t I have fought harder, and why, after all this expertise and experience, do I not know what happened? I’m not sure I want any answers-I’m not really sure of anything right now. Thank you all, so very much.