Dani Pinkus

All things feminism, funny, and fabulous.

I forgive myself

I forgive myself

This story was submitted by an anonymous contributor through the Share page.  

You never think it’s going to happen to you. You think, I'm safe, I’m smart, I have a good head on my shoulders. I could never be a victim. But I’ve watched enough Law and Order SVU to know that there is no one particular way a victim looks. Victims come in every size and shape. Every color. Every age.

When I was 20, I went to a party at my closest guy friends house. It was a rush party for all the freshman boys looking to join the fraternity. There were a lot of people there. The current fraternity bothers, almost all of which I knew, the rushees, and tons of girls. The party had a Hawaiian theme. I wore a bathing suit top and jean shorts. Maybe I was asking for it. Maybe it was my fault.

I opened my water bottle filled with alcohol and I took a shot. And then I took another. And then I had to pee. I left my water bottle on the mantle. I didn’t think anything of leaving my drink there unattended while I went to the bathroom. And even if I had taken a second to think about it, these would have been my thoughts: this is my closest guy friends house. I've slept at this house. I've thrown up at this house. I am safe in this house. I know these guys. They have my back. I trust these guys.

When I returned from the bathroom I took another shot from my bottle. That was the last thing I remember.

I woke up the next morning in a dorm room on my college campus. I had no pants on. I was just wearing my bathing suit top. Laying next to me was a naked boy I had never seen before.

I didn’t instantly think rape. I thought, oh another night I must have blacked out and willingly gone home with some guy. I pushed down the thought that even if I was drunk, even if I was blacked out, I wouldn't go home with a stranger. I pushed down the thought that I didn’t remember the party at all. Or that I knew I only had 3 shots when my average was above 6.

I gathered my belongings and got dressed in the bathroom. When I left the bathroom he was awake. He asked how I was feeling. I said fine. He asked if I needed a ride home.  I did need a ride home, and at the time I thought he was being nice. He drove me to the house I had been at the night before and he left before I made it inside.

He probably never thought about this night again. I, I do nothing but think about this night now. Maybe he was the one who drugged my drink. Maybe he wasn't the one who drugged my drink. But he saw me fall continuously throughout the night. I saw the bruises on my legs the next day. He saw me unable to stand without the help of a wall. He took me home and he took my pants off and he raped me while I was unconscious.

I learned later that he left his room in the middle of the night. He found a friend of his in the common room of his dorm. He told her that the girl he just had sex with was unconscious. He asked her to check on me. As if he couldn't be bothered to do it himself.

She entered the room. She knew me. She did nothing. She said nothing. And the next day in my sorority meeting she announced in front of my sisters that she heard I had a fun night. That she saw I had a fun night. I still didn’t realize what had happened. I joked about it with my little sister in my sorority. Like yeah, another blackout. But it wasn’t a joke.

I buried this memory for months. 10 months to be exact. And then I drank a whole bottle of wine, and I went to the bars and I blacked out. When I woke up, I was with the guy I was currently hooking up with. He told me that I had spent the entire night crying about being raped. He repeated this story to me. He asked me if I remembered. I did. He asked me why I hadn't told anyone. Why I had told him. I didn't know. I still don't know. But I'm glad I told him.

Not that he went and made it all better. In fact he turned out to be a real asshole and tried to use it against me later. But he made me realize what had happened. That I wasn't okay. That I was capable of talking about it. Throughout the next few months I began to tell my story. I told my best friends. I told my guy friends who I hadn't spoken to or seen in months because I was fearful of their house and what their fraternity would think or say.

I've seen my perpetrator twice since the worst night of my life. The first time I was at work and he came in. We looked at each other and I said "shit" loudly. People heard. And he left. The next time I was at the bars. I was drunk. We made eye contact. I dug my nails into my friends arm and dragged her to the bathroom. I told her. I cried. When we left the bathroom, he was gone. Maybe he does know what he did. Maybe that's why he leaves. Or maybe he thinks I'm some crazy girl who can't bare to look at a one night stand. But that's just it. He's not a one night stand. He is my rapist.

And there it was. I had the words to say it out loud. To validate the realness of it. To say it happened.

From the outside looking in, you would never know. I don't look like a victim. But I am. It took me 10 months to realize what had happened to me that night. For me to understand that it wasn’t because I wore a bathing suit out, or because I left my drink unattended, or because I decided to go out that night. It wasn’t anything I did.

I still have the same friends. I still see the guys in the fraternity. I still go to the house where I was drugged. I am a victim. But so much more so, I am a survivor. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't your fault either.


This story was submitted by an anonymous contributor through the Share page. 

One year later

One year later