Content warning: The following post discusses sexual assault in detail.
It was July 2015. I was living in an apartment with a roommate I had met online. Things were going fine between my roommate and I. About a week or so before this, he had a friend come stay with us. I say a week or so, because I can’t remember specifically when he first came to stay with us. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Dumb details like that get lost.
I vaguely remember what I was doing that night before I came home. I know I was hanging out with friends. Years later, and I can’t remember which friends I was hanging out with the night it happened. I know I was drinking. And I know I must have come home in a strange mental headspace. I know this because when I got home, instead of going right up to my room, I stayed downstairs and chatted with my roommate’s friend. He was drinking and offered me a shot and I said yes. We chatted for a little while longer. I remember flirting a little bit with him. I figured it was harmless.
I remember getting tired and going up to bed. I remember taking my contact lenses out. I remember getting into bed and falling asleep.
What happens next is extremely hard for me to talk about. So instead of writing it out and reliving it again, I will simply leave you with the text I sent my best friend in the world afterward.
“I know it wasn’t rape”. “…gonna go to the hardware store to see if there’s a way to put a lock on my door.”
Right there. I was already blaming myself for not doing enough or not doing more. Instead of leaving or talking to the authorities, I just wanted to put a lock on my door. I was scared. I was so scared that my immediate first thought was “What can I do to not let this happen again?”
Luckily, so so luckily, I was in therapy at the time. I called my therapist that day. Without her help, I would have never been able to truly recognize what happened to me. Without her help, I would not have understood that I did not give consent and that I was assaulted. She encouraged me to share what happened with some of my friends that I wasn’t planning on telling. I was planning on telling a very select number of people about this and then I was going to take it to my grave. I was so ashamed and embarrassed. I thought I should have done more to stop it. I thought I should have fought back or said no. All I did was freeze and let something happen to me.
My therapist is the one who convinced me to move out of that apartment. That’s how frozen I was. I wasn’t even going to move out of the apartment where I was assaulted. My therapist is the one who convinced me to go to the police. I wasn’t going to because I thought that they would tell me because I didn’t say “no”, that I gave consent and was trying to file a false police report. I thought they would try to get me in trouble.
So if you ever find yourself asking “why didn’t she report?” Please remember me. Remember that my fear of not being believed ran so deep that I thought the police were going to turn around and try and charge me with something.
Walking into that police station was one of the hardest and most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I was lucky that a friend of mine came with me and sat with me through the entire thing; reassuring me that he believed me and that I was doing the right thing.
The police listened to me, took my report, and took any “evidence” I may have had: the text messages I may have sent, my sheets from my bed, and the underwear I was wearing that night.
I had to go give my report and statement at another place for sexual assault victims. It was like a therapist’s office but more formal and daunting. I can’t remember the name. I hated that I had to relive that moment over and over in the hopes that people believed me.
I moved out of that apartment within 72 hours of my friend finding out what happened. Over those days, I found it within myself to share what happened with a few more close friends and family members. I did not tell my Mom or my step-dad. I couldn’t bare the thought of putting my Mom through that.
So why am I writing about it now? Why am I airing what was perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to me? Because I am sick and tired.
I watched CNN for 9 hours yesterday. I watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recount what was the worst thing that had ever happened to her. And I saw Brett Kavanaugh lie and yell and lie again. I watched Republican senators spit in the faces of Dr. Ford, myself, and every other person in the world who has survived sexual assault. And now, they move to elect this man into the highest court in our country. It is shameful.
Oh, I should mention what happened with my police report. From what the police told me, they tried to question the man who did this to me and he immediately got a lawyer. Because of that, they weren’t able to question him like they wanted. About a year or more after I filed the report, I got a call from the Detective on my case saying that the Prosecutor didn’t feel there was enough evidence to press charges. I couldn’t prove hard enough that this man assaulted me. The only thing that brings me a shred of comfort is that this is now on his file. So god forbid, if he assaults another girl, and she is also brave enough to go to the police, my report will be there. Hopefully it will give her enough evidence to get the justice she would deserve.
Dr. Ford is being punished as well for not having enough “evidence”. She has testimony from her therapist and her husband corroborating her story but it’s not enough. Her house has two front doors because she doesn’t feel safe when she doesn’t have easy exits from her own home.
It is now more important than ever that you vote. Mid-terms are coming up and I beg of you: do not let what Dr. Ford did be in vain. Let your representatives know that this is unacceptable. And let them know that if they stand by while this administration moves to take a woman’s agency away from her, that you will vote them out of office. I beg of you. For Dr. Ford’s sake, for my sake, and for every person who has had the nightmare that is sexual assault thrust upon them, please do something.