Anonymous Story: My freshman nightmare

Anonymous Story: My freshman nightmare

There is still a significant part of me who believes that if I tell people about what happened to me my freshman year, they will tell me they’re sorry and it wasn’t my fault, but deep down they’ll be thinking I kind of asked for it because I never should have invited him back to my room. Or because I should not have been someone who enjoyed sex and used my newfound freedom in college to have it regularly. Or because I showed no regard for the young child sleeping in my roommate’s bed.

But I need to write this, because the current election and all of the misogyny and victim blaming has dredged up a lot of memories and feelings I didn’t realize were still there. I need to let go of what I am afraid others will think. This is not for them. It is for me.

The night started off with my roommate bringing in her little sister (from the big brother/ big sister organization). A couple other girls on our floor were also hosting their little sisters for the night. I decided to go down to the bathrooms to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I heard the sounds of partying over on the boy’s wing, but that was nothing abnormal in our dorm. RAs seemed to look the other way most of the time, and many times in the morning the recycling bins outside of the RA’s room would be filled to overflowing with beer bottles and cans. We may have been underage drinkers, but we were underage drinkers who cared about the earth!

As I stood in the bathroom (was I brushing my teeth? Had I showered? Was I wearing my bathrobe or my pajamas? It is amazing how the details all blur), I heard a commotion in the hall and suddenly a large group of boys burst in. Among them was one boy who was well known and liked in our dorm. He was smart, charming, and always ready with a compliment. He looked like he’d been drinking for several hours at this point. There were others with him- a couple who I think eventually lead him out to a room. This part is very blurry- I remember a campus cop coming in at one point looking for kids who were drinking. At this point I think most of the kids had left to get the drunk boy- [G] – into bed but I was still there and so was his cousin, who was visiting campus for the night. I also remember the cop asking us questions about drinking and then telling us to go back to our rooms. I remember very clearly telling the police officer that the cousin was visiting me and had been hanging out with me all night because I didn’t want him to get in trouble (and, more importantly, I did not want [G] to get in trouble). I remember this clearly because it is the moment I would come back to, over and over again, as the moment when I brought his assault on myself. This moment of altruism was, in my eyes, the reason his assault happened. I was clearly deserving of it because I gave him the wrong idea.

Maybe I forgot the girl was in our room. Maybe I assumed my roommate would still be there as she was when I left. Maybe I thought about none of this in my rush to help this kid I’d never met before. I don’t remember.

What I know is that the cop watched us as we walked back down the hall to my room. He watched as I opened the door. There was no chance to split off and go separate ways. We walked into a darkened room. My roommate was gone; her little sister breathed deeply and evenly under a pile of blankets on the other bed. I sat on my bed and tried to make quiet small talk with the stranger who was now sitting next to me.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but he began to paw at me. I told him to stop and pointed at the sleeping form under the blanket across the room. I told him I wasn’t interested. He continued, wheedling and begging and getting progressively more aggressive. I remember thinking, “if I scream, I will wake up the girl and everyone will be mad at me for inviting a strange boy to my room.” Resistance faded as my mind thought, “just let him do what he wants. This will all be over soon and he will just leave.” He forced my head down on his groin and I still remember how his hand felt on the back of my head. There was no pulling away until he was spent. To this day, I will not let my husband grab my head when I go down on him because it brings back the memory of this stranger’s hand grasping my hair, forcing my head to stay right there.

Later, I would think I should have fought him harder. I should have said no repeatedly until he got the message. I should have told him to leave. But in the moment, I just wanted it to be done already.

Afterwards, I felt sick. He left, and I never saw him again. I left my room again, and went back to the bathroom (to throw up? Brush my teeth again? Don’t know). The aftermath is a blur. I didn’t want to go back to my room. I remember winding up in another girl’s room, where [G] was lying close to passing out. I sat with him for awhile and sang gently to him, always watching the door to see if his cousin came in. Later, when word spread around the dorm about what had happened, I tried to defend myself by saying it was not consensual. [G] would later say to me, “but you seemed so happy later. You were even singing!”

Word did get out and to this day I don’t remember how. Did I tell? Did the cousin tell? Did my roommate see him leaving? Did people see us going into the room together? Was the girl pretending to be asleep? I don’t know. I do know that, a couple days after, one of my friends came into my room, and in a fury of yelling and tears, tore me down for “getting it on” while there was a child in the room. Many people who had previously been my friends refused to speak to me anymore. I was an island. For awhile, I would preemptively tell people what had happened because I figured if they heard my version first, maybe they would feel sorry for me and believe my version instead of the one floating around the dorm. After awhile, that stopped (and thank goodness it did- what a way to try and make friends!).

I don’t really know how to end this. When I hear people accusing Trump of attacking them, and I see the responses, it dredges up all of the old feelings of people not believing me, or saying they believe me but then holding me at a distance.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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