Anonymous Story: “Is it really sexual assault?” I ask . . .

Anonymous Story: “Is it really sexual assault?” I ask . . .

The title of the Story is quite telling and I didn’t write the tag line to be provocative, I wrote it because this is the question that has been plaguing me for a year and a half. First, I know the text book definition of sexual assault, I work in the legal profession, specifically, with victims of sexual violence, so I know. If it were any other person, I would tell them that it’s sexual assault and you should’ve gone to the police or at least told someone, anyone. Before I go any further, here is my story:

I had been out one night with a good friend and her boyfriend, plus some other friends. We were drinking quite heavily and decided that it was best that we call a friend to pick us some from the bar. He came shortly after our call, there was seven of us trying to fit in a five-seat pick up truck – needless to say, it was tight. My good friend’s boyfriend told me to sit on his lap to save space, so I did. Let me back up a bit further, I had known him for a couple years prior to that point. I watched football games at their apartment, we would go out together, we were friends. So it shocked me when he started to grab my vagina – there I said it. It was in the middle of the car ride when I noticed what was happening. He kept grabbing my hips and I thought that maybe he was just trying to steady himself. Then I started to feel a strong grip on my vagina, twice. Next thing, his hands are attempting to slide into my pants and down my underwear. I was suddenly aware that this person, I trusted, was sexually assaulting me. I tried several times to pull his hand away, even tightening my grip on his wrist so he could understand that I wasn’t into it. He kept insisting. I tried as hard as I could to move away, but with five people in the back seat of a pick up truck, there really wasn’t very many places I could go. Also, may I preface, that his girlfriend, my good friend, was sitting right next to me.

I felt trapped. In a lot of ways, I felt powerless. I wanted to protect myself, but I wanted to protect him also. I knew if I said anything that she would get angry at him, but maybe even at me. In some ways, I wanted to shield him from the anger that she would express and also, protect him from my own anger that bubble-up inside of me.

I kept my mouth shut and I tried to angle myself so that he couldn’t touch me that way. It was the longest seven minutes of my life. The car barely even made a stop and I jumped out and ran as quickly as I could into my apartment. I didn’t even stop to check if I had my phone or my wallet, all I knew was that I had to get out of there.

I get the thought in waves, “was I really sexually assault?” If I know the person, I voluntarily sat on his lap, if i didn’t say anything, if I was somewhat complicit by staying silent – was it really sexual assault? My mind yells, screams, YES! What are you an idiot, of course it’s sexual assault. But my heart wants to believe that my friend, that he could never do that to me. That he wasn’t capable of such an act. I still struggle with the idea that I was sexually assaulted and its hard to come to terms with the fact that I was violated. Violated by a friend, someone I trusted.




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