16 Year Old Sailor’s Story: Regatta Rape

16 Year Old Sailor’s Story: Regatta Rape

I was 16, at my first regatta, everyone there was super close and it was a really fun week of racing. On the second last night and there was a party at a near by house, one of older girls offered to buy me a bottle of vodka, I had never really drunk much but I said yes. At the house the older guys were playing drinking games, like if you sip with your right hand you scull, not knowing the rules I sculled cup after cup of vodka and lemonade, I quickly ran out of vodka and the guys started giving me beer and cider. I was drunkest I had ever been, I returned to the marina where I was staying on a boat with my team, another team was on a boat near by so we went over to have a few more drinks with them.

One of the oldest boys at the regatta started to talk to me and give me more and more drinks, eventually I ended up on his lap and flirting a little. Finally, as my team were ready to go I got up to leave but the guy insisted to my team that I wanted to stay a bit longer, I said “its okay I’m ready to go” but the last part got washed out by his insisting that I stay so my team mates left. As soon as they left, he threw me up against a wall and started kissing me, tugging me into his bunk through a narrow doorway and onto his bed I hit my head again. As he started to strip my clothes, I began to realise we were not just going to kiss but I couldn’t push him off me to leave nor find the word “no”.

He finally lifted his body from mine to put on a condom, I then knew exactly what was about to happen, I was a virgin and did not want this to be my first time. I drunkly attempted to take the condom from him but that got him mad, so I finally started to leave, looking for my shirt or just something to leave in. Thats when we threw me across the bed, the final blow to my head on the low roof.

I came to with weight of him moving on top of me, initially i was frozen.

When I finally started to push to him off, he gathered my wrist and pinned them above my head. I slipped in and out of consciousness or at least awareness. But each time I came to, the shock hit again as I realised what was happening.

I finally woke early the next morning, I gathered my clothes and left for the boat I had intended to sleep on. I quietly climbed onboard and crawled into a ball on the couch and cried. When my team awoke, they were the first to point out the bruises. All they could see were the “hickeys” on my neck and the bruises on my arm, not yet evident were the hand prints that would form. Nor could they see my breast or rib cage, spotted with purple and black. When I returned to the yacht club, hangovers all round, I became the morning gossip everyone asking to see and asking if it was true that I had sex with HIM.

The salt in the wound, was when some boys came up with the idea to tell the guy that I was 15yrs old (below the age of consent in the state), so the regatta organisers had to call the police as it was their duty of care as it was Rape. Little did they know it was rape, little did I know at the time either.

For the past two years I have relived the story, finding ways to blame myself… lead him on… I went into his room…. I became known my everyone at the regatta and beyond as the girl who slept with HIM. It was a tag I couldn’t shake but slowly people forget.

Only a month ago did a friend accidentally bring it up, and after seeing my face drop he asked “was it consensual?”, I broke down in tears. So lucky we were alone, I told him everything. He looked me straight in the eye and told me “its not your fault and it was rape”. I have since begun to talk about it, especially with my female friends some of who have responded with stories of their own.

I am finally dealing with it, denial works for only a short time before the full impact rears its head again. Dealing with it is much harder but slowly I am beginning to come to terms with it all.

I have run into the guy once, a few month after that night, he couldn’t even look at me. It also turned out he had a girlfriend who he is still with.



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