E’s Story: He Knew I Always Kept My Socks On

E’s Story: He Knew I Always Kept My Socks On

I am a strong believer in owning and embracing everything that has happened to you. I think that if people wanted you to say nice things about them, they should be nice and respectful. Your experiences are you own, and you should be able to mold them into stories and they should belong to you. I think it is a real strength to be able to own something horrible that has happened to you. To go from hiding a shameful secret to being able to say, “hey, this is my story, I got through it and I’m okay.” I don’t think I’m quite there yet, in terms of declaration, but at the end of the day you are allowed to own the hurt you’ve experienced, you’re allowed to take back what you feel like people have taken away from you. So this is why I decided to write this piece, because I find such bravery in people who are able to talk about their experiences openly. I have read so many articles and pieces by women who have experienced such horrible sexual violence. I find such courage and beauty in being honest and talking about something that has happened to them. So I’ve decided to take back what was taken from me, I’ve decided to write honestly about what happened to me, and how it affected my life and how I’ve decided to ensure that I will not let this ruin me.

I remember the morning after like a movie; I have played it over in my head more than I have played the night over. I woke up in his room, the sunlight was blinding and I didn’t know why I was there, I didn’t remember getting there and I was very confused. It took me a couple minutes to adjust to my surroundings, once I figured out where I was, I saw him lying next to me. I looked down at myself and I noticed that I was completely naked, my socks were off. I never ever take my socks off. I sat up and felt very sore. We had had sex, my clothes were in a heap next to the bed, and I was very sore. I remember him waking up and acting like everything was fine. I asked him how we got home; he said we took a cab together. I asked him why I couldn’t remember anything and he shrugged and told me he thought I had been drinking without him, I told him I didn’t feel right, I asked him if we had slept together. He started to become very defensive. He said yes, I asked him if we had anal sex – the one thing I had told him over and over for the past months that I didn’t want to do – He said I wanted too. The last thing I remember from the night, seemed like a movie, I was in someone’s bathroom, crying because I couldn’t pull my pants up. I remember someone coming into the bathroom, that’s it. I asked him about it and he said that he had helped me out of his bathroom when I got to his house. That I was really tired, and passed out, he undressed me but I still wanted it. I remember going home, throwing my underwear out and taking a shower, I didn’t cry. I didn’t understand what had happened. I kept counting and recounting how much I had drank. I didn’t understand. Four beers over the course of four and a half hours after a heavy pasta dinner. Why couldn’t I remember anything? I remember feeling fine at the bar, and then all of a sudden not being able to talk properly and falling on someone, I remember it all happened very fast, and the rest is black. It was a couple days later that I finally went on the Internet and realized that because of my symptoms I was most definitely drugged. Someone had put something into my drink. It took me about a month to be able to say the truth out loud, “I think I was raped.”

I would say our entire friendship was pretty manipulative looking back. I was going through a pretty bad break up, and he had made sure that he was ‘there’ for me. We had been friends a year prior, nothing crazy close but I did consider him to be someone I could count on to make my day better or someone I could call to have a beer with. I also did know that he was attracted to me, and had wanted to hook up with me for a while. When we first slept together I remember him telling me he wanted to do me a favor and ensure that nothing too serious happened between us, I remember him really making me feel like I was in control for a second, even though he was making a choice for both of us. “You just don’t need a boyfriend right now, you should be free to do you. And so should I.” I didn’t think there was much more to talk about. He did make it clear though, that I was a good friend of his and he didn’t only want sex from me. He said that he still wanted to be able to hang out as friends. But all he ever did was call me when he wanted to sleep with me. What we didn’t talk about though, was that everything was more or less completely on his terms. He could call me whenever he liked, at whatever time he wanted and if I didn’t pick up he would call again 6 or 7 times, at two, three or four in the morning. If I didn’t answer at all, he would ignore me for a week. But if I decided to call him first, say if I was bored on a Tuesday and wanted to go for a walk, he would turn his phone off, or completely ignore me, making me feel clingy for contacting him first. I remember telling him I was confused at what our arrangement was, because whenever we were together we would spend days together, he would tell me how beautiful I was and tell me secrets. He texted me one night asking if I wanted to go get dinner, I said yes and then he replied right away saying never mind, that something better came up. I was upset and approached him and said, “I don’t understand what you want from me, if you want me to be a booty call don’t act like you want me as a friend as well.” He said very sternly, “I thought I made it clear you’re not my girlfriend,” but then immediately asked if he could take me to see a movie the next day just to ensure I did understand that I was important to him. We went to the movie after he canceled two times and insisted I paid for him, and he ignored me the entire streetcar ride there and back. We didn’t have sex that night, but he didn’t feel like my friend either. It felt like a forced social interaction that our moms organized.

I remember telling him I was going to go on a date, very casually, just mentioned it in passing. He asked me when I was going and I told him the day, he seemed mad about it but when I asked him what was up, he told me that I should probably get going because he was tired. On the day I was supposed to go out, he called me three times that morning saying he was really sad and having a bad day, he asked if he could see me. I felt bad for him, and wanted to be there for him, simply because I thought he was sad. I cancelled the date – this was a choice I made and I’m aware of that. He was really happy to see me that day and told me sweet things; he asked me to sleep over and made me breakfast in the morning.

When I went a way for a couple weeks to visit family, he contacted me about a week into it and told me he just wanted to be friends, he was seeing someone now and didn’t want to complicate things. I was caught off guard and just due to some personal issues, it was upsetting for me. But by the time I returned back home, I was feeling better. A couple days after I got back, he asked me to have coffee with him. I agreed, I figured it was going to be his way of smoothing things over, I was ready to be friends again. I had come to terms with wanting to be single and learn more about myself. He was very touchy that morning; I didn’t understand what was going on. He eventually kissed me, and asked me to come over to his house. We never spoke about what had happened and began seeing each other again. About a month or so later I started seeing someone else, and I had decided I didn’t want to cloud my judgment by seeing him anymore, at first I just ignored him, I didn’t want to have the awkward conversation but I also didn’t want to sleep with him anymore. When we finally spoke, I told him I wanted to go back to being friends. He ignored me for about a week, told me that the guy probably didn’t really like me, and he tried to convince me that he was also gay and would never want to actually date me. I know looking back I let him have a lot of control he didn’t deserve. He wasn’t nice to me; he would ignore me if other people were around and then try to get my attention when we were in private. He would make me take 28 flights of stairs at his apartment building so that I wouldn’t run into his parents. I remember my friends telling me that I should stop seeing him, that he didn’t treat me with respect. He was constantly trying to do things with me that I wasn’t comfortable with. When I pulled away from him, he would start saying how hard of a time he was having, he would want to change some parts of himself to be better, that he wanted to change, that he missed me. He would ask me to tell him nice things abut him so that he would feel better. I remember he brought me to a party once and left me halfway through, I didn’t know anyone there but I somehow spoke to people. This is a crucial moment for me to reflect on because, this was potentially one of the last times I felt okay in a social situation, and having him leave me there, with strangers has always always been a fear of mine. When I’m going out with friends now, I also have this fear in the back of my mind, “someone is going to leave me and I will be alone.” I did make it through that party, his friends embraced me and were nice to me, and I was okay. I found him again and when we were outside having a smoke, he said to me, “I really like you.” It was really confusing and I didn’t understand, and that would be the best way to describe what we had I suppose, very confusing and very one sided.

I remember sitting in the shower, and not being able to cry, I was so in shock over what had happened. It didn’t even occur to me right away what that was. I just wanted to keep showering. I wanted the water to be hot enough that it would wash my skin off, so I could be someone else. I envisioned my skin washing off like paint and running down the drain, I wanted to be someone else. Someone who could never ever be in that position. I wanted to be someone who could remember what happened.

When I finally stopped seeing him it was because I wanted to get my life together and I felt like as long as I kept seeing him, everything was on pause. We weren’t together, but I felt a sense of toxic in my life. He is a very charming person, when you meet him, he makes you laugh and is smart, but there’s this other side to him where he’s moody and manipulative if you don’t give him what he wants. I wanted to make him happy, I didn’t want to cause a rift in our friendship but I really think the whole thing was extremely draining for me. One night we were together in a big group having dinner and drinks, he was really angry with me because I hadn’t been talking to him, I kept blowing him off and I wasn’t answering his messages. He asked me to go for a beer at a party, I went with him, but as we were going together, I told him I didn’t want to go home with him that night. I told him that I needed to go home, so I was going to only stay for a bit. I wish I never went that night.

I didn’t want to admit it for the longest time, but I believe that that night triggered a lot of my mental health issues. I haven’t felt safe in a social situation since that night. I thought I was okay there, talking to people, making friends. I feel like in the end my politeness, how naïve I was, it took advantage of me. I didn’t think it was rape because we had slept together before. It’s disgusting because if one of my friends had this happen to them, I would want to kill the person. I would shake them, telling them it wasn’t there fault, that they were taken advantage of. But this, this felt like my fault. Why did I go out with him in the first place? Long before I was going to parties, my mother taught me to never leave my drink unattended. Why did I go to the bathroom and leave my drink? I think the thing that hurt the most was that I thought we were friends. I thought this was a person I could trust, someone who was there for me, someone who knew me intimately. There’s a blow that is so intense that comes with knowing someone who I trusted could do something like that. I feel so detached from this experience, I don’t think about it, and when I talk about it, I feel numb to it. I feel like it didn’t happen to me. It’s affected me more than I have realized. I don’t feel safe when I go out; I am constantly watching my drink. I avoid social situations where I might be left alone. I am not able to eat in public, I am not able to do basic girlfriend duties with my boyfriend because I get so anxious. For months after that night, I wouldn’t have more than a couple of drinks, I was scared. I don’t exactly know how it caused some of these things. But trauma is a motherfucker and it has changed me. This past year my anxiety has gotten very bad, I am not able to participate in social gatherings without having an attack or throwing up. I am so tired of having this secret take a hold of me. I am tired of feeling like I did something wrong to deserve this. I had to see him once a week after this happened. I had to act like everything was okay, and my skin would crawl when I saw him, but I would get through it. I didn’t want to rock the boat; I didn’t want to admit what had happened to me. I didn’t want to take away from what I thought we had. I held our friendship very close to me, because I thought it was good. I think there are things in our lives that feel good but aren’t good for us. I think that for the past year I have made myself confused in thinking I could only be sad about losing him as a friend, not because of the rape. I haven’t been able to be angry, I haven’t even cried about it. I need to admit this happened to me because I want to get better. I am a good person, and I didn’t deserve to have this happen to me. I don’t think anyone does, I don’t think anyone deserves to suffer in silence and shame and confusion over something that wasn’t there fault.

I tricked myself into thinking that those summer nights were sweeter than they were. I didn’t think about all the bad until I sat down and wrote it out. It’s important to remember the bad because sometimes our minds try to play a trick on us by only reminding us of what we would like to remember. So it’s very hard to hate someone who went to three stores to get me a spoon when I was crying so I could eat my lunch, but it’s important to remember that I haven’t been able to eat in public for almost a year because he took my socks off even though he knew I liked to keep them on.

I remember just completely going against everything I had believed in, I put myself down and told myself it wasn’t rape because I had been with him before. How could I feel violated when I saw him on a regular basis and didn’t confront him. I shouldn’t have drank that night, I remember blaming myself to a point where it made me feel sick because what I was saying to myself I would never even dare to say to a survivor. So how come I put myself in this self loathing box I couldn’t climb out of. I remember being scared of being close with my boyfriend when we first started seeing each other. I was scared something was going to trigger everything and I was going to feel things I didn’t want too. I tried very hard to repress the details of that night, I was scared he had ruined me. That I wasn’t going to be able to be close with anyone again. I didn’t expect the love and support i received, I expected the shame and blame that I had been sitting in. I didn’t expect to be believed and taken seriously because I had put myself down so many times. t think that what happened to me, has really fucked with me, and I’m only just starting to really understand how now. Sometimes we don’t understand the amount of work it takes to recover, how long it takes. The night itself, the incident itself may not have been very long, but it lingers. The pain of not being able to remember what happened to my own body, lingers. What happened to me, happened to me, and although the past couple of months have been very hard, I will be okay. The best part of falling apart is being able to rebuild, and reinvent. I know I will be okay, and it may not be for a while, but I know I will be okay. I will not let this ruin me.



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