I was sexually assaulted once too.
It was the same old story, the one heard and brushed off a thousand times before.
I was only 19 and enjoying my first year of college. I was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I was, for the most part, OK about being openly gay. I had found myself a group of friends who accepted me as I was, and who were living life as passionately and disorderly as I was. I discovered the fleeing joys of alcohol. I was ready to live the best years of my life. This feeling didn’t last for long.
I was at a house party and things got carried away. To this date, I still don’t believe I could have possibly drunk that much to completely pass out a couple hours later. In any case, I would have never let myself go that badly in any other situation, but I was among friends. I had shared so many things with them in the brief three months that I had known them that I knew they would have my back no matter what.
You can imagine my surprise when I woke up to find my “friend” having his way with me. I was completely impaired by whatever it is that I had had. I couldn’t move, I could barely speak, I passed out again.
The morning after, I ran down the stairs. I asked them what had happened the night before. They told me pretty much what I already knew, except no one knew what had happened afterward.
“I was raped”, I told them, “He raped me.”
I saw them exchange awkward glances, but nobody said anything.
“I was raped”, I repeated, “He raped me.”
They finally snapped out of their shock to tell me I must have surely imagined it or that I was too drunk to remember I had consented to it.
“I was raped”, I repeated one last time, “He raped me.”
They didn’t say anything else. To be honest, I didn’t know what else they could have said either. Nothing that came out of their mouths would make what had happened go away.
I called my parents and asked them to pick me up. I had never felt so alone in my entire life. I could not tell them what I had just experienced. Being gay had already been hard on them and we were still not speaking about it. They would surely not understand how a man, their son, could get raped. Pressing charges was out of the question.
I had no one at school either. The ones who knew what had happened distanced themselves from me. The ones that didn’t know what happened continued hanging out with my rapist as every other day, so I distanced myself from them. We were classmates too, so I had to see his face every day for the next three years, acting as if nothing had happened, enjoying himself while I lived in Hell.
I briefly told my then boyfriend about it. He supported me, but I also did not dare talk about what had happened as much as I needed to. I felt as if I had cheated on him, as if I had been unfaithful. I could not share with him how terrified I was of having AIDS; I doubted he had worn a condom.
I considered suicide but I never actually attempted it. I stupidly thought that all of this had been my fault and, as such, whatever had happened was my punishment. I was wrong, but it took me years to realize it. It took me even longer to tear down the emotional barriers I set up as a consequence of this betrayal.
I don’t want to call myself a survivor, but I did survive to all of it. I went through all of this on my own and managed to rebuild my life. I have never told anyone else about this and I probably never will. I wrote these lines in hopes that if ever another survivor reads them, they will know that it will get better with time. I promise.