I didn’t report my sexual assault — you can call it rape — because of the circumstances. I was with friends, we were ingesting gaseous and liquid intoxicants, and playing group Scrabble. It was July, 1975. We were all having a laid-back good time. I felt safe, as I was among friends, some of whom I knew better than others. It was a fun evening.
Eventually our hosts retired to their bedroom, and provided blankets to those of us who were too intoxicated to go home. I owned a bike, but my friends’ place was a few blocks away from where I lived, so I walked there. I was in no shape to walk home, so I covered myself with the blanket and went to sleep (passed out is another euphemism) on the floor.
Some time later I opened my eyes and found Dr. Dave on top of me, inside me, without my prior knowledge or consent. I was unable to speak, unable to move, unable to stop him, and I was horrified, but paralyzed to do anything to stop him. A few moments later I passed out (fell asleep, another euphemism) again. I don’t know when he began his assault or when he finished. I don’t know when I woke up to find him nestled next to me, although it was morning — the sun was flooding the room. I knew I’d been raped, but would not let that word resonate in my head. I was having coffee with the hostess when Dr. D came into the kitchen, kissed me on the lips, and left. My hostess chuckled, she thought the sex was consensual. Evidently so did he. I was so taken aback that I had no words to tell him off or explain to my friend that his intimacy was not my choice.
I never reported it — I was impaired. I didn’t wear a bra under my crop top. I wore shorts. I passed out from smoking some kick-ass weed and eating hash pizza. I brought it on myself.
Actually, I did not. No matter what I ate, smoked, drank, dressed, this was not my fault. This was a guy more alert than I, taking advantage of me. I never flirted with that man, or had anything other than a congenial relationship with him, until he decided to take advantage of my condition and rape me. Done and dusted.
I can’t tell you how it feels to tamp that down and forge on. I just know that I did. It was a blip in my radar, yet it affected my entire life going forward. I refused to acknowledge it, and it took a toll on me that I’m just finally beginning to realize. I had coping skills from a problematic childhood that I thought were helping me deal with that event. Nope, they weren’t enough. I spent literal decades blaming myself, until the #MeToo movement.
Now I realize it had nothing to do with me, how I dressed, or my behavior that night. It was all on that man, who I haven’t seen since that night 43 years ago. I told 2 people shortly afterwards, and their comments were more about how high I was, rather than how inappropriate and unacceptable my rapist behaved. We didn’t even call it rape then.
Thanks to the #MeToo and Christine Blasey Ford’s courage in coming forward and speaking her truth to (entitled white men’s) power, I’m sharing my story. I’m not the only one. There are thousands of women to whom this has happened. I hope they find their way to empowerment, to take back what was taken from them.
I’m publishing this but not linking to other social media. I’ve had no contact with any of those people since I moved to Colorado in April of 1976. Those two friends, my husband and one sister know. I don’t have to share this to keep a person in power to keep him from gaining more power. I need to share this so that other women who have found themselves in similar situations know that it’s not their fault.