***LOTS AND LOTS OF TRIGGER WARNINGS RIGHT HERE***
So I know there has been an abundance of posts, pages, stories, tales, folklore, myths, and fables about this topic.
(Also, hi – it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Pull up a something and sit for a while)
It’s hard, hearing and reading these stories. It’s really hard when friends of mine – who, may I remind my 10-or-so subscribers, tend to exist in the same religious bubble I am in – came forward with this kind of thing.
Especially because sometimes, I knew the perpetrator too.
In this relative anonymity that I have bestowed on this corner of the internet, where maybe a handful of you know who I really am, I still don’t feel at all comfortable relating this story to you.
Because I have friends who will say “it could have been worse.”
Because I have friends who are growing toxic, and will use this as fodder.
Because I have friends who will distance themselves further.
And because this is a shit thing to happen to anyone.
But I also have friends who will understand, because they were there. Maybe they don’t even remember that this happened. And I have friends who will understand even if they weren’t there, because they know what nuance means.
And there are perfect strangers who will react similarly – across the nuanced spectrum, that it is. I know this because I’ve seen all the possible responses already.
Still – it is a difficult thing to come to terms with. Especially because it has been collecting dust in the back office of my brain for a while.
It’s weird; I had to remind myself that I was also part of this movement. How’s that for how normalized the situation has become?
But there is a kind of strength in adding another story to this repository of ridiculousness. The more women who come forward, and regale us with their worst living memory, the more we show that it’s really not us. There is a strength in knowing that this happened to others, and a sobriety that it could happen to you.
Maybe coming forward and adding my story to the ever-increasing tower will do nothing; but maybe it will convince others to come forward. Maybe all this movement needs is one more instance of this kind of thing happening to open the floodgates and bring the onslaught of tales which will have it come crashing down.
Anyway, here’s the unfortunate-and-yet-completely-unsurprising story about that time I was sexually assaulted and almost raped.
[Names withheld for obvious reasons]
Way back when, in my early Israel college days, there was a guys’ apartment. It was in the same area where lots of students rented apartments, and so there wasn’t much special about it. This apartment would periodically have parties. These parties were open house, and loud, and crazy, as many college parties typically are.
Granted, because we tended to be categorized as “good Jewish kids”, and because we were actually in college (and most of the time, already in our early-to-late 20s), with our heads on straight, we tended to be fairly responsible when it came to said parties.
Also granted, these apartments were (and still are) in a residential neighborhood, so we couldn’t be too loud because the neighbors would call the cops on us. Yes, actually.
So we were nice, and we were respectful. The parties wouldn’t last too long, and we did our best to be as quiet as possible.
Naturally, that was harder when there was alcohol involved, but again – responsible.
It was at one of these parties that I was introduced to the concept of tequila shots. I also discovered that I liked tequila, and so at subsequent parties there would be a bottle for the few of us who liked that kind of stuff.*
So it was at one of these subsequent parties when, soon after I arrived, I was given some tequila. And I chugged it.
Turns out it was a triple shot of tequila. And I hadn’t eaten much that day.
And at the time I weighed maybe 95 pounds. That’s about 40 kilo for you European types.
I should probably mention right here that I was wearing a floor-length skirt and a 3/4-sleeve shirt. Obviously not skin-tight, because #goodJewishkids
There was immediate blurring of everything, and I was finally able to cross “get piss drunk at a party” off of my list.
My friends, instead of walking me back home, decided to deposit me in one of the bedrooms, so they could enjoy the party while still keeping an eye on me. I’m going to chalk this up to all of us being grossly inexperienced when it came to caring for drunk people (see previous remarks about “good Jewish kids”), but true to their word they did periodically come in to make sure I hadn’t vomited.
Except one guy.
This guy was a relatively new acquaintance. I don’t know if I would call him a friend now, or if he was even a friend at the time. I do know that he was dating someone (who, I found out later, was a rebound from the girl he eventually married. But that’s beside the point).
He came into the room and just got on top of me. No preamble, nothing.
There was no way I was going anywhere, but he still held me in place very firmly. He started talking, whispering in my ear, about how this was something we both wanted.
I distinctly remember mumbling something about the girl he was dating.
He stopped. He got up.
And he left.
My actual friends came back into the room a few seconds later, and I think they realized what might possibly have happened, because one of them didn’t leave the room again.
The night passed, and eventually I threw up. I had the worst (and quite possibly, only) serious hangover of my life. The guy who gave me the triple shot profusely apologized, for days and weeks afterwards. And I pushed this event aside because, literally, nothing happened.
But something could have.
Since that night there have been other parties, and other nights involving alcohol. Other people have gotten drunk, some to the point of vomiting (because it happens). To my knowledge, nothing like this ever happened again at one of those parties – because most guys are decent people.
There were enough guys at that party who knew that there was a piss-drunk girl in one of the bedrooms, and they left me alone.
There were enough people at that party who knew that I wasn’t the kind of person to get piss drunk all the time, and they left me alone to my miserable state.
There were enough guys at that party who made sure that everyone was eating and drinking enough, because nobody actually wanted to get piss drunk like me. Heck, I didn’t want to get piss drunk like me. We had finals and papers and shit to do. And I’m pretty sure that the next day was Friday, and that means Shabbat plans, and have you ever tried to prepare Shabbat while hungover? It’s not fun.
It was just this one guy. This one moron. And if I had been any more inebriated I probably wouldn’t have saved myself. And that is pathetic on so many levels.
I don’t blame myself, or the hosts of the party, or the guy who gave me the tequila. None of us are at fault.
I am not angry or mad at my friends for not immediately taking me home.
I am not seeking, asking, or desperate for any kind of anything.
I am joining the ranks of other women who unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, have had a similar experience. There are quite a lot of us.
*Most people preferred Arak. Or Tuborg. Those people are also not my friends.