[Trigger warning]

There’s a story I’d like to share with you. I’ve waited a long time to do this. Ten years. Does that sound like a long time? Maybe not. It feels like an eternity.

So many times I’ve wanted to say something. Every time another rape story hit the news. I couldn’t. I didn’t have the words, didn’t have the courage.

It’s been ten years, and I still don’t know how to tell the story right. I’m not sure that I ever will.  Even now, I’m sitting here with my hands frozen on the keyboard, unsure what to say.

***

Here is the short version.

I went out on a date with the bar manager from the restaurant I worked at. We had lunch, and a few drinks, then we went to Chinatown in Oakland and bought lobsters for dinner. We took them back to my apartment. They were alive, in a brown paper bag, and they rustled all the way home.

I said, as I unlocked the door, that I didn’t want to have sex. I said it again as we were making out on the bed. And he said, “where are the condoms” and he said “I want to fuck you” and he said “please” and he said “you know you want it” and finally I said “the condoms are in that drawer” and then I said nothing at all.

I cried while he fucked me. I didn’t tell him to stop. I didn’t push him off me. He didn’t threaten violence. After he was done, he made dinner, and then he cleaned my kitchen. We barely spoke.

***

Here is the long version:

I hurt so much that I lost my sense of self. I drank more than I should have and went home with all the wrong people. I fucked his best friend for revenge and felt nothing at all.

I found out afterwards that I wasn’t the only one he’d done that to. That there were at least two others whom I worked with, and probably more at his prior restaurants.

I stopped being friends with the people I worked with. I pretty much stopped having friends entirely. I only told a handful of people what happened. Of those, there are only three that I can think of who I still stay in touch with. I haven’t told anybody at all since that year.

I spent a very long time thinking it was my fault. I shouldn’t have gone out with him. Shouldn’t have invited him in. Shouldn’t have told him where the condoms were. Should have screamed kicked bitten fought. It never crossed my mind that he was as much or more at fault.

I stopped feeling comfortable articulating what I wanted. If I hadn’t been taken seriously when it mattered, what did it matter what I said now?

I fall apart pretty much every year during the second week of November, or when I see another campus rape story, or when one of my friends goes public with their own rape story. I do it quietly, and in private, and most of the time not even my husband knows.

I am still not okay with the fact that this happened.  I am getting to the point where I’m okay with not being okay.

***

We need to talk to talk about this. We need to talk about consent. We need to raise our kids – boys and girls – to understand that when someone doesn’t want tea, you don’t make a cup anyway and pester them until they drink it.

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Apparently this is my week for difficult posts.  What can I say, Novembers are rough. If you’re reading this and feeling like this shouldn’t be the first time you’re hearing me tell this story, don’t. We all deal with things in our own ways. Mine generally involves letting time work its magic. If you want to be supportive, here are a couple suggestions:

  • hugs, whether physical or virtual, are always appreciated
  • share this story, share your story, share the tea video, keep the conversation going
  • understand that if I don’t answer your call/email/text it’s not because I don’t love you. please let me be in charge of when or if we discuss this.
  • donate to RAINN

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Thank you for reading.