ME TOO: Two Simple Words That Have Come To Mean So Much
Me too: Two simple words that have come to mean so much in the past month. Did you know 1 in 6 American women have survived an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime? Every 98 seconds a sexual assault occurs in the U.S. If you do the math that’s about 570 people that experience some form of sexual violence every day. These statistics can open your eyes and you give you a better understanding of the dangers we, as women, face every day. However, if you are forced to label yourself as a survivor of sexual assault, you know that these statistics don’t make you feel any less alone.
However, the “Me Too” movement has helped put faces to these statistics and in doing so has encouraged more and more women to come forward and speak out about their experiences with sexual assault. The statistics never helped put me at ease, but these women, their faces do. Their stories have inspired me and I hope to inspire you and draw some awareness to this huge, terrifying epidemic.
I am one of these women and this is my story:
I was 19-years-old, I had just started a new job that introduced me to a ton of strangers that could potentially become new friends. Naturally, I got along with almost everyone I met. Soon enough I was getting invited to after work socials that included grabbing a few drinks with my new “friends.” The socials started out harmless. My new friends were enthralled with my 19-year-old party girl mentality. So I was pretty much getting invited to every after work social imaginable. Clubs, bars, BBQ’s, house parties… it was all the same kind of fun and the same kind of people, so the next house party seemed like just as good of an idea as all the other socials.
But it wasn’t. That social, that house party, that night, it would be the one to change my life completely, it would be the one to change me completely. That night, one of the guys I worked with asked me to give him a ride to a party that everyone was going to. His house was on the way, so why not? I had been to this house many times, but tonight it was another level of party. Everyone was either drunk or high when I got there, so I jumped right in and a grabbed a drink. As the night went on more people and more bottles were showing up. Ignoring my drinking limits, I kept guzzling down drinks and partying it up with my new friends. A couple of us went outside to smoke some cigarettes and that’s when one of them handed me a pill. I asked him what it was and he casually replied, “don’t worry about it, just take it.” And thinking I was invincible and born to rage, I took the pill.
After this I only get flashes. I know I was taken in a car by two of my co-workers (who I later found out were completely sober and who I would have to see at work every day after this) to an outdoor pool area. I remember one of them having sex with me while I was barely awake and the other one in the background laughing. I remember getting driven back to the house party. I remember not going inside. I remember texting the guy I drove to the party with to come outside to take me home. I remember crying in my car and telling him to take me home, crash on my couch, and I would take him home in the morning. I remember him holding my hand pretending to care until we got to my house where he proceeded to have sex with my barely conscious body.
The next day was miserable. I had to take the guy home, buy plan b, answer a text from the first guy asking if I had any STD’s, and on top of it, it was my best friend’s birthday and we were throwing her a huge party at my house and it was too late to cancel. All I wanted to do was be alone. I called my sister and she told me to go to the cops, I didn’t. I called the guy I was dating at the time and told him- only about the first rape- and he also told me to call the cops, I ignored him, too. I will never forget that feeling I had the next day. Embarrassed, hungover, filthy (despite my three showers), and most of all overwhelmingly empty.
Fast forward six years later and there is not a single day that goes by where I don’t think about how my life would be different today if I had just said no to that last drink or that mystery pill. Not a day goes by where I don’t blame myself for not knowing my limits. The past year I have tried to open up to more people about what happened to me, but I still have a problem saying what happened, saying that I was raped. That word makes my skin crawl. Maybe that’s why I never went to the cops. It didn’t and still doesn’t feel real. But it’s starting to finally get easier with each day. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully take the blame away from myself, but thankfully I have amazing women around me who remind me that it wasn’t my fault. And what I went through, is not unique, it is unfortunately common. I’m still working on convincing myself of these things and I’m still working through my daily struggles with depression, anxiety, and emotional distance with the men I date.
That one night has caused me six years of pain. I have finally gotten to a place in my life where I’m ready to stand up and take control of my life again. My first step was writing this article and admitting to myself and to you that I was in fact raped by two co-workers. It is not my fault. I drank too much. I took some drugs. But I did not say yes. I’m not sure if I said no either and that is the hardest part for me to deal with. But just because I didn’t say, “no” doesn’t mean I gave consent.
I have chosen to write this story anonymously because I still am not able to come forward to everyone in my life just yet- if ever. But writing this and admitting it you and a couple of my friends who know, has helped me beyond belief. So, If you have experienced any sort of sexual violence I urge you to speak up.
I stand with you because, well, me too.
The Write Dose encourages all victims of sexual assault to seek professional and legal help immediately. If you or anyone you know has become a victim of sexual assault please call The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673. It is a safe and confidential service.