This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while.
This is a post I have tried to write so many times, and deleted every time.
The other day, I read the fantastic Trigger Warning: Breakfast and felt so... I knew exactly what she meant.
The trigger warning on this should hopefully be obvious. Rape culture is my rapist.
I was raped by my best friend. I moved from my tiny island to a strange state hundreds of miles away with this man. I trusted him since I was 16. I trusted him with everything. He had seen me naked, he had seen me drunk, he had seen me cry, he knew all my secrets. I knew he loved me once, I thought he only loved me now as I loved him.
When I was 25 he raped me.
I had moved out of our apartment. I was just finishing up my first year of law school. I had one last final that I couldn't bring myself to study for anymore.
I went back to our old apartment. He still lived there. We did what we had done so many nights before: drank and watched cheesy horror movies. I told him about how stressed I was about my upcoming exam. He offered me a massage. This was nothing new. A few minutes later, I felt him inside me.
I tried to stand up and couldn't. I was so drunk. I was so dizzy. I was so confused. "I don't think this is a good idea," was all I could manage. He told me to lie back and he could help me relax. I told him again that I didn't think this was a good idea. I froze. I didn't fight. I didn't say a hard "no." I didn't do anything. I said "I don't think this is a good idea" four times. Four soft "no"s do not equal one firm one. Somewhere in my mind, my brain said, "you owe this to him. You've let him see you naked. You're letting him touch you. God, you're such a fucking awful tease, how hasn't this happened before?" I stopped saying anything and just waited.
When it was over, I didn't know what to do. I was so drunk, so drunk, I couldn't drive back home, could I? This is my best friend. Some drunken stupidness between two friends. I actually said to him "I hope we can still be friends." When I finally did stand up, I fell over. I couldn't walk. Shock, alcohol, I don't know. He asked me to stay. He begged me to stay. I told him I had to get up early the next morning to study.
I was still drunk when I drove home. That is not something I do.
"Stupid stupid stupid, how could you let that happen? What is wrong with you? How could you let this happen? How could YOU let this happen? HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?"
When I got home, I crawled into my new roommate's bed and cried. She asked what happened, and I couldn't talk. Finally, she said, "he raped you, didn't he?" I told her we just had sex, and I regretted it. No, it wasn't rape, I let this happen. I didn't fight. I didn't say no. I wasn't unconscious. *I* let this happen. I let this happen to me.
I know he still doesn't believe he raped me. He texted me months later, asking if I wasn't speaking to him anymore because we "made love." I ran to the bathroom and vomited.
It took me so long to tell people. Everyone pressured me to call it what it was. I couldn't. HE wasn't a rapist. I wasn't a victim. I was the person who let it happen. I didn't fight. What kind of victim doesn't fight? What kind of victim lets that happen to her?
This has all been on my mind two years later because we are both invited to the same wedding. I haven't seen him since that night. I don't know what to do. I don't want people to be mad at him, because I can't shake the feeling that he has no idea he did anything wrong. We raise men and boys to believe that if they don't hear "no," it's a "yes." No is a hard word to say. No is a hard word for women to say. We condition women to never say no, and condition men to only hear no. My rapist is rape culture.
I find myself missing him sometimes, wanting to call him when something makes me think of him. I wanted to text him as soon as I saw that a movie called "Sharknado" was coming out. I wanted to call him when my dog died. Whenever I think about being in the same room as him, I shake. I don't think I can go to the same wedding as him.
I want my friend back, but I'm starting to realize he was never really there.