(Me, Bethany, Taylor)
“You’re so stupid.”
“What’s your number of guys now? How many have you slept with?”
By the 2012-2013 school year, Bethany and Taylor had become pretty distant to me. They were exclusively close with Bridget, who I was barely friends with anymore after the Jared/roommate incidents.
I was busy and had replaced the friendships I made at the methodist foundation with solid ones from my sorority.
By spring of the 2013 school year, I had broken up with my first boyfriend and had gone back to sleeping with random guys. This time though, I had a little more of a backbone and a little less shame about my actions and sex life. I had a lot of blame to pass out, and even though I still saw Bridget occasionally, I still blamed her for all my feelings of betrayal and Jared for my feeling of powerlessness. The more I had sex with men and could be the one to get them then leave them, the more I gained power and felt less vulnerable.
The sorority didn’t encourage me to be a slut. My rape made me look for power through sex and I wouldn’t let anyone stop those behaviors. My friends in the sorority who’d heard the basic version of what had happened that night in February and knew about what Bridget had done, knew I was hurt and were there for me as support and love during that time. Friends I made through the sorority during that time are ones I still have today.
Going home to visit family, I was confronted with my oh so narrow minded sister who outright told me I was a slut when I told her how many guys I’d slept with (at that point it was 5).
For a while, it felt like everyone in my life was calling me a slut, but not concerned enough to ask why. My sorority sisters were the ones to put me back on my feet and make me feel strong and powerful. I thank them mostly for the power and self-love needed for the semi and final blowouts between me and the folks from the methodist foundation.
After going to the methodist foundation a few times during the fall semester of 2012 only to see Bridget and hangout (this was the year she lived in the back apartment of the foundation), I was told by Bethany (Bridget’s then roommate) and Taylor that if I was going to keep coming around the foundation but not go to any worship services, that I should at least show up to one of the planned “girls group” outings.
I felt weird about it since I was no longer going to the foundation, but complied and agreed to show up for the next one. It was a Saturday and we were supposed to go to the mall to do a scavenger hunt then out to eat together. I offered to drive and the people who came included Bridget, Bethany, Taylor, Caitlyn (one of Taylor’s friends), and me. We went to the mall and the scavenger hunt teams turned into everyone versus Bridget and I.
As we’re walking through the mall, Taylor and Bethany are joking with Bridget and I about mannequins we were passing and underwear in the lingerie section. Taylor, who I hadn’t talked to as a friend in months, began jokingly calling me names like “you’re such a slut,” “you whores,” “whore,” as so on. Then Bethany joined in with her own.
I can distinctly remember looking over at Bridget who’d also dropped her jaw at the comments. I tolerated them for a bit and kept walking, thinking it was weird to be joking about such as semi sensitive subject between Bridget and I, until Taylor and Bethany began aiming the comments at Bridget as well.
I was shocked. I asked them to stop with the comments then and said that I didn’t find them funny and they were making this game uncomfortable. They didn’t stop.
Bridget was beside me fuming. She never spoke up to them, but when we rounded a corner and she and I were alone, she admitted how pissed she was that they were so cruel.
It became obvious they weren’t going to stop, so I spoke up and said I the game wasn’t fun anymore and we should go back to the foundation before going out to eat. I think the only way I got away with them agreeing is because I was the one who drove.
We headed back to the car, comments and stories about Bridget and I in full force, with Bridget and I seeing red. Out of pettiness, the whole ride home I blasted a Taylor Swift CD so I wouldn’t have to listen to them anymore. It was her “Red” album and when we came to the song “Mean,” I kept it on repeat, turning it up louder when either Taylor or Bethany tried to talk over it. When we pulled up to the foundation, I told everyone to get out and that I was sick of the comments and didn’t want to be near them anymore. Bethany huffed and got out, and Bridget told me that her and I should talk about what happened. Taylor leaned in closer to me and continued to try and yell over the music until I yelled at her continually, “Get out, get out of my car!” She did and she slammed my door and stomped into the building.
I left and later that night sometime, met Bridget to talk about what had happened. I can only remember her being so angry at her friends (my old friends) for acting that way and treating us like that even when we’d asked them to stop. I felt I needed to talk to them and Sherry about the incident because it felt like a verbal attack and because I knew how distant I’d become, but felt it needed to be clear that being a distant friend isn’t an excuse to be intensely made fun of. Bridget agreed to help me speak up against Bethany and Taylor when we met with Sherry.
That was the plan and walking into the situation, I thought it would be quick and minor. My ending goal was to fully distance myself from the foundation, and only see Bridget if we met at another location. I never really thought of any other result to the oncoming confrontation or that things could get any worse.
So the finale…
Sherry was the adult supervisor of the foundation. She welcomed Bethany, Taylor, Bridget and I into her office on a weekday evening. I hadn’t spoken with Bridget since a few nights before when we constructed the plan of the confrontation and her speaking up against her friends for treating her and I so badly that day at the mall.
I took a seat in a chair along one wall (it was a tiny office), and Bethany and Taylor took chairs along the opposite wall. Bridget couldn’t find a chair and instead sat on the floor blocking the door.
Sherry opened the conversation and requested if I would explain why I called her to be present for this conversation. So I began my experience for what had happened that Saturday, particularly emphasizing each word they’d called us and how I had even asked them to stop and they wouldn’t. I wasn’t able to get through that without constant interruption from Taylor and defense from Bethany. They claimed, like before, that they were just joking and I wasn’t supposed to take it so seriously.
I told them I asked them to stop and they didn’t and this was met with no reaction from them or Sherry. Taylor was known to throw tantrums and get her way because she and her boyfriend were heavily involved in the foundation. She insisted she and Bethany were just joking and this wasn’t pressed further.
Bethany’s excuse was what I’d expected; that I’d become so distant that how could I expect to just come back and have things go back to normal. It didn’t work in my favor at the time, but now I think it argues my point more than hers.
At that moment, I was furious. I felt like Sherry wasn’t doing anything and Taylor was continuing to yell at me. Bridget was silent, with her knees pulled up to her chest, on the floor. She lived with Bethany, I should’ve never expected her to speak up to them, but at the time I was so angry with her. I felt like I was led into a room just to be yelled at again when that was the problem in the first place. No one was defending me from the insults and no one was protecting me from the storm of yelling.
So I said something unintelligent and walked out. I walked out of the room, yelling still happening behind me, walked out of the foundation and into the parking lot, and walked home.
I never went back to the foundation. Never saw Bridget intentionally again. I was angry and left and when I look back at that place I have such mixed emotions. Part of me sees it as so familiar and so much like an old home, until the rest of the memories surface. Then it becomes the place that hurt me, that I ran from, that I was angry at for so many years, the place where I lost so many friends.
The place that drove me away from God for so many years. It took me a long time after that, because of that, to realize the difference between Christianity and Christians. That people who had called themselves Christians could rape you and make fun of you and betray you and hurt you, but you yourself could still be a Christian. That humans could be horrible, but that didn’t mean you had to be like them.
And now I go to a church that was created through the methodist foundation in my current town. Just being apart of this church in this short amount of time as stirred up some emotions and feelings of unfinished relationships that I wish I could sort through. I’ve recently attempted to get contact of Bridget again just to talk and she ignored me so I abandoned that thought and figured that was it, that those feelings would remain awful.
It’s writing and typing everything out that helps me to think and process what’s happened. It’s writing this out that gives me a person to contact that I definitely don’t want to; Sherry. I could reach out to Sherry to talk.
I’ll think about this, but I promise you, it’ll be on my mind now until I do something about it. Forgiveness is never easy.