Church friend blowout

(Me, Bethany, Taylor)


“Whore”

“Slut”

“Tease”

“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.

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Bridget

3 rhymes with B and B stands for Bridget. Let’s try and keep this to one post. She’s sitting right across from me in the featured photo.

Bridget and I became best friends during senior year of high school. We both got into SIUC and found dorms rooms in buildings next to one another.

In addition to my floor mates, Lauren, and the church group, Bridget was my best friend through all of freshman, sophomore, and part of junior year of college.

For that big of a part in my life it’s shocking I haven’t mentioned her name in the any of the other “the story” blog posts yet. Except, she is special and she deserves her own category.

Please understand how much I loved her and thought of her like family. I was shitty in my own ways towards her for no good reasons. Of all the people in these entries, she’s the one I miss the most.


I considered Bridget my best friend for almost 4 years, which until Liz, was my longest lasting female best-friendship.

Bridget was involved in the catholic church and group across the street from the methodist foundation for the majority of freshman and sophomore year. It wasn’t until mid-sophomore year that she began to occasionally show up for events with me to the methodist foundation and begin to share friends.

Freshman year involved a lot of discovery of the campus together and a lot of drunken nights in the dorms. I spent most of my time with her and was content with that. I have a million stories of her. I will probably dedicate another blog post to her in which I lay out all the stories, just not tonight. 

Junior year of college, Bridget and I found an apartment near campus and began living together. By this point, she was mostly just going to methodist foundation instead of the catholic one.

There were a lot of nights spent staying awake talking on the couches together where I remember her storming off from something I’d said. I think I could be mean to her in the way that I would talk about my values and ideals and pick apart things in her life she could improve. Like it was ever any of my business. I could be a bitch to her, she did tell me that once, finally. I still feel horrified at myself for being that way.

There were a lot of nights spent staying awake talking on the couches together with a beer and a movie and endless laughs and talking. I loved her.

She and I grew closer with Justin during our sophomore and junior years. We would smoke and walk through the woods. One day Bridget and I discovered a monster hill just off the campus lake path. We climbed up the steep side, slipping and gripping each other’s forearms just trying not to tumble all the way down to the concrete road below. Once we made it to the top we discovered the little worn path trailing down the side that would’ve made the climb significantly easier. We also found a broken wooden bench swing at the top. The chains had broke so all you could do was sit on it, keeping you an inch from above the dirt and leaves, but it had back support and a beautiful view of the woods below. We used to go and smoke up there or talk.

Seriously, just a moment ago, as I’m writing this, I’m starting to remember more of February 12, 2011. Bridget was there for me that next afternoon on the 12th. She walked across campus to my dorm and made me shower and get dressed. She then dragged me to the final hall and we ate a mountain of pancakes. From there, we walked all around the campus lake. That was the day we discovered the giant hill mountain with the wooden bench at the top. That was the same day.

So many fucking memories and she was always there for me and me for her. She’s in everything.


Somewhere in the spring of 2012 (I think) is when she began to take over my place at the methodist foundation. I felt a little jealous that she so easily fit in with Bethany, Taylor, Loran, and Dani. However, this was the same semester I began my involvement with my sorority, so I quickly became occupied.

The school year 2012-2013 is when Bridget and I lived together. I heard from some newer friends attending the foundation that Jared had begun coming back to services after being absent from the foundation for the last year and a half.

December of 2012 is when Bridget and Jared began dating.


In the summer of 2017 in Red River, New Mexico, I met a man named Kevin Flood at a bar and we continued to take turns buying one another drinks. For the rest of my summer there, we would meet at the bar once a week to continue this exchange of drinks and talk. This was still when Nicole and I were still dating and Kevin was strictly a good drinking friend. 

Kevin is the only person in my life I’ve admitted to that I had been raped on February 11, 2011. I was drunk when the words came out and he was comforting about it. 

As much as Bridget knew I had been in love with Jared, she never knew the key detail from that that night, that it hadn’t been consensual. She watched me cry over Jared while continuing to sleep with countless random men. With time, I’ve wanted to create an excuse for her as my then best friend and roommate of how she could’ve thought it was okay to go and date Jared after how he treated me. I’m not sure if there is an excuse I’m okay with giving her, even still.


Bridget wasn’t the one to tell me they were dating, or even that they’d begun hanging out together. It was a member of the foundation who I’d worked with over the summer who knew the situation (the same story I gave everyone else) and knew how much I had loved Jared, how many guys I had slept with already, and didn’t judge or hate me for any of it. Kim sent the text to warn me.

Around that time was when I started my first relationship with a guy. He was in a fraternity and I met him at a semi-formal my sorority had held. He was the complete opposite of Jared, but an incredibly normal guy, and intensely loving.

There had been one night after an event that I brought him home with me so I could change before we went back out. We walked in the apartment door and the first thing my brain took in were the shoes laid out on the carpet just inside the front door. Bridget’s pair and a men’s hipster boot. In slow motion my eyes wandered up to meet his and Bridget’s cuddled together on the couch. I can’t remember if I or them said anything. I dragged Shamun back to my bedroom with shaking hands. After that, she rarely brought him back to the apartment, and I rarely came home in periods where I would have to run into her.

I didn’t hate Bridget at first. At first, I was terrified to be alone with her, terrified to confront what was happening.

There was a night we both found ourselves on the living room couches when she awkwardly brought up Jared. She told me something about feeling bad because she knew how much I liked him but how I had moved on and he had moved on and did I hate her for this? That they had started to get to know one another and she had fallen for him.

At that point, I didn’t want to lose her. I think I told her that I didn’t like seeing him or coming home to the surprise of him being here. I told her (so stupidly of me) that it was okay if she talked about him to me because we were best friends. So she did. She told me she lost her virginity to him after they started dating. She told me he’d asked about me and she’d said I had a boyfriend too. She knew Shamun was the 5th person I’d slept with and she told me excitedly one night that Jared had slept with exactly 5 people by that point too. At the time, I thought that was a sign.

Our friendship became entirely one-sided at a certain point. She stopped asking anything about me and only wanted to talk about Jared. He confused her with the riddles he would speak to her in. She began to ask me advice, but when I’d mention things he’d done or said to me that were similar to what he was doing to her, she’d brush them off. She didn’t like to listen to that type of advice or those old stories. She said he’d changed a lot since then, she said he even told her he’d changed. (He changed his majors a lot, not his personality.)

By the time they broke up, I hated them both. Bridget and I no longer spoke once I said I was not okay with her telling me all the details anymore. I told her I was angry that our friendship had become her strictly taking about her relationship, not asking about mine, and not willing to even listen to someone who had been in her situation (without the label of a relationship) already. I really began to hate her.


They dated for almost 2 months, I think. Kim called me the night he broke up with Bridget. I was sitting on one of the living room couches, drinking hot peach tea and typing a paper for class. Kim warned me that she and her husband were driving Bridget back to the apartment and Bridget was a mess. That Jared had simply dropped Bridget from his life, the same as he did to me.

She burst in the door a few minutes later and ran straight for her back bedroom. I could hear her sobbing and it was only a few minutes later until she was racing from her bedroom to the kitchen (apart of the living room), avoiding eye contact with me, and racing back to her room. She went back and forth until finally collapsing on her knees in her bedroom.

So many years later, I wish now I had comforted her in that moment. Pulled her into my arms and held her. I still think that’s what she wanted and why she kept coming into the main room, passing by me, sobbing uncontrollably. 

I didn’t hold her, I didn’t even ask her what happened, I didn’t even look her in the eyes. I just ignored her. I was so angry in that moment. I can still remember shaking as I was typing and actively trying to ignore her. My thoughts in that moment were, he left me crying on my knees too, but you wouldn’t listen. 

I got the full story from Bethany a few days later. That Jared and Bridget started dating and everyone at the foundation, knowing we were best friends, had asked her what my reaction was. That they spent every moment together until things grew cold between them in January. That they’d been having sex until Jared stopped one week and decided their relationship should be more faith based instead of physical. That he wanted to refrain from sex with Bridget and she was confused. That shortly after that, he grew distant from her and spoke in riddles. That she was heartbroken and when she finally confronted him, he sent her the breakup over text, one line in text, we’re over. He stopped talking to her, stopped responding, stopped going to the methodist foundation again.

When I heard the details, I was upset to hear how similar to mine they were. I knew he was manipulative, but to think he would pull almost the exact act on her made me sick. She was in love with him.


The friendship between Bridget and I was never the same after that year. We tried to remain friends for a few more months before the final blowout in spring of 2013. During the 2013-2014 school year, she lived with Bethany in the back of the methodist foundation while I lived with sorority friends. She was fully involved in the foundation where I came once every few months, only to see her.

Before the end of our time as roommates, I found a journal she’d left out with a detailed list of the pro’s and con’s of Jared. It was back during the time right before they’d broken up, where she was weighing her options of being with someone like him and if she could live without him. I violated privacy with these pictures. The similarities between her words and mine are insanely close.

The Rape aftermath

The more I write these blogs, the more it feels so important to do so. I lost all the air in my lungs while looking back through photos to attach onto these entries. It feels forceful to have to confront everything but writing out every detail without poetry or riddles has finally started to silence my mind a little. 

The featured photo was taken soon after February 11. I’m on the floor with the purple hat and striped sweater. My knees are tucked up to my chest; a position that for years I would automatically curl into every time I sat down.


So comes the aftermath.

The night of February 12, I pulled myself from my dorm and walked or was picked up (I don’t remember) to the methodist foundation. There, I was ushered into the back apartment of the building where all of the girls had gathered.

Before I go on, there is a division in this girls group. At this point, I was close with all of them. I struggle to make myself use their real names because it makes this blog feel more vulnerable. The names with an asterisk are ones I lost contact with but have no hard feelings towards:  Loran*, Dani*, Laurel*, Taylor, Bethany. 

They asked me what happened because they had some details from their long term boyfriends who were also the band members and Jared’s roommates. Jared had sent a text the night of February 11 that basically stated I would be spending the night. The next morning after Jared had dropped me off, Loran’s boyfriend Chris confronted Jared about what exactly happened and he told him we had sex. Chris told Loran because he was worried about me. Chris knew Jared was unpredictable.

I kept contact with Chris and Loran for a long time after that. Chris joined my dad and I during the summer of 2011 to a U2 concert in St.Louis. I didn’t attend their wedding in January 2013 because Jared attended with an old (ex) friend of mine as his date and I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as them. Loran said she understood. 

I told the girls group the basics. He was drunk, he picked me up, I didn’t realize I was spending the night until there was no other option, yes this proves he really did like me all along, yes we had sex, and then he told me we could never do it again. The older girls were worried about me, telling me to ask them anytime if I needed to talk. The younger ones (by younger I mean my age) were giddy and happy for me. They were excited that this proved he actually liked me all along.

Jared didn’t show up to the foundation that night. It would be a few more days before he would arrange to meet me there only to say that the sex would never happen again. That we couldn’t kiss or hold hands because we weren’t in a relationship. He wasn’t interested in a relationship.

I can’t tell you why I still wanted him after this. Why I still wanted a relationship with him but not really. I know I hated the feeling of all those months lost and here was the sex as proof that he liked me and he still couldn’t say so. He could talk down to me and break the news that this was wrong like I was the one who pushed for it. 

Not an apology for being drunk for it? Not a confession of liking me all these months? Not a question if I am okay or if what happened was okay? 

He said we should take a break for a while, like this was an actual relationship. I didn’t get the chance to talk during that conversation because I couldn’t find my voice. I was silent. I figured this meant we were going back to flirting and texting and seeing each other a few times a week at the foundation. I was so wrong and even after what happened, was still so heartbroken to be so wrong. Because he didn’t text me at all. Wouldn’t text me back. Started going to a different church group with a different church and old high school friends in town.

I never saw him at all anymore, but I had so many questions. I was so confused and still so in love with him. I began to isolate myself from everyone.

A boy from my dorm sat beside me in the dining hall one day. I can’t remember the details between having lunch together and meeting him at his dorm one night, but that progression happened somewhere in March 2011. He was heartbroken over his ex girlfriend and I was still waiting for Jared to come back. We had sex and it wasn’t loving but it was consensual. Ben and I both agreed we didn’t want to be in a relationship, we just wanted to be fuck buddies (I hate that saying now). So on a nightly basis, I was with him, two buildings down from mine.

I became less involved in the methodist foundation. Stayed with Ben almost every night. Continued to smoke and drink with my old floor mates. Continued to go to class.

Somewhere during March, Jared came back to the foundation. I wasn’t there, and after asking around for me (I was told later), he texted me to ask where I was. At that exact moment I was angry at him. Being with Ben and listening to him talk himself through his breakup made me feel like I had gone through an actual one with Jared. By the time he sent this text to ask where I was, I felt more powerful than I had since I first fell for Jared. In that exact moment I was leaving Ben’s dorm and headed for my own. I told him I was with Ben and when he asked who Ben was, I told him he’s someone a boy I sleep with now. Jared was furious.  I was confused. I texted him to ask why he cared when he said we could never do it again and we weren’t in a relationship? He responded something with, “That doesn’t mean we’re not together. How could you go and do this to me?” 

That text was my tipping point. The edge of a stair, tipping my foot down to the next. A private message on Facebook from a boy back in my hometown who thought I was cute who I’d go home to fuck over spring, summer, and fall break. An old high school friend a few dorms down who I’d fuck while we were both high one rainy night in the fall. Somehow, between February 11, 2011, and the fall of 2016, my list of boys I’d slept with grew to 26. I don’t remember all of their names. Some happened in the same night. Some became fuck buddies for years. Two were relationships that were purely physical. Most were purely physical and rough. I was good at sex and I could lose myself in it. I was always the one to break up with the boys and I was always the one who could get them to want me.

I loved that power. 

Back to March 2011. By April, I was almost completely unattached from the methodist foundation. The girls from the group still reached out and we would occasionally hang out. There were a few nights in a row where I didn’t see or talk to the girls group. Bethany and Taylor had apparently shown up to my dorm room one Saturday night looking for me. I was with Ben and had put my phone on silent. They asked all my floor mates (I wasn’t close with any of them) where I was and even roped my RA in, telling her something bad must’ve happened to me. I came back to my dorm around 2:00 am of that night. My floor mates looked horrified to see me. They hesitantly asked if something was wrong and when I responded confused, they told me there had been two girls looking for me. The two girls told my RA I was missing and if I didn’t check in with her tonight, she’d be notifying my parents in the morning and possibly the campus police.

I was gone for one fucking night. My RA was chill about it, a little confused why I called them my friends and why it was so bad I was out for the night. My floor mates thought it was funny and one of them still likes to joke with me about it.

I was beyond angry at Bethany and Taylor for it. After calling them the next morning to ask what the fuck happened, they came by to pick me up. They said they were angry I stopped answering their calls and texts that day/night. They demanded to know why I had become so distant from the foundation and stated they would continue to check up on me like this and would continue to report me. I told them I was out fucking Ben and didn’t care that they had been worried because it wasn’t their place. It wasn’t their fucking place to report me to my RA or especially my parents. And don’t fucking think you will ever pull that shit again. Taylor was huffy and hurt, Bethany apologized, but both remained pretty distant from me for a bit.


Ben and I faded out by summer time. Seth and I had sex only when I was home on breaks. The people I regularly talked to included Brooklyn, Emily, and Justin (my old floor mates), Bridget (another blog post dedicated solely to her sometime soon), and occasionally Bethany and Loran.

Summer came, and back in late fall 2010, I had applied to be a camp counselor at a methodist church camp in western Illinois with Loran, Chris, Dani, her boyfriend Patrick, and a few people from other colleges in other methodist foundations.

I continued to talk about Jared and ask about him. I continued to try and text him though he rarely responded. It wasn’t until almost a year later that he would text me back, “Get me out of your phone man,” and I would really never try to contact him again. 

 

The Rape

Isn’t it ironic that after all this happened, I tried to erase every piece of him from my life, only to copy the same trait in him I always hated? I write in riddles with my poetry just like he did in his words to me. 

On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity. On February 11, 2011, I lost my virginity.

I’ve written that line in every journal, blog, or iPhone notes I’ve ever owned.


His name was Jared.

By mid January, after coming back from winter break, Jared and I had grown more distant than what we’d been in the fall months. We still flirted and texted every day, but his moods were more inconsistent and he seemed angry and distant more often.

Even though he lived with his worship band mates, sometimes he would go on binges of not attending band practices or university classes, and would go out drinking with old high school friends who did not attend church. I usually liked that he had a side like that because I could relate to him better than any of the other church kids at the foundation.

The week before February 11, we had barely talked or texted at all. I can’t remember now where I was that night, if I was out with friends or had been alone up until that point. All I remember about the earlier part was that it was late when he texted me the night of February 11. I was wearing skinny jeans, loafers, and an old baseball tee. He picked me up from my dorm in his car, and it wasn’t until we were already on the road that I realized he was drunk.

I’d ridden with friends who were drunk before (bad I know) and knew that though he shouldn’t be driving, it wasn’t too bad of a situation for how short the drive was. I can still feel the stone in my gut during that passenger ride though, realizing we were finally alone. As much as I had enjoyed being alone with him in all those months, this was the first time I was actually nervous and couldn’t identify why.

We pulled up to his apartment complex and he explained that all of his roommates were gone for the weekend. When we got inside, he left all the lights off and turned on the TV to a strange German program that we watched for the next half hour or so. We didn’t sit right next to each other on the couch, but did kind of slump over so we were awkwardly touching and cuddling.

Abruptly, he turned the show and TV off, got up and led me back to his bedroom. It was the first time I’d ever been back that far in the apartment with him and only really took in the size of the room being the biggest. The head of his queen sized bed was pushed against the left side of the wall as you first walk in, with the window being at the foot. He had dark blue and green flannel sheets and everything else in the room was chaos.

He changed in another room and offered me clean boxers so I wouldn’t have to sleep in my jeans. I declined.

I told him I didn’t realize I was staying the night and thought we were just hanging out for a bit.

He told me he was drunk and couldn’t drive me home and it wouldn’t be a big deal if I slept over. That no one was home this weekend anyway, like that statement made it better. Drunk Emily might’ve tried to walk a block to the Del Taco and call for a ride, but sober me was too afraid of the dark and knew the walk to the dorm (where I also left my phone) was too far.

“Plus, what would sober me say to the Del Taco workers? A guy friend is drunk and forcing me to sleep in his bed? That doesn’t sound serious enough.” – my inner dialogue at the time

He did fall asleep. I slept lightly, completely still next to him, still fully dressed and only beneath one blanket.

I have a very vague, very foggy memory of him kissing me. It happened either when we first got into bed or when he first woke up in the night. Whenever it happened, it was our first kiss. A second after it happened, his hands were gripping my face, my breasts, handling my hip, and slipping back to my butt. He made it all happen so quickly.

As much as I wanted this to happen over the past few months, and was internally so justified that he really had been into me that whole semester, it was happening too fast. I pushed his hands away and told him I was tired and he stopped.

Until he woke up again mid night and began grabbing for me. He began to kiss me again, aggressively this time, pulling at my shirt and trying to undo the buttons of my jeans. He told me to get undressed.

I wasn’t really thinking out escape routes in my head. Part of me kept reminding myself how much I had wanted this to happen since we’d met and the other part of me wondered if all he wanted was for me to get undressed and then he might pass out again before anything would really happen. More importantly at the time, “If I don’t do this he won’t want me anymore and I can’t lose him.” 

So I got undressed down to my underwear and bra and watched and realized that he had undressed too, except he was now naked. Stunned, I reached over and felt his chest with the muscles and the brownish red hair, and snaked my hand all the way down.

I remember being surprised by how much smaller he was (it was probably average) than the guy I’d been fooling around with the summer before college and over winter break (there was no emotional connection with the big dick guy, all physical). Ian and I never had sex because he was saving it for marriage and no matter how much I aroused him, I never worried about sex because I knew he didn’t want it to go that far. 

I don’t know why I just assumed Jared would have those same values of wanting to save himself and knowing when to stop, because he didn’t. As soon as I touched him, Jared made noise immediately. He rolled on top of me with his full weight and I momentarily lost my breath completely. I couldn’t react.

Until he was tugging my underwear down with one hand and I put both of my hands on his shoulders and asked if we could go slower. He leaned back and got off of me long enough to lift my feet up and slip my underwear off. He started for my bra, but when I wouldn’t turn to let him unclasp it, he dug his hand beneath the wire band and groped for whatever he could find there. He tried a few sloppy, poorly aimed kisses after that.

Then he was between my legs again and forcing himself in me. He was moving so fast but the moment seemed so slow and so painful and I put my hands to his shoulders again telling him it hurt and to please stop or slow down or get off and give me a second. And he didn’t, he kept going, kept forcing himself through.

He didn’t wear a condom and he did finish inside me. He did roll off me after he was done. I didn’t cry and I did give up asking him to stop after he moved my hands aside and told me the pain would be over soon. I just laid there and waited until it was over. When he was done, he rolled off and went back to sleep.

I stayed awake. I stared at the ceiling, then the window blinds, then the blue and green flannel sheets for the next few hours. My thoughts kept repeating themselves; you just lost your virginity, he just took your virginity, you just lost your virginity…

He woke up in the early hours of the morning and it happened again. This time I didn’t stop him. It still hurt.

He must’ve been sobering up though, because he stopped himself mid thrust during the second time and stared me in the eyes saying, “This is wrong.”

And I got my hopes up. I thought that he might actually be sobering up and the real, gentle Jared that I know might be coming back. Until he finished his sentence; “We shouldn’t be doing this, God wouldn’t want us to be doing this.”

Us.

We.

So he stopped, rolled off me again and went back to sleep. I did try to go back to sleep after the second time. I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t awake, I just didn’t want to be awake with my thoughts anymore.

Ceiling, window shades, blue green flannel sheets…

I woke up around 6:30 with a full bladder, mostly naked, and with no idea where the bathroom was. It took me a long time before I could move and feel confident that he wasn’t going to wake up beside me. Finally, I got my underwear and shirt on, but couldn’t find my pants. By 8:00, he was awake too. His first words were something about having to get me home and he changed and threw my jeans to me on his way towards the bathroom.

As soon as he was out of the bathroom (I had my jeans on by this point) he grabbed his keys and I, not wanting to be in that apartment any longer, held it for another 5 minutes, long enough for him to drive me back to my dorm.

When he dropped me off, he said we should talk about what happened and understand that it would never and should never happen again between us. He drove off before I got to the building door.


It took me most of that day before I was able to undress and take a shower. I didn’t talk to anyone. By the end of the day, I’d managed to listen to one song and still couldn’t stop sobbing long enough to leave the dorm room (my roommate was gone for the weekend) for food.

I was in my own head for a lot of that day with the same words repeated over and over again because I didn’t have anything else to call what had happened; you just lost your virginity, he just took your virginity, you just lost your virginity…


I did receive a lot of texts from church group friends that day asking what had happened the night before. Jared sent a riddle text to one of his roommates that had hinted at him bringing me home for the night. I should’ve felt embarrassed maybe, but everything was numb to me after February 11, for a long time.

The boy I had been in love with for half of a year did something to me that I couldn’t process and even though I was pretty sure I hadn’t done anything wrong, that boy didn’t want me anymore. He didn’t want sex with me and for the next few weeks, he avoided every text, every room, every building that had me in it.

My life was still split between the people who really knew me but didn’t know about this and the people who I had kept at a distance but suddenly somehow knew a version of that night.

 

the song

 

The Rape introduction

So, part of what makes this commitment to tell this story so hard is that I just want to talk in riddles. I want to make everything poetry so I don’t have to think about the details or call things by what they really were.

On a field trip today, I was reading a little sign to a student in one of the galleries of the museum and the date on the sign read “February 11.” It turned my blood cold just to see it there in print because on my February 11, something much different began. 

During the summers of my junior and senior years of high school, I volunteered at a camp with a methodist youth group who had teamed up with a residential school to play with the elementary school kids for a week. Although I had joined the group because of a friend, I met people who I’d later be attending university with and was given the name of a campus methodist group to check out for more religious community while in school. Looking back on those summers, I remember now not liking the people who would later be going to university with me, I found them stuck up, but I seemed to have forgotten those feelings the second we left the camp because I sought that group out my first month at university.

It took me awhile to get up the courage to go to the campus foundation. The first friends I made in college were older students who lived on my floor. We smoked and drank on our first nights together and I was mostly content being with them and not tracking down the church kids. But I’ve always been one to be in multiple friend groups, so I felt itchy like there were more people out there to get to know and I felt bad for not tracking down these people who had obviously been told I would show up at some point. So I did, about a month into school on a Wednesday evening, worship night. I showed up, walked into the main room to meet the bulk of the students and community leader, and was then herded to the sanctuary for worship.

It was an old building, but with windows framing the front walls, lining the street outside. The sanctuary was the most serene with long, cushioned benches (about 4 long ones on each side) and the band at the front. One of the older students was the unofficial pastor, and several students from the audience got up to become the band.

I thought the leader singer/unofficial pastor was hot with his Jesus-like features (brown, shaggy hair and beard) and overall honest sensitivity. He turned out to be long term dating one of the girls in the pews. The bass player turned out to be watching me the whole time, and every time after that.

I made friends within the church group and began spending all my free time there. I still had my floor mate friends, but was even considering moving into the spare room at the back of the methodist foundation with another girl from the group. They were immature and bragged about how many guys liked them or how many kisses they’d had (weird competition) or how much they liked to drink.

From September through December, I grew closer and closer to that group, but keeping my two lives separate. My floor mates knew the more honest side of me; the drinking, smoking, sexy, spontaneous, depressed, naive side of me. While the methodist group knew the side of me I sort of wished I was, the way everyone else there was, which was innocent.

Through those months, my hair style stayed in a short bob with long sideburns, my jeans were always skinny leg, and I wore a mix of moccasin style shoes. The bass player and I grew closer and everyone at the group agreed he liked me. Except, I was never really sure. He talked in riddles and would never outright say he was interested in me, even when confronted by his roommates (the rest of the band). Every time I tried to pursue another guy, he would act rude and distant, but would warm up the second I lost interest and came back to him. I let him tug me around like this until February.

Looking back now, I can see how manipulative he was. How he treated me just like a girlfriend, but could never commit to giving me that title. He was manly and attractive and gave me attention I’d never had before from someone who looked like him. He was the first person to tell me “you deserve much more than acceptance.” He was the first person for a few things in my life.

Even now, I hate saying it, but I was. I was in love with him.


Halloween 2010: Floor mates (Justin isn’t in the picture) and I dressed up as the power rangers (I’m in pink). The blue one lives in Texas now and the yellow and red (Justin) live in Indiana. All are well, we lost touch with one another by 2013.

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Fall 2010: Methodist foundation group campfire/game night. The girls included are ones not involved in the events during the spring 2011 through fall 2012. The one in the blue sweatshirt lives in the far west somewhere with her husband now, we are Facebook friends. The green shirt is the girl from the pews who married the worship leader/lead singer, I attended the wedding in summer 2011 then never spoke to them again. I was never close with the girl in purple, don’t know where she is now.

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Fall 2010: Lauren was a friend I’d met separately from the church group or my floor mates. Though she never knew the full details of February 11, she caught on and being a few years older, become like a mother to me in the worst years. We grew distant in 2014 after she had her first daughter, I still have so much love when I think of her.

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Story intentions

I’m trying to start at a beginning to tell this fully. My memories are fragmented, either with flashbacks or a dissonance from the present that leaves me with gaps, lost in a dream.

At my core, the memories my mind revolves back to are unpleasant. Daily, I am reminded of the childhood sex abuse and tearing through the plastic tunnels or rose gardens, trying to escape. But it makes no sense when I type it out like that. The full story of mini stories keeps tumbling through my consciousness, and though I’m beyond the hope of getting it out of my mind through writing it all down, I just aim to make these memories make more sense.

My mind is jumbled. While I have good and bad days and am in no way going downward now, I want to give more importance to these memories. They’ve made me and I’ve never really told that story in a chronological or methodological way that has also made sense or had purpose.

I want to tell a story of my life of the good and bad memories. I want to type out the ones that my mind comes back to on a daily basis and the ones I might not even realized I remembered. I want to finally, purposefully write out my life story, because I have one.

The sex abuse

May 30, 2017

To my therapist:

I went to see you for the last time before I left town for the summer. I saw you on a Friday and was proud to show off how happy I was with the correct medication (for the bipolar) and regular therapy check-in appointments. You told me you were proud of me. You asked when was the last time I remember being this happy? I couldn’t tell you for sure so you reminded me how much time was “lost” to the bipolar years. How many years of my life were filled with blurry memories because of the depression.

I agreed with you, but the thought stayed with me even when I left your office. Yes, there are lost times in my life, blurry family vacations, childhood memories swirled together. So I got to thinking of the memories that are quite clear to me, from now through the first memories I have. That’s what triggered it, I guess.

I remember my most recent years in detail. I remember the majority of college (probably minus the times I was intoxicated or extremely depressed/manic). I remember high school and the good and bad that came with that. I remember being high or drunk for most of my senior year after the accident. Being with friends most of my junior year, being arrested sophomore year, and all the undocumented neighborhood vandalism. I remember Outward Bound (both times) and how angry my parents always seemed to be towards me. I remember middle school sexting the first boy I kissed. I remember destroying friendships, multiple friendships, over the years. I remember my grandparents dying and seeing my parents break down for the first time.

And then I remembered grade school and my cousin. I was suddenly, vividly remembering the game we used to play together, “Pee.” It’s not like I haven’t thought about it over the years, but I never really thought about it. Her and I have never talked about it either. She’s a year older than I am and we’ve always been so close.

It was before kindergarten when it started, so I was maybe 4? I remember masturbating during a movie in kindergarten, and I remember knowing exactly what was wrong with what I was doing. I think it started innocently, like little kids explore each other, plus we always spent so much time together. One day at her house during the summer, she told me about her family vacation to the beach and how while her parents were off buying food, she stumbled upon a couple having sex in the woods. She said she watched them and it was weird and she wanted to show me how they did it. That was the day it went past “doctor and nurse.” We took off our clothes and tried to recreate (based on her instructions) what the couple did. There was oral involved and touching/kissing and objects inserted. There were days what she was doing hurt, but she told me that was a good sign, that it was supposed to. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when we started this (maybe 4?) and I don’t remember exactly when it stopped. It happened a lot, always in secret. I remember in early grade school starting to play games with my dolls that my cousin and I had already done or making them have sex. My mother and aunt were concerned at one point and asked us to stop, but we just got more secretive about it and it continued. It happened at her house and mine and my grandmother’s bedroom, which is probably why it must have stopped when I was about 6 because that was when that grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. It took her 2 years before she actually passed away, but that was around the time this stuff with my cousin ended. I remember masturbating in the back seat of our van on family vacations (definitely before middle school). I remember getting in trouble in 5th grade for watching porn on the computer (and obviously not knowing how to cover my tracks). I remember continuing to watch it growing up.

This is more detailed than what I’m used to talking to you about, and honestly, I’ve never discussed what happened with anyone. Was it wrong what happened or normal? I keep obsessively thinking about it and I’m not sure if I’m just nervous about my trip and desperate to obsess over anything else or if there is weight to these memories. Your thoughts?

I truly don’t know what to think.