Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault, Attempted Suicide, Drugged
When I was fifteen years old, I was raped at my friend’s house party. It is extremely difficult for me to talk about, but I think it is important that I do.
It was the first house party I had ever attended. It was in a different city where I only knew the girl hosting it. I was nervous about being in a house filled with people that I didn’t know, so I brought my best friend with me. The night started off really well… that is, until I accepted a drink (my third of the night) from someone that I didn’t know. I downed it enthusiastically and within several minutes started to feel really dizzy. I told my best friend that I was feeling sick and she guided me into a basement room. There was a group of people in the room, and my best friend explained to them that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to lie down. I don’t remember them leaving the room, but they did. As soon as I laid down I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I remember experiencing an internal panic because I was physically shutting down. I was confused and couldn’t articulate words. I couldn’t see straight or process what was going on around me. My mind was screaming at me, telling me that something was very wrong. To this day, I do not think that excessive drinking was the cause of my symptoms.
My best friend told me that I just needed to sleep. I shut my eyes.
I woke up to the sound of the door creaking open. In walked a man that I recognized as the host’s cousin (who I later found out was 29 years old). He asked me how I was feeling, as he shut the door behind him and locked it. As he walked towards me I knew without a doubt what he was about to do. I tried to sit up but I could barely lift my head. I became paralyzed by fear as he pulled my pants off, followed by his. He climbed on top of me. I tried to tell him to stop, but I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I was absolutely helpless. I knew in that moment that what was about to happen was inevitable. I remember the despair and disgust that I felt as he thrusted in and out of me. I kept trying to scream but no sound was coming out. I hated every second of it. I felt dirty and cheap. With every passing second I prayed for it to be over. When it finally was, he walked out of the room without saying a word. I remember that he finished inside of me. For me, that was the most disturbing part. It was a physical representation of the degradation and humiliation that I felt.
When I came to, I told my best friend that this man had raped me. She instantly dismissed me as being dramatic. I tried to explain myself more. She cut me off and said “you don’t have to feel bad because you had sex.” It was at this point that I realized that no one was going to believe me.
I became withdrawn and isolated myself from my friends and family. My parents sent me to counselling, but I didn’t tell the counsellor about my rape. I was afraid that she wouldn’t believe me. At sixteen, I was diagnosed with depression and panic disorder. At seventeen, I attempted suicide.
I kept my rape a secret for five years.
The first person I opened up about my rape to was my fiancé. We cried together that night as I relived the experience. Finally having that support made things a lot less heavy for me.
Something to take away from my experience is that if someone tells you they were sexually assaulted, please, don’t dismiss them. You don’t need to take on their problems for them, you just need to listen. Let them know that you believe what they went through is real. Support them. Encourage them to seek professional help. It is terrible that sexual assault survivors are made to feel silenced. It needs to stop.