I was out for my weekly weekend bender on the town, just as every other 20 something was doing. A typical Saturday night out. Well, at the rate I was going, it could have been a Tuesday. I’m not sure. Wait, no, definitely was a weekend, because there was more than just the old guy in the corner screaming about his ex-wife and everything “that bitch took from him!” Also – no disrespect to my old dudes at the end of the bar. You guys are actually my favorite and have the best stories. Keep on keeping on, boys! I was at a local bar I’ve been to many times. I was friendly with the bartenders. I always knew I had a ride home. But, most importantly, I always knew I could find a bar stool to sit on. A place with a sense of safety, I guess you could say. Well, to me at least. If anyone from out of town stumbled in there, they may feel otherwise.
Familiar faces and cheap beer served fast. It was home.
So, as per usual, I drank too much. I remember the bar beginning to clear out and the last few stragglers still riding the night out. I remember talking to a guy I’ve known for years. He was another local to the town. He was harmless. Well, so I thought. He would send me the occasional weirdly flirty emoji to something I posted, that of which, I would ignore 99% of the time. (Guys, please stop doing this) Casual conversation, draft beer in front of me. That is the last thing I remember.
To all my ladies who have blacked out before: I ride with you and keep on keeping on! (BUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!!)
I then woke up, I’m assuming a couple hours later in a dark room. Like when you wake up from a bad dream. Your eyes need a minute to adjust to the dark. I woke up in a dark room I’ve never been in with someone I couldn’t see on top of me. My brain began firing to figure out what was going on. It was maybe one full second after I opened my eyes that I realized this man wasn’t just on top of me, he was inside of me.
I had no understanding of what was going on. Where am I? Who is this? What’s going on? I saw the same face from the bar and immediately thought “Fuck, I can’t let guys think the emojis actually work! I have to stop this!”. But on the real, I just needed a minute to wrap my head around what was happening. As these thoughts were going through my mind, I was voicing parts out loud, “Huh?...wait…what?…hang on”. To all my readers, if you are ever in this situation, stop. Whether a one-night stand or your significant other, whether they begged for it or not, stop what you’re doing and give them a moment to figure out what’s happening and let them decide if they want to proceed or not. But, he never stopped. I thought, he must not hear me or see my confusion. I adjusted my body to have more control and try to bring my head up and say again, “Hang on…stop…give me a minute” and pushed my palm against his chest. It was in that moment, I, once again, felt that horrifying feeling everyone can relate to, especially women. The “oh fuck” moment. The “this isn’t safe” moment. The “I’m going to be hurt” moment. I felt like I just swallowed a large pill with no water. As you read, this may seem like minutes had passed, but in reality, this entire exchange happened within seconds.
He grabbed both of my shoulders and slammed me back down. I tried pushing him off of me, yelling “get off of me…get the fuck off of me”. There was no longer any way he could have been misinterpreting the situation.
I’ve never been good at judging heights and weights, but I’d say he’s about six foot-something and pretty broad. I didn’t really have a chance against him. He pressed him forearm across my chest, immobilizing my core. He pinned one of my arms by my side when I tried to push him off of me. I felt completely defeated. For a second, I just stopped fighting. I thought, maybe he’ll be done soon, maybe I should just wait it out. But my inner Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Fuck that, you, idiot! Get the hell out of here!”
The scariest part of this entire night was not just a man forcing himself on me. The scariest part was, where the fuck am I? I have never been in this room. I have never been to this guy’s house. I don’t know what street I’m on or even what town I’m in. I looked around the room. I saw my bag by the door. Check. My pants were next to me on the bed. Check. I can’t exactly tell you how I got him off of me. But somehow, through the fighting, movement, squirming, his body had moved enough to one side for me to jump up, grab my stuff and run.
Remind you, I have never been in this house before. I got past the bedroom door and froze. I ran, and ran until I found the front of the house. I put into account my lack of understanding of where I was. I put into account the fact that I had no pants on and that my phone may not be in my bag. What I didn’t put into account is that, he would chase me after I got out from under him. I heard fast foot steps behind me and I bolted. I finally made my way out of a house that must have been a part of the underground railroad with the number of weird doors that led to more rooms that it had. I made it to the street and luckily, I was familiar with it. I ran down the road a bit, pulled on my pants and tried looking for my phone. Just as I thought I was in the clear, I heard a truck start up. I couldn’t breathe, and was simultaneously hyperventilating. My legs were numb but moving faster than I’ve ever ran before. The ground beneath my feet was flying past me, but was also moving in slow motion. I was completely terrified. If he had gone through these lengths to find me, what the hell was he going to do once he did. I hid in a bush and watched his truck pass a couple of times. Finally, after about a half hour, which felt like five hours, I got out of the bush and continued down the street. I was near a friend’s, so I ran there and woke them up.
I returned home the next morning and laid in bed for a while trying to process what had happened. I tried to piece together the hours I lost that night. Did I flirt with him? I never found him that attractive. Maybe I was just drunk and made a move? But, that’s not really my M.O. How’d I get back to his place? Was he giving me a ride? Did I start making out with him? I did drink a lot. Then, somewhere along this self-reflection, I thought, but I yelled “stop” and even yelled “get the fuck off of me”. It doesn’t matter if I said “I, Rachel Glover, want to have sex with you.” At a point, I was unconscious. At that point, he should have thought maybe this isn’t a good idea. At another point, I said “stop”. At that point, he should have stopped. At another point, I fought him off of me and ran as he chased me. The idea of a drunken crazy night went out the window long ago. We all have drunken nights that are blurry, or ones we even regret. But we shouldn’t have drunken nights where we have to fear for our lives.
I can blame myself for a lot that happened that night. I drank too much. Sure. And I wasn’t with my friends. But I was drinking at a bar, that I knew if I had too much and no ride home, the bartenders would call my dad. I was talking to a guy that I thought would just passively flirt here and there, making no moves whatsoever. I can blame myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have had as many beers. Maybe I should have left with my friend earlier when she did. But more importantly, he should have stopped when I said, stop.
I confided in a couple friends about it. One who even had a similar experience. I went through a period where I didn’t want to have sex with anyone. My sexuality didn’t seem like mine for a while. Then, there was a period where I wanted to reclaim it and do whatever I wanted. That’s how we deal with trauma. Waves. Highs and lows. At times, I got afraid to drink too much. I still do. When I feel myself getting too drunk, it’s like my body fights it to stay more alert. Like it’s constantly waiting for someone to try and hurt me. I get afraid to stay out too late. Because being out too late, means more time to drink, and more time for people to do bad things. I still feel this way a lot. But I’ve learned to trust myself. I still enjoy a drunken night here and there but only with someone I trust with all of me. I learned to go out and still be able to talk to strangers but with my mind alert. I learned to trust myself.
I write this for those who share a similar experience. You don’t have to share this exact experience. Maybe you just share that feeling of fear that someone could and would hurt you. Maybe you just share the feeling of losing your sexuality without your consent. Or maybe you just share the feeling of not trusting yourself. I write this for you. To tell you, I am you and you are me. That you could one day trust yourself again. That you could gain control of your sexuality again. That you will gain control of your sexuality again. You will have shitty sex again. You’ll have good sex again. But most importantly, you’ll have sex that you want to have.
To all of my readers: Please understand that anybody has the right to change their mind about letting you have access to their body, even in the middle of a sexual exchange. And as bummed as you may be about it, you need to respect it.
I’ll be talking more about my trauma responses in the posts to come. I just really wanted to get that dreadful story out of the way for those curious or those asking if I’m okay because of this specific situation. Because, just for some perspective, I would relive this night over and over if it meant I didn’t have to live with the pain of losing Kenny.
Be safe, guys! Thank you.