Trigger warning – this is an account of a sexual assault. It is raw and it is graphic.
EDITED MARCH 26th.
“If you want to hear the universe laugh, tell it about your plans.”
A year ago today, that statement was never more true.
Trigger warning – the following is a very detailed description of the night I was assaulted.
March 24, 2012, I was a second semester senior finishing my honors thesis and trying to find a job. I thought I knew what life had in store for me. I had no idea. On this day last year a guy, named Jean Paul (Well, his name was not really Jean Paul but it was equally French), sexually assaulted me. He raped me with his fingers so violently that I bled for days.
The following are parts (in italics) are from my campus police report. I wrote it before going to the police because I knew I wouldn’t be able to speak.
… I had 1 drink with a shot of rum and half a shot of 160 proof vodka….
Jean Paul and I began talking when they introduced themselves as financial engineers. I said “oh, I used to be an engineer!”
“What are you studying now? Anthropology?”
“Well yeah! Kinda!”
Jean Paul then said something along the lines of “oh you like being patronizing.”
And that was the nicest thing he said.
We then continued chatting. We went between flirting and him putting me down. My leg and his began resting on each other. He moved in closer to explain something, or repeat because his English was not very good. Then he went to kiss me. His friend said, “Oh he thinks she’s easy” and that snapped me out of it. He then told me I looked like a lesbian with my short hair. By this point, I’ve had a few beers – maybe 3. I feel tipsy but in control. I thought this guy was cute but an asshole.
We then went to another bar. While we were there, things began going down hill. He began putting his hand on my leg and then moved it to my crotch. I pushed his hand away and said, “what are you doing, we are in public.” We continued this game. Some point during the conversation he said, “you would be more attractive if you lost some weight. But it looks like you enjoy life.” He kept trying to kiss me, so I brought us outside. We kissed and then his hands were all over my body. He immediately grabbed my breast. I took his hand off and said “whoa whoa.”
We then went back inside. I took 2 or 3 sips of his drink. I then danced with his friend. I wanted some space. I needed to breathe.
It then became 1 o’clock and the bar was closing. Everyone was having a good time, I invited them all back to our place. He began to kiss me so aggressively we fell ground. It is unclear, but we are on the ground and his hands were all over me.
We then made it back to the apartment. Things become blurrier. He picked me up and then brought me to my room. He began kissing me. I told him to stop. I said that I could not do anything tonight because I was too confused emotionally. I told him it was not him but so many things outside of this moment. He continued to pressure me, asking if I “did not want pleasure?” He finally left and then noticed my Marilyn Monroe picture. He pointed at it and said, “you know she’s fat right?”
I thought he had left so I went to the kitchen to get some water. He was still there. He began saying that his comment wasn’t an attack at me… he meant that our standards of fat have changed. How we got back to my room, I don’t know. How my dress came off, I don’t know. Then my bra was off. It all happened so quickly. He moved my underwear to the side and began to violently finger me. I began squirming and then told him to stop. I told him he was being aggressive. Then I saw the blood. He pulled out his fingers and they were covered in bright red blood. He accused me of being on my period. I told him that I was not and that he had done that. He said that his fingernails were not that long. I told him to wash his hands and go. He came back and left saying, “good bye bleeding girl.”
I latter found out that the blood was a result of abrasions on my cervix. He use a tactic called “negging” in order to get into my figurative panties. (This is a new term that I recently discovered through an another editor. I will explore this further in other posts.)
After Jean Paul left, I panicked. I began crying and screaming. I wanted to kill myself. I yelled that into a pillow as my roommate tried to comfort me. I fell asleep that night thinking that I was better off dead.
I woke up on March 25th with swollen eyes. I thought I was completely destroyed. How could this happen to me? I was a feminist. I was the protector of all my friends – some creeper came around and I would get my ladies to safety. The only condoms I had in my dresser drawer had “got consent” on them. How did this happen to me? Why did this happen to me?
I began to blame myself. I knew inherently it was not my fault but I felt as if it was. I knew about victim-blaming and I would counteract anyone who did it, but here I was doing it to myself… I should not have been drinking. I should have said no again. I should have punched his face. Should have. Should have. Should have. The voice in my head was telling me over and over again how I brought this upon myself. That I deserved it. I was the culprit, I was the perpetrator.
The guilt was oppressing and made every day life impossible. The first couple months were the worst. Everyday was a bad day. I cried daily. I would lie on the couch and watch movies. I couldn’t do work. I described myself a shell with my soul huddling in the fetal position somewhere inside me. I didn’t enjoy anything. I just existed.
An pivotal moment in my rebuilding process was in a small, humid yoga studio. I was trying to get into a headstand, which was a part of my daily practice, and I kept falling. The pressure of reporting my case, going to therapy twice a week and being in constant contact with the victims advocate began to wear me down. I continued to try to get into the pose but I kept falling. By the tenth fall I began to sob. Then my instructor told me to try again. As I propelled from my stance, she took my legs and firmly placed them against the wall.
“It only breaks you if you let it. Now breathe”
That became my mantra. I wasn’t going to let this shatter me. I was going to rebuild myself. I was going to fight the guilt because it wasn’t my fault. I did not deserve to be assaulted. He was at fault. He was the asshole.
As time went on, I reconstructed my identity as more than just a feminist, or an athlete, or a scholar, or a friend. I was one tough cookie. I saw myself as a survivor.
I still have moments when I go back to that time and get upset. Sometimes I still cry. And if I saw Jean Paul today, I would either break down in tears or break his nose. As I write this, I cannot believe a year has passed. Since that day, I have created such a stronger sense of who I am and what I am capable of.