The Emotional Labor Union
Our voices are power.

Commentary

The ELU is a safe space and a platform to talk about your experiences. Devoting time to critical thinking and interaction empowers us to sharpen our speaking skills and define the source of our feelings as well as reminds us we have voices that deserve to be heard.

Voices as Power

I was 17 and I don't have any evidence either

I was 17 and I don't have any evidence either

I was drunk at a party when I was 17. I went there knowing the boy who hosted the party. I went there thinking that boy was cute AF! I went there with my brother who, while 2 grade levels below me, would not let any dude mess with his sister EVER.

That night was the first time I had sex. I said no. I said no at least 2 times but I couldn’t get the rest of my body to fight.

I’m writing this, because like Christine Blasey Ford, I was a “good, private school girl” who was attacked by a piece of shit dude at a party who took what he wanted. And I buried it, deep and away, for a long time.

People need to know - and by people I mean mostly men - I didn’t say a fucking word after it. I even wrote it off as a cautionary tell of what happens to good girls when they drink too much. I was told ‘boys will be boys’ so don’t you put yourself in that position, ever. For years, I framed what happened to me as:

“Oh, want to hear a terrible story about losing your virginity? I got one!!”

What follows next is exactly what I could remember so clear and so fuzzy at the same time. I caution dear friends, family and other sexual assault survivors to tread with caution.

The summer I turned 17 my parents were going through a brutal divorce. Left to our own devices my brother and I were quite the party peeps. He was a successful varsity baseball player and I was an All-Star cheerleader with THREE championships under my belt.

I can’t remember the exact day but it was after a competition for my city squad; a weekend, I do remember that. There were a lot of boys on my city squad and at least half of them were athletes looking to score some extra time with the ladies by tossing them up in the air every weekend. They were awesome, I loved my squad, but this is not a story about Texas cheerleaders, I promise! One of those dudes had an older cousin and he was FINE! We talked a little here and there but nothing ever materialized. I was also super green, despite my faux party girl ways. I was one of the oldest virgins in my group of friends. I had made out with my first boyfriend and did some hand stuff but nothing had ever happened below the belt. I was going to be 18 by the time senior year was over and I was pretty sure I wanted to get it out of the way. But not like this.

This dude was having a party, so it was a Saturday, definitely had to be a Saturday, we’d had a competition too. Yes. It was a Saturday and a lot of the team was there. He was a college freshman and he personally invited me to come. I felt so fucking cool. Like real cool. But little brother goes everywhere sister goes on the weekends. I was the only one who had a car and we were both rebelling from parental problems. Fine, but be cool, this is a big, college kid party.

He did a great job of playing the big bro card even when I would’ve appreciated a hall pass sometimes. The reason I keep bringing him up is after many years reflecting on this night, I still can’t shake the flashback of watching this dude get my brother so wasted. Shot after shot after shot. But only with my brother. I remember seeing my brother passed out on the floor, with just his shoes visible to me from the other side of the door. This dude not only wanted me, he wanted to make sure no one was going to stop him.

He also got me super wasted. I can’t tell you how or when I got on the other side of that door frame. I can’t tell you how I got on that bed. I honestly do not remember.

But I can tell you exactly what I do remember: I remember him on top of me, kissing me and trying to take my clothes off. I remember his sweaty face. I remember saying no. I remember trying as hard as I could to push him off but I just didn’t have an ounce of strength. And I’m a fighter! I was a small girl but I threw girls up in the air too and could flip and kick, why couldn’t I move?!?! I remember saying no again and then shutting my eyes. I also remember his exact words when it was over.

“Oh, I think you started your period.”

He then threw me my dress and walked out.

I remember lying there for a long time. I remember just closing my eyes again. I remember getting up the next morning, still in that room, by myself, in that dress. I remember walking out to the living room to wake my brother up to leave. I have never told anyone in my family what happened that night. In my 17-year-old mind, I got drunk at a party and something bad happened to teach me a lesson. Also, my parents would kill me if they knew we’d been out all night. I never saw that guy again.

Years later, when trading terrible virginity stories, I told mine again. Sprinkled in between the awkward bodily functions and true love endings was my story of rape. I honestly thought it was my fault for being there and getting wasted. For years, I thought I was the dumb girl who got drunk at a party.

This time was different. I had moved to DC, away from the very conservative pulls of my upbringing. I was rebelling even harder and more progressively. I was no longer a conservative - at all. This time, a few girlfriends were like girl, no! You are not in Texas anymore and boys are not boys, you were raped.

Honestly, #metoo was an incredible message of support and realization that no - this is not fucking okay. What happened to me was non-consensual and I was not to feel embarrassed or ashamed of what happened to me.

I didn’t share my story last year during the #metoo stories because I felt there were more powerful people sharing theirs and I could take solace in it. But with the president and the GOP ripping Ford apart for something that happened to her “so long ago” was the final straw for me.

Boys, men, people that take something from you, without consent, should never be able to make choices that affect us all - EVER. I can’t do anything about Trump but at least his term will end. SCOTUS appointments are for life. And while I only know his first name, you bet your ass if I saw his face on TV, I would jump into action and try all I could to get him. But then I think...

Would I retreat with the same trepidation as Ford? Probably! She is literally getting death threats because she sent a letter telling her story. She is powerless, again, to control her own story. She is being victimized yet again for something she endured at the hand of a predator.

For the record: This happened to me about 15 years ago. No, my parents would not be able to corroborate my story, or investigate him or put all the exact pieces back together. And no, I don’t remember the exact date or what I was wearing or how I drove there. I do remember telling my first serious boyfriend. But I don’t think I told any of my girlfriends at the time. No one can corroborate my story. I would be ripped apart yet again if I had to testify about that night.

But one thing I will never forget is the feeling of complete and utter powerlessness while something was being taken from me. Those memories and that feeling will never go away.