I woke up this morning with J on my mind. Probably a reaction to all of the articles I’ve been seeing in my newsfeed about Brock Turner and his father. Probably because it’s been about 8 or 9 years ago and is proving to be a night I’ll never forget. We’ve lost touch many years ago but I feel its a pertinent time to tell you about the night I wasn’t raped.
I’ve had a lot of wild nights. I’m sure there are some people out there that even called me promiscuous. I know I’ve drank too much because the universe is punishing me for that now and I can barely have one drink at times without feeling gross. The night I drank with J wasn’t an exception. We worked together, we were out with a group. He introduced me to Jägermeister (pause for the inaudible “Ooooh” of people now realizing my state that night) and I think I might have sang Karaoke. I knew this guy, I liked him, and I’m willing to bet that I made that very clear that evening while drinking what I kind of remember as being akin to legally served cough syrup. Fast forward to the end, and I have to because I don’t remember most of it, and he was bringing me back to my apartment. It was all going swimmingly for me, you see. I was fine with this. I was young, single, had close to zero responsibilities and felt that a woman had as much right to sex as the men who bragged about it with their buddies.
We get to my apartment. I have him in. I think I kissed him. I’m sure I was the poster child for what some people would refer to as “asking for it”. And then I passed out. I woke up a little bit later tucked in, probably still drunk. I was alone. And fine. But alone! He wasn’t waiting for me to wake up, or trying to wake me up, or worse not caring that I was passed out because I clearly “wanted it”. He drank, I drank and yet what could have happened wasn’t “inevitable” in his mind. Even though he knew I liked him and had invited him into my bedroom and practically wrote Y-E-S on my forehead before passing out he was aware, in his drunken state, that I was in no condition to make that call. He knew that I was drunk and instead of excusing his bad behavior with that fact, he excused himself.
You want to know why this incident stuck so hard in my mind? Why I’m still thinking about it almost a decade later? It’s because most of my nights drinking with men didn’t end this way. I’ve had people put their hands on me, expect things from me, take things from me. Most of us women have. It’s just a fact. We’re used to it. We don’t walk dark allies alone, we go to the bathroom in packs, we hold on to our glasses on the dance floor instead of sitting them on a table because we want the drink we ordered without an added surprise.
The next time someone tries to convince you rape culture isn’t real or that we are all making a big deal out of nothing, remember J. When someone points to youth or drunkeness or how “bad” the women wanted it as an excuse for a rapist’s actions, remember J. Not just because he didn’t, but because so many did that I remember this one man with more shock and awe than I do the men who treated me wrong.