Back in the early 80s we both went to the same college in New England. One night in the spring, I left a frat party very drunk. I tried to walk back to my dorm, but passed out before I made it home. I was experiencing a blackout and do not even remember leaving the party, but checked with a friend of mine later to try to understand how I ended up with you. I was afraid I met you at the party—but that was not the case.
You were walking to somewhere—I have no idea where—when you saw me passed out. You decided to help me back to my dorm room. And then you decided to help yourself to me. I don’t have memories of leaving the party. I don’t have memories of walking home and I don’t have memories of you bringing me back to my room—but I did stir from my oblivion enough to stop you from “raping” me and to move to my roommate’s bed. Luckily a few week before this night I had a cyst drained and had to wear an old fashioned Maxi pad to catch the drainage (don’t ask). This confused you and embarrassed me enough to get me up and out of the bed. I am sure you woke me up enough to walk me back to my room, and I could have absolutely been “friendly”. But I didn’t know you and you know I was so drunk, I had passed out outside.
The next morning I woke up, not knowing where I was or what had happened. I slowly opened my eyes to realize I was in my roommate’s bed and then I remembered why. I sat up a little and saw that you were still in my bed—and I felt sick—both because of the alcohol and because of what had happened. I laid there trying to figure out what to do while you slept in my bed. Finally someone knocked on my door and said I had a phone call. It was friends of mine from the party checking up on me. I asked where my car was and what happened and they said they had my car and had left me at the party. They didn’t shed any light on who you were—and I was way too embarrassed to tell them about it.
I returned to my room and you were up. We said a quick good bye and you left and I was left to put together the night. After that, I saw you a few times on campus—and for the first year I almost got sick every time I saw you—I would reverse directions anytime you came close and I never went to a Sigma Nu party ever again (your frat, not the frat that had the party the night of this incident.)
I blamed myself for so much of this instance. I drank way too much. I probably was affectionate and probably kissed back. I probably participated in things as much as a blacked out drunk girl can. But I always hated you and I knew that I was sexually assaulted. I lived with this knowledge and never told anyone, but it affected my interaction with men for years. I also knew there was nothing I could do about it. And I have always been so thankful for that stupid cyst and the old-fashioned maxi pad I had to wear—because if I had not had that on, you would have raped me. And guess what—I was a virgin at the time—so that would have been my first time. But you didn’t think once about that. You just thought you got lucky and took as much as you could get. You probably have never thought twice about this night. I wish I was so lucky.
With all the current media attention around the rape at Stanford University, all these memories have been flooding back to me. I understand the “drinking” attitudes the Dad talked about—I lived with those attitudes. I also love the victim’s letter to her rapist, because she was so eloquent in wording so many things I have thought about. Have you read this letter? You should!
Now I have some questions for you. Have you watched the news about this case? Have you read the victims letter? Have you read the father’s letter? Have you read the comments about very drunk girls not being able to give consent? Have you read the outrage over someone thinking they are entitled to anything they can get from a drunk girl? Have you ever put this case together in your head with what you did to me that night? Do you feel that because you stopped when I crawled out of bed and got into my roommate’s bed that they are nothing alike? Do you have a son? If so, what have you taught him? If this happened to him, would you be cheering him on, writing a letter to the judge like this boy’s father, or would you be telling him that when someone is passed out, they are past being able to consent and you never should touch them? Do you have a daughter? What would you do if you learned your daughter had passed out and someone helped her back to her room and then helped themselves to her? Would you blame your daughter or the guy? Would you want that person punished?
I hope many men like you are watching the news and paying attention to the outrage of it all. I hope you are starting to see that you did a similar act when you were this kid’s age, and your life wasn’t touched. And then I want you to remember that although your life was never touched, mine was! One in four woman are sexually assaulted in their life time. I am one of those women, and you are one of those assaulters. Those facts will never change for either of us