Freshman year started with the It's on Us training, all freshman packed into the basketball arena. Jokes about "drinking tea" started then and continued throughout college. He was there. Listening, making jokes about "tea." At the beginning of second semester it happened. I froze but didn't say no until damage was done, I willed myself to speak, say the 'stop' and 'no' that screamed in my mind, but not until he started to go farther did my stillness break. I said no more and he listened. I hated it and it tore me up inside but I thought I was in the wrong. I didn't realize it was rape until five years later. I said okay the first time he raped me, it quickly became not okay. If someone starts drinking tea, they can change their mind and not finish. I froze. Don't force someone to drink tea. And "tea" jokes are rape jokes. Six years later I am starting to heal, to come to terms with what happened. I have healed so much in the last few months. It is difficult and the days aren't linear, but things are getting easier.
1 month later
Freshman year started with the It's on Us training, all freshmen packed into the basketball arena. Jokes about "drinking tea" started then and continued throughout college. He was there. Listening, making jokes about "tea." We were friends, we hung out, he 'ministered' to me, the unbelieving heathen liberal (lesbian) from up north. In high school, I'd had a relationship with a person in my grade (afab). They were a few months younger than me, and we had many firsts together. I didn't know how to have a healthy relationship, and present day we've been in touch and laugh that we were 'literally teenagers' that had no idea what they were doing. I had been taught that relationships were about compromise, naively believed it, and was never taught about s3x or consent - the most education I got was a book on puberty given to me by my mom. My parents were divorced and didn't get along well, and my mom's boyfriends were often emotionally abusive to her. My family is also very passive aggressive and doesn't communicate well, so I hadn't developed good communication skills. In this first real romantic/sexual relationship, many s3xual things occurred that I didn't always want or like, but that I agreed to and reciprocated. I thought I would be selfish to say no because they clearly wanted things. I didn't want to make it all about me and what I wanted, so I gave into things I didn't want, but was willing to do. I didn't like how they always wanted to be in my pants but I went along with it. I didn't know any better. I was never taught differently. I didn't know how to communicate what I wanted and thought relationships, and thus s3x, entailed 'compromise.' As college started, I was lonely. He paid attention to me. In high school, a guy paying attention to me was enough to make me think I liked him romantically. In his 'ministry', he and his friends told me being gay was a sin, and I tried to backtrack coming out. I wasn't strong in myself, and I tried to appear 'straight'(er) so they'd stop giving me shit. A guy on my arm would do that. We became more than friends, but in complete secret. Yes, I tried to use him as a guy on my arm, but that backfired as he was intent on keeping anything more than friends under wraps. We couldn't be seen going up or coming down from his dorm. He always shut the door. He didn't really advocate for me, or seem to care about me taking care of myself, but I brushed it off. Many women get much worse, I can deal with this. It happened at the start of second semester, just back from break. I went up to his dorm, like so many times before. Things started happening. He asked if he could do something. I said okay a bit hesitantly, agreeing and wanting it to be okay more than I thought it would be. The same act my ex-partner did to me that I didn't always want but agreed to anyway. It quickly became not okay. I froze. 'Stop' and 'no' resounded in my mind but didn't escape my lips. I don't remember it ending, what else happened that night. The next night I don't remember the beginning, but don't believe he asked. I do remember freezing and looking at the texture of the wall and the darkened room with the lamp on the desk and screaming stop and no inside my mind. I don't remember it happening - I remember the upper half of my body and the room, being positioned a little bit into the wall I was looking at - but he and the lower half of my body don't exist. They suddenly reappear into existence when he pulls at the waistband of my sweatpants, trying to tug them down to go down on me, and I reach out and stop him, my stillness finally breaking. I told him no. He listened. I don't remember what I said when I stopped him, but he got up off the bed and walked across the room, leaned against the desk facing the bed/me, and stared at the floor, refusing to look up. He looked ashamed, like he knew he'd fucked up. I think I felt bad and tried to console him and apologized. I hated what happened and it tore me up inside but I thought I was in the wrong. I apologized. To my rapist. Because he felt bad after he raped me. Not that I realized it was rape. That took four and a half years. And then it took months for me to accept that I could call it that, and dare to whisper it aloud. I called it sexual assault, without more specificity, because a wider term that includes rape but also non-penetrative acts felt safer. A few months after it had happened he'd told me, "I should be dead, because I'd kill anyone who did that to you." A little over four and a half years after it happened, I told the full story to his friend, "A", a one-time mutual friend, who said 'it keeps getting worse and worse the more I hear about it,' and that he believed me (I am using "A" for the guy's friend, and "F" for the guy who sexually assaulted me. These are not their initials, but letters assigned for sake of keeping the story clear). A believed me, but he couldn't believe the guy ("F") would do something like this. It just wasn't in line with who A thinks F is. I told A he didn't have to keep it confidential, so he told his friend F. F then called my husband, "C", who had been in our friend group during college (and their flatmate), attempting to get his side of the story across: I had used F, too, as an "experiment for bisexuality"; memory is malleable, it seems that my story has changed over time; it was an unhealthy relationship, and I initiated some things. In essence, I am not to be believed, and he wouldn't do something like sexual assault or rape. C supports me and believes me fully, and we were both frustrated that F would attempt to convince him not to believe me. It frustrates me that F denies what happened. This is something I have to live with, that stays in my body. I have healed a lot since it happened, and since it was brought up again four years after it occurred - the point at which I had to start dealing with it, not just pretending it didn't happen. But, still, there are days like today where it's on my mind and my body is in pain so I stay in bed as much as I can. I don't have the energy to get up and take care of myself, to cook or to clean or to make myself get out of the house. In my mind it is one of my 'sick days', I am sick so my body needs rest to heal. I lay and try to let myself accept the feelings that are there, not block out the emotions and pain but sit with them, existing. Some days the point of that day has to be to do nothing else but lie there and feel. I hate how much things have affected me and that my body cannot forget. I wish the weight and pain would disappear. It has lessened, but I don't want it to still affect me so much. "You said you didn't notice Didn't notice that I froze wasn't moving Didn't notice that my eyes connected with the wall Didn't notice that I wasn't smiling wasn't nodding Didn't notice that I wasn't reciprocating Didn't notice that you never asked, checked If what you were doing was okay Didn't notice that you never got a 'yes!' To those questions you never asked. Bullshit that you never noticed. Bullshit. You noticed. You just didn't care to stop."