I wrote my last post solely for myself. That's how I deal with things: I write about them. It helps me figure out exactly what's going on in my head. But I wasn't sure I wanted to actually tell people what had happened, so I wrote it in the third person and just posted it. I figured people could take it how they wanted. Apparently I'm not as sneaky as I thought, because everyone I've talked to knew it was about me. But whatever.
Anyway. You would not believe the number of messages, texts, and face-to-face conversations I've had about that post. So many people have told me that I'm brave or that my story was powerful or that it means a lot that I wrote what I did. I honestly hated those conversations because I wasn't sure what to say, but the ones that sucked even more were the ones where my friends would tell me that the same thing happened to them. I never would've guessed. All I know is that I wish it hadn't, and I don't want it to happen to anyone else.
So this time I'm telling the whole story. I want you to understand exactly what happened and exactly why it scared and scarred me so much.
I knew the Guy Who Touched Me beforehand. We were friends, kind of. He liked me more than that, but we'd had that conversation already and I was very clear about The Captain and how I didn't like being touched even casually anyway and all that stuff. Even then, the Guy would still poke me or hug me or tap me on the shoulder and stuff like that. Things that don't bother everyone, but always bother me, especially if I've told you specifically not to.
But anyway. I honestly really liked the Guy as a friend. He's cool, nice, funny, and musically talented. But he's also a flirt and fairly immature. Still, I wanted to be friends with him and I didn't like being mean to him. He would always get really depressed if I was short with him or got upset when he touched me, which made me feel awfully guilty. No matter how hard I tried to not be guilty, I couldn't help it. And that's probably one of the reasons why he kept on casually touching me even when it made my skin crawl.
Still, he was never mean to me.
One night he was staying up late on an outside patio kind of place on campus. His band was going to play for a wedding and he had to practice. He asked me to keep him company, and since I couldn't sleep, I said sure, what the heck. I had a test the next morning so I brought my notes and studied. There were other people out there too, playing games and doing stuff like that. It was fine for a while; he practiced, I studied.
At some point he mentioned being thirsty. I, being always prepared, pulled out my water bottle and let him have some. I don't remember how he drank from it. Not until recently did I consider the idea that he put something in my water. The way guys use roofies was explained to me, and the Guy could've easily done it. I don't even remember watching him while he drank, if he drank at all.
Anyway, he gave me back the water. We continued doing our thing, but I started getting tired. I don't remember the details, but I remember talking a lot more than usual. I honestly can't remember what I said and what I just thought. I was on a bench, leaning back against a table. My legs were in a chair across from me. I fell asleep on the table.
I remember feeling his hands on my legs at first, and eventually they went up my sides and down my arms. Later on they went to more personal spaces. I can't remember if they went under my sweater or stayed outside. I can't even remember what I had on under the sweater. I'm fairly confident that nothing got under my jeans, but sometimes I really just don't know.
I also don't know how long it took my to wake up. I remember him saying my name over and over again, and when I woke up he was sitting in the char, my legs in his lap, looking at me with concern. I asked how long I'd been asleep, and he said he didn't even know I was asleep. I don't remember what time it was when I fell asleep, but when I headed back to my dorm the sun was rising. I got about an hour and a half of sleep before I had to get up and go to class.
We were still friendly for a while after that, but something bugged me every time I thought about it. I don't remember even giving myself time to decide if what had happened was a dream or reality. I just locked it inside somewhere and refused to think about it, refused to tell anyone because of the shame I'd have to deal with if I admitted it was real.
Seeing the Guy got worse and worse. Eventually it got to where just the sight of him would fill me with terror and I've experienced several panic attacks just by seeing him. Suddenly I can't breathe and my stomach feels like it's about to explode. I generally lose my appetite for the rest of the day and it's painfully hard to calm down after one of these episodes.
Then just the idea of running into him made me scared. So scared that I stopped going to the cafeteria, which meant I stopped eating. I didn't leave my dorm at all if possible. I started getting even more skittish around other people. When I did go out on campus I was constantly on the lookout, constantly on edge. When The Captain asked me if the Guy had done anything to make me so scared, I told him he'd never done a thing. I didn't know why I was so scared of him.
But then I when I started talking to a doctor she asked me some questions about trauma and listed off symptoms. I said no to all of them, even though every question made me think of the Guy. Paranoid, going out of my way to avoid certain situations, unable to stop thinking about it, etc. Eventually I confided in a psychologist, and we delved pretty deep into what happened. He unlocked the memory and I started learning healthier ways to deal with it instead of hiding it.
Recently I was doing research for a class and stumbled across a page about emotional/psychological trauma. The symptoms all sounded familiar. And all the things it told you not to do, I'd done. Isolating yourself, hiding it inside, not telling anyone...I'd done them all. I keep thinking that if only I'd admitted that it had happened, I might not have fallen so far into fear and depression and all that other crap. But I never once considered that I might actually be suffering from emotional trauma.
I guess the point of all this is to try and educate people on safety. When you hear sexual assault, most people think of rape. And it doesn't matter that people tell you it's common for the victim to know the assaulter, you still don't quite believe it. You don't look around at the people around you and think, Gosh, he might sexually assault me tonight. I mean, why would you?
I'm not saying you should be paranoid and think the worst of everyone. I guess all I'm saying is don't give your water bottle to people. And if you do, for pete's sake tell someone. Don't you dare hold it in because I can promise you it's just going to eat you from the inside out.