I moved to Austin in August, whose reputation as a city with a lively music scene, incredible outdoor culture, and low crime rate, sounded like a fantastic place for me to embark on a free and adventurous journey through my 20s. One of the selling points was the South by Southwest Festival that happens annually. It was touted as a week of fun and awesomeness.
I, however, had a different experience. SXSW coincided with my Spring Break, but I had only really dabbled in some drinking adventures here and there, since the stresses of grad school makes lying on my couch eating tater tots alone seem a more desirable use of vacation.
On Friday night, some plans fell through. I decided to go see a band alone anyway. I was familiar with the area, and was generally used to doing things alone after moving to a new city by myself, including violence-free drunken music watching.
I headed out to East Sixth Street. Having moved from a more dangerous city, I felt safe in the gentrified dive bar happy part of town, especially during a crowded festival.
I arrived 30 minutes before the band I wanted to see was scheduled. I was undecided on whether to pay a cover to see them, so I headed down the street to get some pre-show drinks while I made my decision. I resolved that I was going to be outgoing, and have fun, until I was to meet other friends later in the evening. Things were right on track.
I chatted up a kind New Yorker in the bar while I enjoyed a few whiskey sours. I left, but decided I would return after watching 30 minutes of music. When I returned I sat at the bar continued to drink, text friends about plans, and have fun talking with locals about how crowded it was.
I started to talk to some young guy. I just remember talking about the same Austin stuff I had talked to others about. I remember that he was quite nice. Then everything fell apart.
The details are incredibly hazy for me, but at some point after sharing a brief conversation, he led me outside into a parking lot. I vaguely remember him motioning for a blow job. I have no idea if it happened or not. I then remember him leading me down the street and between a building and a closed food truck where it was dark, strongly urine scented, and out of view from the raucous crowds.
He pulled down my shorts from behind. Once I must have realized he was going to enter me, I insisted he put on a condom. I think I drunkenly fell over as I tried to retrieve one from my backpack pocket. The penetration seemed incredibly brief. It had to have lasted one minute.
Next I remember I was on my knees facing him as he came on my face and in my mouth with the ugliest blurriest dick I’ve ever seen. He then left me there on the urine soaked floor, stating something about meeting up his brother.
I stood up and pulled up my shorts and picked up my backpack, and followed back to the bar we had been a short while earlier. I saw him walk up to a group of people, but I walked straight to the bathroom. There I sobbed to other girls about how I had just had the worst sex of my life with an extremely rude man who just came on my face and left me in an alley. I was offended, then distressed once I realized my phone was missing.
I spent the next hour or hours retracing my steps to find my lost phone. I was so upset with myself for drunkenly losing it along with my debit card and school ID in its case pocket. I talked to people on the street and asked them to call my phone. I looked and I looked, but couldn’t find it. I was so inebriated and distraught that I told the bouncer I had gotten hustled by an awful man. I continued to cry and search for my phone. I cried to random people. I cried to myself.
The bouncer saw me during one of my many repeat search trips and said that someone inside had found my phone case discarded in the bar. I gave up hope of finding my phone, and cried all the way to my car that I parked a ½ mile or so away.
I woke up at home few hours later, feeling more sober and disgusting. I would be the first of any girl to own up to regretful drunken back alley fuck session, but something now felt terribly wrong. I felt compelled to Google “Was I date raped?”
Then it hit me. I was not aware or present enough to fully understand what had happened to me. A horrible monster saw me and took advantage of my vulnerability. I was too drunk to even realize I was being raped, to fight back, or to tell the police. I messaged my friend back saying I think I was raped and robbed, and I need to wake up very early and replace my phone so my parents never find out.
I then went to the bathroom, and smelled my vagina. The best news of the night was that it smelled like latex, so I had in fact used a condom. I felt so disgusted with myself and cried and showered. I wanted to throw up, but knew I couldn’t throw up my birth control. I also noticed I had bruises on my neck that I don’t remember getting. My eyes were red and swollen from crying.
This is all very recent for me. I am mad that it happened. I still cannot, on some level, believe that it happened. Today everyone in classes chatted about how fun SXSW was, while I sat awkward and silent.
This is not at all intended as a cautionary tale. Although, if you see a drunk girl crying on the street in the future, please don’t be so dismissive. There is nothing I could have done differently, don’t even suggest it. I don’t care how slutty, alone, scantily clad, drunk, young, or friendly to strangers I am; I am not responsible for what happened to me.
I shouldn’t have to be afraid because I am a woman; people should just not rape me.
I enjoy being independent and adventurous, and I don’t want that to change about me. I’m certainly not allowing him to ruin alcohol and sex for me forever. I’m only 23. I hope that sharing my story will help me come to peace with what happened.