I went to a small college. The Greek life was small, as well -- most chapters consisted of no more than 60 active members.
You could generally find me and the other sorority and fraternity members at the local bar, The Boulevard, for College Night on Thursday. I was 20 when I started going. This was before paper ideas had a photo on them and thanks to a scanner and a little Photoshop, my friend Katie’s over-21 paper ID was converted to my over-21 ID.
I had met Frank a few times. Some of my sorority sisters were dating his fraternity brothers, so by default we ended up pushed together. We would flirt with each other a little, and even exchanged numbers one night, but it didn’t go anywhere.
One Thursday night after The Boulevard closed, we all went over to one of my sister's houses to after-party. It wasn’t much of a party, but Frank kissed me and asked if he could come over. I told him I really just wanted to go home make an egg-and-turkey sandwich (my post-bar food of choice) and sleep, but he should text me and maybe we could get together over the weekend.
He didn’t text. I saw him the next Thursday and teased him about not texting me. He apologized and offered to buy me a drink.
I had just arrived at the bar and had only taken my standard starter shot before accepting his offer of a beer. The next thing I knew I was totally out of it.
I didn’t even open a tab, and only had 2 beers over the course of the night, but as the night came to a close, I just felt….fuzzy. Kind of like that feeling you get when you're sick and you take too much cold medicine. My head wasn't clear. I felt like everything around me was going at a different speed than I was.
Two beers and a shot was typically nothing for me. In fact, I would probably have drank that much in my first hour out on a normal Thursday and still not have been as out of it as I was that night.
I wasn't able to drive. Frank offered to take me home, but I was adamant about not leaving my car at the bar, so he said he would drive my car and have one of his brothers follow us in his car.
The Boulevard was about a 2-minute drive from my apartment, but I don’t remember the drive at all. All I remember is being at the bar one minute and then being in my bedroom with Frank the next.
I couldn’t feel my own body, but could feel him hovering over me.
I asked, “What are you doing?”
“It’s OK. I’m wearing a condom.”
I reached down and could feel him inside of me with my hand.
“Wait,” I breathed out.
“Get on top, get on top.”
I did not get on top. Then everything faded.
The next morning, I woke up slightly less hazy and looked at my phone to check the time.
There was a text message from Frank: “Sorry, had to leave to go to work.”
I didn’t talk to or see Frank for about a month after that. I didn’t tell anyone about what had happened. I tried my best to just forget about it, but I was also bracing myself for our inevitable run-in.
It finally happened when I was walking to the campus food court between classes one afternoon. I stopped to talk to my sister, Elle, when I saw Frank out the corner of my eye talking to my sister Jamie.
I heard her say, “Oh I got you a pair of shades.” It seemed strange to me since I’d never seen them together, but I didn’t care to stay and learn anything else. I quickly found an excuse to leave and walked away.
Soon I found out that they were going to formal together, set up by the same friends who had tried to get us together
The next thing I knew, they were full-on dating and I was seeing him everywhere. I saw him at events, waiting for her after meetings, on my Facebook feed. It was unnerving. He made sure to never get too close to me, and I don’t think we have actually spoken words to each other since that night.
I didn’t date anyone for a year after what happened. I felt like I carried around this scar and anyone I trusted might just rip it open. I worried it would happen again. That something about me must have said I was vulnerable or a target.
After all, he had raped me, but chose to date her. I couldn’t help but wonder about him and what went on in his mind. Did he do what he did to me when he went out with his friends and Jamie wasn’t there? Did he look for girls to drug and take advantage of while playing the nice guy? “You can’t drive. I’ll take you home."
Was I the first person he’d done it to? Or was there a collection of conquests? Did he actually enjoy having sex with someone who was barely conscious, unresponsive and unaware? Is that what got him off? Or was I just an experiment, a one-time thing?
I couldn’t wrap my mind around how they could be together. How he could do what he had done to me and how she could be with him without knowing what he was capable of?
Maybe he felt like he hadn’t done anything wrong. For awhile I thought maybe he hadn’t. That maybe I was partly to blame, maybe I shouldn’t have been sneaking into bars or drinking underage.
None of my friends understood why I hated Frank so much. Why I wouldn’t go to parties if I knew he or Jamie would be there. Why I pretty much avoided Jamie at all costs.
How could I speak out about it now? All this time had passed and I'd buried it down so deep. Did I really want to talk about it with strangers? Have all our friends know? I’d be humiliated. Worse, I’d be a victim. And what if they didn’t believe me? Then I’d be a liar.
I told myself it didn’t matter and went back to shutting it out of my mind. I eventually went to therapy after having a break-down at a party. The therapy helped and I felt like I was finally moving on. I met a nice guy and actually opened up to him about what had happened to me that night.
Then a big hit came. I was looking at my Facebook feed and saw the photos of Frank and Jamie, breaking ground on their new home. “We’re going to be home owners,” Jamie’s caption read. They still live together and I wouldn’t be surprised if they're now engaged, since it’s been a few years.
I never told Jamie what happened. I'm too scared that she wouldn’t believe it, or that he would try to justify it or make it seem like it wasn’t what it was.
But I never said, “Yes.” I never told him it was OK. I was in no state to consent, even if I'd wanted to.
I just hope he is smart enough to not invite me to their wedding.