I found him at the party quickly and asked that he come outside to talk. He agreed and if he had any hesitation at all, it didn’t show. We walked out to the front lawn to a quiet patch away from the house and road. He just stared at me. I decided not to beat around the bush so I simply asked, “What’s up with you telling people we slept together?” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I mean, we did.”
My heart dropped into my stomach. I think in that moment, all the denial I had been experiencing crashed down around me. Of course I hadn’t fallen on anything. Of course he had been the one to take my clothes off. Of course. It all made sense but still — I could not truly comprehend it. Or maybe, I was not prepared to really admit it.
“What?” I stammered, “What do you mean? We didn’t have sex.”
“Yes, we did,” he insisted. If he felt at all mournful or regretful for his actions, his face did not betray him. Rather he simply tossed out: “You were just too drunk to know it.”
The night was starting to swirl around me. I couldn’t be hearing what I was hearing. “What do you mean?” I asked again, trying to find my voice again. “If I was too drunk to know I was having sex, then I was too drunk to have sex.”
He laughed. He fucking laughed. “Practically,” he said with a grin. “I mean, it wasn’t like you did much more than lay there.”
I felt anger and shame boil inside of me. It mixed and mingled and I didn’t know which one there was more of in that moment.
“Did I say I wanted to have sex with you?” I demanded probably less forceful than I wanted to sound. His smiled started to disappear but he didn’t break my glaze when he said, “You didn’t say anything. You were drunk. Really drunk. Passed out drunk.” Then, as if fighting off a laughed he added, “But I mean, you didn’t say no.”
“If I didn’t say yes…If I didn’t say I wanted to have sex with you, it wasn’t consensual!” I was trying very hard not to scream at him. Did he not understand what he was admitting to? Did he not understand that having sex with someone who is passed out is rape?
He shrugged. “Yeah, so…”
Yeah, so. Yeah, so. Yeah, so. Those two words would haunt me for a long time.
“You hurt me,” I blurted out. “Like, I was bleeding.”
He shrugged again. “That happens sometimes when someone isn’t used to anal. It will be better for you the next time you try it.”
I was stunned. But I was also ashamed. Ashamed it happened. Ashamed I didn’t remember it happening. Ashamed I had been drunk. Ashamed that I had been drinking at all. Ashamed that I hadn’t been able to admit to myself what had happened to me before this very moment. Ashamed that this guy — this person I thought was my friend — thought so little of me that he could do that to me without my permission. Ashamed that I was apparently so worthless that he’d feel no remorse for his actions.
It was now clear that I had more shame than anger. The shame in fact, was overwhelming. It smothered me. I could no longer make eye-contact with him. I broke his gaze and stared intently at the ground trying to conceal my tears.
He shifted front foot to foot — clearly uncomfortable for the first time since our conversation began.
My tears flowed freely as I continued to peer towards the ground. After a while, he spoke: “Look, I’m going back inside if you don’t have anything else you want to talk about.”
My tears and shame enveloped me and I was silent. I never responded.
*Brian is not this individual’s real name.