A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I’d help her tell her story on my blog, and I hesitated because it’s her story to tell, not mine. But sometimes you don’t want to attach your name to your story, and so she and I talked, she wrote a thing, I edited it, she wrote some more, and I edited a little to take out identifying details before she agreed to it being published here. This is her story.
I went to the bar that night with friends, a group of men and women I’d known for years, including a guy who had hit on me in the past but didn’t really know. I’d always ignored his advances because I wasn’t single when he was hitting on me. Some of us had gone out to dinner before, and I’d had a couple of drinks with dinner (vodka and cranberries, which used to be my favorite, but which I’m not sure I’ll ever drink again). I don’t drink very often, but it had been a rough couple of months after a breakup with someone I’d dated for almost a year, so I decided to “let loose.”
After spending my Saturday running errands and cleaning the house, I got dressed and put on my favorite dress, a dark green, boat neck, cap sleeve, knee length dress with a kind of swingy skirt. There had been talk of going dancing later, so I wanted to have a fun outfit to dance in. When running errands, I’d stopped at DSW and considered a new pair of sandals, but I didn’t want to have blisters that night, so I decided to just wear my brown leather strappy sandals I’d been wearing for a couple of summers. I carefully put on my makeup, brushed out my hair, and ordered a Lyft. As I waited for the car, I talked to one of my neighbors who was coming home after a trip to Ikea. We were talking about how ridiculous it is putting that furniture together when you live alone, and I agreed to help her put together her new couch the following afternoon.
Dinner was fun, something I hadn’t had in a while. I hadn’t been out to dinner with friends since my ex and I had broken up. A couple of drinks, delicious steaks and amazing chocolate desserts. We paid the bill and decided to head to a bar fairly close to my house. I was tempted to head home because I was a little tipsy and full after dinner, but I was wearing my favorite dress, and there might be dancing, so off we went.
When we got there, I asked for a glass of water, and my best friend brought me another vodka cranberry.
“A, you need to have fun. Relax. Have a couple more drinks. Forget about that asshole. Have fun.”
I decided to heed her advice, and one drink turned into two, turned into three, turned into this guy I knew from before handing me a shot of god only knows what.
“C’mon! SHOT TIME!”
I remember jokingly singing “shots shots shots shots shots shots” with everyone before drinking it and slamming my glass on the table like everyone else. I remember going outside to get some air and someone offering me a cigarette. I’ve never smoked in my life, but I remember taking long drags and coughing while a girl laughed in my ear and then asked if I was okay.
I’m okay. I thought about going home and actually pulled out my phone to order another lyft once I got back to the table.
“Where are you going?”
It took me a minute to remember his name, but I’d always thought he was attractive from before. Some part of my brain was yelling at me to just go home, but my loneliness of the last few months and the alcohol surging through my veins was stronger, so I told him I was considering going home unless he had a better idea.
I would give everything I own to take back that statement.
I remember yelling goodbye to C as we left together a while later, her laughing and screaming, “CALL ME TOMORROW!”
I remember kissing him as we waited for the car. I remember getting out of the car and realizing I wasn’t home.
“Oh no. I need to go home. I’m so sorry, but I should go home.”
He kissed me again and assured me that everything would be okay and that it was totally fine if I slept on his couch. I remember being a little too drunk and thinking I didn’t want to take the time to get home and that sleep sounded fantastic. I remember walking up the stairs, kissing him as we went up three floors to his apartment.
I remember going to the bathroom and wishing I was at home, wishing I could brush my teeth, wishing I had my pajamas to change into, wishing I was home.
When I came out of the bathroom, he was standing there waiting for me. He tried to kiss me again, and I backed away.
“I really need to go to sleep.” I knew I was slurring my words, and I asked for a glass of water.
“But we were getting somewhere.”
“I really just need water and sleep. I’m sorry.” I was starting to get scared at this point, but my purse was in the living room, and I figured it would all be okay if I could just go to sleep.
“You should be sorry.”
I remember what happened next, but I can’t talk about it. Not yet. Maybe in another guest post.
I finally passed out around 5 am. I woke up again at 6:30, disoriented and in pain. I desperately had to go to the bathroom, but I also had to get out of there. I picked my favorite green dress up off the floor, now torn down the right sleeve and the front, so I had to tuck it under my bra strap to keep it up when I put in on. I did this while in the hallway, very quietly so he wouldn’t wake up. I couldn’t find my underwear, but I found both of my shoes. I crept into the living room, picked up my purse, checking to make sure I had my keys and my phone, and quietly opened the front door.
“We should do this again.”
I jumped at his voice and went through the door, closing it quietly behind me, utterly ashamed. Completely humiliated.
I pulled my phone out of my purse and realized that I was only about a mile from home. I considered walking home, but I looked down at myself and realized the walk of shame isn’t a good look for a woman of 34, particularly when her dress is barely on. I probably should have called the police, but I wanted to go home. I ordered a lyft, it showed up, the driver asked me if I was sure I was okay, I assured him I was, and I finally got home where I could go pee. I slammed the door open and rushed to the toilet.
As I sat there, I realized that while I’m on the pill, I wasn’t entirely sure he’d used a condom, so I grabbed my extra pack of pills, googled what to do for the morning after, took three of my pills, and got undressed while sitting on the toilet. I know most people would have called the police or gone to the hospital by this point, but I was embarrassed. I finished taking my clothes off while sitting there and realized that I had bruises.
A lot of bruises. Dark purple almost black, these are new and don’t even hurt yet bruises.
On my calves. On my stomach. On my hip. On my arms. On my wrist. On my buttocks that are now hurting while I’m sitting on the toilet.
And my face hurts, so I lean back and pick up a small mirror that I keep on the bathroom counter to check my hair before I leave.
I have a black eye. Just the beginnings of one, but I can already tell it’s going to turn into a shiner.
While the bruises on my inner thighs make sense, none of the rest of these do, and I realize I must have blacked out. And now I’m wondering if it was from alcohol or being hit. I end up sitting on the toilet for almost two hours, unable to move until the phone rings.
“Hey girl, did you get you some last night? I was worried about you for a minute, but B is totally into you, so TELL ME.”
I hang up the phone, ignoring it when it rings again. And again. All day. I send a text to my neighbor telling her that I’m so sorry but I’ll help her put her couch together tomorrow. I spend the evening figuring out how to use makeup to mask a black eye.
I may have gone home with him, but I never once said yes to sex while I was conscious. I certainly didn’t say yes to whatever happened to me to cause this bruising. Yes, I was drinking. Yes, I kissed him. But I did not consent to this.