“What do you mean you didn’t want it? I was there the whole time. You never said no.”
I never said no. My best friend of four years told me this almost a year after it had happened.
I never said no. It’s something I didn’t talk about with anyone until it was finally brought up casually a year later. It was at this point that I finally decided to let her know that I really was not OK with what had happened. She was confused as to why it even still bothered me.
I never said no. It was something I had suppressed for all of these months. I refused to talk about it or even to think about it because giving it any relevance made me furious.
Why would someone do this? How could he do this, to me? Did I really not matter at all?
I was so embarrassed for the longest time; it felt as if I had done this to myself. I let the “cool older boy” I had only known for a few weeks take my trust, get me drunk enough that I could barely hold a conversation and I let him have sex with me.
At least, this is what I told myself. This is how I blamed myself.
It wasn’t something I wanted. It wasn’t something I asked for.
But, I never said no.
At first, immediately after it had happened, I was confused. I thought that I had messed up. I was uncomfortable and disgusted, and I thought this was just normal. I thought that sometimes this kind of thing just happened.
The sad part is that, it does. I justified it. I blamed myself.
He was “cool.” He let me sleep over at his place, he gave me attention, he gave me things to drink. I had my heart broken just a month prior, and I trusted the “cool older boy” to fix it. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted attention and to feel loved.
There was only one thing he wanted from me.
I had finally realized about a year later that this is not something that is supposed to happen. “Cool older boys” are not supposed to get a 17-year-old girl drunk, take her to a room by herself and have sex with her underaged, unconscious body.
It isn’t supposed to happen.
The sad part is that it does.
Months later, I told my best friend that I never wanted it. She told me that I must have because I never said no.
And she is right, I did not say no. I continued to blame myself, justifying that the lack of “no” somehow along the line equated to a “yes.”
The truth is, it doesn’t.
I never wanted to have sex with a boy I barely knew without protection, so drunk that I couldn’t have said no if I tried. I never wanted that. I never agreed to have sex with him.
But, I never said no.
I spent the following year questioning every part of what had happened. “If I hadn’t been so drunk ... If I hadn’t been so naive.”
I made up every excuse possible justifying what had happened, blaming myself for letting it happen.
It never made me feel any better.
The truth is, he shouldn’t have done this. He shouldn’t have gotten me drunk. He shouldn’t have made me feel like this was my fault because it wasn’t. He shouldn’t have taken advantage of me, shouldn’t have made me feel worthless and used me for his personal, disgusting, temporary gain. He should’ve stopped this; it was in his power to stop it before it could happen.
This boy doesn’t care about me, but his choice will affect me for the rest of my life. He took something from me that I can never get back, and he branded my soul with something that I don’t have a choice to get rid of.
It has been over a year since he did this to me, and I haven’t figured out how to forgive him. It is something I can’t change, something that I can only live through from this point forward.
It’s been a year, and I am just now figuring out how to deal with this. And, with this writing, I am just now figuring out how to talk about it.
If you are drunk, stop.
If your partner is drunk, don’t even start.
If she can’t say no, that does not mean she is saying yes. If she can’t say no, that means no.
You should assume it is a “no” until there is a verbal, clear and solid “yes.”
It is called affirmative consent, and it is necessary every single time.