Sunday, July 3, 2011

Regaining Her Voice: Melissa’s Story

How old were you at the time of the assault?
How old are you currently?
Where did the assault happen?
In my friend’s house

Did you know the person who committed the crime?
Yes, he was a co-worker and friend of mine.

Did you tell anyone about the assault at the time?
My best friend, who did not help the situation. I told my other friend, who ended up being really supportive and helped me through it.

Did the assault go to a court trial?
What would you like to stay to people about sexual assault?
That it happens all the time. I think it’s shocking how many women who have been assaulted do not even define themselves as rape victims. We tend to define rape as a stranger lurking in a dark alley, but it’s crazy and disturbing how many women are assaulted by people they know and trust. I also find it really disturbing how so many men have grey areas surrounding the topic of rape.

What would you like to say about this project?
I think it’s extremely important that women who have been assaulted are not kept silent. Being raped is nothing to be ashamed of.

We used to work as cashiers at a grocery store. We flirted sometimes, and he asked me out on more than one occasion, but I told him no. I was 19 then, and still having a hard time being firm when telling guys I was not interested. We had lots of mutual friends, and we would always hang out, have parties, get drinks. It was fun.
Once He and I were hanging out at his apartment (with another friend who he lived with). I drank too much and ended up kissing him. I told him the next day I had made a mistake and that I did not like him like that, and things seemed okay between us. A few weeks later, he had a party at his house, and I went over. I ended up drinking way too much, and I did not want all my friends to see me that intoxicated, so I stumbled into his room to lie down on the floor and I passed out.
Later on that night, I felt someone lift me up and put me in his bed. I was lying on my side, when I felt someone pull down my pants and start to have sex with me. It was Him. I started to struggle and he kept holding me still. I started crying and he acted shocked. He asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t answer.
The next day I woke up really early and left right away. He called me later and I went over to his house again. I think I was planning on telling him off, but I was just silent. He acted like there was something wrong with me. That I was being weird. He was being all lovely like we were a couple or something. I told him what had happened was NOT consensual. He said he knew, but his only excuse what that he was drunk. He said he was sorry. I never spoke to him again.
I only told one person for months. My former best friend, who basically said that it was my fault because I had kissed him that one time. For me, there is a lot of shame surrounding the topic of sex. When I actually want to do it, I have flashbacks and I feel disgusting. I go through periods of extreme frigidness, one of which destroyed my relationship with my ex-fiancé, who could not separate physical intimacy with emotional. I am less trusting and more sheltered. Sometimes I like to think of the person I could have been had this not happened, but in a way, this experience has made me a stronger person. I have not really had much counseling, but I heal through speaking out about what happened to me, because things like acquaintance rape happen so often, still society does not look upon it as “real” rape, although the consequences are the same. I write poetry, and try to inform other people, in hopes that it might help other women who have had a similar experience.

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