So this post has been a long time coming. I’ve debated over the years writing about it, and I can finally (sort of) talk about it without feeling deep guilt, shame and a lot of anxiety over what transpired.
When I was about 19, I started sort-of dating a guy.
By “sort of”, I mean we basically only went on 2 dates, mostly coffee, not actual dinners.
He attended the same college I was at, and was actually in the law school program there, and I was just starting out as an undergraduate to enter into law (about a year before I realized I’d rather go into business than law), which is how we got to know each other at one of these meet-and-greet situations.
One day, he invited me out to go to lunch and I said: Sure why not?
He picked a place downtown, and we had lunch, after which he said flippantly:
So this is the third date, huh?
It’s usually at about this point that guys expect to get something.
I laughed, because I thought he was joking with that big smile on his face and everything. I don’t remember how I answered, but I think I might have just brushed it off as a joke.
(By the way, that third date expectations thing is a piece of crap. I don’t even know who came up with that.)
By the way — we hadn’t even gotten close to kissing at this point because I wasn’t quite sure if we had a connection yet having only gone on coffee dates and nothing at night, but being pretty much 100% inexperienced with dating at 19, he was only the 3rd guy I had ever dated in my life.
I also only had one “boyfriend” before, but it was more of a chaste, childhood-love thing, because all we did was hold hands and peck occasionally.
After lunch, we decided just to take a stroll because it was a sunny day, and then he suddenly said:
This is where I live, do you mind if we go up quickly so I can grab something before we continue?
I agreed and I think I might have said: Sure why not? I need to use the bathroom anyway.
It never occurred to me that he might have planned all of this walking to hasten our “relationship” along.
We got up to his rather nice condo and after all the usual compliments of how nice the place looked (he lived by himself), I went to the washroom then sat on the couch to wait for him to pick up.. whatever he was picking up.
He came out of the bedroom and sat beside me… then out of the blue, reached his arms around my shoulders in a tight stranglehold of sorts, and started forcing himself on me.
He started basically slobbering kisses all over my face, and while I was struggling pretty hard to avoid having his lips touch mine, he was far stronger than I was (hello? 19 year old waif!) and proceeded to use his other hand to force my face up towards his so he could reach my lips.
I felt completely out of control, smothered and totally, 100% panicked.
I was already trying to wiggle out of his grasp, but also trying to push him off me with all of my might.
My brain raced as I tried to remember what I read in my college handbook about how to fend off predators, and I tried to bring my knee up between us for leverage so I could kick him off some how.
I couldn’t even make a single noise, or scream, he basically has squeezed most of the air out of me while trying to force himself on me.
(My heart is actually pounding just recalling this as I am writing this.)
I cannot begin to explain to you how panicked and scared I felt.
I really felt like I was going to reach a point where if I managed to break away from him, I’d have to run to the kitchen, grab a knife and threaten to stab him if he didn’t leave me alone.
Luckily, he backed off in the next 20 seconds to remove his glasses, presumably to try a more intimate position, which gave me time to catch my breath, and basically break away from him.
As he leaned over again to try to “seduce” me with more kisses, and I leaped off the couch like I was burned.
Not having had ANY experience with guys before, let alone one as forceful as this one, I didn’t know what to do or say, but I knew I had to leave and get the EFF OUT OF THERE.
I stammered out something like: I forgot, I have to go. I have an appointment. … and I ran for the door.
He looked at me with what seemed like fury in his eyes, and screamed: YOU GIRLS. YOU’RE ALL JUST GODDAMN TEASES!!!!
At the time, my face was burning red, I felt ashamed. I felt so guilty at the time (and for a long time), thinking:
What if he’s right? Was I a tease?
Did I lead him on?
I didn’t mean to if I did.
Maybe I’m the one who’s at fault here.
Now, about 10 years later, I know this is not true.
After having dated a few guys (cautiously) after that, I realized that I had not done anything to lead him on. It was all him.
If going on 2 coffee dates and a third lunch date was “teasing” and there was an expectation that we women should “give” something in return for 2 cups of coffee and a sandwich, then no one should be dating anyone.
As I mentioned before, we hadn’t even reached any kind of intimacy point where we would be in a natural position to kiss, not even ONCE, and to go from a few chaste dates to him pawing at me on the couch, was something I had never encountered before.
Know what the worst part of this story is? I didn’t say or report anything.
I’m pretty sure he brushed it all off thinking I was just a tease, and maybe, somewhere out there, another girl was actually sexually assaulted by him, and I didn’t say or do anything to prevent it when it almost happened to me.
That’s the worst part of this whole story — my silence.
In fact, even now I can’t remember his name.
I remember his advances and his stubbly face trying to slobber all over me, and his iron-grip on my head and hair as he forced his face down to mine, but I seem to have blocked out completely who he was and where he lived.
The only thing I can remember is I had the foresight to tell one person, a guy I trusted who was my friend and helped me over the years. He was outraged at the situation and said he would take care of it, whatever that meant (he had a bit of a shady side), and I guess he did, because that other guy never contacted me again.
If I could go back and redo it, I’d at least have said something to the guy assaulting me.
I would have called him out and told him: You were physically hurting me, and you are sexually assaulting me. I’m going to report you to the police.
…but since nothing happened, and he never got to any part where he ripped off my clothes, and only forced kissing on me, I wasn’t even sure then (I’m not sure NOW) that this counted as sexual assault. I just knew it would have ended pretty badly, had I not bolted from the apartment.
My only advice to girls and women out there is the following two things:
- Learn what you would do if you were put in that position so that you have a game plan and are prepared.
- Say something if it happens to you, so that it doesn’t happen to another person.
Those are my two regrets.
So if this has happened to you, don’t think it’s your fault, because no one should have to force you to consent to anything, it should be given willingly, and it is not healthy or normal behaviour otherwise.
..and if this has never happened to you, please consider yourself lucky and continue to try and be cautious and prudent in the future with anyone you hang out with.
You just never know.