In Discussions, Life

How I almost ended up being sexually assaulted

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:

Oh wait!

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.

dating-man-woman-couple-park-walking-relationship

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:

  1. Learn what you would do if you were put in that position so that you have a game plan and are prepared.
  2. 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.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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34 Comments

  1. Anne - Money Propeller

    I missed this when it was published.
    What an insanely awful experience.
    Someone I know’s daughter had a sort of similar experience. Her mom insisted that she report it “not for you, for the NEXT girl.” It was such a good thing that they did, because sure enough, there was someone else later.
    Horrible. All of this.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      No worries, better late than never.

      I wish I had reported it. I can’t even remember who it is now, it was basically blacked out of my memory (the name).

      Reply
  2. anon.e.mouse

    that’s horrible; just reading stories like this makes my blood boil! (not to minimize your situation — but i guess i never really understood how common assault is until i chose to study ptsd survivors in grad school.) so glad you had someone you were able to confide in.

    i get catcalls/snarky comments all the time on the street (DC men are pretty much pigs. haha) and i’m not even conventionally “pretty” — just female. bleh. thankfully, i think it’s a small group of men that do this.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @anon.e.mouse: It is more common than we think. They say in Canada alone, a girl has a 50% chance of being assaulted.

      Reply
  3. Revanche

    UGH. Awful. I hate that your story sounds SO familiar. I can list on both hands the number of friends who were assaulted under the same circumstances or even out in freaking public, in public parking lots. I just can’t stand all the crap we “have” to take because it’s “normal”. IT IS NOT.

    Rape and assault was highly prevalent when&where my mom was growing up so she never ever let me be alone with males and told me, from a young age, why: she and her sister and countless female friends had been molested, or men had attempted to molest them. And of course, these weren’t even strangers, they were their neighbors, or their friends’ dads or brothers etc., and there was definitely not even a pretense that they had any protection or recourse. You just had to stay away from predators, and that could be anyone. I might have been a little scarred growing up having to view everyone as a possible predator but it also helped me be willing to fight back EVERY time a guy tried to pull that shit w/me (putting his arms around me uninvited, restricting my movements; looming over me using his size to intimidate me into cooperating), no matter what. Like Ariana, I had a perma-bitch scowl and it worked well for me in dicey situations but I also tried to avoid them like the plague. I do have wonderful male friends, a good lot of them, but they’re good friends b/c they wouldn’t dream of pulling anything like that or would they allow it to happen in their presence, but it’s a damn shame there aren’t more people like them.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Revanche: I can’t believe that it is something accepted.

      Did you hear / read about the rather insensitive remark made by an Indian official the other day?

      HE said about rape: “If you can’t prevent it you might as well enjoy it.”

      It’s that kind of attitude that makes my blood boil, even if he says it was taken out of context, and he meant legalizing brothels.

      I think it all starts with our reaction or lack of thereof, and then we have to also teach future generations about what is right and wrong. Hopefully that change will come about with diligent conversation and teaching.

      Reply
  4. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Oh, dear. I’m SO glad you know that it wasn’t your fault and that you did NOTHING to lead him on. Years ago, I was the victim of an assault, never reported it out of shame. Now, I am teaching my girls not to put up with any crap, and I also have them enrolled in self-defense courses. We girls take way too much crap sometimes from the small minority of jerk guys out there. So very glad that you are okay now and recovering emotionally from that terrible experience.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You’re telling me. I think our story is more common than we think. It’s kind of hard to be a girl and to raise girls in such a society but I am hopeful things are changing.

      Reply
  5. KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. I think you’re incredibly brave to share your story. A woman (whom I won’t name) but I’m very close to was raped when we were in college. She was very drunk at the time and was completely taken advantage of. For a long time she felt incredibly guilty and thought it was her fault for not telling him “no” and for drinking too much (we were young and she was not very experienced with drinking and didn’t realize how drunk she was until the next morning). It of course wasn’t her fault. She never said anything to anyone including campus security. A year later in a casual conversation, another young woman told me that she thought she was raped by the SAME man! Obviously this was something he was doing regularly, which to this day makes me so angry and so sick to my stomach. When I told my friend she still didn’t report him because she thought it was “too late”. Now that I’m older, I’ve thought about what would have happened if I had reported him on her behalf. I’m not sure if I could have made the report for her, but I wish I had at least tried.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      It’s what makes me a bit sick today.. what if I could have prevented it, if he had tried to do it to another girl? Maybe someone more passive than I am? (I was kind of passive at 19, I didn’t really have the backbone I have today)…

      Reply
  6. Pauline

    I am so sorry you had to go through that, but glad it didn’t go further. I always feel kind of safe when knowing where a guy lives, because you can take action, even if he doesn’t come home for a few days, his landlord has his details so you can take action if something happens. If you bring a guy home and don’t know more than his first name then you should be really careful.

    Reply
  7. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    That’s terrifying. This happened to my roommate in college. Same situation, but she got raped. She said the scariest part was waiting on the STD/AIDS tests. I’m so sorry you had to go through that experience but glad you got away before it became worse.

    Reply
  8. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I just want to say that you are so brave for sharing this with the world. I’m not quite ready to share my own story on my blog, and I don’t know if I ever will be, but I want you to know that it helps others when we talk about it. Though I’ve never shared on my blog, I’ve shared at retreats and with friends and it amazes me how many people have been in a similar situation, male and female. It helps to know we’re not alone, but also something must be done!

    Reply
  9. Michelle

    Thanks for sharing. I will take your words to heart, especially since I am too trusting of people. I appreciate your openness. 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Definitely don’t be TOO trusting. I mean don’t be guarded but.. just be careful.

      Reply
  10. MakintheBacon

    Like everyone else, I am terribly sorry you had to go through that. I’ve often thought of taking a self-defense class for women and wondered if that would help in case I ever encountered a similar situation.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve talked to others (including guys) and it doesn’t help to take self-defense classes. You just need to know the basics — aim for the groin, fight and don’t be passive (they don’t want someone who is going to be trouble), and obviously, don’t go anywhere with strange people you met only 5 minutes ago.

      I also carry my keys with the tip pointing out between my knuckles when I walk home at night, and I am alert of shadows and people following me.

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I’m a woman and when I was waiting by the bus stop in front of my community college there was this guy there who would show up from time to time and he would say certain sexual things that made me uncomfortable.

    I didn’t know why he would say them because he was much older, he was also in a wheelchair, I never flirted with him, never made any advances, all I would say is hello to people at the bus stop, including him.

    These sexual advances made me so uncomfortable that I stopped going to the bus stop. I complained to friends I had at this community college, but I should have complained to security on campus instead of my friends.

    Another time in chemistry class in high school this guy would say sexual things toward me, and I told my teacher in class about it and she asked me if I wanted to file a report and I said no, I was 17 at the time.

    While I have never been technically assaulted, I think it’s disgusting that anyone would say sexual things to women when they never flirted, never lead on, and never teased the men who make them uncomfortable.

    To be fair there are women these days that have sexually harassed men and I read awhile ago about these lawsuits that men have filed against their female harassers. Some of the men even won in court.

    So these days it goes both ways but it still sucks. These days I’m very careful where I go, whom I associate, and if it happens again I will report it to the authorities. No man or woman should have to go through such humiliation.

    P.S. I made an anonymous account at mailinator to post this.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I agree with you. We don’t talk about it but they say the stats in Canada is a woman has a 50% chance of being sexually assaulted.. This happened once to me but only when I was much younger, crossing the street (a guy grabbed my butt and squeezed really hard in a crowd so I didn’t see who it was)… The other time was my post.. although that counts I think.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.:

        That’s so horrible. I can’t believe someone would grab a woman’s butt! Ugh. That is just so repulsive. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

        Reply
  12. Jane

    How terrifying! Thank you very much for being brave enough to share your story with others. You have no reason to ever feel ashamed about what happened. I’m not sure what is wrong with men, but they often mistake friendliness for sexual advances. I’ve had to put a few coworkers in their place when they have crossed the line. One of them was even a supervisor that asked me what kind of underwear I had on. I was embarrassed to report it, but in hindsight I am glad that I did. Thankfully, I have been successful in scaring guys straight, of course I may help that I’m packing a gun when I do it too.

    Reply
  13. One More Knight

    I’m sorry that young women have this problem with guys. As a young man I certainly had raging hormones but I also had self-restraint not to mention respect for other human beings. That guy was an asshole.

    Reply
  14. S @ American Debt Project

    That is so scary–and all too common :(.
    That’s why ladies shouldn’t go home alone with a guy they don’t truly know, even if they “feel” trustworthy. Thank you for being open!!

    Reply
  15. Done by Forty

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing that story and I hope it’s of benefit to others.

    Reply
  16. Ariana Auburn

    I am sorry you had to go through this.

    This sort of thing happens to women even at a younger age. I blossomed early before reaching junior high and had to fight off sexual assaults from creepy boys on a daily basis. It got so bad that I had to fight with what whatever I had in my hands to fend them off.

    I have no regrets about being that feisty or a bitch towards them or towards high school boys. I guess the downside of all of those experiences is a permanent scowl on my face towards men.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I can’t believe this is normal for us. I did not “blossom” any time before, although.. come to think of it, there was this one time I was crossing the street and I think it was a creepy bum who was crossing, passed close to me, and grabbed my ass and squeezed it really hard.

      I was so humiliated and shocked (I was with friends), I was mute. I couldn’t speak, I didn’t even know if it happened or if I was dreaming…

      Reply
  17. mnme

    I am sorry to hear about your experience, and very glad you stayed safe and had a friend to go to.
    I, also, had an experience or two. And with one, I think it explains why so many of us do not tell authority figures. In college my music prof. made a very rude pass – grabbed my breast. I left and told a girlfriend, she convinced me to tell the college president [a small college]. She went with me and I told the president, at his home. He and his wife were very sure I was badly mistaken, because this prof was a very good teacher and a happily married man, but in the interests of the school and my “issues”, I could leave the class and would receive a passing grade.
    And that, ladies, is why so many of us do not tell. Who wants to be viewed as a liar, especially those of us who are not.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      See? I feel like even if you say something, you are looked at as the one who tempted them, the scarlet woman or really just the one who was making up stories because how could such a respected person possibly do such a thing?

      Reply
  18. Debt and the Girl

    I am so sorry you went through this. Its truly horrible that some men think this is ok behavior. I am glad you were able to write about it.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I hope in the future (if I have a little girl) she will be smarter than I was.

      Reply
  19. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    I will never understand how or why so many of us have these stories, sadly. It is events like this that never get openly discussed, which makes sharing all the more courageous, so thank you.

    My version was a very good friend of many years staying with me when I was 23 while he was visiting from another province. He slept on the pullout couch in the living room, and after many attempts to force himself on me, I (barely) slept in my locked bedroom – even after all those failed attempts, I couldn’t bring myself to kick him out because he didnt have anywhere else to go. I somehow cared more about his feelings in this situation rather than the fact that I had a hard penis pushed in front of my mouth on multiple occasions. And there was absolutely no leading on – I made it quite clear I wasn’t interested, yet it happened repeatedly.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’m actually (sadly) not surprised that you have a story too.

      Almost every girl I talk to, has something similar to say.

      What you went through, you should have definitely reported it..! Oh my goodness.. I would have called the cops on him especially if you managed to get out of his grip. “Good friend”, my ass.

      Then again, we’re all young and dumb aren’t we? I really wish I had done something.

      Reply
  20. Dear Debt

    Wow, I am so sorry to hear this 🙁 That sounds awful. It’s terrible how much shame, and guilt women feel when WE have been assaulted. When I was living in NYC, I was alone with a man on a subway platform. I turned around and his pants were down and he was fondling himself. I screamed and ran away, I was so scared. I felt violated, too. Worst thing was I told my friends and they said that was “normal”! I hate living in a society where predation on women is normal and commonplace. Thank you for sharing your experience and reminding women to speak up!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve seen that too, in NYC subways. That part is not “normal” but New Yorkers think it’s perfectly fine.

      I’ve also had some creepy experiences on the subway in China with guys staring at me.. openly staring. It was SO creepy.

      Reply

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