The news about young white male athletes getting off with light prison sentences for sexual assault filled the headlines this summer. Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, severed only 3 months in a county jail for his assault of a unconscious woman.
This type of horrific behavior – both by the court and the rapist – cannot go overlooked.
For the next three weeks, I’m hosting the story of a rape survivor. We met on a comment thread on a Facebook article link about light sentencing. This is the first time that she’s telling her story to a wide audience.
Rapists aren’t only people who drag you by your hair in empty parking lots. They are people we know.
Read on for how it can begin.
I was an eighteen year old senior at a small high school. I was the president of most of the clubs. I was in the top of my class, an intern for the COO of the school and had already had a scholarship to go to a two year community college. Everything was going amazing.
I had everything I wanted. Everything I felt I needed. I was extremely happy. Unlike most eighteen year olds I did not have a boyfriend or really dated anyone. I was content worrying about school than worrying about a social life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want one. Seeing everyone else with someone, and the way it made them feel I felt like I was missing out. Love would come eventually and I wasn’t going to push it.
Soon graduation came.
I met John Doe*I met him at Comic Con, a place I go every year where I was always safe and happy. That year I was old enough to attend geek speed dating. He was kind and sweet and seemed very interested in me – all things I wasn’t used to. When I met him there was no warning signs: no sick to my stomach feeling, everything was normal — nice even. We started talking and exchanged numbers. He lived an hour away so seeing him often would be difficult. But we talked every day for over a month. He told me what he wanted was a relationship where he could sit and talk and have deep conversations. He made me feel special. Like all he wanted was to be with me, and it was so lovely. He said he wanted to lay near me.
We decided we wanted to only date each other.
I told him I never really dated anyone before.
He told me he had dated a few people.
He talked me into sexting with him.
I told him I was virgin.
That sexting wasn’t real to me.
That when we would go out on real dates, I didn’t want to do anything sexual.
I wasn’t comfortable.
I told him this regularly.
I also told him I didn’t want to sext with him very often.
It wasn’t something I was into.
I told him I didn’t really want to.
He told me he understood, that he would respect that and go on my own pace.
We didn’t talk about that very often. Only once in our relationship. What always came up was that he wanted to see me in person and have real dates. As simple as this sounded, making it a reality was harder. I couldn’t drive and he lived far away from me. But we made a date to go to the mall. One close to where I lived. I was so happy to learn that he was willing to go so far to see me. I would soon learn he didn’t drive there to see me.