On September 29, 2012, I was raped by someone who I considered to be a close male friend. Without giving too much detail, it occurred after a full night of drinking. I wanted to go to sleep and he had other plans. A few hours after it happened, I didn’t know how to handle it. I blamed myself, and since I did have a crush on him, I convinced myself that I deserved it. I called him a cab and walked him out of my room holding hands pretending everything was okay.
By Thanksgiving, I had fully come to understand what had happened to me. I confronted him by text. He confessed that he had raped me but never used that word. His reasons were that he was “shmacked” and that his father always told him to be a man, which is something he felt he would prove by fucking me. He then said he thought I wanted it, but was “just shy.” Shy is not a person who is lying on the floor unable to stand up, barely able to open her eyes, saying “Stop! No!” as you force yourself onto her.
My rapist made a rape joke a few days before he raped me. He knew exactly what he was doing when he raped me. In December, he pretended nothing happened and began calling me. I did not want to pick up the phone. I was crying and shaking, as I kept receiving calls and texts from him while having dinner with friends. I went to my school’s Public Safety office and told them what occurred. They called the Baltimore County police.
I begged them to not bring in a male police officer. The head of my school’s Public Safety reassured me that a male police officer probably had a mother, wife, and/or daughter and would understand. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I was crying inconsolably and a friend was trying to cheer me up. The police officer walked in as my friend made me chuckle. He told her to leave and since my friend had talked about her own assault, he said that she was “probably lying” and only there “for her own amusement as a Psych major (which she was not).” I told him my story in exact detail and he said that it was not “real rape.” He asked me where I was from and when I told him, he said that I did not look Puerto Rican.
I was running out of options. This was during my first semester of college and I was away from my family, which makes the situation even more difficult and scary. I didn’t want to deal with racist, demeaning police officers who were unwilling to help. Detectives were called in hopes that they would be able to help. Their questions were stereotypical, such as “What were you wearing?” and “Are you sure you simply didn’t want to have sex with him because you were a virgin?” They claimed that they have to ask these things because they’re important to the investigation but they’re disgusting and demeaning. Besides the offensive questions, they offered to help me as much as possible. I sent them the texts that were evidence of my conversations with my rapist and they travelled for a few hours to my rapist’s house to talk to him.
Since I had felt pressure from my parents to not report my rapist, I told them I didn’t want to report him but still wanted them to talk to him. My rapist gave them a different version of the story and cried. It was more believable when the white boy cried than when the rape survivor did. The detectives called me to say that there was nothing they could do and were unwilling to help.
It’s been very challenging dealing with this, even if it’s been almost two years. It has made it difficult to trust people and authority figures. I used to feel safe around police officers; now they give me anxiety. I want things to change for rape survivors and for there to be more awareness of sexual assault cases where people are raped by others who they have a close relationship with, whether it’s a friend, spouse/partner, family member, or even a professor. There is an average of 237, 868 victims of sexual assault each year. 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance. While I’ve heard plenty of people (especially cisgendered white men) say “people know that rape is bad and it’s not that common so stop complaining about it,” it is actually extremely common. I cannot remember the last college class I’ve taken where there weren’t at least 2 sexual assault survivors. While my rapist may never spend a day in prison, all I can do is attempt to bring awareness to my experience and the experiences that many others have gone through and hope that one day the treatment of sexual assault survivors will change.
My mother referred to my assault as a “lesson,” which is absolute bullshit. The lesson is not that I should never have sex again or that I should never trust another boy in my life. I don’t have to learn anything from this. This type of situation is way for others to learn about how common it is and how absolutely horrifying it is to deal with.