My Rapist Doesn’t Think He’s a Rapist

Content Warning: Descriptions of rape and sexual violence ahead.

 

It was a night like any other, except it really wasn’t. I was going on my first Tinder date since my breakup of a relationship of two years. I was vulnerable, fragile. Scared of being rejected by yet another guy, I ran home from work, slapped on my hottest leather skirt, and waited for my date to pick me up.

At the beginning, the date passed in the way one would expect any Tinder date to. We made awkward conversation in the car, but sat close to each other at the bar, brushing our legs together and making hesitant eye contact. We were obviously attracted to each other—I mean, we had both swiped right, right? I had definitely sent him nudes earlier that week and was wearing my matching black underwear in preparation. I was fully okay with the idea of going home with him.

Image via Kat Jayne

But this is where the night starts to get fuzzy. I had three drinks, three drinks that turned out to be a lot stronger than I had assumed they would be. Freshly 21, I was not exactly a regular to the bar scene. Soon I was a lot drunker than I had wanted to be. A lot. I have been that drunk only a few times in my life, and I had not intended to go that far. We went to one bar and a club that night. I had my third drink at the club, and we prepared to leave. I don’t remember leaving the club, but I must have. I don’t remember stumbling to his car, but I must have. I don’t remember the ride home, but it must have happened. I do remember throwing up out the window of his car, though. I do remember stumbling into his house with vomit still on my V-neck. I do remember him offering me some mouthwash.

Then it all goes black. Next thing I know, I’m naked and he throws me a T-shirt and some sweats. I fall back on the bed. I wake up at 6 a.m. lying next to a guy I barely know. I stumble to the bathroom and brush my teeth with my fingers. I have a bad taste in my mouth, and I feel weird. My vagina hurts. I crawl back to the bed and fall back asleep for two more hours. My alarms start ringing at 8 a.m., which luckily, I had set the night before. Everything hurts, and I don’t want to get up. After an hour of snoozing, I get up. I can’t remember anything. I pull on my underwear and bra, which have been thrown across the room. I don’t know how they came off of me. I snap on my leather skirt and grab my shirt and—yep, that’s vomit. I don’t put it back on. I start to call an Uber as he stirs in bed.

            “Hey, what happened last night? Did I vomit out your car window?”

            “Yup.”

            “Did we have sex?”

            “Yup.”

I take one of his shirts I slept in and he drives me home. I buy him a small McDonalds coffee at the drive through. I make polite conversation with him about his favorite band. We get to my house after 20 minutes of driving and he says he’ll call me, so he can get his shirt back.

I get to my room and cry.

Image via Pixabay

I felt violated. I felt as if someone had gone into my body and taken something that wasn’t theirs. I felt as if my insides had been scraped out with a spoon. I described it as feeling like I had gone through a washing machine full of bricks. I felt wrong.

Somewhere in my head, I knew that I had been raped. I knew that what had happened was not right. I was too drunk, too far gone. I couldn’t have consented to sex when I was that drunk.

I have no idea what happened that night. I know he was inside of me. I know from the pain in my body that he must have done it fast and dirty. But beyond that, I don’t know much else. I don’t know if it was tender or if it was quick; I don’t know if I was a mess or if I pulled my weight as a sexual partner. I don’t know if I was even conscious. The fact of the matter is, if a girl is so drunk that she vomits out a window, she is too drunk to consent to sex. No matter how much she says she wants it.

He had gone into my body when I had no proper way of agreeing. He had taken advantage of my sloppiness. He had touched me, kissed me, f*cked me, all when I was basically running on the intellect of a toddler. He decided it was time to have sex with me whether I was coherent or not. He says I wanted it, but who even knows? When I’m drunk, all I want is some Canes’ chicken and to go to bed. I’m barely smart enough to put my address in the Uber, much less to say I want to have sex with a guy I barely know. And by that point, I wasn’t just tipsy, I was virtually incoherent.

Image via Huffington Post

I was plagued with an enormous sense of guilt. I found out he hadn’t used a condom while at work and started sobbing in the break room. They had to send me home an hour early. All I could focus on was the ways in which I had been violated, and the ways I could have stopped it.

            Why did I drink so much?

            Why did I go on a date with a guy seven years older than me in the first place?

            Why did I trust a stranger to have my best interests at heart?

            Why didn’t I send a friend to come watch me?

            Why didn’t I know my limits?

            Why did I even agree to go home with him?

            Why didn’t I stop it?

This brings up the important issues of consent and victim blaming. Let’s go over consent first.

Consent is something that all sexual entanglements must have. It is the agreement, on behalf of both parties, that they want to be doing what they are doing. It must be freely given, not taken by force, and it can be taken away at any time. Consent cannot be given by a person who is out of their right frame of mind, for instance, by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a person is under the influence, they do not have the ability to give their consent.

Victim blaming is what I went through, and what I did to myself. It is my friends telling me how I can prevent against this in the future by not drinking so much or by not trusting a guy I met on Tinder. It is me considering the ways I could have stopped it, rather than calling this guy what he is: a rapist. It is our tendency to place the responsibility for an act of violence or criminality in the hands of the person suffering, and it’s a pretty bizarre phenomenon. We wouldn’t say that the victim of a murder shouldn’t have been out so late, or that the victim of car hopping should have locked their doors. It’s not their fault that someone took advantage of their weakness, and even more importantly, it is likely that the same person would have taken advantage whether or not the weakness had been there.

Unfortunately, this is a tendency that we see most often in the victims of assault or rape. Instead of calling out the man who took advantage of someone’s defenses being down, we yell at the woman who didn’t have her defenses up (And yes, 84% of the time, the victim of sexual violence is a woman). We yell at the victim, not the criminal. But that’s the thing. No matter the circumstances, it is never the victims fault. I will say it again. It is never the victim’s fault. No one asks to be raped, much in the way that nobody asks to be murdered or robbed.

It is not my fault that I was raped by a near stranger. And yes, I was raped. Someone had sex with me when I was impossibly drunk. Someone took advantage of me. And that is in no way my fault.

But somewhere out there, my rapist is living out his life comfortably, while I spend every day haunted by the fact that someone was inside me when I did not consent. My rapist doesn’t think he’s a rapist. He even texted me, the morning after raping me, and said “I have never taken advantage of a female EVER.” We are so comfortable with this culture of victim blaming and our lack of education about consent that women suffer at the hands of men with alarming regularity. We would rather blame the woman than the man who violated her. That’s unfortunate. It’s 2018, people. We need to start recognizing that the victim of a crime is not at fault for the violence committed against them. We need to stop giving men a free pass when they rape a woman. And we need to start listening to the stories of those who are brave enough to speak up.

Image via Kat Jayne

If you have experienced rape or sexual violence, here are some ways to get help.

Read about SMU's resources here.

Do not be afraid to get the help that you need.

Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC) 214-590-0430

SMU Counseling Services 214-768-2277

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