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Empowered, Not Ashamed to Say #MeToo

On October 15, actress Alyssa Milano asked women on Twitter to share their stories using the hashtag #MeToo and it blew up on social media. The phrase was coined 10 years ago by Tarana Burke as a way to connect with fellow sexual assault survivors, particularly those of color and in underserved communities. Since then, people have credited Burke as the creator of this movement to give well-deserved attention to the origins of the phrase and Burke’s own story. Hundreds of women have used the hashtag to come forward about their own experiences and stand together in support of all survivors.

That said, #MeToo.

Only recently have I had the courage to call what happened to me what it was: sexual assault. Very few people have heard the words from my lips and only a few more have heard the stories without the label. But the #MeToo campaign has inspired me, so I’ll leave it all on this post for myself and for everyone else who has yet to find the strength to reconcile what has happened to them.

My sophomore year of college I went to a frat party with a friend. I had only had two drinks before I left and when I got there my friend in the frat greeted me and suggested we get a drink. After that drink, the night started to get blurry. I remember stumbling over to the pong table and trying to steady myself. The group of boys playing yelled at me for shaking the table. Then, everything went black.

My memory to this day is still spotty. I remember sitting on the couch with a boy. I remember being unable to unlock my door while giggling on the phone with someone who was screaming something at me. I remember being face down on a bed with someone behind me, inside of me. The next thing I remember is waking up in a pitch-black room. Panicking, I searched for my phone to no avail. There was a calculator on the bed beside me, which I assume I confused for my phone during the night. I finally found my phone and turned on the flashlight. My friend was naked on the bed next to me. I kicked him awake and frantically asked him what had happened the night before. He told me we had sex and I told him I didn’t remember anything that happened. He said he hadn’t realized I was that drunk.

My body was sore for three days after that night. I texted him asking if he had used protection, what was in the drink he had given me and how I was acting that night. His answers to my questions were always nonchalant. I told my girlfriends what had happened and they reassured me that everything was fine and that since he was my friend, things could have been much worse. No one used the word rape. I didn’t even think that was a possibility.

My mom is the only person who said I should take a date rape kit. I remember being so angry with her that she would even suggest that. I swept it under the rug. I didn’t want to believe that I had been raped…

…Until it happened again at the same frat, with a different guy.

This time I was drunk, but I remember everything. I remember kissing him. I remember him asking me to come upstairs. I remember telling him I didn’t want to have sex. I remember him telling me I was a tease. I remember him telling me I owed it to him because I had flirted with him several times. I remember him telling me if I wasn’t going to have sex with him, I should at least let him see me naked. I remember him undressing me. I remember him having sex with me without asking for consent. I remember crying. I remember feeling disgusted with myself as I picked my clothes up from the pile on the floor. I remember running out of the house in tears.

So, to those being told it could have been worse, your feelings are valid. What happened was not your fault and it is a big deal. It doesn’t matter that you were drunk or at a frat or that he was your friend. You are not alone.

Ariana is a senior communications major and a writer for Her Campus at Drexel University. She loves to learn about pop culture, sex and gender, and is currently working on her senior project researching communication about sexual health on campus. Her go-to binge-worthy shows are Friends and Sex and the City.
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