I was raped twice while I was in my twenties.
During that same time period, I was also not raped thousands of times.
See if you can spot the difference.
The first time I was raped, was while I was in Cancun on spring break with my sorority sisters. I was very, very drunk in a crowded bar. I had lost track of my friends late one night, when the man I was dancing with led me by the arm, stumbling, out of the bar and onto the beach. I remember asking what was going on as I flopped down in the sand. He proceeded to lift up my dress and pull down my underwear. As he was having sex with me, I distinctly remember him asking me if I was on birth control. I answered no and he was really mad about it. He pulled out of me and came on my stomach. Then he left. He left me on the beach, in the dark, in Mexico, with sand up my private parts and cum running down my stomach. I remember getting myself up, walking back through the bar, still not seeing any of my friends, and taking the shuttle bus back to my hotel alone. I spent a full week on that vacation with my closest friends, and never told any of them what had happened to me. I believed all the blame was mine because I had been dancing drunk and lost track of my friends. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
The second time I was raped, I was also on vacation with a girlfriend, drinking and dancing in crowded nightclub. I remember this guy, who told me he was a Miami cop, started dancing with me and I couldn’t get away from him—there were so many people—I was trapped. He held me close to him as he danced, groped me, and fingered me. Eventually I worked my way out of the club, leaving my girlfriend behind in desperation to escape. The guy followed me out and hailed a taxi saying it was for me, as I could barely walk from intoxication. I got in the taxi and told the driver the name of my hotel, when suddenly the guy got in next to me. The taxi dropped us both off at my hotel. The most vivid memory I have is walking into the hotel lobby and looking at the front desk employee thinking “Stop this! Stop him! I don’t want this! Make him leave me alone!” But the words never came out. I was too inebriated to even speak, let alone consent to anything that was happening. The guy followed me to my room, fished my key out of my purse, and had sex with me as I laid semi-conscience on the bed. Then he left. The next morning I woke up, filled with guilt and shame. I never told my girlfriend, or anyone for that matter, until now.
One time I wasn’t raped, was during “welcome week” at Michigan State University. The entire point of “welcome week” was to get as drunk as possible and party all week before classes started. I remember going to a house party and getting so drunk that I passed out in a driveway. The next thing I remember was being lifted up and carried back to my dorm room by a boy I knew from high school. He got me safely home, tucked me into my bed, and that’s it. He didn’t rape me.
Another time I wasn’t raped was at a fraternity party. I think it was one of those “progressive” drinking parties where the boys take the girls room by room thru the frat house to drink different drinks in each bedroom. I got to the point of falling down drunk, when one of the fraternity boys (whom I didn’t know) took me into his bedroom and put me to bed. He stayed in the room too, yet I slept there all night, untouched. I vividly remember walking back to my apartment the next morning thinking how lucky I was that he hadn’t raped me.
I also wasn’t raped on my 21st birthday, even though I had done the traditional 21 shots to celebrate and spent the entire day and night in a bar. I was publicly intoxicated, surrounded by young men, yet not raped even once.
I wasn’t raped at all the year I lived alone in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though I went out every weekend to dance and drink with girlfriends. Even though I spent countless evenings alone with my young, single, male boss who had also moved to Atlanta with the same ad agency. Never once did he do anything inappropriate. He’s a hero in my mind because he never raped me.
I could go on, but I’m hoping you see my point. Not that binge drinking was a huge issue in my twenties, the other point…NOT ALL MEN RAPE. If I’m the same in each instance: female, drunk, unsupervised, in no state to consent to anything, then the guys are the variable. My being publicly intoxicated is not an open invitation to rape me. All men have impulse control. I’ll repeat that for those in the back: ALL MEN HAVE IMPULSE CONTROL. They make the choice to either rape us, or not to.
Perhaps the choice to rape at all would be completely eliminated if penalties for rape were more stringent and unilaterally enforced in this country. Perhaps if young boys worried about going to jail or, say, losing a seat on the Supreme Court they wouldn’t consider rape an option at all.
Special thanks to my neighbor and fellow school-mom Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for showing me that speaking out is always the right thing to do. Her example of courage will outlive all politicians and their agendas. She is a beacon of light that will burn for all future generations of women.