A Rape By Any Other Name…(#MeToo)

So you invite this guy you know from the poetry/rap scene, off campus, over to chill because your roommate left, and you like the idea of having time and space to yourself to kick it. You are young, and not a virgin; completely aware that this time alone could, or could not lead to something consensually physical. There were conversations on AIM about music and spirituality. He tells you he has a baby daughter and his baby mama was a stripper. You don’t judge. We all have a past. He obviously didn’t think “stripper” when he saw you.

He compliments your eyes when he first walks in, saying they are pretty and bright, and it makes you melt a little inside because you don’t hear that often enough. A selection of cheap liquor sits in the freezer but the smell of his breath says he started the party before he arrived. That’s okay, because you had a shot too. Glancing at the tear in his black, puffy jacket, you wonder for a moment if this was a mistake. If you should have trusted someone so semi-familiar so soon. Then you remember that you’ve had a one night stand before and you have actually conversed with this guy regularly, so you know him better than that.
A few hours and shots pass and you give him a tour of your room. You sit on your bed and he asks if he can sit before he does. He is marvelling at your CD collection, and the posters on the walls.

“You into Miles huh?”

You nod yes, smiling and turn on The Pharcyde. A song pumps through the stereo that all but throws innuendo to him about what you want to do. A slow smile spreads across his face like pouring cream in coffee. His eyes possess an alcoholic glaze but his words are sincere.

“I’ve been holding out all night, but I wanted to know…Can I kiss you?”

His voice cracked a little at the word kiss, which made him more endearing.

“Yeah,” you say.

He leans forward to meet you with a kiss. It’s not sloppy at all. Very simple with subdued passion. His mouth tastes like vodka and cigarettes. You don’t kiss smokers. His mouth is unusually cold, which makes you pull back.

“I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” you say.

The bathroom is crowded with you and your thoughts.

He’s a nice guy, but I really don’t think I want to have sex with him. He’s expecting it now though and I don’t know how to tell him no. I’ve lead him on and it wouldn’t be fair. I will make up some excuse as to why I shouldn’t, he’ll understand.

You wash your hands and practice your look of real disappointment in the mirror. You walk out and notice your bedroom light is off. He is sitting on your bed, pants and boxers down around his ankles.

“You were taking so long, I almost came in there to get you. You ready?” He asks with a look of wolf-like anticipation in his eyes.

“Um, wow. I’m just…just, not sure I want this tonight. I wanted to talk a bit more and maybe play a game or something,” you say.

“I’ve got a game. It’ll be fun. I don’t bite,”

“I’m gonna go sit in the living room,”

You panic, because your room is a danger zone, and really there is no where else you can go except outside because it’s apparent this six-foot something guy isn’t leaving without what he came for. You go into the living room and sit in the futon, turning on the TV. He calls out to you like a husband waiting on dinner and the evening paper.

“Honey, come bring me that a**”

You sit with your legs crossed on the futon as if to say “there is no room at the inn.” He walks into the living room after a few seconds of silence, now with no clothing.

“So you just gonna let me freeze in there? I NEED YOU. Come on and warm me up,”

You then politely dodge his advances and it doesn’t seem to help. It’s a game of cat and mouse. You ask him to stop, but he insists it’s what you both want. You get tired of the tussle, and let him kiss you.

“Now you take off your clothes. Don’t be shy, I can tell you’re sexy. I have been wanting to see you naked since I laid eyes on you at The Spot,” he said.

“I really don’t want to.” I said quietly.

“Well, just let me see what your working with. I just want to see. You’re so sexy”

He appeals to the sense of esteem you have placed on your body; a lack of true value. Plus, you feel like you owe him at least a showing. Maybe he will deal with himself and then go home.

You remove your clothes and his eyes light up. He moves in to grab you and you jump back.

“Don’t touch me though,” you say.

“It ain’t no fun to look and don’t touch. I’m a grown man, you can’t just put all that in front of me and think Im not gonna want it,”

He’s right, you think, I should have kept my clothes on. I shouldn’t have given in. Maybe he would have left.

With a sudden movement you leap to your left, and run toward the bedroom, locking the door. He yells from the living room that he isn’t one for playing games and that you are trying to give him blue balls. There are expletives and he gets increasingly more agitated then eerily quiet. Seconds pass, then minutes. You are standing against the door in your bedroom, naked and cold. You grab the robe from behind your door and put it on to warm up. You think that after about 15 minutes, he has perhaps calmed down and rethought his decision. He speaks.

“Can I at least get my clothes so I can bounce? They are in there with you, and your sh** is out here,” he says in a decidedly annoyed drawl.

You have never been happier to hear a man say he’s leaving you. You open the door, and he barrels around the corner, out of the dark and into you. He grabs you by the forearms and walks you backward into your bed and starts. You tell him to stop between sobs, but he’s focused on one task and could not care less about your demands.

“At least let me grab protection,” you say.

He keeps going with blatant disregard. In your head, you think how it’s your fault this is happening, and how stupid you were to let this semi-familial acquaintance into your home with no one else there. Halfway through he slows down and you can tell that he is not very coherent. You push him off with all your strength, and he rolls over into the floor. You check his pulse and put your hand over his parted lips to check for breath. You hated him so much in that moment, but couldn’t fathom even actually murdering someone with your thoughts; even your violator. You cover him with your blanket, grab another blanket from the linen closet, and keep your eyes parted until you fall asleep.

It’s 6AM. You have gotten three hours of restless sleep and he is snoring on the floor. You shake him violently.

“Get Up!, it’s time to go home,” you say.

He rises like a grizzly bear from hibernation.

“Man I have a headache,” he says. You offer him aspirin and water. He uses the restroom, comes back and gets dressed. “You gonna be at The Spot next week, I have a show?” He asked.

How is he talking to me right now like nothing happened? Doesn’t he understand what he did!? I didn’t want that last night. I felt trapped!

“Um, I don’t know. I have to see,” is all you can muster. You just want him to leave so you can shower. You are so glad he passed out before he finished but still feel dirty.

“I’m out. I hope to see your face, in the place,” he quipped.

You manage a wry smile that he can’t seem to see through. He leaves and you shut the door tightly behind him, securing all of the locks. You look out your patio window to make sure he leaves, his black coat disappearing into the distance.

Rape is some guy jumping out of the bushes.

Rape is someone violently forcing you to do something you never wanted to do.

He didn’t force me to take off my clothes, or invite him over. He asked me if he could kiss me. We talked. We knew one another. It can’t be rape…right?

Wrong. It does not matter if you both strip down to the studs and sitting on the bed about to have sex. If either party says no, you do not have the right to commence. Period. Even with someone you know and like. No means no, not maybe and that no is not pliable.

Millions of women have experienced rape, molestation or sexual harassment at some point in their lives. Many speak on it, and some don’t.

When it happened to me, I didn’t think it was rape because I knew him and liked him. I invited him in to be alone with me. It was my fault. I wasn’t going to tell anyone because I felt so stupid but I confided in my cousin who admitted to me that she was acquaintance raped and that it was not my fault because my “no” should have been enough. I didn’t want to tell the police because I was afraid that they would judge me and blame me for having him over alone. I filed a report, and received support and love from my family and friends. The officer was very kind and told me that it wasn’t my fault.

I hope by sharing my story, you will know that you are not alone, because it happened to #MeToo.

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