GUEST POST: College

This is a Guest Post by Lanie about rape. Lanie’s story is shockingly common. It makes me murderously angry that Lanie’s story is common. Her story is my story, and I suspect it is yours. Thank you Lanie for sharing.

It was supposed to have been a reward for having survived high school, new people and ideas. It instead was one of the worst years of my life. I started college before my 16th birthday. A few weeks before school started my Mom got a call from the University. From what I could hear it was, “…yes my daughter has finished high school and is planning on attending your University, yes she was accepted. Ok next Wednesday? We’ll be there.” Then my Mom hung up the phone and told me something about having to meet with the Vice President of Student Life and how it could keep me from attending. That was the overwhelming tone of my interaction with my mother my freshman year. I was a risk, I was constantly at risk, of doing something wrong and it was because four years earlier I agreed to go to prep school after sixth grade.  I was gonna be trouble. The school decided it, and judging from my mother’s general uneasiness she had been sold on the idea.

The meeting was in a dark room with a nice wood table and some uncomfortable chairs. We discussed things I was looking forward to and my plans for study…and then we made an indirect leap to the importance of disclosing my age. “….Because adult men are not going to know how old you are. You are on a college campus.” We toured my dorm and left. I got the message. I was already on thin ice and they had just met me.

School started and after a crash and burn attempt at Greek Life, my mother, who was experiencing some serious financial issues, decided I had to quit the sorority I got into. After I left the girls quickly became my enemies and the rumor mill was ripe with stories of the fun I wasn’t actually having. My Mom had to come down to school a number of times in my defense and each time she blamed me. It was the loneliest I have felt in my life. I was in a new place with very few friends and I couldn’t even go home on the weekend for fear that my little sister had told the town about how hard things had been. She was even mad because she was to start college a year later and she was afraid my parents wouldn’t allow it.

I spent most of my time doing homework. I joined a few campus activities and I just tried to lie as low as possible. The girls in my dorm were even mean to me for a while. One Friday night I decided I should maybe find a party and see why college is supposed to be a fun time. My mom let me have a sip of a wine cooler in the summer as a testament of her faith in my ability to party responsibly. I figured I could handle it. I met some people in one of my classes and went to a small party in the dorms. We were not allowed to party in the dorms, but I didn’t have a car, the parties didn’t get busted unless they were obnoxious, and I was already a pariah so I figured I deserved one drink for the dozens I had been accused of having. The night was a blur, I had two or three margaritas and I remember baseball was on TV. The party was at a girl’s dorm, but there were two or three guys there. We played spin the bottle and I kissed a girl and it seemed like young adult magic. I was normal. It was late and I was the only freshman at the party so they offered to let me sleep off the drunk. They put me in their roommate’s bed because she was gone for the weekend.

It was dark except for a small lamp in the corner. I fell asleep. Later I felt somebody get in the bed and unbutton my pants. It was one of the guys from the party.  He put his hand in my pants and kissed my ear. I think my Mom would have wanted me to attack him, but I was drunk and I was sleeping face down so I couldn’t roll over, and I did try to get out of the bed and he shushed me when I said stop. Then I heard people coming, the girls came in and got him out of the bed. They were screaming about how old I am, arguing about which one of us should leave. I was so drunk all I could do was cry softly and I remember saying sorry. I had gotten really good at saying sorry the first few weeks of school. Sorry I cannot be in sorority anymore, sorry I have to go study, sorry you had to drive all the way down here again, sorry I am embarrassing you. In the morning I woke up and walked back to my dorm. The second floor RA called public safety after I told her in confidence what happened. At that point I was stupid for thinking there was anyone left I could trust. I took a shower because I was gross, which would’ve been a mistake if there were to be a rape kit, but there wasn’t. My mom came down and she was upset because she figured they’d kick me out for sure. I gave my statement and because I admitted to drinking I lost all non co-ed visitation privileges indefinitely and had to go to counseling, also I was on disciplinary probation for a year. My mother thanked them. She made me thank them.

Two weeks later I was sitting on the front steps with some girls from the dorm and the guy rode over on his bike. He slowed, but didn’t stop, looked me in the eye, and said “I’m sorry”.  His friends harassed me every time I went to a party the rest of that year. I’m a slut who cannot handle her liquor. I wanted him in the bed. I was a flirt all night long and the hangover made me a victim. It made me sick, but I went to the counseling sessions and just tried to keep focus on my studies.

By December things had actually gotten a little bit better. Facing legal action, the school seemed to back off although they made me aware of my liability status until I turned 18. I made some pretty good friends and I was able to have fun. I went to a party with my two friends off campus. I had started drinking more because it made everything suck a lot less, plus my grades were perfect so I had decided I earned it. I went to the kitchen to get another drink. This is where I met Mike. I couldn’t get the lid off my bud light. He tried and said it must be defective and we both had a laugh and he offered me a Corona, he even cut up a slice of lime. I said thank you, and he said you owe me. I laughed it off and went back to my friends. We walked to the party and it was now raining and freezing outside. One of my friends had already left with her boyfriend and the other was playing a video game. I wanted to go to sleep. I went outside on the porch and Mike was smoking. I bummed a cigarette and we talked about something simple and he said he was heading out. He offered to drive me to the dorms because it was on the way. He didn’t seem like trouble. I was just trying to get home safely. He stopped at his apartment, said he needed to get something. He said I should probably come too because the heat in his car wasn’t working.

He walked behind me up the stairs, he locked the door. I remember he had a nice apartment but it was weird that he didn’t have much stuff. He didn’t even have chairs or a couch. I sat on the side of his bed while he wandered around getting whatever he came for. Then he came into the bedroom and closed the door. He kissed me and I kissed him back. We made out for a while and then I started to feel sick so I asked him if we could get going. Then I passed out. I came in and out of consciousness. He had taken my pants off and was rubbing his penis against me. I told him we can’t do that. I told him I was a virgin. He pleaded just a little, then attempted just a little, and I screamed No and rolled over. He climbed on top of me and pushed my head into the pillow and he anally raped me. A little while later he told me to get my shit, that he was ready to go. He said “I thought you were more grown up, the things they say about you …this was supposed to be easy.”

I got back to my dorm around 6 a.m. I took a shower for an hour and cried. Who would believe me? The whole campus, my parents, my sister, they all thought I was a whore. I started cutting my arm to deal with the anxiety. Years later when I did lose my virginity it was because I didn’t want people making fun of me for being a virgin. See when you are taken advantage of, but a rape doesn’t actually occur you become a dick tease, you become a weird virgin. It was all very awful. So on my 18th birthday I drank a bottle of vodka and went home with this guy I met and got in his bed and he said “You’ve never done this before.” And I said “Just fucking do it, I don’t care anymore.” There was absolutely nothing magic about it. It was actually pretty degrading.

He was too drunk to be very effective aside from tearing my hymen.

Now years later, with lots of introspection I have been able to identify with and claim what has always come naturally. I like women.  I like being able to help them, and I like listening to every word they say and I love everything about them, really even at their most mean; I identify with what got them there. I have been reading countless books on “Why Men Rape” and assorted pathologies regarding how men are wired to commit violence. It comes down to socialization primarily. Girls are passive aggressive mean and will work hard to ostracize you whereas Men are taught if not encouraged to rely upon their physical strengths.

I read the comments on reddit weeks ago from men willing to share their stories about how they became rapists. I heard them apologize and blame situational things on their actions and for the most part I commend their willingness to apologize. I am, however, not ready to call them saints. I cannot stomach the thought that it is possible to violate another person’s space because “she wanted it, even though she was wasted and incoherent.” I think the solution to solving this problem is men willing to look at what drives this activity, but we cannot automatically praise these individuals and continue to shame their victims. So long as women are too afraid to report because we live in a society that tells us not to, we cannot have men admitting to their actions and being rewarded with this empty empathetic understanding of a crime they committed. We must take responsibility for this issue and teach young men that in this current patriarchal society that they have the obligation to respect the bodies of women.

4 comments

  1. Thanks Lanie for your story.

  2. I said thank you, and he said you owe me.” THIS MADE ME SHUDDER and feel afraid for you.

    THANK YOU for your story. I had similar experiences in college, which caused me to drop out. If I had a job or money I’d finish.

    Men are trash and I have learned to never trust them–not a one. NOT A ONE.

  3. Damn it’s really sad.

    I don’t agree with the last line though, men themselves should take responsibility. I’m not going to take responsibility to “teach” men. Just like I don’t go “teaching” around to killers why homicide is bad.

    It’s more that media have teached men that it is fine to treat women as sub-human. It’s more like they need to be un-teached. Not that I feel responsible for that either.

    Stronger punishments are needed (not necessarily by law). Then see how fast they’ll become responsible themselves.
    On a related note, it is ridiculous people would blame you for your (attempted) rape because you had a few drinks while underage.

    Also, Anglo-American “dorm culture” seems pretty bad to me in general, also from other stories I’ve read. I (Dutch) live in a 13m2 student apartment in a large student building and nobody knows what I did on the weekends (unless they were with me of course), let alone that “the whole campus” (thousands of people) would know. Maybe it’s a population density thing (it’s easy for me to travel to any city party).
    But the more comfy American dorms seem to be *designed* for social control. Which wouldn’t be even that bad – were it not that the particular social control is of course anti-woman, and as such designed for forced heterosexuality a.k.a. rape. Because male uni staff want to serve their younger male clones all the time, and the old and young men alike are scared and offended by all those females getting the same education. But if the uni would deny those women, they’d lose money – so they allow them, but expect the male students to bully them away after some years of fee, or break them. That’s the tactic, and it’s logical from their viewpoint.

  4. Okay, so just to be clear.. above, I of course meant: ” it is ridiculous people would blame you for you (attemptedly) being raped because you had a few drinks while underage”. Instead of what I wrote (which uses grammatically the wrong subject): ” it is ridiculous people would blame you for your (attempted) rape because you had a few drinks while underage”.

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