When I was in high school, I had a boy over at my house when my parents weren’t at home, which was definitely against house rules. We were just hanging out, doing whatever kids do, when the phone rang. I picked it up in the kitchen, gesticulating wildly to the boy to be silent so he would not be detected. I felt happy and thrilled at being mischievous, and excited to be with this boy who I thought was cute and cool.
It was my aunt on the phone and as I tried to focus on whatever it was she was telling me the boy made faces at me, trying to make me laugh and blow my cover. The faces shifted to tickling and I smiled through anger that was partly feigned and tried to wave him away while I focused on the conversation and keeping my composure. Slowly the tickling shifted to groping me on top of and then underneath my clothes. I started to feel somewhat panicked and I tried to silently convey my wrath to him, but he continued to smile as if we were in the midst of a delightful game and I was still intent on not letting on to my aunt that I was not home alone as I was supposed to be.
I tried to move out of his reach and glare at him with enough anger to make him back off. I was terrified that my voice would alert my aunt that something was going on.
It was then that he did something so awful that I can’t think about it without shaking. He pulled my jeans down, grabbed a screwdriver from a pen cup that was on the kitchen counter, and shoved it inside of me. I was shocked and terrified and in pain and still irrationally focused on keeping my voice neutral and normal for my aunt.
I don’t remember what my aunt said to me or what I said to her. I don’t remember hanging up the phone or him leaving the room or my house. But I will never forget lying on the kitchen floor, cold tile against my cheek, my jeans around my thighs, stunned and broken, a voice inside my head ordering me to get up and fix my clothes before someone saw me like that.
I never told anyone. The boy and I continued to see each other in and out of school and never spoke about the incident. We just acted like it never happened.
It didn’t occur to me until many, many years later that this was a sexual assault. I thought it was just a game that went too far and that I was being overly sensitive. I felt that it was possible I had opened the door for this to happen by sneaking this boy into my house. I felt like girls who were cool and popular just rolled with things and didn’t get all uptight and that I should have just shoved my feelings down, shoved him away with a laugh, and forgotten about it.
But I’ve never been able to forget it.
And this week I can’t seem to think of much else.
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