Trigger warning: This story contains details about sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing.
Brett Kavanaugh — a name that was certainly the topic of conversation over the past few weeks as the Senate Committee met to hear the sexual assault claim described in heartbreaking detail by Christine Blasey Ford and the FBI followed up with an investigation. It seemed as if everyone was glued to the TV or their phones, riveted by what they heard. My perspective was a little different because, like so many others, I too am a victim of sexual assault. While watching the testimony, I felt a rush of emotions at once, rage, disgust and powerlessness. However, the #Metoo movement has given a voice to so many women who have decided they would no longer be silent. Their voices became a roar fueled by Blasey Ford who stood before the world to tell her experience. Ford’s courage, inspired me to share mine.
When I was seventeen I went to a party in Ciudad Juarez at which I had drank too much, lost my friends and ended up getting sick.
I found myself drunk, alone, and not knowing where my friend’s house was located. I went to someone I knew, but not very well. The boys who I thought I could trust to take me home ended up taking advantage of me and the state that I was in.
I remember the details of that night so vividly. I remember laying in the back seat, opening the door while they were driving because I had to vomit. I kept telling them to take me to my friend’s house, that I didn’t care if she wasn’t home or wasn’t answering the phone, I just wanted to sleep. Finally, the car stopped and I thought they dropped me off to rest. I looked out the door and didn’t recognize where I was. “Come on” they kept urging me. I refused as my body felt as heavy as it had ever been. Suddenly, I felt myself being dragged out of the car and being carried into a house.
They laid me on the bed. I could see one guy in the corner and suddenly I saw a bright light turn on. He was taking video of me. It was dark but it felt like I was watching myself while everything was happening. All of a sudden I felt an enormous weight on my back as my dress was being lifted and my underwear was being pulled down. I could barely mumble the words repeating “no, no, no,” and pleading that someone would take me to my friend’s house or at least call her. He kept repeating that she wasn’t answering. He kept going and going, what seemed to me as eternal. I eventually gave up and couldn’t manage to say anything else.
When he finished, they put me in the car and someone drove me to my friend’s house.
I was sitting in the front seat waiting for my friend to arrive. I was exhausted and felt dirty. The sun was already coming out and I felt an extreme urge to shower and to go home to my parents. “Please call her” I begged the driver, who was someone I didn’t know very well and can’t remember who it was. He called her and said she didn’t pick up. The boy tried sticking his hand up my dress, but by that time I had sobered up enough and was furious.
When the car stopped, I gathered my things and exited the car. I didn’t care if my friend wasn’t home, her mom could answer the door and I would wait for her. I rang the doorbell and soon saw my friend’s face open the door for me. I explained to her how they had called her all night and she immediately replied that nobody had called her. A wave of realization hit me like a tsunami that they had been lying to me all night — and that they had raped me. It took me a while to actually come to the realization that it was rape.
My parents are the kindest and most understanding people. The shame and humiliation that I felt talking to them about this was indescribable. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but like many others, I couldn’t help but feel like I could’ve done more to stop it.
The worst thing is that when you picture yourself in these situations, you have expectations of how you will react, but when you don’t, you feel ashamed.
I felt that way. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I let this happen to me. Ashamed and embarrassed that I wasn’t a stronger person who fought back and kicked and screamed. I was embarrassed to tell people. I felt embarrassed that people would judge me, ask why I didn’t fight back. Why I didn’t stop it. Sometimes I still struggle with the guilt of why I didn’t report it. It happened in Mexico I had already gotten a rape kit done in the U.S. The process was absolutely horrible and frustrating. I didn’t want to go through that again. I had friends in common with those boys and worried they would judge and blame me.
Dr. Ford’s words echo in my ears, it is something that will forever be ingrained in my memory.
These blurred lines “created” with alcohol and what she was wearing should not be factors in men taking advantage of women.
Let’s call it what it is, which is just men who feel entitled to women’s bodies. It is time for the tables to turn, instead of being the victim and hiding our stories, it is time for them to come to light. No more protection of these vile men or sometimes even women.
It is time. Time to tell all these stories no matter when or where they happened. Women need the confidence that if they speak their truth, it won’t feel as if they are fighting against the legal system. It won’t feel as if they’re trying to prove that this actually occurred, while reliving this traumatic experience every time they have to speak about it. While watching the hearing, I was with a friend who made a tasteless joke that he thought was funny “She probably liked it” he said laughingly. In that moment it made me realize that men will never really grasp the fear that many women face daily. We go through so many precautions just to protect ourselves, never walking alone in a certain neighborhood by yourself, carrying pepper spray, holding your keys between your fingers. These are only some of the things that most women think about constantly, is something that would never cross a man’s mind while walking home or in the workplace. Certain experiences change you, they change your outlook on life, on people, on your own safety. This story needs to be told, my story needs to be told, the stories of women and men across the world need to be told, because this is what happens. We have to put and end to it. End this kind of treatment against women and men, and held those responsible so that justice can be made.
Someone asked me recently about the point I was trying to make with this article. At first, it made me doubt myself and the purpose for which I was writing this article, but then I got to thinking and I realized that if Dr. Ford’s testimony inspired me to liberate myself of my pain and my secret, maybe I could inspire someone else.
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