I never said yes

Recognizing the importance of consent in every sexual encounter

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Torch chose to publish this firsthand account of a sexual assault in order to help define and personalize the parameters of an assault. Sexual assaults at Ferris State are an unfortunate reality, and it’s up to the community to intervene to help put a stop to them. The name of the author of this piece has been withheld to protect the identity and safety of the individual.

Last week, I saw the rape statistics in the Torch and thought of how awful it is that so many people are personally affected by something so horrific and traumatizing.

That’s when I remembered that I am the one in six women.

For six months I have chosen to ignore what happened. I have convinced myself that it was not rape and that what happened was an unfortunate consequence to my own poor choices. At the very least, that’s what our society has brainwashed me to believe.

I could give you many reasons for why I initially took the blame for being raped. I made many decisions that day that allowed this to take place and that’s exactly how I justified it in my mind. I didn’t think that it was fair to blame him for what he did without first taking some of the responsibility for myself. I now see how wrong it was of me to downplay what happened.

It was in the spring and my friends had left the party we were at without telling me. As I wandered around, I ran into a group of people that I knew. That is what scares me the most. I knew him. I thought I knew his character. He seemed decent. They recognized me from class and offered to help me find my friends right after we took a short walk to their apartment so they could grab more beer.

When we got to the apartment I immediately realized that I was about to be sick and he pointed me in the direction of his bathroom. I ran for the door and violently threw up. I did not realize that he came up behind me until he started knocking on the door asking me to let him in.

When I had rinsed my mouth, I opened the door and he told me I could lay down on his bed if I wanted. He was going back to the party and told me that I could try and rest and then leave when I felt better. I happily took the offer and he left the room.

It had to have been hours later when I woke up. I opened my eyes and he was on top of me and we were having sex. I was so drunk and disoriented that I could hardly even speak. I tried pushing up against him but he was too strong for me. When I was finally able to say something, I asked him to stop. He said no because he was “almost done.”

Looking back on it, I remind myself that yes, we were both drunk but I never said yes. I have thought hard about the way that I held myself that night. I was too drunk to be able to flirt or flaunt myself at someone. I have no recollection of any behavior that would let him know that this was what I wanted.

It was hard for me to think of this experience as a rape. I shouldn’t be able to block this out and yet I have. When I am reminded of that night, I quickly push away the memory and focus on something else. Anything else.

There are a total of three people that know about this experience. Myself, him and a friend that I recently told.

I am writing this article in the hopes that both people will understand that it does not matter that we were drunk, or that I was willingly in his room. I was not conscious when he started and when I asked him to stop he refused. That is rape. The point is, he never asked and I never said yes.

For more coverage on sexual assault at Ferris, click here.