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How It Feels to Remember

*Trigger Warning* Grappling with Self Blame and the "Good Guy" Ideal Following Rape in a Small Community

I swore to myself that I would never tell anyone, but it just slipped out the other day. I had been drinking and I was in a great mood and your name came up and it just slipped out. I was in the hallway with Jackie and I remember how horrified her face looked and I realized what I had said. But I was saved, some drunk boys came out and we chatted with them, I went home, and I never had to confront the horrified look on Jackie's face.

I have to feel it though. Every time I see your face I have to feel it. Every time someone I know and love makes a comment about what a great guy you are I have to feel it. Every time I see your face I remember the first time I saw it after. When you looked right through me. You looked everywhere but at me. It was at a show aimed at raising awareness on sexual assault of all places. And I remember the second time and the third when you looked so angry to have bumped into me on the tiny campus on which we both have to share.

And then I remember when I came back after the summer and you greeted me with a huge smile and a hug and I desperately wanted to be as far away from you as possible and I spent all night trying to explain to my friends why I got so uncomfortable around you without actually telling them. And I remember going home and crying.

When it slipped out in the hallway, the look on Jackie's face made me think about how I woke up that morning and went to the bathroom. How I knew something wasn't right but I didn't know what until I saw the blood. I remember feeling the rips. I remember the text from you thanking me for letting you sleep over, and that you were sorry for leaving so early. I remember being so embarrassed that I'd had anal and swearing that I'd never tell anyone because I didn't want to be one of those girls who does anal with random boys.

And I remember taking painkillers and slathering myself in Neosporin and sleeping all day. I remember going to see my friends in a show aimed at raising awareness on sexual assault, talk about their trauma on stage. I remember crying. I remember watching you avoid me and being so ashamed that you were so repulsed by me that you couldn't even bear to look at me.

And I remember trying so hard to remember what I could have done to make you so angry to see me on campus. I remember feeling so dirty and so ashamed and wondering if you had told your friends and if they had been repulsed too. I remember realizing that I couldn't remember, no matter how hard I tried.

And I remember being in your room and sneaking out into the living room so that our roommates could hook up. I remember giggling and drinking rose. I remember running back to my room and taking big gulps of wine along the way. I remember getting home and sitting on my kitchen table and laughing about something. and that's where the remembering stops.

And then maybe a year or so later, I remember all these feelings and thoughts and I realize that it wasn't ok and I'm not ok and that I didn't have anal with a random boy because I'm a slut and I didn't wake up bloody because of how much of a whore I am. I woke up and felt ashamed, hurt, and confused because I am a girl. And unfortunately, that's the reality for lots of girls in the world. We want to go out and have fun and get really drunk and then end up safe and sound tucked into bed. But instead, we go out and have fun and get really drunk and run into boys like you who don't stop to think that maybe we might be too drunk and that maybe they should take us home and tuck us into bed safe and sound but instead they jam their dicks into our assholes until our skin is so shredded that we bleed and can't use the toilet for two months without crying. And then we think it is our fault while everyone we know calls you a good guy and you probably believe it because you don't realize you did anything wrong.