Viva is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
I'm going to keep talking about this since apparently a whole lot of people still don't want to understand, and let me just say that as much as I hate bringing these memories to light, and as much as I hate having to re-live them every day, I think it's important for voices like mine to be heard.
Here's the story:
I remember the first time I was sexually assaulted, or at least the details that matter. I was with a few people. It was a kick back. It was myself, two of my close friends (both girls), one of their boyfriends, a friend of his, and another friend of ours (a dude). So there were six of us.
I remember we played beer pong, except instead of beer it was Four Loko, and this was back in the day where it could kill you. Back when it had a reputation for being a "blackout in a can." The boyfriend's friend and I started kissing, and eventually ended up in the backyard, away from everyone else. After a few more minutes of kissing, he grabbed my hand, shoved it down his pants, and would not let me take it out until I gave him a handjob.
Here is what I remember:
- I remember feeling ashamed.
- I remember feeling violated.
- I remember how aggressive he was.
- I remember feeling afraid.
Here is what I don't remember:
- The address or even the neighborhood (Or even the city; it was definitely Fort Lauderdale, Pompano or Coral Springs, though)
- The date (Or the month of year in general—or the season—either summer or fall, because that's when my friend and that boyfriend dated)
- How much I drank (Must not have been a full can's worth of Loko since I remember it)
- How we ended up away from everyone
- Who drove me home that night (One of my friends but I couldn't tell you which one)
And here's why I did nothing:
I confided in my best friend at the time about the situation. (Note: We are not friends anymore, partially because last time we hung out he got mad at me for not trying to hook him up with a girl at the bar who was clearly too inebriated to consent.)
Anyway, obviously this was the person I went to. Because I felt so wrong, confused and dirty about it, and I didn't know who to talk to. and I figured my best friend would be on my side.
I remember exactly where I was when I told him. We were getting out of the car in a beach parking lot. It was nighttime, and I was finally ready to tell somebody about how I felt. It was maybe a week or so after the incident.
Wanna know what happened? He laughed in my face and told me not to be such a drunk slut all the time.
So I blamed myself. And then it happened again (in a more intense manner) about a year later. And I was drunk. And I blamed myself and thought, "Maybe I shouldn't be such a drunk slut all the time." Because that's what I was told by someone I TRUSTED.
So I didn't report. Because I didn't know I could. Because I was barely 18 years old and didn't know that what happened that night was even assault, even though I knew it was wrong and even though I felt completely broken down.
So here's why I still believe Christine Ford, Debbie Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick (Who they didn't even bother to interview, by the way):
I believe her because this hearing was unjust. I believe her because we share almost the exact same story, and I'm sure as hell not lying. I believe her because she passed a polygraph. I believe her because she demanded the investigation while Brett Kavanaugh tried to avoid it, and then when it finally happened, who did they bring in?
They brought in his college drinking buddies.
Who didn't they bring in?
They didn't bring in Brett or Christine. They didn't bring in Kavanaugh's old college roommate, who says he was "100%" sure that Debbie Ramirez's allegation is true. They didn't even bother with the third woman who brought forth an allegation.
This is not fair. This is not just. This is a slap in the face to the THIRD of women who will be sexually assaulted in their lives.
So I guess here's the takeaway from a sexual assault survivor:
If one of my assailants became nominated to be on the Supreme Court, I would not stick my neck out for this country.
Because what? They're gonna bring in his drinking buddies? They're gonna ask them if he told them, "Haha yeah I forced a girl to jerk me off once." or, "Haha yeah, I took full advantage of a girl who was basically incapacitated and then lied to her about it when she asked what happened?"
No. They would call me a liar. And then half the country would call me a liar. And then my claims would be "unfounded" in an investigation, and then the whole country would call me a liar. And then I would have my mental health completely destroyed in the form of people accusing me of trying to "ruin" these men's lives, even though both incidents happened so long ago that the statute of limitations has run out (7 years in Florida. The first time was 9 years ago. The second was 8...)
I guess Donald Trump and the people who share similar sentiments are right about something. There is a "witch hunt" happening, but it's not happening to the accused. It's happening to the survivors.