We are about a year into the #metoo movement and the debate of sexual assault is getting more and more defined in my opinion. It’s hard to watch all the outed celebrities, politicians, and even peers of mine testify with a face of disbelief. The utter shock in their face just shows how pressing it is that everyone has their voice be heard. So here we go. In support of the cause and the one year anniversary of the #Metoo movement I want to share my voice.
I spent a lot of today trolling news sites and twitter trying to follow the Kavanaugh trials. Every time I got a moment to watch the actual testimonies I was blown away. It takes courage to come forward and deal with the trauma these victims are dealing with. “We were having fun er- I was drunk!” Or “I didn’t realize she didn’t want to be touched.” No matter how they say it, there’s an obvious issue here and it is communication. It wasn’t that long ago that any voice aside from the cis white male was even valued. It is obvious America left a lot of work to be done. We always could have been doing more. There couldn’t be enough personal boundaries established in this country still. People that think they can make racial slurs due to having friends of color or “making a move” on him and her is still how people approach intimacy. It is all a terrible way of getting to know each other isn’t it?
When I was in high school my mother told me I never had to let any person touch me in ways I didn’t want them to and I wish I was able to take in how simple of a concept that is. The social pressure of dating has never been in a good spot in this country. When generations before mine dated, you just stalked a lady down and if you threw enough compliments at a girl the hope was that she would eventually give in. Now, In present culture, sex is open and everywhere! Everyone is doing it earlier and earlier. Nobody wants to label anything and most people are online. There really is no boundary even through texting. I can’t put a number on how many awful comments and dick pics I have received just trying to meet up for drinks. This back and forth is so fun until it has been weeks and we haven’t met in person am I right people?
I have many memories of what my middle school and high school peers would tell me to do. Guys would make fun of us and this meant he likes you. Then we would all go to the movies and you were told by your already sexually active friends if they stick their hands in sexual places you should just go with it and that means he likes you. Wow, right? And even better I learned anyone that wasn’t doing that was fucking loser. I almost laugh because for a long period of time I had a mouth retainer glued to the roof of my mouth and I would lie in bed crushing on boys and worry about if they tried to kiss me their tongue would hit the retainer and be grossed out. I thought about it in a way of this is what all the other girls just do! It is that time! I never thought about just waiting. The girls in my middle school around me were already giving blow jobs to my knowledge and I couldn’t even fathom a penis going into the theme park that was my mouth. My fun retainer, braces and more! What a nightmare. And among all these stories of touching and just letting them fondle everyone I never even heard of oral sex being cool to do to women until my early years in college. Everything was for the boys.
The sad part is my friend’s voices were more powerful than my own mom. I wanted to be wanted and if it meant all these tasks than I was going to throw myself into it. My mom is no idiot either she did the best she could getting us on birth control and reminding us we don’t have to indulge in anything we don’t want to. But it was the cool thing to do and in middle school I wanted that. I quickly began my hardest to play it cool and be the chill girl. Being a chill girl was letting someone put their hands in your pants, or put your hand on their penis while you shared a couch and you would do them a solid. I never once questioned it. Losing your virginity was considered cool, it always has been considered cool. It was rare I would meet people that were confidentially not wanting to lose it. I started to think terrible things about myself because I was a virgin. I was telling myself I am fat, ugly, I will never find love. All these thoughts over sex. I watched all my friends lose their virginity before me and at a certain point I was just dreading it, I just wanted it to be over. These thoughts were coming to me in the body of a 16 year old girl which is still so early for any person to be losing their virginity looking back on it. These kind of thoughts lead way for plenty of mistakes on both sides.
I wish I could just go back and tell myself I was enough and when it happens, it happens but instead It took me six years after the incident of losing my virginity to accept it to myself that it was actually not consensual. The story is that I had to babysit and my close friend was having a house party that same night. The minute the parents I babysat for relieved me from my duty I raced to my friend’s house to catch up on the partying. Partying was a big thing to do for teenagers bored in suburbia. I get to the house and all my friends were already intoxicated. All I remember is everyone screaming to take shots and another friend handing me a xanax. We were all hanging out and having fun and then someone sent me into the garage to grab something with a guy. Then someone shut the door on us and in the dark we start kissing. We decided to go somewhere else and then I find myself periodically coming in and out of a blackout in my friend’s room, and suddenly someone else walks in on us and asks if it is me, they say, “Is that Katie?” I had no idea what was happening. Then I hear the guy on top of me saying he didn’t know my name. I fall asleep and wake up in the same room the next day, alone with a bookshelf blocking her door. It felt like a bad dream to be honest. I walked outside onto the patio and all my friends and mutual friends were screaming that I hooked up with him. People were congratulating me. Then one of the guys could see a hint of sadness in my face. Without skipping a beat he goes, “Yo, he’s a cool dude, he’s really chill.” Then everyone backed that statement up. “Oh, for sure…” I said. I then pulled someone into a room and got his number. I needed to know if he even used a condom. I felt shitty. I felt like it was my fault, I took drugs and alcohol. “Way to blow it Katie,” I thought.
I texted this guy, just “Hey, this is Katie. We had sex.” When I finally got a text back it read something like, “Oh yeah. Last night was pretty fun and crazy but I think I am going to get back with my ex.” That stung a bit cause I didn’t know if I even liked him either. Hurt and trying to be chill again I just asked one last thing, “Well did you use a condom?” All he said was, “I think you should get a plan B to be safe.” Then no more texts, not even a little “Hey, do you need money to help buy that?” I remember going to Planned Parenthood with my friend behind my parents back. I get it and just decided in my head this wasn’t crazy behavior. “This is just what sex is like for a girl in her TEEN YEARS. Some of my other friends had similar experiences and it sucks he is back with his ex but I should just move on, my virginity is gone and I should be glad even though I don’t remember it,” I thought.
Those next six years I ended up going for guys that usually didn’t deserve me. I spent nights on friend’s couches sharing futons with guys and sometimes I would wake up with a guy’s hand down my pants. One time I woke up because a guy stuck his finger into my asshole (Sorry dad if you read this!) and put my hand on his penis. This guy was someone I thought was into another friend of mine but we shared a futon in the same room as seven other people and he did that. I had friends even tell me similar things would happen to them. I let guys treat me really terribly with the exception of one solid boyfriend I briefly had before college. I ended up breaking his heart though being emotionally unavailable and unable to take love seriously. This was absolutely why I drank so heavily in college and I finally got to a point where I despised the idea of dating and I took a year off sex and finally went to a therapist one day after a close friend of mine passed away and I was feeling lost. The therapist was able to help me build the courage up to tell my mom. It was crystal clear at that point I should have told her years before but I didn’t know why I felt so bad. I thought my parents would judge me.
My therapist also tried to help me find peace in the fact I don’t remember it and I should be happy I don’t. I feel like that is all she knew she could say just a handful of years ago. It didn’t really solve my problem with whether or not it was something I should report. Do I report the guys that randomly decided to touch me in the night? It made life feel heavy with how grey these things can be. People don’t realize the trauma that comes with incidents like these. I wasted so much time on drugs, sex and alcohol to numb myself from believing I was actually in pain and needing to get my feelings out about my experience. If there was ever someone that made me feel validated in being scared I would like to think my life would have been very different in those earlier years. I think about the guy that took my virginity and where he may be today and if I had the balls to publically out him like Dr. Ford and my peers in their situations. It would be hard because I was under the influence and at the time I socially brought up to beg for sexual favors and someone to just take my virginity. Did I want to be thrown in a room with a bookshelf blocking the door in a black out? No! But how drunk was he? I didn’t know, “No,” was not an option ever. I am happy that there is conversation around these topics. Things should be consensual. We shouldn’t have to wait for someone to kiss us and they shouldn’t be just trying to force themselves on you either. I have been hit on by guys in many higher ranking job titles than mine at places I have worked in the past and I didn’t want them to feel bad for liking me so I went along with it. I have avoided going places to make the guy feel better and have definitely had people tell me it took balls to show up place due to his feelings. I have even been strung along to the point of someone even telling me “I just feel like you will really like me and if you see me leave a bar with another girl tomorrow you will be upset.” Ouch, right? How did I let that crush get to that point, also that is a bold statement when more than half the women in the world don’t climax during sex. Why do guys get brought up to feel like they can say and do anything to women? We aren’t asking for much.
We didn’t have a path to follow before now. If you had unwanted contact you had to just blow it off and move on. Now, you can’t touch people without knowing in your head that it is wrong. You can’t use your children as an excuse for you being a changed person. The same people that want children are the same people grabbing women all the time and if you want kids you should set a God damn example and not be a creep like our president, or the other handful of male celebrities who have used their power to take advantage of women. If you bring someone home and they are acting nervous around you, ask them what they need. Don’t assume they want sex ever. If someone outwardly says they don’t want your attention then back off. It is time to keep opening it up because it is exhausting and it should be as painful as it was for all these people that have felt victimized for so long. If someone seems blacked out they need a friend not a hookup. The conversations are just starting so buckle up because we are going into another year of the Metoo movement.