© 2018 by Kate Ryan.

And thinking about it now, he had to have figured out where I was sleeping. 

 

This makes me sick, this part. 

 

He had to have come in the room, seen me asleep, gotten into bed with me, unbuckled my pants. 

 

How do you do that to someone who is sleeping and passed out?  I don't understand that. 

 

 

*

 

And I remember standing up.

I was like, "I don't want to do this," but still I was kind of letting him down gently. 

I didn't reprimand him at the time. 

 

And I left the room, and then I went downstairs and slept with all my friends on the floor.

 

*

 

And I never told anyone about it. 

I was just starting to get into a relationship with a guy who became my boyfriend for 6 years. 

And I never told him about it. 

He does not know about this. 

I think that's one of the very few things I kept to myself in that relationship.

 

Because I was so ashamed.

And the guy's a real asshole, just a trashy guy.

 

*

 

In high school a girl who I was friends with, not super close friends with, but friends with, she said that he raped her at another party.  I remember talking to her about that on the phone. 

 

I think in the back of my mind I didn't really believe her, or I didn't have empathy for the life shattering experience that must have been. 

 

My reaction was nowhere near what it should have been.

 

{This fall, K learned that her best friend from home was similarly assaulted by the same man in high school, also at a party, while she was trying to use the restroom.}

 

It took six years to realize my best friend and I in the world had been assaulted by the same guy in the same way.  So that's at least three people that this guy has assaulted.  And I am sure there are more. 

 

*

 

To be honest, I'm really torn about what to do with that information.

He's friends with people that I'm friends with and that I know. 

Is it my responsibility to go “out” him and be like "Hey, you know he's a serial sexual assailant?” 

Do I have to go tell people that now? 

Will they stop being friends with him? 

Does it take the three of us and whoever else? 

I don't know. 

Can we take legal action? 

Can anything happen to this guy? 

Or is he just gonna continue on doing this? 

 

If I hadn't woken up when I woke up, I could have been the next person that he raped. 

Maybe he wouldn't have stopped with putting his hand up inside of me.

 

*

 

I'm from a really small town, and everyone's at the same bars the night before Thanksgiving.

 

I would just leave the conversation any time he came into a group of people I was speaking with. 

 

I still think I don't want people to know that individual touched me and was able to take advantage of me that way.

It took me years to realize that I had been sexually assaulted. 

I felt like I'd hooked up with this guy. 

That's what it felt like to me.

That's why I think I immediately kept it quiet. 

It was almost like I cheated on my boyfriend. 

 

{K read an article written by the survivor raped by Brock Turner in which she said her intoxication was not an excuse for anyone to rape her.  This woman’s words helped K rethink the narrative.

 

A few weeks later, in a survey for her graduate school program, K was asked if she had ever been sexually assaulted.}

 

And that was the moment that I was like "yes."

I answered yes to myself and yes to the survey.

Yes, I have been sexually assaulted. 

 

I remember being kind of surprised, but kind of relieved when I selected yes.

 

And I think that's why now I wouldn't mind so much if people did know about it. 

Because it's not my fault.

 

*

 

I know I'm so much stronger than him, and I'm feeling so confident in myself and in my career these days. 

I know I'm just pursuing what I want to pursue. 

I don't feel hampered by this in any way. 

 

{As a journalist, K says she thinks about the risk of assault often, from both co-workers and sources.}

 

I just started realizing how often I'm meeting with strange men. 

I think I will try to be in a team as much as possible, especially if I am international. 

I think I will try and limit solo interviewing or just be extra in touch in letting people know where I'm going or having local contacts to call and stuff.

 

I definitely have moments where I think about now if somebody tried to rape me, they would have to fucking kill me.  Like I've thought about that.

This is a changing moment right now.

 

We have needed this naming and shaming time to set an example.  You can't be senator or you can't be a film producer or…

You know, that's the thing. 

I'm not sure it's coming up to these regular guys now. 

I have a regular guy. 

And if we take him down it's not gonna be a Harvey Weinstein moment. 

 

I've wondered what would happen if I told my guy friends who I know are still friends with this guy. 

 

I wonder what would happen if I told them. 

How do you feel knowing that this guy has assaulted three of your female friends? 

I want to think that they would disassociate with him. 

I think some of them would and some of them wouldn't probably.

 

*

 

I felt torn when it was the big day of metoo hashtags online. 

It started to feel competitive.  Right? 

Who had the most terrible, not the most terrible, most numerous or something?

 

I wasn't ready to publically announce to everybody that I'm Facebook friends with that I've been assaulted in some way.

I certainly didn't want to explain what happened.

 

I'm from such a small town, and I'm sure if I started it would be, “It was this party and this place.  Remember that happened?” 

People would know not only what party it was, the would know who was there. 

 

It would get figured out pretty quickly who it was. 

But it's also not my obligation to protect him.

 

So I feel like I do want to tell. 

 

Maybe when I'm home for Christmas I might want to tell at least one friend of mine, a good guy friend I would call an ally. 

 

I am going to challenge myself to reach out to this girl from high school and to tell her how sorry I am.

 

-K

It was the summer I turned 21. 

 

I was in college, home for the summer, and there was a party. 

And most of my high school friends were there. 

 

I drove myself there, and I knew I was going to stay the night. 

And it was a fun night, it was a fun party. 

 

I remember dancing. 

We made pasta. 

 

And my friend whose house we were at was like, "You can sleep in my mom's room," when it was time, and everyone was crashing and going to find a place to sleep.

 

I remember thinking it was the best party sleeping arrangement I'd ever had. 

Because normally you end up sleeping on the couch or the floor or something. 

You don't normally get a nice bedroom to yourself. 

And I went to sleep in this nice queen bed. 

 

And I woke up with someone kissing me.  

 

*

 

You know when you're drunk and you lie down and the room is spinning? 

I remember that sensation.

I am slowly waking up; I'm on my back in this bed. 

I'm waking up in an unfamiliar place.

And I had someone's tongue in my mouth. 

And someone's hand was down my pants and fingering me.

 

And what I hate is that I didn't immediately be like, "What the fuck is going on?!"

You're waking up slowly. 

My head's a little foggy. 

I had had alcohol. 

 

I think my immediate reaction, first of all was, "Oh, this could only be my friend who put me to bed.  He brought me up there.” 

And I had had kind of a crush on him like on and off forever.

So for a split second I was like, "This is this guy. And maybe I'm going to go along with this or something." 

And then I immediately realized it was not him.  It was some other guy.