Date Rape: We Need to Know

The personal story of a former GC student

I’m afraid that many women share a similar experience to the one I am about to describe. It’s painful for me to put this in writing for all to see. It’s even more painful for me to think that there might be people who think they’re alone or don’t think anyone from GC would experience this.

I’m a victim of what I call stranger/date rape. Here’s my story.

My first semester at GC, like many first-year students, I was glad to be away from home and on my own. I didn’t know anybody here since I’m from a non-Mennonite community. It was scary but I quickly made friends.

Going to drinking parties wasn’t a regular practice for me in high school. Once I got here it was a way for me to meet people and feel comfortable around a bunch of “strange” Mennonites I wasn’t used to and didn’t feel included by. So the drinking became an every weekend event which seemed great to me at the time. One weekend it wasn’t so great.

I went to a party off-campus with GC and non-GC students. I drank too much and was pretty much gone, so to speak.

I met a guy there who was apparently a friend of a GC student because we ended up in a Yoder residence hall room. I don’t remember much about how we got there, but we did. One thing I remember is him on top of me. I have a faint recollection of coming in and out of consciousness, thinking that I didn’t want what was happening to occur. I wasn’t in any shape to respond or even feel anything.

What I do remember is waking up the next morning in a strange room, alone, cold, mostly naked and confused. In a panic I got my clothes together. My heart sank into my stomach as I looked down at the blood-stained sheets. I was so frightened I didn’t know what to do. I was hurriedly “pushed” out the door by the guy who lived in the room. Not much was said.

That day my fear of what happened turned into denial. I acted like I was fine, ignoring my sadness. To help me deal with it I made myself believe that he didn’t rape me, that what happened wasn’t so bad. After all, no “real” harm was done. He didn’t physically hurt me, he just used me. But there was no time to think about that; no time for the pain.

One evening about a week later I passed by the guy whose room I had been in and some friends of his. I pretended I didn’t see them and kept walking. Then one of them yelled something about the bloody sheets and laughed out loud. I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I couldn’t believe he thought that was funny! I just kept walking.

I only told one person right away. She was a good friend from home who was very supportive. She said that if I got pregnant that she’d pay for the abortion. That shocked the heck out of me – the thought that I could be pregnant hadn’t even crossed my mind. So now that was a fear too. I couldn’t even think about an abortion. One thing at a time! (For once I was glad to get my period.)

I didn’t tell anyone else. I kept silent and concentrated on not letting my feelings control me. I just wanted to be okay. I told only three other people close to me in about a three-year period; only the people I thought I needed to tell. (Wrong!)

What makes me angry to this day is that I felt if I told anyone they’d say I deserved it because I was drunk (and that’s a sin) and that I probably asked for it. I never gave my consent, though he assumed it through my drunken silence. My virginity was very important to me, saving that experience until it could be my true expression of never-expressed-before love. Now that was ruined. And it hurt(s).

I’m angry that for many years I couldn’t tell anyone because society told me it was my fault. It didn’t matter that I didn’t want it. I was intoxicated and got what was coming to me. I think it’s really sick that he knew I was drunk and took advantage of the situation.

Recently I started to tell close friends. Once I did, I found that they also had a lot of pain to tell about. They gave the support and love that I’d needed for years and I could return it. How blind I’ve been toward the importance of breaking the silence of women’s pain. Thank you, God, for opening my eyes. Women need to share and listen to one another. That’s how healing takes place.

GC counseling personnel are available to students wishing to discuss issues regarding sexuality or sexual behavior. These conversations will be held in strict confidence.

Contents