In light of the “Me Too” movement, I wanted to share a post that stayed in my Drafts for two years. I’m open, but I’m also hesitant to share because I don’t want what happened to me to be the only thing people think about when they see me.
My assailant wasn’t a stranger in a dark alleyway, as is the story for most women. It was someone that I knew, though not for a long time, that I thought I trusted. If he ever happens to see this, I hope his heart drops and he never forgets as that is sadly the only consequence he’ll have unfortunately.
When I first met this person, I told him very early on that I was waiting until marriage. I had never had sex with anyone. He acted like he respected that.
There were so many red flags, and times when I would actually have to push him away and be physically aggressive, to which he’d later apologize. He’d tell me that sex was not a big deal and would constantly badger me about it. I always said no.
We went to the Clemson vs. Georgia game in Athens back in 2014. This night, he was being manipulative and asked me to be his girlfriend, to which I told him no. This time, he didn’t take no for an answer and assaulted me.
The next morning in the car ride back to Clemson, I started sobbing, and he pulled the car over. I asked him “why did you do this to me?” I was still a bit in denial and the word rape did not even cross my mind at this point. I was just shocked.
He apparently “felt bad” and said he was the worst and couldn’t believe himself. He said he was sorry a million times. He said he would make it up to me, and when we got back to Clemson, he cleaned my car? Something that’s still really strange to me, but just shows his guilt.
It’s not uncommon to be in denial and stay in contact with the person who assaulted you. This was very confusing to me later on. I liked this guy, I really liked him for reasons that are beyond me.
That following Wednesday he came to my apartment after having attended the Title IX seminar. Title IX was first starting to gain traction that year. He said he felt like the speaker was talking directly to him and that he’s never felt that way in his life. He was looking for reassurance from me, and I gave it to him.
It wasn’t until that weekend that I accepted the fact that I had been assaulted, and that it wasn’t just “a mistake” to forgive. I told him “you raped me.” To which he replied “no I didn’t.” He started crying. He said he had to go home to tell his parents (to which I later found out he was going to tell them that this crazy girl is accusing him and that he didn’t do anything).
I ended up in the hospital two times, that weekend and the next, taking too much sleep medication and then stumbling around campus from taking too many of my mood stabilizers. I was clearly dealing with trauma, and that sent me into one of the worst manic episodes I’ve ever had.
After that, I went home and I never returned to Clemson.
His mom would send me nasty texts blaming me for what happened, and telling me to truly think about what I was doing as it could ruin his life. I stood up for myself and called it what it was.
He ended up withdrawing from the semester. I called Clemson and told them the story, to which they promised that if he tried to come back they would let me know.
He went back, and they never let me know.
He’s going to graduate this year.
I don’t care if people believe me or not anymore because he and I know the truth.
To the victims just like me out there,
I wish I didn’t have to say, Me too.
Laura Hogan Fritz