I was 17 and have never had penis-in-vagina sex and have never given a blowjob. I was at the seaside high school summer camp, and although we came in a group, with a teacher, we were free to be on our own. I was discovering my freedom, my independence, my spirit of adventure.
One night at the dance club, I went outside with a guy to have a Coke and talk. I ordered a Coke Light, one thing led to another and I ended up in his room, with my consent and acceptance. We started making out, and relatively soon enough, as I was telling him I’ve never given a blowjob or had sex, and that I don’t want to do it now, he accepted that, and we said goodbye. As I was exiting his room, two other guys invited me for a drink. I accepted, drank another Coke Light, and as they were propositioning me to have a shower with both of them, I said no. They asked me again, I said no again, and that was it. I wanted to go to my accomodations. Only it was dark already, and a long way home, I was a bit scared to walk all that way alone. Another guy appeared, and he told me he could drive me to my place. We got into his car, and he insisted and forced me to give him a blowjob. I still said the same no’s, but he wouldn’t take it, and he threatened me. Probably he didn’t even have to try too hard. I was scared, didn’t know any better, and performed a blow job out of fear something worse could happen. As soon as he came, knowing that he couldn’t follow me right away, I jumped out of the car and ran away. I immediately found refuge at a group’s table, asking them to hide me and hang around with them. I heard the guy getting out of the car and trying to find me. He didn’t. I waited long enough before I headed back to make sure the guy isn’t around still.
As I was walking the dark street, I felt vigilant. I still had to take care of myself and have my own back, and make sure I was safe on the way back. I was very present, as that was what it took to make sure I was safe. Paying attention to my surroundings, walking with a sure stance, not making any eye contact with people on the street. I was realizing I had just been raped. And that at the same time, I was ok. The guy didn’t find me, and I was not physically hurt. I just had to make sure I didn’t get any STIs, and everything would be fine. I felt my mind very clear on what I had to do. And as I was realizing I was ok, and that’s what it all matters, I was feeling proud of myself for not feeling bad about myself. I was feeling responsible, in the true sense of the word. Not guilty, not ashamed, and there was not an ounce of victim in me. There were just the facts of what happened, and what I had to do next. I was feeling proud, strong, and lucky.
I arrived at the place I was staying, and that was the only time in a whole week when I had hot water at the shower. I took it as an extra sign of being incredibly lucky and washed off any remnants of the experience. To this day, hot showers are incredibly comforting and resetting for me, and I’m grateful for every hot shower I take.
Somehow, I didn’t lose my faith or trust in men. That was just one unfortunate event, and now I knew better how to protect myself. Maybe with a dose of blind faith, the day after this experience, I went to the nearby city, at another guy’s home. He had a couple of cub lions and made money by offering people to take pictures with them. His eyes were changing colors based on the surrounding light, I was fascinated, curious, daring, and trusting. We made out in his bed, and he completely respected my boundaries. I had my first orgasm in the presence of a guy. I laid on my stomach, I masturbated, and I orgasmed. He just laid besides me, witnessed me in my experience and my pleasure, and he was satisfied. After I returned to my home town, a couple hundred miles away, we talked on the phone a few times. That was very sweet, and very healing. My sense of safety was completely restored, by knowing that I can take care of myself, and by knowing that there are still people out there who are respectful and safe, and that in fact, most of them are.
That’s how being raped turned into one of the most powerful experiences of my life. When I hit rough spots in my life, I return to this experience and tell myself: “Remember how you were raped? Remember how strong, resilient, and emotionally intelligent you were? And lucky! Someone up there has your back, and you’re doing a good job at it too.”
I realize that’s not the experience of a lot of other people who are sexually abused, raped, and whose boundaries are not respected. As a society, we have a lot of work to do around consent, boundaries, slut shaming, and all the contradictory messages that come with sex still. I’m not placing any blame on either parties. In a sense, we’re all ‘victims’ of the messaging and programming that we inherit from the culture we live in, that’s largely sex-negative. Until we find the innocence, the play, the pleasure, and the sacredness of sex, devoid of any shame, blame, and guilt, we’ll still be caught in the victim-villain dynamic.
What about you? Did you have any potentially damaging experience turned around into powerful life skills? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know!