The Good Girl
Good girls wait until marriage. I was a good girl, and I intended to wait. From the time I was 15 until I was 18 and in my first year of college I dated the same boy. He was respectful and understood that I was not going to have sex until I got married. We engaged in what they used to call “heavy petting” during that three years, but never sex, and he was always respectful of me. He understood the meaning of, “no.” We went to different colleges; we broke up during our Freshman year. I started going out with other guys, but the dates were mainly campus events. I didn’t begin drinking alcohol until my Sophomore year in college when I was 19. I was always a late-bloomer and younger in my class. I had grown up moving around and never felt that I fit in and I felt out of place in college.
I remember being in my dorm room with a bunch of girls as they were discussing losing their virginity in high school and I realized that I was the oldest and only virgin in my circle. I intended to keep it that way.
I wanted to fit in, so I started drinking with everyone else. I was a silly college girl who got more foolish the more I drank. I finally fit in. I remember going out with one guy; we were making out, and he tried to undo my pants. I told him no. He told me that I was a tease and I was giving him blue balls. I had no idea what blue balls were, but I knew what a tease was and I was confused. Why couldn’t we kiss and be close like my high school boyfriend and I had been? The date quickly came to an end, and he was mad at me. I had never felt such hurt, embarrassment, and shame. I didn’t mean to be a tease, but his anger at me made me believe I had done something very wrong.
I went on other dates mainly football games and socials, but I wasn’t alone with many guys after this until that night. One night I was attending a keg party at a fraternity house. This was the same fraternity as the guy who called me a tease. I had several friends who were dating boys from this fraternity, and they became the group I started hanging out with. This particular fraternity was one of the oldest and top tier at our university. I think it was Winter of 1982. I was 19. I can see the fraternity house. I can see the keg. The people hanging around. I was stupid. I was drunk. I remember a girl with a patch of gray hair in her otherwise brunette hair and drunk me told her, “You have gray hair right there.” I remember this vividly. As I was saying it, I felt like an idiot. I remember this tall guy with curly dark hair who was beautiful. He was one of the most handsome guys I had ever seen. I begin following him around like a puppy. A stupid drunk puppy.
The next thing I know there was a discussion that we should go back to his fraternity brother’s dorm. His fraternity brother was a friend of mine who lived across the parking lot from me in the quad. I trusted my friend. I was naive enough to think that this guy and I would go to my friend’s dorm, watch TV, and make out.
Deep down all I wanted was to be held and have a connection with someone.
Of course, I should have realized that in dorms there are beds and kissing on a bed must imply that I was intending to do more, but that was not my intention at all. We kissed. The more we kissed he went for my pants and I said, no. I told him that I had never “done it before” even when I dated my boyfriend of three years. He got angrier as we kissed. “You can’t tell me you never did it with that boyfriend of yours. Three years.” I began to cry and realize. I was doing it again. I was being a tease. He was mad at me. I begged him. “No. I am a virgin. I have never done it.” He continued to force himself in my pants, and he proceeded to have sex with me. It was painful. I was crying. I bled. I bled a lot. I bled all over his fraternity brother’s, my friend’s, sheets. He was disgusted and done with me. I left. I went back to my dorm room full of shame. I got a shower.
The next day the news that I was a slut was around his group on campus. My high school friend who had invited me to be a part of this group called me. I just remember that she told me people were talking about it. It was evident that I had done something very wrong. Getting drunk and acting stupid. She then asked was I worried that I might be pregnant. In all of my turmoil that was the last thing on my mind. I was simply ashamed, and I was no longer a good girl. I was wrecked. I wanted to fix this. I didn’t want other people to think negatively of me. So, I wrote the young man who took my virginity a letter. I apologized for being drunk and teasing him. I carried the letter with me until I saw him and I slipped it to him. Later when I would run into him and any of his fraternity brothers, they would be joking and laughing at me. They seemed amused that I was his conquest. I quit hanging out with this group of people. I still drank. I still acted stupidly. I carried so much guilt and wore a cloak of shame. I felt so alone.
After my husband and I married, we attended church with a couple. The husband was a fraternity brother of the young man from college. the wife told me that when her husband heard about this incident in college, he was disappointed in me. I had always been such a good girl, but after that, I had a reputation. She told me he also shared the news of my college incident with my high school boyfriend. They both shared their disappointment of me. The good girl gone bad.
One Sunday in about 1995 my husband and I were sitting in church with our young daughter. I thought I saw the back of his head. His dark curly hair. I had to run to the bathroom where I got sick. My husband who is a kind man wanted so much to take this from me. I had told him about my experience when we were dating, but I had never gone into detail. This is the first time I have done so. I’ve never even told my therapist. I have never told anyone the details of that night. It was evident that I had done wrong. I was the bad girl. He was just being a guy. Boys will be boys. I always wondered who washed my friend David’s sheets. Did the guy take them that night? Did he leave them there?
In 2009 when I created my FB account, I searched for him. I found him, and I requested him as a Facebook friend. He accepted. I wanted him to see me. To remember what he had done to me. We never communicated.
It has been 36 years and a few months since that night. I know young people do stupid things. I was stupid. He was stupid.
I hope he no longer wields power in such an intimidating manner. I hope I was the only one who was subject to his aggression. I hope he learned after he saw the sheets.
I dated many young men who wanted to have sex. There was drinking; there was making out, but nothing happened until I said, yes. My husband included. These were young men who had respect for women and did not want to dominate a woman. Can a person change? Of course. But, it doesn’t erase the prevalent attitude that something that happened long ago is over. It is still not over for me. It is not over for any survivor of a sexual assault.
I accept my part in that night. I was drunk. It was my fault that I got myself in such a precarious situation, but I begged, “No, Please, No.” It was not enough.
I hope that we are toppling the culture of power and dominance. I hope that today, “No means, no. Period.”.