The night started in the local Rite-Aid parking lot. "If only I hadn't have used the restroom," I torment myself.
the little things. I warmed up to them and we hit it off; they even joked about me joining their friend-group. After a while, the self-proclaimed ‘leader’of the group asked for my number. Innocently, I gave it to him. After making small talk with the boys for about an hour, I decided to head home. “What a cool crowd,” I thought.
Shortly after arriving home, the boy–Simon–texted me and asked for my snap-chat. The conversation continued, which included his
casual, light-hearted requests for nudes and my virginity confession. I didn’t overthink the sexual content; it’s typical teenage conversation. Plus, he said “LOL” like every other message.
Soon the messages became about we still being ‘strangers’ and how we should hangout that weekend. I was excited! I wanted to expand my tiny social network. Eventually he invited me to his house that night, but I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I didn’t think it was wise to go to stranger’s home, but I appreciated his hospitality. He offered to meet me at the neighborhood elementary school playground instead. “Sure, that’ll be chill! Lit, now I don’t have to be home alone on a Friday night,” I thought.
I changed from my slacks and sweater into a black jacket over a black tank-top with blue jean shorts–appropriate dress for beautiful Southern California weather. I threw my hair in a messy bun, slipped on my flip-flops and grabbed my phone, keys and backpack with a water bottle. I said goodbye to my dog and headed out the door.
“Just left!” I messaged Simon. In no longer than 5 minutes, I approached him sitting at the picnic benches, anxious as usual.
I removed my jacket, set my things on the table, and sat down. He asked me if I wanted to tell anyone about this, and confused I replied, “Uh, I don’t know?” Before I knew it, he kissed me. Surprised, I kissed back, and he slipped his hands behind my butt. I was perplexed, but fine. In all honestly, I was flattered that he found me attractive enough to kiss me, and I was comfortable with making out with boys. I shyly touched his hair and he felt me up. I was still okay.
But before I knew it he was tugging at and removing my clothes–first my shirt, then bra, then shorts and underwear at the same time–before undressing himself. He pulled my onto his lap and things went in a new direction. I was no longer okay.
Immediately he rammed his fingers in me, quickly advancing to finger-banging with who knows how many fingers. All I knew was it hurt.
I was too speechless to tell him to stop yet, so I insisted he be gentler and slow down, but with no reply he laid me on my back and I was submissive. I didn’t know what else to do.
“This is happening. Okay, this is happening. You’re okay, Tiffani. You’re okay. Just be still,” the voice in my head repeated.
I scanned for cameras on the building–none. I felt the cold metal against my bare skin and clenched my eyes.
I should have left, but I didn’t know how.
I should have fought harder, but I didn’t know how.
I should have just let him do what he wanted, but I didn’t want to.
Over the course of the next 25 minutes, Simon exercised power over me by ignoring my contentions and pleas. Anytime I moved, he repositioned my body the way he wanted: when I lifted my hips in a flinch, he pressed my pelvis flat on the bench. When he wanted to touch my torso, he lifted my arms from my side. When my legs bowed, he spread them.
Simon continued thrusting his fingers in and out of me, ignoring my demands to be more careful. Still, I was fearful of what he might do if I protested more–even though I wanted to.
I stared at the sky and drifted in a daze before I felt a massive amount of pressure and sharp pinching. I looked down and realized he was forcing his penis in me, which I did not consent to whatsoever. “No! No! No!” I argued, but he did not stop.
Wait, is this sex? Am I having sex? Whatever this is, it hurts. I didn’t agree to this– how is this happening? Why did I come here? This isn’t supposed to be happening. I don’t like it. I want him to stop. “Stop!”
“It’s okay,” he tried to solace me.
His coercion ploy was to no avail: “No! Stop, stop. Please,” I begged.
“Come on,” he insisted.
“No! I’m saying no!”
After however long, he pulled out and scowled at me. “Will you give me head at least?” he requested. Frustrated at my refusal, he yanked on the roots of my hair, jerking my neck forward. He was dominant over me, and he knew that as much as I did.
He returned to aggressively jabbing at and twisting my insides. More finger-banging punctuated his grinding against my vulnerability. I closed my eyes and wondered how I could get out of this situation.
My thoughts raced. “This can’t be the ‘R-word,’ is it?” My heart raced faster than my thoughts. “No. Rape happens behind dumpsters in dark alleys. No. Rapists are hooded men that lurk in the shadows. No way. Rape can’t happen to me–ouch!”
He spread my labia and soon came that all-too-familiar pressure again. I opened my eyes and saw his naked body hovering over mine. Confused, scared, and overwhelmed, I resorted to more verbal denial and repeatedly demanded triplets of “stop; wait; don’t; no; I’m not ready,” but he only thrusted deeper. My words were not convincing enough, but I was too scared to be physically violent.
I bowed my legs to obstruct his entry, so he spread them again. “Stop!”
He tried to conciliate: “Just the tip, just the tip; come on, let me please.”
Aw, what a gentleman. He said ‘please.’
“Come on, just like it was before. You have to let me get the hard part over with.”
“No, I don’t want you to!”
“Okay, okay I’ll go slower.”
My mind shrieked, but anxiety silenced my words. “No! That is not what I said. I told you to stop. I want you to take your penis out of me.”
“Quit!” I protested sternly.
There went that voice in my head again: “What does he think he’s doing? Why is he doing this!?”
I wanted to leave; I wanted to go home; I wanted to get away from him. I wanted him to get off of me.
More finger-banging. I lowered my hands to my pelvis to gain control. “Stop!” I said.
“It’s not my di*k.”
“I know. But I don’t care; you’re hurting me,” I said.
Unrelenting, “It’s–,” he began.
“No, don’t!” I plead.
“It’s not ‘it‘”
“I. don’t. care. Hell, you can’t even say what ‘it’ is,” my mind shouted. But I said nothing, because what more could I say?
For the third and final time, he inserted his penis in me. I felt so helpless–so defeated. I stopped staring at the black, starless sky and watched his body thrust erratically.
“He’s not wearing a condom!” my conscience reminded me. “Dammit, do something, Tiffani!”
‘Fight’ mode: on. I tensed up and sternly commanded, “No! You’re not wearing a condom!” My right hand pressed against his chest and my left pushed on his stomach.
“What?” he asked, thrusting.
“Stop! You’re not even wearing a condom!” I exclaimed.
I wanted to fight, but I felt like all the power I had was to beg and try to push him off. I wanted to know what diseases he was giving me and how I was supposed to raise a child at 16. I wondered what I did to deserve this and what made him think this was okay.
“No! Stop!” I demanded. I pushed harder on his torso but he didn’t budge. My hands pressed against his intimidating abs.
He looked me dead in the eyes and initiated a series of pitiful persuasion: “It’ll feel good, I promise; I won’t cum; I won’t nut; it’s okay; I will pull out; I always pull out; you have to trust me.”
The voice in my head groaned and ferried with questions. “Grrrr. Do I look like I am enjoying this? What does he mean, ‘I have to trust him’? I just met him! Will he ever stop? Am I still a virgin? Did I allow this to happen? Can he not–“
He interrupted my thoughts with collisions of his lips against mine. I closed my eyes and squirmed my face away from his. He thrusted against my persistent demands to stop.
My legs quivered. “No, I can’t, I can’t! I’m sorry, I can’t! Stop!” I contended. “You can’t. You’re hurting me,” I whimpered.
“It hurts the first time. You just have to get it over with,” he told me and crashed his lips into mine.
Nevertheless, my mind submitted to reality. It became clear to me that he did not want nor need my permission: he was going to have sex with me whether I consented or not.
I was no longer confused.
I lost all consensus of time. I remember wondering if I were capable of making him stop hurting me, but I was so overwhelmed that I forgot it was an option to scream, scratch, kick, punch, or show any physical violence. And frankly, I was too petrified to.
I laid there on the cold bench protesting and begging him to stop, flinching against his thrusts. I felt his cold hand pushing my pelvis down.
After what felt like an eternity, my phone rang—I knew it was my mom’s text message. I asked him to read me the message since my phone was facing upright closer to him. He did: “Hi, be home in 15 min ”
That was my excuse to leave. I told him I was worried about getting home, and he asked if I wanted to get dressed. I said yes, but I sat frozen. He quickly re-clothed, starting off almost immediately. He left me there on the bench, abandoned. I hated myself for idealizing his company, but it sounded better than sitting naked, abused at an empty school playground.
I ceased my loathe and quickly redressed and grabbed my things. Nonplussed, all I could think to do was catch up to him to ask if he came. “I didn’t. I’ll text you tomorrow.”
“What?” I thought to myself. This exchange of words was seriously confounding and left me to feel like he did not just rape me.
“Well, did he know? Was I not clear enough? Did he enjoy that? Am I overreacting? Why does he think I want to hear from him again?”
Trembling, I began my walk home with a flood of questions and concerns. I had no idea what to make of what happened, and I did not have time to think about it. I just knew I had to get home.
“Ok! ,” I texted my mom back.
On my way home I tried calling my friends out of state, but no one answered. Time zones made it too late. I decided I was not ready to decipher this alone, so I would block it from my mind. “It did not happen; that did not happen. It was not rape: it couldn’t be,” I convinced myself.
I was on a mission: get to my condo on the second floor—may I add unrecognized—and prepare for my mom to get home. I unlocked the front door and blabbered nonsense to my dog as I rushed to the bathroom to pee, because my virgin research taught me to pee after sex to prevent UTIs. I was too afraid to inspect myself, but I cleaned the blood and discarded my clothes in a pile in the corner of my room.
I went to the living room and sat on the couch, priming my stellar acting skills. I greeted my mom and put on a façade. She asked me what I did, and I lied. I asked her about her night in attempt to divert the attention to her. Luckily, it worked. For more than 24 hours, my mom thought I was entertaining myself with YouTube videos, when the truth was I was being raped.
I woke the next morning after a restless night’s sleep in denial with an aching neck. I desperately needed some sort of closure, and the only way I could think to get that was through a friendly message from him. I thought it would reassure me that all was okay—that he was not a rapist and that I had not become a rape victim. But in reality, all was everything but ‘okay.’
I snap-chatted Simon twice, both opened but unanswered. I wanted to convince myself that that night had just been an ‘experience,’ not rape. So I blamed myself. “You cannot rape yourself,” I repeated.
But the truth is, he raped me.
But did he really? Yes, he did.