Dec 18, 2021
Drunk one-night stands are so normalized in our society that it didn’t even cross my mind that she had been raped.
Dear Mom and Dad,
In my college communications class, we did a module on sexual citizenship. My eyes were open to so many different things that had never really crossed my mind. One topic in particular hit extremely close to home, consent. I know we have always avoided conversations about sex but, I wish we would have talked about sex before I entered my high school years.
As you both know, underage drinking is constantly happening at high school parties. Sophomore year, my best friend and I both attended our neighboring school’s winter dance and the party that followed. My best friend got extremely intoxicated and the next thing I knew, she disappeared into another room. I had no idea what happened until the next morning when a rumor spread that she hooked up with a guy in our grade that had a history of sexually assaulting girls.
I just believed what happened between them was a consensual hookup. Drunk one-night stands are so normalized in our society that it didn’t even cross my mind that she had been raped.
She never said anything to me until a police investigation was started at my school involving many of my peers. She never even told me, her best friend, that she was raped because she blamed herself for his unwanted and unconscionable actions. She was so intoxicated that all she could remember was his body on top of hers. She couldn’t remember the situation enough to know whether or not she said yes. Because of my class I now know you cannot consent to sex when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol disrupts our decision making and no matter what she said during the time, it is impossible to give consent. He knew he was at best taking advantage of her state but in actuality it was rape.
The trauma she continually faces to this day is the constant reminder that he denied her, her right to agency over her body. She is one in a million girls this happens to and one in ten girls that it happened to in my own school.
If we were all taught about the necessity of consent before and during high school maybe fewer people would be dealing with this trauma. Self-blame and shame could be avoided and the healing process for many going through this same situation could be a whole lot easier.
I still blame myself for not believing her story right away and not
understanding that she didn’t agree to sexual intercourse under the influence. I want to be the person that people can come to when they need to be heard, but because of my lack of education on sex, healthy relationships and consent, I was not able to be that person for her.