Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Story: Reunited with My Future Acquaintance Rapist

After my freshman year of college, I transferred to a new college where over 40 students had attended the same boarding school I had for high school. A.T. happened to be one of those students. By that December, A.T. and I would be casually dating again. I never thought we were in
love or anything like that, but I did really like him, and I was once again flattered to have caught his attention.

To my former naïve self, A.T. seemed more mature now that we were in college. I, too, was different in that I had started drinking alcohol and was less inhibited in my sexuality. However, with that being said, I was still very much a virgin and committed to waiting until marriage. This commitment was no secret. I was not embarrassed that I was waiting (in fact, I was quite proud), and I didn’t “beat around the bush” in verbally stating that sex was not in the picture.

A.T. seemed to be pursuing me this time around because he was genuinely interested in a relationship with me (or so I thought), but he did test my sexual boundaries. As I had done before when we were high school students, I put up the big red stop sign, stating very clearly that that aspect of me hadn’t changed. Yes, I liked to party, and yes, he was in my room alone with me, but no, sex was not in the cards – nor would it be. Because. I. Was. Still. Waiting. Until. Marriage.

It was not that I didn’t want to have sex or that I was asexual or anything like that. It was an effort to wait, don’t get me wrong, but it was an effort I felt was worth it. I pretty much consistently dated from seventh grade onward. I even had been in two long-term relationships, both of which lasted well over a year, and I never had sex with either of those boyfriends. Waiting was really important to me. I considered it the ultimate giving of oneself to another (not taking of oneself from another). It was something to be valued and cherished. Not stolen.

Despite my reaffirmation of my sexual boundaries following his initial attempts to go further, A.T. continued to press for more. Was he deaf? Dumb? What?! I responded by going through everything yet again, including that sex was not in the picture, but I was growing increasingly annoyed. A.T. apologized and commented that it was just because he didn’t really understand why I wanted to wait until marriage. If I had only known that the very next weekend, in that very bed that we were laying in, that he was going to rape me, I would’ve ended things right then. But instead, I restated everything bluntly yet again, this time adding that he didn’t have to understand or agree with my decision to wait until marriage – he only had to respect it. He said “okay” and we remained in my bed talking until approximately 10 am the next day.

After he left the next morning, I felt good about things. I acknowledged to myself that there was a chance that he had lost interest in dating me since he knew that I was not budging on the whole sex-before-marriage thing, but I truly thought that he respected me, even if that meant just remaining friends if he couldn't handle the no sex thing.  We had spent the entire night in intimate conversation, and I felt like I had gotten to see a genuine glimpse of what was going on in his mind.

At one point during the conversation that night, I had even felt comfortable enough to ask why people commented that it was hard to get to know him (during the first few weeks of school, two mutual friends had referenced it in conversation when I was around). A.T. did not seem phased by this question; in fact, quite the opposite. He responded that he didn’t know why it was a problem, but that it was something of which he was aware because others had brought it to his attention. He said that it was a challenge for him to open up to other people. I began to feel honored that A.T. was opening up to me, like I was one of the few people who got to witness his seemingly personable side. I even stuck up for him; when another friend commented later that week that he was kind of weird, I responded, “aren’t we all a little weird?”

Now I view his portrayal of sensitivity over the course of that night as the culmination of calculated responses to my questions which he used to create a false sense of caring and intimacy. Maybe I’m reading too much into this conversation, but when I look back at this conversation within the broader context of what transpired the next weekend, I can’t help but think I was already being manipulated. 

Before I had gained my hindsight vision, I believed that I had finally gotten through to him as he finally discontinued testing of my boundaries. He seemed content and engaged in our conversation, and I walked away from that night thinking I hope he still wants to date me, but if not, it’s clear that he enjoys my company, and I’m glad we’ll remain friends. The thing with A.T. was that, even during the times when he was being rude or disrespectful (e.g., when trying physical stuff) he still managed to pull off “charming.” Perhaps someone else wouldn’t have been as forgiving as me, but I was very naïve.

He called during the following week to invite me to watch a movie with him and his friends, I was excited. He does still like me, I thought. I was a little perturbed when he put me next to the smelly guy no one wanted to sit next to, but I brushed it aside. For the most part, I had a nice time at the movie – he came across as very attentive, and then following the movie, he took me to get ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. We had a nice night together, which is why I was taken off guard when he didn’t walk me home at the end of the night. We attended college at an urban school, and it was known that it was not safe to walk around alone at night, especially as late as midnight. People frequently got held up at gunpoint for muggings. He really should have walked me home.

When he didn’t walk me home, I began to lose interest in him. I’m from the South, and things like holding the door open, getting walked home, etc. really stand out to me as being a big deal – especially given that A.T. “knew better.” However, I had taken note that he hadn’t tried any funny business during our movie night, which reinforced my belief that he had accepted my sexual boundaries and that it wasn't preventing him from wanting to spend time with me. I guess that’s why I didn’t see through his B.S. when the weekend rolled around.

For the next portion of "My Story," click here.

1 comment:

  1. You know how I am with theories, well I have some but I need to really emphasize that they are just a theory.

    I view A.T. as a sociopath. He seems like he can appear AT WILL to be empathetic, polite, and kind, but his actions seem calculated. It seems like his ultimate goal was to have sex with you. It's like he built up the sexual experience that he wanted to have with you in his own head so much that you literally became something to conquer. It seems that the night of the long intimate conversation his goal changed from having sex with you, to defeating you. I'm having trouble explaining what I mean.

    It's like the night where the two of you had a long intimate talk was all a ruse. Almost like he decided right then and there that he was going to no longer persua you into having sex with him, but trick you into it.

    I wonder if him letting and even insisting that you walk home at midnight by yourself was meant to manipulate you. Maybe he thought that it would make you feel unsafe when you wasn't with him, thus for lack of a better word, train you to feel safe around him and trust him. After all, the times we are the most vulnerable are when we feel safe and trust the people we are around.

    This next part is a huge WHAT IF:
    What if when you walked home alone you wasn't really alone? What if he kept an eye on you in HOPE that someone would try to do something bad to you and he could then run from the shadows and save you? What if the persuasion tactics that he came up with during and after that long night of intimate conversation included manipulating you into sex BY a traumatic event that then would cause you to only feel safe around him, essentially causing you to have an unwavering trust of him. Then if he told you that sex would be a good thing, he felt you would then believe him. Of course all of this is dependent upon him being the hero of the night that you walked home "by yourself". For him to be the hero he would have had to either take a chance that something bad but real would happen to you or have arranged that something would happen to you but something didn't pan out. Like I said, it's a big what if.

    Anyway, I am really sorry for all of this. I know it has to be hard to revisit all of this and to revisit so much of this in such a short period of time. You have my support and you always will. ((hug))