The U.S. Presidential election is the talk of the world lately. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never even set foot in America, or talked to an American, you’ve probably heard about what’s going on. Trump Vs. Clinton. Which is the lesser of two evils? When is the season finale of America?
A few weeks ago the news across every media headline was the Trump tapes. These were recordings of trump bragging about his ability to sexually assault a woman because he’s a star. The actual tapes are graphic and discomforting to listen to as a rape victim, myself. It gets worse to know this isn’t the first time he’s said obnoxiously inappropriate things regarding women (including his own daughter). As Hilary Clinton stated in the second presidential debate; The tapes represent who Trump is. His defense against this particular situation was “it’s locker room talk.” Repeatedly this man argued that’s all it was. He brushed off the severity of sexual assault so quickly with this statement. “They’re just words.” Then after some time over ten women came out and accused him of sexually assaulting them. His response? THEY ARE LIARS.
Now, I could go on for about twelve years about everything wrong with that alone, but instead I’d like to discuss my own experience with “locker room talk.”
I never thought I would be a woman who would find herself in the situation I did. I used to pride myself on my ability to blend in with one of the guys. I used to brag about being “a bro.” I used to take pride in the fact that I could talk like the guys, with the guys. After all, my best friends for years were guys. It was nice to be accepted by them.
When I was in the later years of high school I had a shift in friendships. The girls and guys I had been friends with from middle school had drifted from me halfway through high school. My best friend then became a guy who rode the same bus to school as I did and lived down the road. We got ridiculously close as friends. As most friends are, I became friends with some of his friends he had before me. One of which joined our little group and made us the “three musketeers.” I loved having two best friends who were guys. They were less drama, less gossip, less maintenance. As previously stated, I felt pride in fitting in with them. The truth is though, I was a slut-shaming, sexist woman back in those days. I just never realized it. (My now very feminist self is cringing while writing this.)
Eventually our little friend group grew as we graduated from high school to include other guys and on occasion a couple females. I heard my fair share of “locker room talk” among these friends. Specifically from the friend who made us the musketeers.(let’s call him Dodo so I can chuckle while writing the rest of this and you can know who I’m talking about.) He came along and was always the goofy, immature, ignorant one. He was good comic relief when you needed it, and he was capable of a serious discussion every once in a blue moon. He was the worst though. He would rate women, he would objectify them incessantly, he would judge and slut shame, etc. My biggest regret is not seeing everything wrong with that back in those days.
I think on some level it made me feel better about myself. On some level I was enjoying that I wasn’t getting the same kind of attention these other girls were. That my friends saw me higher up. Don’t get me wrong, when they would find a woman they found particularly attractive I’d say just the opposite as I listened to them describe everything perfect about her that I was not. Though for the majority of the time, I felt good about my self personally. My friends were also a no boundaries/ touchy-feely kinda group. It was not uncommon to be on the receiving end of a “titty slap” or an ass smack. When I was single I brushed that off like it was nothing. I had the HORRIBLE mind set “they’re just guys”.
By not objecting when they would touch my body in inappropriate ways without consent or anything I gave Dodo the idea it didn’t matter when I flat out said no.
Rewind a bit to high school; I had entered into a relationship that then lasted 3 years. Once that relationship ended a couple years outof high school, I turned back to my friends for support. I hadn’t been able to be really close with them during my relationship because my ex-fiancé was not a fan of me having friends of the opposite sex. So I abided by him and distanced my friends. We rarely talked and even more rarely hung out. The week that him and I broke up as I said I confided in my friends. We hung out for a couple of the days right after the big breakup.
One night however, I was over at Dodo’s house. All three of us had been there, but night fell and the other guy left. It was just Dodo and I up in his barn on his property. (We had been cleaning it earlier that day.) I can’t really remember all of the details of that first time. I do remember it was just a chill night. It was just us hanging out for a while. Just laughing and talking. I was still very depressed as it hadn’t even been a week since I had my heart shattered, so we talked about that and what I deserved. We were laying on the couch up there like we had many times before just flopped over each other in a platonic way as we talked. He started to touch my breasts again and slapping my ass more and more. I felt very uncomfortable with this. When I was in a relationship they knew to never do that kind of thing as it made me uncomfortable then also. My ex in this story was the man I lost my virginity to. He’s the one I gave myself to entirely. The only guy I had been with and let do such things to me. When Dodo started slapping my ass more and more I became visually uncomfortable but didn’t want to say so. I don’t know why. I can’t remember what was going through my head that night. I just remember being taken aback by it when he literally “grabbed me by the pussy.” It wasn’t locker room talk then. It was an action. It was no longer words. It was real. It happened. I squirmed and got away from him and tried to figure out what the hell was going on.
I don’t know that I ever did. My mind was mush from my breakup and I was overwhelmed with all of this. I was terrified of being with someone again. I did NOT want to be with Dodo. I did not want to be there in that moment, but I felt like it had already gone too far. I started questioning everything. “Did it really matter?” “Is sex really that important?” “We can still be normal right?” “I trust him, right?”
I did trust him. I kept telling myself that. I kept telling myself that this was okay. Then I told him no. I told him to stop. He made me feel like I wanted it or needed it or something of the like. I repeatedly told him no as he drove his fingers inside of me. He told me “you’ve had your heart broken, you deserve someone who can make you feel good.” I trusted him, I trusted him, I trusted him. I told myself this wouldn’t be happening if I didn’t trust him.
It hurt me though. I don’t know why I didn’t fucking take that as a clue. It was a violent way about him. (Not saying he was or is a violent person though.) I don’t even know what it was that he was friggen doing down there, but it wasn’t pleasurable. It made me gasp and squirm and move and he took that all as pleasure and wiggled his fingers harder and faster against me. That night I went home feeling violated. I had let him after so many attempts at stopping him. He sexually assaulted me. It was more than just locker room talk.
After that night I was spinning even more emotionally than before. He and I later talked about having sex. I was taken aback by these texts, to be honest. I can remember the conflict I felt. I was insanely hesitant to agree to this “fuck buddy” friendship. He’d been a friend for years, I wasn’t sure if I could handle it. I had this spite inside of me towards my ex though. So I convinced myself I needed to and since now I was the target of his locker room talk, I figured it was going to be a good thing.
The thing about sex is that I have to be comfortable to enjoy it. I no longer hold it up on a pedestal but I do have the desire to feel comfortable and confident before I have sex with someone. I was the furthest thing from comfortable. I was vulnerable though and he took advantage of that from the beginning.
June 21st, 2014 we went to the movies to see a movie we wanted to see. After the movie Dodo repeatedly asked me if I wanted to pull over at his camp on the way home to finally just have sex. I did not want to. There was no part in my body that felt like that was what I wanted to do. I was not comfortable with him. I did not want to expose myself in the light of day to him. I was so confused. My head was spinning. My facial reactions said different than my words. I was young and recently heartbroken unsure of how to react to the situation. I still trusted him because he was my best friend. I couldn’t wrap my head around the possibility that even a friend could do something wrong like that. I didn’t even process the level of wrong my friendship had crossed over into. I had said no multiple times but instead of just accepting it he would keep questioning it. Finally he came up to the camp and just sat there in the car. I told him “No, I don’t know about this” in every way you could imagine. He just got out of the car came around to my side and opened my door. He had me get in the back seat and he vigorously jammed his fingers down my pants again and up into me. (For the sake of every woman he’s been with since, I hope he’s figured out how to ACTUALLY pleasure a woman by now.) Eventually again, I just sort of sighed and decided okay, I’ll just get this over with.
Worst sex of my entire life to date.
I don’t say he raped me then, however. I did say okay. I did flip over after he pulled my pants down with me trying to keep them pulled up. I did just say okay to trying this whole thing out. I did tell my cousin and a friend it happened. I hid all the truth.
A few weeks later he had a party. Our whole gang showed up at this camp again. The other guy in our trio of friends- who was my best friend ever at the time- and I were talking. I was drunk. I was drunk, I was depressed, I was emotional. I went outside and sat down in a chair that had a sunken in seat that was filled with water from the rain earlier that day. The water splashed up around me as it quickly reached my skin through my clothing. I can remember the details to this so well because it was the moment I told my best friend that OUR best friend and I had sex. It was a secret before that. The thing too, I was always in love with that best friend. Not the kind of romantic, need to be with you, you can have the last Oreo love, but a very strong love that made me feel safe and warm and happy when I was hanging out with him. A brotherly love. I told him. I cried to him about it. That should have been a clue to me.
Fast forward to bro night later that summer. It was four of us. The three musketeers and the fourth who joined us. It was the four of us for a bit. This wasn’t the first bro night. It wasn’t the first time we all stayed at the same place or shared beds or anything. It came time to sleep and Dodo decided to sleep in the same bed as me. I shrugged it off as whatever. It was whatever. The other two had started to fall asleep. The room was quiet. He kept pushing on my shoulders and my head to go down on him. Fucking Dodo. I’d shake my head no, or lightly whisper “no.” He kept doing it. My other friends were RIGHT THERE. He kept pushing me, so I slid down and did it. He gave me an STI in my throat.
STI’s are so stigmatized nowadays, also. That experience however much it sucked had it’s silver linings.
This didn’t keep going all summer long. It actually only went on until that last time because someone else had showed interest in me. I was looking for potential in a relationship- not just a fuck buddy friendship. Someone walked in my life who early on I thought would carry that potential. Let’s call him Casanova. (Only to find out that was a joke, too. I was good at attracting the dickwipes.) I slept with Casanova off and on throughout the remaining of the summer. It was consensual and respectful. Everything was out there. I willingly stayed in that situation.
In August I went back to college. By November I was still off and on sleeping with Casanova who’s girlfriend came back after cheating on him. (A mega-screwed up situation that entire thing was.) November 1st, 2014, a Saturday. I was home from college mainly because I had the opportunity to hang out with Casanova and I enjoyed the attention he gave me. He brought me out of my shell a lot. As much regret as I have in my life, I don’t regret him. He changed me and showed me who I could be. (He also introduced me to the love of my life.) I had sex with Casanova that night. Then by 11pm I had to bring him home and I had to go somewhere. My family had given my room to my little sister so I didn’t want to go back late and stumble around making all sorts of noise. I decided to call Dodo.
Now, even after everything so far I somehow had trust for him. I somehow felt okay. I somehow felt like it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was in ridiculous denial. His house was the only of my friends I was welcome to stay at, and I needed a place to stay that night. He was drunk when I was about to get there. He told me he had been drinking. I bought him some chicken sandwiches from Mcdonalds to sober him up when I got there. SIX exactly. My first thought upon getting to his house was “he’s not drunk, he’s putting on a show.” I still stand by that thought. He barely had anything to drink and then he ate a ton of food including chicken sandwiches I brought him.
Time for bed. I laid in the bed next to him fully clothed. I was wearing leggings and I laid on my stomach. I remember that he wouldn’t stop slapping and groping my ass. I pushed his hand away a few times and told him to stop. He didn’t, so I just flipped over. I laid flat on my back so that he wouldn’t grab me anymore. That didn’t stop him. He started slapping at my boobs. I batted his hand away, rationalizing that he had drank some. Then he just grabbed me by the pussy. Quite literally. He started groping and caressing my vagina no matter how many times I pushed his hands away and said no. That was not just locker room talk. That was “locker room talk” at one point- but now it was actions. I told him over and over again no. He slid his hand down into my pants and I squirmed and pushed my legs together and tried using my knees to stop him. He flopped over me and overpowered me. I fucking tried.
“You want this. You are sexually frustrated.” “You wanted it before, you want it again.” “You want this.”
In this moment my mind was spinning as I was a broken record saying “no, no, no, stop, please, no.” I told him I wasn’t sexually frustrated. I told him I didn’t want it. I told him to stop it. He overpowered me though. He overpowered me because I was stuck between him and a wall and I was weak. Finally I stopped fighting. He jumped up and just ripped my leggings off of me and (thankfully) grabbed a condom and started having sex with me. Vicious sex. He flipped me over by pulling my hair and had me in the most uncomfortable position. I was not lubricated up because I did not want it. It hurt. The strain he put on my neck yanking my hair and head back for so long was awful. When he finished I just lay there. I lay there, turned to the wall, and silently cried.
Why didn’t I just leave you may ask? I was processing. I was hurt. I was sad. I thought about leaving for 30 full minutes. Thought of how fast I could get out. But I didn’t know where I’d go. I know now that I could have gone home. I could have been with my family. I was younger and processing. I knew what happened.
It was not locker room talk. Not locker room behavior.
It was a guy who had gotten away with “locker room talk” too many times before to know what was right and what was wrong.
My best friend raped me and I’ve had to deal with that. The full week after I just still couldn’t even process it.
The next day he called me to say it shouldn’t have happened.
It doesn’t change it.
He said he was wrong.
It doesn’t change it.
He said he was sorry.
It doesn’t change it.
He said he was drunk. Though I know he wasn’t.
It doesn’t change it.
It doesn’t matter if he gave me a million dollars after, it was wrong. He was wrong. He raped me. He scarred me. He took something from me that I didn’t realize for too long. I still have moments with my boyfriend where I won’t let him even touch my arm because I just can’t.
It’s been rough hearing everything in the news about the accusers. People, WOMEN, not understanding why they would just come out now? It’s brought me to my own story over and over. It’s made my heart ache.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to admit when someone raped you? To even call it rape? You feel like you failed yourself.
To this day I have a very hard time saying the phrase out loud. “He raped me.”
I’ve been made to believe that I am ruining his life by saying he raped me. That I was wrong. That you cant “let someone have sex with you and be raped.” I gave up. I stopped fighting. So that means it wasn’t rape.
That was ME. Some small town girl who only a few hundred people know of. Imagine being sexually assaulted by a BILLIONAIRE. Your word against theirs. Your word against their lawyers and their money and their fame.
That’s why it’s empowering, brave, and inspiring that these women have decided to come forward to shed light on how horrible of a man he really is by sharing their stories. It’s depressing and just painful to hear people say they’re lying. We need to be smarter than that. We need to be supportive and strong.
So dear reader, thank you for making it this far. Thank you for bearing with me as I told my story and expressed my feelings. I could go on and on about this issue. 3,290 words in though and I should probably stop. Just know that I’m okay. Don’t blame me, or bash me, or cuss me out. I am much stronger now. Much more of a fighter than I ever was.
So to you;
Be Kind, Be Strong, Be a fighter.
Peace, Love, and light to you.