Bob. What a generic name. In fact, it is not your actual name, just simply what you went by as of nearly nine years ago. We were co-workers, yet I barely spoke to you. Honestly, you probably do not remember my name, my face or anything about me. But, I remember you and the one night we had together.
It was an awkward burger joint we worked in. Actually, you left within a month of me starting there. You were the cool, yet aloof server and I was the awkward, shy hostess. You were friends with all of my best friends as well as many other people. I knew nothing about you, but I knew you were cute and that was all that mattered.
You were at my friend’s house one night. We all were, even one of our managers. We all spent the evening drinking, playing beer pong, and listening to Savage’s Swing on repeat. I watched as you danced, trying to think of how to get your attention. Over time, I obtained my goal: I got your attention. We spent the rest of the evening together…talking, laughing and kissing.
“What now?” you asked me as my friends went to bed or back to their own homes. I laughed. I kissed you. I said we were not going to have sex. We did anyways. You were quick. Then, you ran upstairs and made out with my friend and even asked her out on a date afterward (I know, because she asked my permission the next day).
I texted you the next morning and asked that you not say anything to anyone. I felt disgusting. I felt violated, but I did not understand why. I told my friend, our mutual co-worker, that we had “non-consensual sex” and she told me I should not have drank so much. You asked me why you would tell anyone.
Why would you tell anyone? For years, I thought it was because you were embarrassed by me. For years, I thought you simply wanted nothing to do with me. For years, I thought I was too disgusting for anyone, even you, to ever love.
I had one person tell me it was rape. ONE out of the six people I told. I had one person tell me to call the cops, or at least my parents. I laughed at him. No one I worked with believed me. I was not even sure I wanted to destroy your life with a rape allegation because I was not even sure I believed myself.
Bob, did you know I thought I was carrying your child and I had to wait two weeks to take a pregnancy test (it was negative)? Did you know I had to get tested for HIV (So was this)? Bob, did you know that I never used the word rape until I had a child of own and imagined what I would think if that had happened to her?
Maybe you do not know you raped me. Maybe you do not know that you destroyed me. Maybe you still don’t. Or maybe, Bob, you do know but you do not care.
Why would you tell anyone? You would not. I barely did. I was embarrassed that I did not fight back. I was embarrassed that I had kissed you, a rapist. I was simply and complexly embarrassed.
Bob, I now know I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I told you no. I told you that I did not want you. I told you my boundaries and I stuck to them. I knew who I was and what I wanted. I did not compromise anything.
But, it should be different for you.
Bob, you raped me. You went past my boundaries. You took my sovereignty away from me. You told me that your sexual desires were more important than my humanity. After nine years, I have learned that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. After nine years, I have learned that you are the one who should be embarrassed.
Bob. What a generic name. You were my co-worker. You were a friend to most of my friends. But, you are also my rapist. You are a man I have not seen in nine years, but a man I picture every day of my life.
Bob, sometimes, I imagine writing you a message on Facebook, this message. I picture us being like Thordis Elva and her rapist. But I know it is not like that because, “why would [you] tell anyone?”
Well, Bob, I told. I told my friends, my family, and even people who know you. Some would say not to bring this up, but I did. And guess what happened?
I forgave you.