When I was in college…

In Personal by tatsumi

A lot has changed about me since I was a co-ed. Some good and some not-so-good. There is some seriously personal, seriously heavy shit behind the cut. You have been warned…

I helped start a gay-lesbian-bisexual-diversity awareness group on campus (which was a big deal because it was a Christain university in the heart of the midwest in 1992). We didn’t know about the Trans movement then, and Queer was still a bad word, nevermind “questioning” as a moniker! I did a lot of drugs. I dyed my hair, cut it weird and shaved my head. I called myself a Dyke and tried to fit in with the misfits. I was shunned by the lesbians on campus and in the small local community because I slept with men and didn’t really want to give it up. I was harrassed and threatened by the jocks and frat boys. I did a lot more drugs and grew out my hair.

Over Easter break, when everyone but a few people left the dorm, I was raped by a man I barely knew. This was 1994. They didn’t have rape prevention classes or sex awareness seminars or crisis hotlines on my campus. Tori Amos had just started RAINN, but I didn’t know about it yet. I had only just found her music a few months earlier and it was probably what helped me through the most. Never one to suffer in silence, I told everyone, anyone who would listen to warn them and to assure myself that I had no reason to feel guilty – that I was blameless, a helpless victim who did not invite this monster to do these things to her. (Even this many years later, I still sometimes think I could have, should have been able to stop him somehow and that “if only xxxx” then he wouldn’t have raped me.) When I told the girl who asked me to let him stay in my room, she, in the same breath, denied it could have happened and said that’s why she didn’t let him stay in her room. When I went to file a complaint with the college, they told me it would be more trouble than it was worth because I didn’t file a police report or go to the hospital. Also, since he wasn’t a student and I didn’t know anything about him aside from his first name and where he worked, there wasn’t anything the college could do about it. The college official suggested I go see the on campus shrink. When I told my non-college-attending-friends (the locals who I enjoyed partying and doing drugs with) they held me, cried for me and promised revenge. I tried to forget, tried to move on and did more drugs. Did I mention this was my second rape? You’d think I would have learned something from the first one, but this one was almost 2 years later and I didn’t see it coming until it was much too late. The following summer, I left the university (with only 15 transferable credits for 2 years worth of classes) and went back to living with Mom and Dad.

I got a respectable job as a bank teller and started taking classes at the community college. I stopped doing drugs. I made new friends and shunned my old college life including any activist tendancies I once had. Many years later, I held my first Rape Fantasies class and openly talked about reclaiming past experiences and how to reshape living-nightmares of past horrors into mostly-harmless memories. It was a healing class for me and was very well attended and well received by the audience.

I don’t know why I needed to write this today. I’m shaking as I type, revisiting these old painful memories. The really painful part wasn’t the rape – that was horrid, but something that happened to me – something that I could survive and be stronger for. The horrid part was the denial, betrayal and utter dimissial from those I told, those I trusted and confided in. Honestly, if it weren’t for the strung-out local druggies, and Tori’s music, I don’t know that I would have made it through.