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Confessions Of A Victim: I Was Date Raped

A personal encounter of the most underreported crime: date rape.


  • Wednesday, 22 February 2017
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Confessions Of A Victim: I Was Date Raped
Image: Nova Bucks
I remember waking up to his voice, he was calling out my name, repeatedly. It was like a scene from a movie, everything was blurry as I opened my eyes, with objects around me taking their shape slowly. I was in a hotel room. One of those dodgy motel rooms which didn't have a window. I remember him putting my underwear and my dress on the bed, beside me. I had no memory of taking them off.
 
Date rape. Seems like a trivial topic. We think that we would never be subject to it, as we know the people we hang out with. Really, if someone were to spike our drink, we would know it at the first sip. We could not be more wrong. Date rape is forced sex without consent between two people who know each other previously. More often than not, date rape involves friends or colleagues, and sometimes may not require any beverage tampering. The most common date rape scenario is when the perpetrator has sex with a victim who is unable to consent to sex as they have been debilitated by drugs or alcohol. Neesa* relates her horrific experience to us.
 
“What am I doing here? Where are we?” I asked him. “Your mother has been calling,” he said, and handed me my phone. Bits of the night before came to my mind. We went for dinner, we had pizza with beers. He then suggested we head to this club nearby. I wasn't very keen, but decided to go along with it. I didn't want to be branded a wet blanket, you see. I remember dancing, his hands around my hips. What were we drinking in the club? Beer? Liquor? I couldn't recall. It was like someone had turned off the lights in my mind. “Get dressed, I'll drop you at home,” he said. As I put my clothes on, I racked my brain to recollect the incidents of the night before. What came to me was chilling. Nothing.
 
Image: The Frisky
It’s all very vague now, us walking down the stairs of the hotel, him checking out at the tiny reception, me getting into his car. I only remember feeling very sore. “I didn’t penetrate,” I recall him saying. “Then why am I so sore down there?” I asked. He didn’t have an answer. My mind was racing, more so because I had just stayed out the entire night, and I knew my parents would be worried sick. It didn’t dawn on me then, I just wanted to get home and scrub myself until I got rid of all traces of him. Growing up had been tough for me, I had been through plenty of low points in my life. However, waking up with my nether regions smarting from an unknown incident was rock bottom.
 
I remember walking into my house, mumbling an apology to my seething mother, and running straight to the bathroom, trying to make sense of what happened the night before. It dawned on me then, that I was a victim of date rape. I had never felt more violated in my entire life, and yet I did not feel anger. Instead, I felt shame, and worse, I felt worthless.
 
I followed the ‘rules’. We met in a public place. I wore a decent dress that was not too revealing. I went for drinks with someone I know. It wasn’t a date. He was a relative of mine. In fact, he was like a brother to me. We decided to go for dinner on a whim. I did not have too much to drink. Even if I did, that was no reason for me not to give my consent. I kept thinking how society would blame me; a young adult venturing out with an older man, having drinks with him and then accusing him of rape. I now realise that no matter how much alcohol I would have had, nobody has the right to touch me in any way. No matter what society thinks.
 
Image: Pinterest
The fact that I was not allowed to give my permission is worse than being raped. The physical violation I felt doesn’t come close to the violation of my rights as a human being. I was not only stripped of my clothing, I was stripped of my consent. 

The weeks that followed were tumultuous. I was absent from all social outings that involved alcohol. Family gatherings became a chore as I could not bring myself to face my rapist, whose wife was now expecting their third child.  
 
It took me months to overcome this incident. I never told a soul, but with time I realised that this never was my fault. Of course, I regret going out with him that night, but my intentions were clear. And hence, so is my conscience.
 
Image: Tell Wut
One of the many instances where technology is more of a boon than a bane, online support groups helped me tremendously. I came to see that this incident did not define me, it is not who I am. It is a mere bump on the road, and I have a choice on whether I want to let it affect me or not. I have moved past this. Although it still haunts me, it is but a passing thought and I choose to let it remain as that.
 
I have realised that I cannot blame the alcohol, nor the decision to go out with him, nor myself. The only person at fault is him. Slowly, I let myself back into the world of social gatherings. I began drinking socially (but very cautiously) again. Family get-togethers became easier with time, placated by my loving relatives who never judged me for my absenteeism.
 
In retrospect, I am grateful that I found the courage to overcome this incident. The whole experience has not only taught me about myself but also about the dynamics of people and how they perceive tough situations. It has also educated me plenty about society, and its’ expectations on women, including the culture of victim blaming. Having read my story, would you still blame the victim?
 
Image: Advocating Democracy
Neesa’s rapist is a relative of hers through marriage. He is 14 years older than her, and is happily married with three children. She thought of him as a brother, as they had plenty in common and kicked off a good friendship from the time they were introduced to each other.
 
Date rape cases aren’t isolated incidents. One in three women have experienced some sort of sexual abuse while intoxicated. Despite following the ‘rules’ that society has set, Neesa still fell prey to her rapist. Although he did show some remorse, and has apologised, Neesa has chosen to sever all forms of communication with him. When she sees him at family gatherings, she is civil. His wife has no knowledge of this until today.
 
*Names have been changed to protect the victim’s identity.

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