Why My Sexual Assault Story Could Also Be Yours

I woke up in the passenger seat and his hand was down my shirt, cupping my breast. He moved his hand around the inside of my shirt, repeatedly feeling me up for several seconds at a time. I asked him to stop, politely. He asked me for money that I didn’t have. I apologized, then asked him to please stop touching me. He slowly put his hand on my leg, moving it toward my inner thigh. He asked me for money again, this time with more anger in his voice.

“Please stop touching me. I just want to go home.”

“Look, I have to pick up other people, if you don’t have money or any form of payment to give me, then get out.”

The vehicle came to a forceful halt. The door slammed shut as he got out and took my arm and vigorously pulled me out of the cab. My arms scraped against the pavement and I could feel blood on my right elbow drip down my forearm. He sped away, the tires forming a smoke cloud in front of my face.

I reached over and grabbed a dirty Dunkin’ Donuts straw wrapper off of the sidewalk to suppress the blood from the superficial wound. The blood soaked the wrapper quickly, so I sat there, unsure of what to do with myself. The streetlamp above me flickered, and I feared it would soon shut itself off. The street was eerily quiet for a Saturday night in Boston. I looked around me and there didn’t appear to be anyone in sight. I was confused and I was helpless. I heard CAR alarms and voices in the distance, but I couldn’t find the strength to stand. My eyes felt heavy, and my head started to spin. I could feel tears forming from my eyes, but I wasn’t sure why. Everything had happened so fast and processing it was too much of a feat for me at the time. Maybe because it was all just a sick dream, or maybe it was just because I was intoxicated. I was simply too drunk to prevent something like this happening.

If you’re expecting a post about the dangers of alcohol, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Alcohol makes us dance on tables, it makes us drunk text our ex-boyfriends and sleep around with guys who make us feel like shit. Alcohol gives us the courage get behind the wheel and drive our friends home, simply because we’re the “least drunk.” It aids us in finding the words to say when we have been struggling to find them ourselves. Alcohol makes it acceptable to go home with a random guy who we hardly know and allow our friends to do the same, because he seemed half decent at the bar we drunkenly met him at. Alcohol also makes it OK to get in a cab by yourself in the middle of the night, in my case at least.

Alcohol makes it worth the risk. It makes the risk one that we are willing to take.

I know how you are labeling me. I was “that drunk girl who put herself in a stupid situation.” But, I have to ask, does being alcohol-induced make me less of a victim? Less of a human?

We can sleep with whomever we please, stumble all over the place, and make that short walk home alone all while intoxicated. How many times have you asked your friends, “Should I got back to his place?” or how about “How did I get this huge gash on my leg last night?” Alcohol acts as a permission slip for our careless decisions. Decisions that are usually laughed about the next day, as long as you weren’t “too” drunk to fuck up. As long as you weren’t “too” drunk to have one moment of weakness that could lead to a consequence that was never expected. A consequence that we all risk happening to ourselves when we take a single sip of alcohol.

However, nothing bad could ever happen to you, right? You know how to control your liquor.

We’d all like to think we are immune to our drunken decisions turning into a horror story. Yeah, I thought that too. My horror story has been something that has been brushed to the side because I was “too drunk.” Brushed to the side because I had that one moment of weakness, one thought that made it OK for me to say “yes” to the REGISTERED cab driver who offered me a ride and made it known to me he just wanted me to “get home safe.” My bad.

This incident happened fairly recently. It’s difficult for me to admit that I feel judgement from my friends, family, and the law enforcement involved. I have been asked, “How?” and “Why?” and even “What were you thinking?” My question to you is, how exactly would you like me to answer this? Would you like me to try and explain what was going through my head? Would you like me to blame it on the fact I was drunk?

If it gives you some sort of tangible answer for why the cab driver thought it was OK to slip his hand down my shirt and toss me on the sidewalk, then OK, I’ll tell you it was because I was drunk. Somehow my drunken state makes me less of a priority and more of “just another drunk girl” case that has gotten lost in the mix of other instances similar to mine.

I was questioned about the badge number on his cab, his name and appearance, what kind of accent he had. Where and when exactly these bruises got on my arm. I was asked where he touched me and for how long. I was asked if any part of him was penetrated inside of me.

All questions that I struggled to answer at the time. My slurred words and tears rolled down my face making it difficult for them to understand me. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t want to sleep away the pain, though, I wanted to sleep away the alcohol. The alcohol that had been making it so difficult for me to piece together the incident that had just occurred.

Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% still being left unreported. 

I can’t change the law. I can’t change how you view this situation, or maybe you believe I completely made it up. You might believe I embellished the situation for a good blog post, or simply for attention. I can’t change what you think, or even begin to explain the cab driver’s fucked up decision he made that night.

That extra tequila shot made me comfortable getting into a cab alone. Just like it made you going home with that random guy, alone. Just like it made you comfortable walking home with random strangers from a bar because you all lived in the same area, alone. Just like it allowed you to justify getting into a car with someone who was just a little bit drunker than you were because you live just down the road.

My story is no different from yours. My story just had a different ending, simply because luck wasn’t on my side that night.

Alcohol acts a permission slip for all of these things to happen. I am not asking for you to feel sorry for me, and I’m not even asking to change your opinion on the situation. Sexual assault occurs more frequently than we’d like to admit.

It doesn’t matter if you said “no,” at first. Alcohol makes it easy to be persuaded, making whatever happened OK, right? It doesn’t matter if you were totally uncomfortable with sleeping with him, that feeling seems to be unwarranted for because you were drunk and “didn’t make it clear enough.”

If that’s the case, maybe I shouldn’t have fallen asleep in the cab. My closed eyes made me vulnerable to getting assaulted by this man. I was basically asking for it. I was simply “too” drunk and stupid to realize the consequence of my actions.

But, I have to ask, what makes your stupid drunken decisions any less severe than mine? What makes your “I don’t remember how I got home,” or “What the fuck did I do last night,” stories any different from mine? Is it because you got away with it?

If you don’t want to do it for me, do it for everyone else who have put themselves in a situation similar to mine, where luck didn’t fall on their side. Stop blaming it on the alcohol, and start blaming it on the perpetrator involved.

I’m sure some of you reading this has had a similar situation to mine. Maybe it was OK for him to slip it inside you even if you didn’t feel comfortable with it, but you were drunk, so it made it acceptable because you didn’t make it clear enough. Or maybe you got harassed that one time you walked home from the bars, but you were asking for it because vodka said so. There are so many things we let slide because our explanations seem to be clouded by the fact that we were intoxicated.

I don’t blame anyone for what happened, and I would go as far to say that I don’t even blame myself. Sure, my judgement may have been clouded by a couple of extra shots I shouldn’t have taken, but I’d like to ask you to divert your attention away from the alcohol. This post sounds like an attack, like an in-your-face “shut the f*ck up.” But, it’s not meant to be. I’m guilty of letting my friends go home with complete strangers, and not being as careful as I should be when it comes to making decisions while under the influence of alcohol. But, we all are. We’re all guilty of it. We all go out and trust the fact that nothing bad could ever happen to us despite the horror stories we hear all of the time. We’re untouchable. We’re immune to danger. That is, until we are proven wrong.

My About page tells you that my life is nothing short of entertaining. But I think all of our lives are. We all have a story to tell, we all have a secret to hide. The only difference with me is that I have decided to make my stories and secrets public. I make things public because I know some of my posts give some people a voice who feel uncomfortable talking about it themselves. Like I said, maybe some of you think I embellish stories for a decent post, but for those of you who relate to this story, I hope it can give you some peace of mind that you’re not alone.

Featured image via joiseyshowaa on Flickr


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