Alcohol and Me.

In incredibly dull news, my 21st birthday is on Wednesday!

Alcohol and I have a strange relationship. In high school,  I drank desperately and often. I was a very weird, awkward thing, with few friends. I made a couple friends with people who went to parties, and that was a huge step for me. Suddenly, when drinking, I didn’t feel so awkward, so ugly, so very alone*. The funny thing is, I never drank enough to get sick, or really have a hangover. I really don’t like the taste of alcohol, and high school alcohol, that insect-repellent vodka and Pabst Blue ribbon…blech!

I went to one too many parties. My last party, the party where everyone celebrated graduation…that was the party at which I was raped. I kick myself for not being more suspicious. Like I said, alcohol eases my naturally suspicious and distrusting nature. I went for a walk up a hill, away from the party, with a boy I thought was a friend of mine. I was so naive.

We were just walking and talking when he pushed me down. Terrified, I laid perfectly still. Me, the normally very abrasive, very in-your-face feminist, laid there and took it. I think the only thing moving were my eyes, which were squeezed shut and rolling like a terrified horse’s. Oh, how his breath stunk. Oh, how I burned with shame and pain. He kept whispering about me wearing “that dress,” how I was a big-boobed slut who should know better.

When it was finally over, I rolled away from him and ran down the hill to the bonfire. The slimy piece of shit called after me “Until next time,” and made that sick gesture where you put your tongue in between two fingers held up.

A quasi-friend of mine noticed the dirt all over my back, my tears, and the forest detritus in my hair. She assumed I had cheated on Sean (whom I had just started dating). I let her think that. I let everyone think I had consented to sex.

There was no way I was going to report the rapist. He was a good-ol-boy, no one would believe me! I was the girl writing the editorials in the school newspaper about abortion rights, the separation of church and state, and confronting racism. I was a radical, someone who would pin rape on a perfectly innocent young man.

I found out later that he raped more girls. Could I have prevented that by reporting him?

Where was my strength? Where was the iron will forged over years of systematic abuse and a constant naggling sense of abandonment? My lioness turned out to be a frightened kitten.

I was 17, and I was raped.

I now only drink if Sean or a very trusted friend is around. I do not drink around unknown men.

Sean knows about the rape (not MY rape, I don’t want ownership of something like this.) He would tear the man limb from limb if he knew who he was. I like my husband to stay out of jail, so I don’t tell him.

The last time I visited Wisconsin, I saw the rapist in a local mall. I was filled with boiling rage. He winked at me, and my rage turned to shaking terror.

If I didn’t have a good marriage and very close male friends, I would think it was my lot in life to be terrorized by men.

* Side note: I grew up in a family of international adoptees. I look white, but have an air of nervous “otherness” about me. I was never comfortable living in the homophobic, racist, xenophobic little Wisconsin town where I grew up.

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