It was just a regular Saturday night. She got off work late and got the usual phone call from her friends partying in I.V. She decided to join them; she really needed a drink.
The guy she liked had been a typical prick and she’d been dwelling on it her entire shift. Once she got to the party her friend got her a beer. He said that she didn’t look OK and that she should tell him what was wrong.
An hour and several drinks later the girl had gotten pretty drunk and she decided that it was time to go home. Only one problem: She’d driven straight to the party from work. Fortunately her friends had taken her keys from her and told her that someone who was sober would have to drive her home. The friend who’d gotten an earful volunteered.
She didn’t remember much about the drive back to her house. By the time she got home, she probably couldn’t tell you what her name was without slurring and dribbling out the side of her mouth.
The next thing she remembered was throwing up outside her house. Who the hell was standing next to her?
And why were her clothes only halfway on?
He said to her, “I don’t think we should tell anyone about this. It might piss some people off. OK? We’ll just keep this one between you and me.”
She couldn’t remember anything from the last hour or two. She’d blacked out and then passed out.
The next morning she could feel it. The sickness in her stomach, the smell of him all over her skin and the excruciating soreness between her legs. He hadn’t even used a condom before he’d done it.
She didn’t know what to do. Was it her fault for being too drunk? Had she brought it all upon herself? Had she said something to lead him on?
Days later she talked to some friends from home to get advice. She didn’t take any of it. She was paralyzed. She felt like it was written across her forehead. She was supposed to be smart, supposed to set the example. She was supposed to be someone her family could be proud of. But she didn’t feel like any of those things. It had been taken away from her and it would be years before she could get it back.
Months later she would see him again, with another girl who probably couldn’t tell you her name without slurring and dribbling out the side of her mouth. She knew she should have said something, done something – anything. He was surrounded by his friends. Her friends. What could she do or say?
Like a coward, she ran home and thew up.
She never saw him again.
Given the chance to do it all over again, she would have done it differently.
It would be wonderful if I could tell you that this was an original story – that it never happens, that people don’t do this in real life. But they do. It happens more often than we’d like to recognize. We know it, but we act like we don’t. We shove it aside because it doesn’t look pretty and it doesn’t fit into busy lives. We can’t wrap it up with a bow tie and turn it into something it’s not. So we don’t talk about it and we don’t acknowledge it.
But it’s there.
The Women’s Center reports that 25 percent of all women will be forced or coerced to have sex by the time they finish college. Only 5 percent of the incidents are reported, and almost all of the occurrences at UCSB involve acquaintances and alcohol.
There are ways you can recognize it. There are ways you can prevent it.
The Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe is one of those ways. On Feb. 13, 21 and 22 it is performing The Vagina Monologues in I.V. Theater. If you haven’t seen it, then you should. Tickets are $7 at the A.S. Ticket Office and all proceeds will go to local women’s charities.
The Vagina Monologues is an Obie Award-winning play created in 1998 and has grown into a worldwide movement known as V-Day, dedicated to stopping violence against women and girls. It proclaims Valentine’s Day as V-Day until the violence stops, and it has raised over $14 million for women’s charities in its first five years.
So do your part to help stop sexual violence against women.
It might help a little closer to home than you think.
Beth Van Dyke is the Daily Nexus sex columnist.