From The Archives: An Affair To Remember

From The Archives: An Affair To Remember

Hello, my lovelies! Thank you for being here because I have a super important, super exciting announcement to make. I am nominated for Blogger Of The Year at the MH Blog Awards this year! But there is a catch, I need your help! From now until June 4, you can go to the MH Blog Awards website and vote for Amber @ The Winter Of My Discontent for Blogger Of The Year!

TW: Sexual Assault

I’ve decided to republish the original posts from May 2020. I didn’t know about my disorders then. I just knew that I was tired of being pushed around and being hurt for something that I couldn’t control. I wanted to spread the word; to speak out to let others know that they aren’t alone.

Any notes from 2021 Amber will be highlighted in purple. This was originally published on 05/06/2020.

No headings. No photos. Only a heartbreaking story about a girl too trusting for her own good. Read with caution; this is a tale of sexual assault.

“You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage” 

Alex Elle

I’ve seen the story in the news many times over the last 20 years. As technology, social media, and 24-hour news have grown, the reports often grow worse; more violating than ever. A teenage girl goes to a party and gets drunk with her peers. She gets violated by one or more people once she is too inebriated to do anything about it; too “out of it” to say no or to even understand what is happening.

A lot of the time, the results are the same. The young girl is branded a “whore.” People start to say that she “wanted it” and then regretted it later so she made the whole thing up. As horrifying as it is, the perpetrators often film their egregious acts and then pass it around via text message and social media. The girl is bullied and made fun of. So many of these news stories end in suicide. It is heartbreaking. It crushes me every time.

It affects me so deeply because I was one of those girls. I know what they are feeling. The humiliation, the self-loathing, the self-blame, the desperation for even one person to believe what you are saying; even the ones closest to you have a little voice in their heads telling them that you may not be telling the whole truth.

During my first year of college, I went home for a holiday visit. My best friend from childhood and I were invited to a party. It was people we knew; people we had known for years. There was no reason to think it would be any different than any party I had ever been to. I drank a lot, as did my friend. We had fun. When I think about it, it was a blast. We laughed and drank. We jumped in the fresh snow when the clock struck midnight. No different. Until it was.

There was a boy there (isn’t there always?) that I had been carrying a torch for since I used to walk to the Little League diamonds to watch him play in elementary school. I have always had a bad habit of projecting who I wanted a person to be onto them and ignoring who they actually are. This was definitely one of those situations. We’ll call him Dandy.

When we got to the party, Dandy was also there with a friend. We’ll call him Dick. I was excited. I had always been quite shy and pretty awkward in my earlier teens, but I had grown up a lot and was feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin. Other than my best friend, though, these were not people that I had hung out with a lot when I lived there and I knew I would have a hard time coming out of my shell…so I drank.

And drank. And drank. At one point, I was walking around with a bottle of liquor and a loaf of bread. My body had started rejecting what I was doing and I would gag every time I took a drink, hence the bread. I would take a bite each time I took a drink. And I drank and drank and drank.

By the end of the night, my friend and I were completely inebriated. At one point, I was summoned to the bathroom because she was vomiting and wouldn’t let anyone in but me. Afterward, she went and sat in the living room (not really in the mood for a party anymore) and Dick was watching over her, taking care of her.

I ended up in a room with Dandy that night. Full disclosure, I went in that room with him completely willingly. I liked him. I was excited that it seemed that he liked me. I did things with him, all by my own consent. We did not sleep together and after I came back from a trip to the restroom, he was not in the room anymore. I laid down in the bed and passed out with the lights on and the door open.

I’m not sure how much time had passed, but when I woke up, the lights were off and the door was shut and someone was in the room with me. They weren’t just in the room with me. They were touching me, kissing me, taking off my clothes. I was in and out of consciousness during that first part and by the time I was fully awake, he was having sex with me.

At first, I thought, “This is alright. You fell asleep and Dandy came back.”(It wouldn’t have been okay, but I didn’t understand that then.) However, the longer things went on, the more I started feeling like something wasn’t right. Again, the room was dark and I couldn’t see the person in the room with me and I was still not fully aware or awake…but the uneasiness wouldn’t go away.

“Who is taking care of {my friend}?” I finally asked. He whispered into my ear, “Who do you think?” Never even missing a beat. Ok. Dick. Dick had been taking care of her all night. Of course, Dick was taking care of her now. But the uneasiness only intensified. By that time, he was done using me for his purposes and I asked again, “Who is taking care of her?”

At that moment, he got up and turned on the light. It was Dick. “Dandy’s taking care of her. Give me just a minute and I’ll cuddle with you.” I will NEVER forget those words. They make my skin crawl to this day. I’ll cuddle with you. As though what had just happened hadn’t happened at all.

My mind spun out in that instant. I was on the verge of hysterics, trying to find my discarded clothing where ever he threw it. I left there that day without a bra because I couldn’t stand being in a room with him for one second longer. I felt dirty and confused and quite devastated. By this time it was morning and I found my friend asleep on a couch. When I tried to wake her up, they stopped me. Despite the fact that I had just come out of that room in hysterics, they shamed me into letting her sleep.

I sat crying in a computer chair until I needed a ride home and I finally woke her and she drove me back to my dad’s house. I tried explaining to her what happened, but I could tell that she didn’t know what to think or say. I just kept saying over and over, “I didn’t know it was him. I swear I didn’t know it was him.”

I felt AWFUL about myself. In the beginning, all I could do was beat myself up. How did you let this happen? Why were you drinking so much? Why were you willing to be in that room with Dandy in the first place?” I was scheduled to go back home that day because school started 3 days later. I had never driven there by myself before, so my family had set up a caravan so that I could drive 3 states away, but someone was following closely behind to make sure I was alright.

When my mom and grandpa showed up to help me get home, they had a family friend with them and I was so grateful. I was still intoxicated from the night before and I was an emotional wreck. I would have been an exposed nerve, driving a car. So, he drove me. I spent the entire trip, wrapped in a blanket and alternating between sleeping and sobbing. I can’t remember if I told him what happened on the way home. I was still trying to process it myself and I was embarrassed.

The next evening, back in the state I called home, I got a messenger message from one of the boys at the party. I hadn’t known him when I lived there. He was a lot younger than us, but he seemed like a nice kid. He asked me what happened. I can’t remember his exact words but it was something along the lines of, “I heard what happened, but I want to hear your side of the story.”

I went through it all with him. I told him what I had told my friend, I didn’t know. I really didn’t know. That was when he told me, “Dandy told Dick he would give him $5 to go in that bedroom and pretend to be him. We all watched him walk in there.” It was the reason he sought me out…he was there. He saw it all happen. He knew what he saw happen, he knew what he heard said. He knew that I was telling the truth. He was the only person who had the decency to tell me what actually happened while I was sleeping.

They knew. They knew what they were doing. They did this on purpose. I had spent the last 24 hours blaming myself; thinking that I did this. The whole time, they knew. They based my whole self-worth on a freaking $5 bet and a room full of people watched them do it. I cannot express to you the humiliation that I felt.

Twenty years have gone by since that night and I still have difficulty with it. Logically, I know that nothing I did that night made me deserving of what happened to me. That said, there is still a little voice in my head that whispers, “If you hadn’t been drinking…if you had done this…if you hadn’t done that…” There is still a large part of me that is humiliated and embarrassed. To this day, I am unable to call it what it was.

Today, I am going to do just that. In the early hours of January 1, 2001, I was raped. This is the first time in all of these years that I have let myself type it, say it, or even think it. I always call it, “that thing that happened to me at that party,” or I say, “when I woke up, he was having sex with me.” But I never just say what it really and truly was. Dick and Dandy bet each other $5 that he wouldn’t walk into that room and rape me. And he did.

After that visit, I stopped hanging out with the kids from my childhood/teenage years. When I go home, I see my family and my best friend and that is all. I was lucky. I was able to go back to a life that was far from the people who had hurt me. Every once in a while, I would hear through the grapevine that so-and-so was talking about it, putting in their two cents about one of the worst nights of my life, but I never had to deal with the bullying and the skepticism that so many young girls have to stew in when something bad happens to them.

Occasionally, Dick pops up in my social media feed. It turns my stomach every time. It is a small world, indeed, and we just know some of the same people. Honestly, he’s exactly what you would think he became. He beats women, regularly. I’m fairly certain he has been in prison at least once. He’s disgusting. Despite the reputation that everyone is aware of, he continues to be able to scam good women into believing that he’s a good guy and then he always proves them wrong. Sometimes in devastating and brutal ways.

Within the year, I had quit college and moved to the big city with my mom. The next few years were tough, mentally, and they would see me medicated for depression for the first time. It never occurred to me then that what happened to me that night contributed to my mental decline. Somehow I just filed it away and just thought of it as something that happened once, not something that could possibly have long-lasting effects that I may not be aware of.

I can’t tell you what impact this had on my mental health. I only started talking about it, openly, a few years ago. I have never brought it up to a therapist. When I decided to write this post, I realized that it affects me way more than I realized and I made an appointment with my therapist in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I can finally find some peace over this.

I did finally bring this up in therapy. I have actually reprocessed the memory in EMDR trauma therapy and will continue to no longer let these people have any power of me. By telling this story, I make it mine and I take their power away.

What Dick and Dandy did to me has stayed with me for 2 decades. After today, I will no longer give their bad deed any power over me and I’m going to be focused on undoing whatever damage they did. I can’t have back what they took from me, but I can take my power back. I can share my story. I can help other girls know that they aren’t alone. I believe you. I hear you. I see you.

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7 thoughts on “From The Archives: An Affair To Remember

  1. You are a brave, beautiful, intelligent, and strong woman. It took a lot of guts to write about it. Do not let them have any power over you any longer. What happened is horrible and wrong on every level. I am so sorry. Do not let it define you. I am so proud of you. Love you with my whole heart.

  2. The story line was so impactful and had a great message to spread out over the world. I can understand how it feels when someone we know well though getting stuck by some anti social elements. I can’t say much here but feel a lot. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Biren recently posted…Mother being a FatherMy Profile

  3. You write about trauma that so many women have experienced…and not processed. Women struggling with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and worse, thinking they were at fault. I hope telling your story was empowering, and I hope others who read it will also search for healing. Much love to you.
    Erin Westphal recently posted…Words Hurt as Much as HandsMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Erin. I’ve seen the story played out in the news so many times. I’m glad that we’re finally seeing these things for what they are. Back then, they would have laughed me out of a police station if I had tried to report it. I didn’t even realize what had actually happened to me until many years later. But telling my story gives me my power back. I control the narrative here. They were the bad guys in that part of my story…though it took me a long time to stop blaming myself for what happened.

  4. This is horrible, Amber. I’m so sorry you went through that. I know you’ve had time to process and heal since then, but if you ever need to talk or vent to someone who understands what you went through, I’m here for you. You’re so brave for sharing your story.

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