Warning: This post deals with some heavy stuff about rape. It might be hard to read for some of you.
A few months ago, I found out that one of my best friends from my teenage years is a serial rapist. He will never be charged with these crimes. He will never go to jail. How many people he violated, I don’t know, but I know at least a few. But it’s not just his crime, it’s mine. It’s ours.
Some background: It was the mid 90s. I was a very lonely teenager. I had no friends, except for a couple from the special school I went to for kids that’d been kicked out of regular school. One of them was a small, snarky little guy who I’ll call X. X didn’t have many friends either, and he was often bullied because he was small and didn’t know when to shut up (I later found that there were other reasons, as I’ll talk about below). We stuck together, me because I had no one else, him, probably because I had low self-esteem and would be the butt of his jokes without complaint (I was also big enough that people wouldn’t bully him as much when I was there).
We were not good kids. We drank, we smoked pot, we annoyed the hell out of adults at diners and the mall. I thought it was perfectly normal, and I was happy to be included in it.
Sometimes we would drink and smoke with girls, and inevitably X would disappear into the woods with one. Usually it was little more than making out. I did the same sometimes. “As long as no one’s too drunk,” I figured, “it’s all good. And it’s just making out after all.”
But I didn’t know at the time X was doing things when no one else was around. X wasn’t stopping with the woods. X wasn’t stopping with a few drinks. X wasn’t stopping with making out.
From what I can tell, the first time he raped someone was in my basement during a party. I remember us all getting fucked up on Rolling Rock and Old English. There was one girl with us, our friend’s gf. Our friend wasn’t there at the time, and X saw every opportunity as his chance to get pussy, no matter what.
I got tired enough that I went to my room to sleep, so this is what I heard the next day: The girl got really drunk and horny and tried to seduce another friend, who declined because she was drunk. She then got even more drunk. X had no qualms about that. He stepped in.
This next part I saw. I went downstairs in the middle of the night. Everyone was asleep or dead drunk except for X. X was performing oral sex on the girl, who was completely naked. She was barely moving and not making noise.
This is where I fucked up, and I will never forgive myself for it: Instead of saying something, I went back upstairs. Maybe it was because of the shock, my naivete, and myembarrassment. (I had never seen a naked woman in person before, and certainly not a sex act. I was still a virgin and I don’t think I had even had oral sex yet) or maybe because I was too weak to confront my friend, but I did nothing. In hindsight, and especially in light of his future string of sex assaults, I had no excuse for turning away.
The next day X told everyone that he fucked her that night. This is how X lost his virginity: On a torn futon. In my parents’ basement, where I used to play with my GI Joes and Legos.
Based on this story (which I would later find was not the beginning of a long line of assaults), I decided “that’s fucking creepy,” and that was it. I didn’t associate it with rape, because “they decided to get drunk, and that kind of thing happens when you’re drunk.” The other people at the party thought the same. I’m ashamed that I thought this way. I can’t even use my youth as an excuse, because it felt wrong to me. Even with that limited information, I knew it was wrong, but I did nothing.
Flash forward 20 years to a few months ago. X has moved to another continent. I find out from a friend at the part what really happened.
The girl was dead drunk. My friend that refused her did so not only because she was our friend’s gf, but because she was barely coherent. When X got to her, she could barely move. If there was any doubt in my mind before, it was now gone. He was as much a rapist as Brock Turner, Bill Cosby, or a myriad other men that do this kind of thing.
I talked to some of the women that were in our drinking circle back in the day, and they told me that this was pretty much X’s M.O., only with blow jobs. He’d get them wasted, play a game of truth or dare (some of which I participated in, I’m still fucking complicit in his shit), wait until they were too drunk to give consent, and take them into another room for head.
The general consensus from my women friends was “I regretted it, he took advantage of me, but I shouldn’t have gotten drunk with him.” They later realized that it was sexual assault, yet they still blamed themselves.
Why would they blame themselves for his actions? Drinking is not a crime. Rape is. Unless someone told them that they were to blame. Unless the societal norm reinforces this every fucking day.
I’m not writing this to accuse X in public. If I was, I would use his real name, but I don’t want to expose his victims to harassment from him. I’m writing this because when someone like Bill Cosby or Brock Turner gets away with this shit (and they mostly have), it’s because we all accept it.
Here’s a rule of thumb: “If they wouldn’t fuck you sober, and you fuck them drunk, it’s rape.”
I bet that we all know scumbags like X. A thousand “no’s” plus a night of drinking equals “yes.” Hell, maybe you’ve done it and didn’t realize it. Maybe you didn’t know that they were too far gone to give consent (note: if they’re too drunk to speak coherently or push you away, it’s rape). After I found out what X did, I poured over my past experiences, and anyone that I got drunk and had sex with (where consent wasn’t given beforehand) I apologized to. Thankfully, they all said that they were still in control and could’ve said no if they chose to. It makes me feel better, but I can’t help but feel like I am still complicit in X’s assaults.
I can’t change the past. I can’t make this go away. This is a societal thing. Yes, X is an asshole that should have his tiny dick flayed apart like string cheese, but we’re also assholes for looking the other way. I am an asshole for looking the other way.
All I ask is that you stop looking the other way. Like I did.