Q: I recently went on a date with a guy I met online. The chemistry was great. There was lots of kissing, but it was very innocent. He invited me over two nights later. I was careful to only have two cocktails, which he made. I soon realized that I was incredibly drunk (not normal for me on two cocktails). Everything is blurry after that, but I know I had a complete, humiliating panic attack after he asked me why I recoiled at his touch. I sobbed hysterically and told him I was a rape victim. True, but not something I would have shared at that point. He comforted me as I went through the stages of my panic attack until I was calm.
The next memory I have is of the two of us kissing ... then he began masturbating. I was shocked that would be happening after what I had just accidentally shared with him. He flipped me over on my back, pushed up my shirt and touched my breasts. I shook my head and he stopped. I was scared and felt trapped because I was too drunk to drive. I took a bath to calm myself while he slept and when I returned to his bed (obviously not a rational decision), we started kissing again. When he began to masturbate, I didn’t stop him. He gave me a warning before he ejaculated on me and I didn’t stop him. I laid in bed awake, waiting to feel sober enough to drive. I told him I was upset. He was confused.
When we spoke several days later, he did not apologize. He said he would go to his grave feeling he had done nothing wrong. He was sorry for what happened to me, but he couldn’t control my reaction that night — he had done that with other girls and they liked it. (I was in a committed relationship where we pleasured ourselves in front of one another, so I know that can be a healthy part of sex.) I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, Alexis. I see a rape counselor and I’ve discussed this with her. She was appalled by his behavior, but he brushed it off so casually I feel I must be in the wrong. This was my first attempt at dating since I was raped.
A: Your emotions are not wrong. Your reaction to an uncomfortable situation in which you felt trapped was not wrong. Your first sexual encounter after being raped was a bad one and I’m sorry you had to go through it. This guy defended his actions by trying to blame you for the night not going as planned. All the other girls liked it, so there must be something wrong with you, right? On the contrary, there’s something wrong with a dude who gets girls debilitatingly drunk so he can get off on them without a fight.
As I’m sure you know, one of the most important steps in healing after rape is remembering that intimacy and sex are not always the same thing. Intimacy occurs between two people who care about and trust one another. What happened on your second date was not intimacy. His advances persisted even after you had an emotional breakdown. He should have backed off, tucked you into his bed and passed out on the couch. Instead, he took advantage of your impaired judgment and raw remotions.
I’m not sure what you want to hear from me, either. But be assured that what happened was not trivial. I don’t purport to give advice that trumps that of your counselor. She’s the pro. Maybe she doesn’t want this incident to discourage you from dating, because she thinks you’re ready. I will say that I’m sorry this was such an awful experience and, when you do meet someone you can trust, go ahead and take a leap of faith. I promise the good guys outnumber the bad ones.