When I first saw the #metoo hashtag and status circulating on Facebook Sunday night I wanted to click “new status” each time I scrolled by it and add my name to the roster. For many years I have concealed these incidents from almost all that knew me. 


This world is a scary place and I remained silent for 2 reasons:

  1.  My former beliefs that I deserved/asked for what happened to me and
  2.  After the 2 sexual assaults the reactions from the very few lady friends I decided to confide in at the time.


I no longer am saddened by the actions of  the women who did not stand up in outrage at that time. In fact, I myself did not even flip one single table or throw a single tantrum. The young woman that I used to be was a little bit more delicate than I am presently. Life had not worn her out quite as much.


TW: Sexual assault, Rape


The first time I was 19 years old, a freshman in undergrad, and more than anything--desperate for a boyfriend.  A friend of mine had met a guy that went to a neighboring university and he would come to visit my friend on campus with some of his boys.  I had my eye on a guy and we ended up alone in my dorm room one night.  


It all started off pretty regular, awkward conversation , flipping channels on the TV, but the tension eased and we started to flow a little better.  Well, the touching started.  That was fine, but I was not interested in having sex that night so when the touching crossed the line that I wanted I said “no”. He persisted. I kept saying no, over and over again as he removed my clothes. I kept saying no as he tried to remove my undergarments against me kicking at him. I wish I would have screamed, I lived next door to the RA and I probably would have been saved. But I was already too ashamed. For fear that he would become violent I stopped moving, and laid there while he finished himself on my limp body.  


I was without words. I was in disbelief that this had even happened.  It took me a while to say something about this incident to anyone after the fact.  


The second time I was 23 years old. Out of school, but still hanging around DC and partying.  My attacker was the friend of my home girls boyfriend at the time.  He had a crush on me and I was never interested.  It had never been a problem before, his friend kept trying to get me to sleep with his homie and I was NOT INTERESTED. One night we had all been partying and we were leaving the club at GOd knows what hour.  At that time my friend and I only lived a few blocks apart so we would often go to outings together.  That night her boyfriend was also riding back with us, but that was also not unusual.  The last member of this motley crew was the problem.  It was him, the dude that I was not interested in but had never been aggressive or mean towards me.  This night was pretty reckless, none of us should have been driving, but I was dropped off at my apartment.  Also, the guy got out with me with the encouragement of his friend.  I had not invited him.  He followed me up to my apartment both of my roommates were gone that night.  He forced himself on me, pulling my tampon out and proceeding to have sex with me.


Too drunk to know when it was done, too drunk to consent. Needless to say this incident was not reported to the authorities either.  I told both my friend and one of my roommates neither of them at the time shared the dire thought that I had.  That I had been raped.


This is me 7 years after that last attack.  It has taken me on rollercoasters that you can not even imagine. Or maybe you can, who am I to judge?


I share these stories because this predatory and misogynistic behavior is not acceptable.  We need to hold men accountable.   Everyone does not have to tell their story, because it is just that, THEIR story.  I was ready to tell my story and I am taking this opportunity to add my voice for all of those that can’t.


Mary Shawme too1 Comment