Content warning: rape; sexual assault
That night she went out because she loved being with her friends and hadn’t been out in a while. It was a lovely little bar, and she was surrounded by her close friends, and felt safe. She wore a cute outfit, as she had always tried to on nice evenings out, and had put on some makeup, and felt beautiful.
For the first time in a while, she had a bit of money. She had been working tirelessly, and had been spending what little scraps of what she had on food, bills and rent. If she was going to be poor again, she wanted to have a good night and not have to worry about money for one night.
The alcohol went down one after the other, and whilst chatting with her friends, she checked her phone and saw the message she got from some guy from Tinder. He seemed nice, and he was foreign, which was exciting. She ignored the warm feeling in her stomach from the alcohol and texted him back.
He was flirty, and was good looking from the photos she saw online and had a nice smile. Who knew? She might actually make something work for once and maybe it wouldn’t all be heartbreak and tears.
She put her phone down, and knocked back some more vodka. She couldn’t really remember how much she had, definitely three double gins before she got there, then another two when she was there, maybe some rum, and about six or seven Jägerbombs? Her memory was fuzzy, and she couldn’t really remember.
The phone lit up with another text, and she replied, with a giggle. He was at home and hadn’t been drinking, and she knew she definitely would regret any sloppy texts in the morning.
She drank more and more, laughing with her friends, and making funny videos on her phone to remember for later. Luckily, she had a day off from work the next day, so the hangover wouldn’t be as bad, well, she hoped.
It was getting late, and more and more people started to leave. Maybe it was 2am, or 3? She wasn’t really sure, but decided to get an Uber home, so she could get home safe. She wore heeled boots and didn’t realise quite how incapable she was until she stood up to leave. Her body felt so heavy yet light at the same time, and her legs felt weak. Everything swayed, and she just wanted to get home.
Maybe she would order some pizza or something when she got back home, like she usually did after a heavy night of drinking. She was tired, and just wanted to be in bed.
Her phone lit up again and saw that it was him texting again.
Sure, he could come over. No one else was home at the moment, and she would be fine. They could chat and maybe stuff would happen, but she didn’t really think. She gave him her address.
Stumbling out of the Uber and unlocking the door seemed particularly hard. The broken window on the inner door was still there. She unlocked the door and made it inside, before stumbling and falling. Her arm was through the broken glass of the window, and she felt dazed and confused. She couldn’t really picture what was going on, her head was spinning, and she wanted to get in bed, so she pulled her arm out of the door. Luckily, there were no cuts or scratches, just little shards of glass stuck to her arm, which she brushed off.
She dumped her stuff upstairs and lied down on her bed and flicked through her phone, like she always did before she went to sleep, and then it started to ring. The familiar tune seemed so loud, and she read the name displayed on her screen, and realised it was the guy from Tinder. Why was he calling? She was so stunned and drunkenly tried to answer, but missed the call due to her bewildered state. She opened the text.
The guy was outside her house, and she remembered she had said he could come over, but wasn’t expecting it right there and then. She hadn’t really specified a time, and him coming over had felt like it wasn’t really going to happen. But there he was, outside of her house, waiting.
Staggering downstairs, she contemplated what to do. Hopefully she would sober up, and provide some sort of decent conversation. Maybe he would realise she was drunk and put her to bed and go home.
He was shorter than she expected, and looked like the guy in the photos on the Tinder profile, but maybe a little more tired and slightly less handsome than she remembered. Maybe she was too drunk and just couldn’t picture things properly. She didn’t know.
She tried to talk, which she was particularly good at, and felt nervous for some reason. Everything seemed normal, and he looked nice, and she didn’t suspect anything was wrong, but, perhaps, there was something wrong. She suddenly felt like a stranger in her own home, like she didn’t belong there.
They went upstairs, and she tried to tidy her room. Maybe doing something would help settle it, so she tidied some of the clothes that were tossed around her room from when she was deciding what to wear earlier on that night. He seemed friendly, and had a thick accent. He had a job, he said, and he had come to the UK originally as an Au Pair, but now worked in retail. He wanted to watch Netflix, so she joined him. He wanted to watch Skins, so she watched it. He got bored of it, after about five minutes, so he turned to her and kissed her, which surprised her, but he wanted it, and she guessed that she did. She wasn’t really sure, in all honesty, all she could think do was try and ignore the effects of the alcohol. She was tired, really tired, but she did what she felt she had to do.
He wanted to, so she allowed it. He started to move, and then stopped, and pulled away from her.
Side by side, they lay on her bed. She was confused. What was happening? Why was this guy in her bed? Why did she feel so weird. Was she safe?
He wanted to go home, so she watched him get dressed then followed him to the front door and watched as he left in a rush. She said goodbye and closed the door and went back to bed and checked her phone.
He had unfriended her online, and had unmatched her on Tinder.
Her head hurt, and she felt a wave of confusion and nausea. She felt wrong, completely and utterly, and wanted to shower. She needed to, the only thing she could think was shower. Nothing else possessed her brain except the overwhelming need to clean the dirt.
A shower would wash it all away, a shower would wash all the thoughts of him away. A shower would be the hug from her mum that she wanted.
A shower would wash it all away, and would make her feel safe.
Photo courtesy of Michael Discenza