Have you ever been sexually harassed or abused, but never had the courage to speak up about it or confide in a close friend or family member?
If your answer is yes, just know that you're not alone - I've been there too, as well as countless other women who choose to share their story or not. #MeToo
Top: Kut From The Kloth
Jeans: Kut From The Kloth
After observing the #MeToo movement becoming viral on Twitter from actress Alyssa Milano's sexual assault and reading a sexual assault experience from a fellow blogger, I knew I had to share MY story too. To be honest, I never felt 100% comfortable talking about any topics related to sexual abuse or harassment on my platforms because it drifts heavily away from my blog's main focus of positivity stories, career advice, and inspirational topics.
However, the longer I've suppressed this feeling, the more I wanted to express the frustration and pain I was going through. Thus, I've gathered up the courage to write about this topic because I want my platform to be a safe place where we can talk about anything, grow from our mistakes, and learn from each other. After all, the last thing I want is to have another woman go through the same hell that I've been going through and to live with this mentally scarring experience every passing day for the rest of your life.
This is the story that continues to give me nightmares that jolt me awake at 4:00AM. This is the story that haunts my very thoughts whenever I'm driving in the car alone. This is the story of how I was a victim of date rape.
He was the perfect catch - or so I'd thought.
A successful career in one of the top consulting firms. A gorgeous, private studio overlooking the city view of Los Angeles. A die-hard passion to constantly travel and develop his photography skills. A good conversationalist with a frequent use of emojis and laughs. A cute smile and a decent dresser (although my friends deem him a solid 3/10 for being an asshole - we'll get to that later, LOL).
"How could a guy like this be single?", I thought to myself. "And how did we manage to squeeze in time for a date throughout the week when we're both such busy people?"
We talked from one to three times per day on Facebook messenger, exchanging anywhere from 1-6 detailed paragraphs long per chat. Right from the start, I saw potential to become something more with him because I couldn't imagine a "player" devoting so much time to get to know me on a deeper level through text - to invest time and effort into a long, meaningful conversation, to ask me questions about my personality, dream career, and lifestyle, to answer every question that I asked him in precise detail. I wanted our first date to secure this potential, but it very well did just the opposite.
My friends warned me about his "stereotypical" player features, but I just assumed that they were being the typical overprotective girlfriends that we all know and love. I assured them that I'd be okay and proceeded to excitedly drive to the designated dinner spot while feeling like I was on Cloud Nine.
Over Korean food and soju, we got along well and shared a few laughs throughout the night. Like any other date, you talk about friendly topics such as family, travel, career, passions, and so on. Honestly, I wanted to ask him more serious topics about relationships, but refrained from doing so on the first date to avoid scaring him off. All I knew is that he was definitely somebody I wanted to see again, or at least get to know better with time.
By the end of the date, it was past 10:00PM, we were an hour away from my house, and I was tipsy AF from the soju shots we had earlier. Let's keep in mind that this is the first time I have ever drank on a date, or drank alcohol in a while. Nice going, Michelle. I will never, ever condone drunk driving so I ended up telling him that I couldn't drive at that very moment - which was 100% true. In response, he suggested that we could either wait at the restaurant or we could head back to his place while I sober up since I had a long drive back home to OC.
My gut feeling told me two things - he was either a thirsty player trying to get it in, or he was a considerate gentleman for realizing that embarking on an hour-long car ride home past midnight was not the best idea in my current condition. I hesitated a bit before I took him up on his offer to crash at his place for a little bit, whether it be for 1-2 hours or overnight in a separate room. If I did feel better, I replied that I would drive home for the night after sobering up. On the other hand, if I felt that it was too late to drive home, I would accept his offer to stay the night and leave the very next morning. Thus, he drove us to his place with his car, UBER'd back to the restaurant to pick up mine, then drove my car back to his place as well. Would a player really go through this much effort to get laid? I personally didn't think so.
As I was admiring the beautiful city view from his apartment, he poured one more drink for the each of us. At that point, I should have realized that he was up to no good, but I was still too inebriated to think straight. Our glasses clinked as we drank the last alcoholic drinks of the night and we ended up sharing a conversation about various board games (yep, I'm a total gamer girl geek and proud of it, haha). After realizing that the rules of the game were way too complicated to go over near midnight (we were debating on playing) and with a drunk Michelle, I excused myself to use the bathroom and that's when it happened.
I opened the bathroom door to find that he turned ALL of the lights off. He approached me quickly, knowing exactly what to do (kind of like a rehearsed script) and started undressing me. On any first date, I knew exactly where my boundaries stand and I never schedule sex to be a part of the agenda. Little did I know that our agendas were on complete ends of the spectrum, and he ended up getting what he wanted - his way. That entire night, he fulfilled his own selfish needs against my will. He continuously dismissed my request to use protection and kept trying to pressure me to do it without. Even when I told him to stop and attempted multiple times to shove him off, he didn't let my forceful pushing bother him one bit. When he was done, he knocked out immediately and I ended up not getting a wink of sleep that night. It was the worst sleep I've ever had, and he was the worst date I ever had. I felt used. Traumatized. Disgusted.
How could somebody who appeared so proper and mature at dinner turn into such a disgusting, disrespectful animal at night? Honestly, he was the most selfish, appalling, and pathetic man I have ever encountered in my life and just thinking about that night makes me extremely clammy and uncomfortable.
I ended up telling a few of my close girlfriends what happened, and they were all disgusted beyond belief. "That's not okay", "he's a rapist", "what a hoe", and more negative feedback about this man literally filled my text chatrooms and all I could do was feel empty and lost inside.
To confirm if he was a player or not, I wanted to see if he treated me differently afterwards. I sent him a follow-up message, continuing our chirpy conversation from where it last left off - to see if he was the "hit it and quit it" type of guy or if he was remotely interested but a DTF type of guy. My worst fear was confirmed when it took him two full days to get back to me with a shorter, effortless message - that's when I knew, he was a player and he was a rapist.
Realizing that I had allowed this disgusting rapist to take advantage of me, I felt weak in the knees and experienced fluctuating emotions of anger, sadness, bitterness, and confusion for the next two weeks. Why would he spend so much effort talking to me, just for that one night? Was all that effort really worth the chase? Was he even remotely interested in getting to know me?
The answer to these questions, I'll never know. People act the way they act based on a series of life events, and you'll never know why somebody does something until you get to know them on a personal level. Based on his actions, I personally felt that he was trying to fill this empty void in his heart through meaningless one-night stands. I'll never know the truth, but that's just an assumption I have. But regardless of his intentions, he is, and always will be, a rapist.
Now, I'm sharing my traumatic experience with you guys because I personally learned that opening up about an issue is one of the healthiest ways to move on from emotional torture. Of course, everybody has a different comfort level when it comes to discussing sexual-related topics and I totally respect each and every one of you and how you choose to grieve over a sensitive subject like sexual harassment. However, if you have experienced a similar sexual harassment situation and find yourself angry, upset, or uneasy about the situation, trust me when I say that talking to another trustworthy individual will make you feel ten times better. To suffer agony alone is a terrible feeling, and you should never have to go through life's obstacles alone. As soon as I told my friends about this predicament, they made me feel loved and cared for, unlike that disgusting pig.
Also, I learned that staying passive in life or not taking action does not make me happy at all. If I ever experience a life-changing lesson that can help others, I will almost always write about it on my blog in hopes that I can better another individual's life. Thus, I'm doing the same with this blog post and strongly encourage any of you to speak up if you've ever been sexually harassed or abused. By coming together and uniting as a community, we can make a universal effort to eradicate the world from sexual harassment and abuse, one story at a time. If you feel that you're ready, join the #MeToo movement by speaking up for yourself and for the ones who aren't ready to tell their stories yet.
To gain closure, I realized that I couldn't hide these feelings any longer and had to share it with my friends, and now you guys. A couple days later after that night, I privately messaged him a collection of my raw and honest thoughts - how disgusted he specifically made me feel and how what he did was not okay. To this day, I know that he's purposely avoiding my message, but what matters is that I was strong enough to communicate how I felt with him. Now that that's out of the way, I can move on with less weight on my shoulders and a strong desire to move forward from this horrific event.
All in all, I am extremely thankful for the important family members and friends that I have in my life, but I am still mentally torn till this very day. At the end of the day, I realized that it's not healthy to live in regret or anger, so I'm taking this personal experience and using my story to share my learning lesson with you guys.
The learning lesson is this...don't ever expect an individual to act the way you want him/her to act and don't ever put him/her on a pedestal. What you see may not always be what you get, and only time can really tell you what a person is really like deep down inside.
With that being said, I'm saying #MeToo and hope that none of you will ever have to experience this kind of suffering alone. If you are currently experiencing emotional pain from a previous sexual harassment or abuse situation, remember that you are strong and that each passing day will bring you one step closer to strength and happiness. Let's turn these negative incidents into positive life lessons and do the best that we can to move forward together - after all, I'll be with you every step of the way.