“The first time I had sex—it wasn’t sex, but it’s also hard for me to say it was anything else. I know what the situation was, I know it wasn’t consensual, but there’s an embarrassment on my part that I was so drunk I don’t remember it. I’ll say I was not awake during the first time I had sex. It’s really hard for me to say anything else.
I was in grade 10 and I was at this party with all my friends and this older guy. I always thought he was cute and I liked him, but I was also shy. I ended up drinking a lot—we were all drinking way more than we normally would have, I think because the older kids were there. I remember going back to his car and making out, and I don’t remember anything more than that. It’s something you kind of want to force yourself to remember if you don’t. I woke up with him the next morning at my friend’s house, and he drove me home. When I went to school on Monday, my friend was like, ‘Everyone’s talking about how you and he had sex.’ And I was like, ‘Did we?’ And she was like, ‘How do you not know?’
This was a guy who I had a crush on, he was older than me, he was cool, he had a car. I think I didn’t want to see him in that way, or see any guys in that way, and I was embarrassed that I drank so much. I kind of subscribed to the idea that if you were so drunk and you couldn’t control yourself, you must have wanted it. For the longest time, I didn’t want to admit that being pretty much unconscious does not constitute consent. But it was really messed up for me knowing that every guy in the school knew. When I started dating a new guy, I didn’t know if he was dating me because he liked me or because he thought I was easy and would have sex with him. I didn’t have sex with him or anyone until I was in university. It was really hard for me to be intimate with anyone.
The first person I did sleep with after, I was friends with him—we had this flirty friendship for a year before we started dating. He knew the whole story, but the fact that he knew me for something other than this one thing was big. But I remember laying there during sex, and I was so overwhelmed. Everything surrounding the act was so charged for me. I completely froze. I don’t know if that’s because of the past, or because I literally had no idea what I was doing. Mostly, I was disappointed in myself, because I usually go out of my way to make other people happy.
I think it took leaving the city where this happened, where I went to high school and then to university, for me to escape it and start to feel comfortable. I went on exchange overseas in third year [of university], and being away from all my friends who knew me growing up let me really be my own person. It also made it easier for me to be less hard on myself for what happened when I was 16.”—As told to Danielle Groen
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