I was 14. I had never been with a guy, never kissed one. My friends thought this was ridiculous, most of them had lost their virginity already. It felt like my innocence was a was a burden to them, it felt like it exhausted them. One evening we were all at one of my friends' houses and they invited 3 or 4 older guys from a different high school round because.. well.. they thought it would be fun I guess. They locked me in a small bedroom with this 16/17 year old guy I'd just met and shouted through the door they weren't going to let me out until I'd snogged him. I just remember staring at this strange man and his facial hair and feeling empty and a little scared. He pulled me onto his knee and whispered things into my ear. He tried about 4 times to kiss me which I dodged and told him no. He asked me why? I didn't have a better answer than 'I don't want to'. I asked my friends to let me out and they wouldn't. I laughed like it was funny but I felt scared, and weak, and childish. I felt that I should just do it and get it over with but I just couldn't talk myself into it. In the end, I pecked him once on the lips. I told him that was all it was going to be. He stood up, walked to the door and asked to be let out. The door opened and it felt wonderful to be free, that it was over. The guys left almost straight away and I felt that I'd let everyone down.

Updated: May 31, 2018

I was outside of a hippie grocery store that I frequented in college when I got a text message: “You gave me an STD”. I literally thought my heart stopped for a second as I pulled away from my group of friends to stare at my cellphone. It was like time froze and then was let go with a million thoughts, fears and questions in my mind. My ex-boyfriend and I hadn’t talked in awhile after a particularly rocky breakup. I didn’t answer him and I didn’t say anything because I started to feel scared in my own body. What does that mean? How did I just give him something? Is it true? Out of anger I shot him a text message being like “What the hell are you talking about and how dare you say that to me”. I needed to go home. As soon as I got back to my apartment that I shared with two close girlfriends I erupted into tears. I told my roommate who assured me it wasn’t true. That he was crazy. I went outside and stood under a tree and called him up.

“Hello?” “What do you mean by-“ “I tested positive” “For what?” “It doesn’t matter” “Of course, it matters. I need to get tested, I need to-“ “It’s not life threatening…but it’s not curable” he said. He still had this sharpness in his voice.

After a long roundabout conversation he told me he has herpes. And he was pretty sure it was from me because the girl he is currently sleeping with doesn’t have it. The next day I went to Planned Parenthood. After anxiety provoking hour of waiting, filling out forms and doing tests, a kind and gentle doctor listened to my story. She told me “this guy sounds like an asshole. Don’t talk to him” She asked me if I had any signs of herpes and I said no. With that she said she couldn’t do any testing on me since there was nothing to test but if I ever saw something I should come back. A year went by and my ex finally mentioned to me that his ex-girlfriend did have herpes. Whatever way it happened didn’t matter, it was more of this idea of being spoken to the way he did…in a careless and accusing tone. It made me feel like something was wrong with me. Thank god for Planned Parenthood.

Updated: May 31, 2018

In the last few months of my junior year of high school, I spent lunchtime hiding in the library. Lunchtime had always been a savior from the endless of classes and pressures of college prep. I sat with the same lively group of friends every day. I was proud of our little family- we were a diverse group of guys and girls who would sometimes erupt into food fights or nose goes. It was our time to catch up and dive into all the highs and lows of being silly high school students. But when I was 15 I fell in “love” with a guy, (let’s call him Todd) who was part of our group of friends. The relationship was like this mixture of the worst dream I ever had and being completely high/drunk the whole time. There was one more member of our relationship- named alcohol. Or maybe tequila, Jack Daniels and Smirnof Ice. 

One particular night we got drunk together, I was with my first “real boyfriend”, someone I admit to have been obsessed with… but in ways felt like I could trust him. I don’t remember too much except knowing that we all drank too much and I passed out on a bed. I was in a room with Todd and his friend Mike. It seemed that my passing out was an opportunity for Todd and Mike to sexual harass me. I remember wearing a jean skirt, one of my favorites with a small lace belt embroidered on the skirt. My legs were already slightly open and Todd moved her hand up my leg until he was fingering me, Mike filmed it. 

As a young girl living in the early 2000’s no one was talking to me about sexual assault, what was right or wrong and how I needed to react. Was this considered rape? I didn’t know. Would I be overreacting if I reported it? I was the one who got so drunk that I passed out, so maybe it was my fault? My parents would be disappointed in me wouldn’t they? I invited this in didn’t I? After a friend of mine told me he saw the video, I remember lying awake in the dark at night, realizing there were parts of that night I actually remembered. I knew it was wrong. I knew it

was disgusting. But I thought I was in love. And I didn’t know what to do. My girlfriends who had always been amazing support system didn’t seem to know what to do about it either. When I continued to try to make a relationship work with Todd despite what had happened they didn’t intervene. We all didn’t know shit. When the relationship finally hit rock bottom and blew up in my face I chose to step out from my friendship circle until I could feel like myself again. Todd didn’t stop having lunch with everyone, he didn’t stop talking on the phone with my best friend or laughing with my friends like nothing happened. I knew I couldn’t be around him, so I would find excuses to not join my friends anymore. It was that confusion and hurt around what had happened, and the way we all dealt with it that scared me.

*names have been changed in this story to maintain anonymity.