Thursday, May 12, 2005


i was a college sophomore recently transferred to my dream school from a smaller hometown college. i had never been so far away from my parents for so long, and i was a little afraid of the environment. everywhere i looked, there were people young and black like me, eyes sparkling with dreams they knew would be fulfilled someday. tallahassee was hot and muggy and no matter how many showers i took, i always felt like i was a shower away from feeling clean.

my roommate was this girl from jacksonville named jackie. she was a bitch from day one, literally drawing a line across the already cramped room in an attempt to establish her space. i wasn't even supposed to be on campus. when i first got to tallahassee, i was living off-campus with three other girls in a house close to the school. we hadn't been there a week when we had to leave after one of the girls was raped in the back yard. evidently one of her co-workers was stalking her and finally attacked her after she rejected him.

having been date raped without penetration at the previous school i attended, my parents were down the next day, moving me out. my dad had called the dean of students and demanded they find me a space on campus. dad is a little more than 5'6 tall, but he can scare the living shit out of you with his anger. this was one of those times when i was glad a brotha got pissed.

so now i'm on campus, with a roommate i hate, trying to navigate my way the maze of the campus to class everyday. there were guys everywhere, and it was a little unnerving to me. i couldn't walk ten steps out of my dorm without catching a brotha staring at my ass. i purposefully wore jogging pants, hoping the cumbersome material would camouflage my body. in fact, i had started wearing jogging pants right after i was raped, because the guy who raped me told me it was my fault because of what i had on. i was asking for it, he said.

yet despite this, i was still getting those looks. the kinds of looks that makes a sista feel like she's a step away from being pounced on. i guess those brothas thought looking at me that way was supposed to be flattering, but it only made me feel even more self-conscious.

then i met him. fred was one of the guys in my biology class. he wore glasses just like me and had an easy laugh. for some reason, i felt comfortable around him. maybe it was because he never looked at me "that" way. we would talk after class about all kinds of stuff. he was a big sports fan like me, so the conversation never stopped. i thought he was cute, but after the ordeal i had suffered a few months previously, i was way too scared to do anything about it. i figured i needed time to regain trust in guys again. fred made that easy for me.

we spent alot of time together on campus, but we were never romantic. he would walk me to my classes and at the end of the day, the two of us would walk over to the rec center to play spades with our friends. everyone loved fred. it seemed like he never met a stranger.

after a few months of hanging out, fred invited me to watch a movie at his apartment. initially i was hesitant, because i hadn't been alone with a guy since i was raped. he sensed my fear and told me his roommate would be there, so i said yes. he picked me up around 9 p.m. and took me back to his place. when i got to his place, i met his roommate earl, a short, round, dark brown guy with a squeaky laugh. he had a great sense of humor.

after an hour of watching television, earl told fred he was leaving to go to a party on campus. i started hyperventilating immediately, but calmed down after realizing i was being silly. fred looked at me and asked if i wanted to go home. i told him i was aiight.

i didn't realize it was close to midnight until i looked at my watch a couple of hours later. we had both been engrossed in the movie, which was some comedy i can't even remember. i told him i was ready to go home. he said he'd take me home after he went to the bathroom.

once back into the living room, he starts trying to convince me to stay. he says he can take me back in the morning on the way to his 7 a.m. class. i told him i wasn't comfortable with that and that i would prefer to go home. then he got quiet. he got up from the couch, stood in front of the door, and slowly opened it, telling me i could walk home.

i looked at him incredulously. "what did you say?"

"i said you can walk home."

"fred, you know i don't know how to get back to the dorm from here. you're kidding right?"

"i'm dead serious."

so i walk towards the door with the intention of leaving, and then he grabs me. he tosses me over my shoulder and takes me to the bedroom. by this time i'm screaming at the top of my lungs. once in the room, he tosses me on the bed and slaps me really hard. i could feel the blood inside my mouth from where my gum was cut from my teeth. at this point i can't even think straight. it's like i'm in a dream. this can't be happening again...this can't be happening again...not fred...not fred...

i try fighting him off, but he was too strong for me. i'm so hysterical i can't even think straight. i don't know if this is really happening to me or if this is just a nightmare. it wasn't until morning that i was lucid enough to realize it was both. i was curled in a fetal position on the bed, the sheets were stained with my blood, and my clothes were in a torn mess on the floor.

fred was in the bathroom humming a breezy tune. he stepped into the bedroom and told me to get dressed. i put on the remnants of my clothes and he drove me back to the dorm. on the way there, he told me how much he enjoyed our night together. i stared out the passenger window, my thoughts shredded into a million screams. once at the dorm, he told me he would call me later.

it was 5 a.m. the sun was still braced for rising from the horizon. the sky was a dark blue fractured by the occasional wisp of fire. and i was a girl, recently raped for the second time, walking away from the guy who thought we had just had a good time.