I wanted a friend. That's not what I got.
For reference, I am a college student and this story generally takes place in a college town. I was excited to have made a new friend during quarantine. We met right before the lockdown in 2020, and would have a few phone or video calls every few weeks or so. For context, I have a smattering of social anxiety I have been living with since I was a pre-teen, and I'm especially nervous around guys my age. That's why making this platonic friend was so valued to me. I am a person with few close friends, and I decided to let him in. I decided to trust him. Maybe it was because at that time in my life I wanted a platonic friend so badly, I never noticed the signs he liked me as more than a friend. Not noticing that ended up being important later on, because when the semester started back we decided to hang out in person. The first time it was at a park, and we had some pleasant conversations. I think I was getting a small hint he liked me but didn't want to acknowledge it; I didn't like him back. We decided to hang out once more, but this time he texted me right beforehand and asked to change the place to his apartment. I heard my mom's voice in my head telling me I shouldn't go to a guy's house alone, but at this point in my life I did have another close friend I knew I could trust and I'd go to his apartment sometimes - so I told said friend where I would be and that I would be hanging out at this friend's place for safety. I remember I also had pepper spray with me. I was supposedly armed with everything a girl would need in a situation where she gets sexually harrassed - except my voice. When I got there, we watched Netflix and everything was alright for the first hour. We talked and enjoyed the show. But, eventually things started changing. The order to this is the part is fuzzy in my memory, but I remember how he slowly worked his way towards touching me. He sat closer, started giving me complements more and more. He played some french song and sang it to me while playing the guitar on my arm- I imagine it could have been romantic if I was in to him and wanted it. But I really wasn't, and I didn't. I remember when he did confess he went on this whole tangent about how much he liked me and how great he thought I was and so many things. This guy talked for quite a while and all I could do was sit and listen. At this point he had already tried sitting closer to me and I had to pull away. At some point his roommate left the apartment after talking with him alone. I don't remember when this was exactly but I do remember how it made me feel. We were sitting on the living room couch and he reached to hold me. He groped my boob for a few seconds, and whispered into my ear. When I want someone, doing that kind of thing feels great. I realized that night how disgusting it can feel when you want no part of it and you fear for your safety. There was one moment where I tried to break away, and he almost didn't let me. The thing that terrified me the most out of all of this was something he said: 'if you hadn't stopped me I would have done something worse'- or something to that affect. I remember feeling terrified and shaking, probably blushing out of nervousness and wanting only to go home but finding it harder to say as it got darker outside. I eventually left, and he walked me home part of the way to make me feel safer walking back in the dark. That's the ironic part about all of this. He walked me home, and to this day I don't think he had any idea how after a year how much that night bothered me, and how it was a night I wouldn't be forgetting for a long time. About how much I cried to my friends and family. It felt like it should be small to me- after all, I wasn't 'raped or anything,' (what I said to my family). But it had almost completely shattered all of my trust in people and in men I had been building up slowly. If it wasn't for the guy friend I mentioned previously, I might have lost trust in men completely and developed serious problems as a result. Today, after more than a year, I am going to call him for the first time since then and tell him what he did is wrong. I have read many sexual assault stories after this event, and I realized people often don't want to call out the offender because they fear it will affect the offender's social lives and jobs, especially when this person is a close friend. But I honestly think this person has no idea what he did was wrong, and if I do absolutely nothing I am pretty damned sure there is a good chance he would do it to someone else. People need to know when they are in the wrong. And I feel ready to confront him. I don't think confrontation is the answer for everyone. But it is my answer. Many boys are not taught what it means to be a respectful man, and don't recognize that they could very easily make someone they know feel uncomfortable and and scared. They don't internalize 'I could be a sexual assaulter'. People need to realize their own power, not only to use it for good, but so they don't abuse it.