First-Hand: 'It never occurred to me that I had been raped': Rosalind, a former student, reflects on the night she too went to a party, had a lot to drink, and went to bed with the wrong man

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Indy Lifestyle Online
THERE was a vodka promotion in the Students' Union - it was 50p a shot or something like that. I went along with all the girls out of my flat, and at that price we all quickly got pretty drunk.

In the bar there was a boy who I liked - as a matter of fact I had fancied him for a long time. He was very good looking, but quite shy - he was in some of my lecture groups and I knew him quite well as a friend. I did have a steady boyfriend who I had been seeing for a few months. But he wasn't around that night. So I made a big play for this other boy, danced closely with him, groped him, kissed him, and he reciprocated.

We left the party early and took a taxi back to his flat, snogging frantically all the way. When we got out, I was staggering and a bit dizzy. But common sense did start to rear its head through the haze. I started to think that I shouldn't really be doing this, especially because I didn't want to upset my boyfriend. But when we got into the flat, we opened some wine. We carried on, and ended up in bed together, where we had sex.

I think I did say 'Maybe this isn't a good idea'. But I don't remember clearly. I am certain about one thing, however - I would have felt pretty silly saying 'I've changed my mind, get your clothes back on.'

The next day I scuttled back to my own flat, where all the others were just dragging themselves up, pretty much the worse for wear. They asked 'And where did you end up last night?' I said 'I went back with David, it was a bit of an accident, really'. And they said 'Oh, gosh,' and then we all started to giggle.

I knew this boy, I had willingly gone back to his flat. He was a friend that we all liked. It is true that I had been drunk, that I'd been a bit reluctant, and that I couldn't really remember much about it. But if anybody had suggested that this was some kind of assault, I would have been astonished.

Of course it wasn't rape, there was no violence or force. I had reservations, but I couldn't be bothered to kick up a fuss and back out. Of course he didn't misread my signals - sticking your tongue down someone's throat and your hand down his trousers is fairly unambiguous.

Looking back, it was stupid and immature, and not behaviour I'm proud of, and I wouldn't get into that situation now. But I don't feel ashamed or traumatised. I'd rather make a mistake like that in a place where everyone is making similar ones, rather than later on at an office party or something where it could be really damaging.

I feel really sorry for the girl in last week's case. But I do think she must have been mad to involve her lecturers in the first place. She must have been so badly advised. We had a Womens' Officer in our Students' Union but she mainly organised self-defence classes and talks that no-one went to.

If you're grown up enough, or silly enough to drink far too much you have to accept responsibility for what you do. Just because we are women does not mean that we can't look after ourselves and come to terms with our own mistakes.

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