It all started with a mild infatuation with my rather attractive boss, Garth. In retrospect I think it had more to do with the way he smelled than much else. I could always smell him the moment he entered the building, and it was this musky scent that always had me off with inappropriate thoughts. I really had no intention of anything more than a motivational crush. It helped to pull me through the 80-hour weeks and the incredible amount of stress that came from my role as the financial and operations manager, overseeing five divisions and running one myself. To say I was ambitious was an understatement.
As my life circled around my workaholic nature and drive to always do more, there was a part of me that was lonely, despite my superficial crush. So, when Darren started, overseeing the Brisbane division and team, I easily responded to his charismatic charm when he spoke to me on the phone every day. He was not my type and considerably older than me, but I tended to be vulnerable to kindness. It was something that had been lacking for the past couple of years, since I had ended it with my fiancé.
So, when he came to Melbourne and we all caught up in a senior management meeting aka drinks out, I didn’t think much about his interest in me. I was always professional, even in a social setting. However, I made a point of not drinking as I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, so I opted for a lemonade with a lemon slice.
We all met in the hotel foyer of where Darren was staying. We had our drinks and Darren updated Garth on how Brisbane was going, any highlights and issues included. The conversation went to more gossip within the organisation while we waited for the other director, Thomas. Garth got a text from Thomas advising he had been held up with a client and would be briefed the next morning. As such, we all decided to call it a night, however Garth suggested that Darren and I were more than welcome to continue.
Not particularly wanting to go home and enjoying speaking with Darren I accepted to go up to his room to continue our conversation. All the while not thinking or expecting any more of that. I had flirted with Darren however, believed I held steadfast in that flirting was all it was, due to our professional relationship.
We said our good-byes to Garth and headed up to his room. For a dated hotel, that once was one of the nicest in Melbourne, it still seemed to hold well. He had a one-bedroom suite, which was nice of the company i.e me, to book for him.
We sat on the sofa and he insisted that I have a drink with him. I told him that I don’t drink and don’t hold my alcohol well. He assured me I would be fine. So, after much persistence I agreed. I had felt we were in the very least professional friends, having been speaking most days for the past couple of months. He opened a bottle of white wine and poured me a glass and gave himself one.
I looked at him and wondered if I could ever find him attractive. He was charismatic, that was for sure. It completely oozed off him. It gave me a warm feeling. Yet, that was as far as the attraction went. I simply didn’t feel anything beyond that.
Each time I took a sip of my wine, being the ridiculously slow drinker that I was, he kept filling it up, doing the same for himself. As the night progressed the conversation became personal. On some weird level I trusted him so told him a little more than I would in a professional setting. Slowly, but surely feeling the subtle effects of the wine. The more I drank the more I talked. As I continued to talk the closer he came to me. Because I was so engaged in the conversation, I didn’t give it much thought.
“I think I will get a cab home”, I said to him, feeling rather intoxicated and not in control, though trying my hardest to remain intact.
“No!” he said giving me a sulky look. “We are having such a good conversation and you don’t have to go in early tomorrow. Just stay for a little longer”, he begged.
“Ok, five more minutes”, I said, making an attempt at a mental note to watch the time.
“How about you go home after you finish that glass?” he said.
“Fine”, I said. But with that he filled up my glass again.
I pulled a face at him for being so incredulous. He smiled and shrugged. Then he changed the subject.
What seemed like a casual conversation turned to him holding me on the couch. Seeming engaged with the conversation and his affection being something innocent.
“Let’s sit on the bed”, he said “my leg is falling asleep on this sofa”.
I didn’t resist.
We sat on the bed and what seemed all too quickly we were both lying down.
He started stroking my hair and my cheek. I felt uneasy and heavy.
“I am going to go home”, I said, trying to get up.
He pulled me back and held me. “no, please don’t”, he said.
It felt nice to be touched and I struggled to resist. My head was spinning, and my thoughts were all muddled.
He started to unbutton my black slacks. I pushed his hand away however; it returned a moment later. He kissed me and continued to pull my pants down. I pushed him away, but he came back.
“I want to go home”, I said to him and tried to get up.
He pulled me back and forced his lips onto mine.
“no” I said, but he ignored me.
“this is good for you, I promise you will enjoy it”, he continued.
“no” I repeated but he continued.
“You don’t want me to tell Garth about how you led me on now, do you?” he asked, knowing full well about my crush on Garth. So, I conceded, feeling like there was no other choice since I loved my job so much and didn’t want to have Garth think less of me.
In moments he went down on me and while I am a fan of this, it didn’t feel right. I wanted to go home and the other part of me was so hungry for affection that all I felt was confused. Then in what seemed seconds he was in me, moaning and groaning. My body half responding but I didn’t feel right. I couldn’t think.
It seemed like this went on for hours, though it may have been half an hour in total. I got up, got dressed and he seemed proud of himself. He kissed me and called me a cab. I went home, still intoxicated and feeling very odd. He texted me later that night telling me what a great time he had, and he looked forward to us catching up again soon.
The next day I felt weird, like I was dirty under my skin. I felt depressed, sad and angry but couldn’t put together why. I thought about the night before and while I remember everything a part of me was convinced that I had consented. Yet, my emotions were not so sure. I felt off, not me. I went into work and all was if the night before had never happened.
Darren returned back to Brisbane and all went back to what it was before. But the flirting now was forced as he threatened repeatedly to tell Garth if I wasn’t “friendly” with him. For months after I couldn’t shake this feeling, this heavy, dirty feeling. I couldn’t find a name for it and yet, I knew something wasn’t right.
Ten Years Later…
Checking my Facebook for the first time that day I found a friend request from Darren. After all this time, he had married, had children and now was divorced, again. The first thought that came to mind was “What the fuck! Are you kidding me?!”
Then I finally found the name for what he had done – date rape.
Now I knew what this term meant, now I knew getting me drunk was wrong and forcing me to do something under the influence was rape and then blackmailing me to continue was sexual assault.
I deleted his request and thought to myself that if he ever had the audacity to send me another request, I would remind him that he date raped. For now, I didn’t want to remember or feel that ever again.
Based on a true story.