I had a group of friends as a teenager that I adored, simply adored. Most of them were males. I felt like an equal among them, a member of our group. I felt respected and safe.
We partied together, drank a lot. Held many gatherings at friends’ houses (you know the ‘party’ that’s not a party).
I had a steady boyfriend, my first real boyfriend. We were the same age, together from 16 years old, madly in love and stayed together for a solid three years – a lifetime for teenagers.
I was 18 when this changed.
Sex, drinking, and social media is a recipe for some risky behaviour on Mamamia Out Loud.
We were at a male friend’s house. We were gathered there, at least a dozen of us. I don’t think it was a real party, possibly just a gathering, our friend’s parents could have been away, I can’t recall. There was probably a bonfire, lots of drinking, laughing, music, joking, having the time of our lives. His parents were always cool with us being there and drinking, so few parents were. We were happy.
That evening my boyfriend and I stayed the night, I assume everyone else made their way home. Possibly walking the streets. We did that a lot. Walked and walked and walked after nights out.
Our friend had a bunk bed, my boyfriend and I cuddled up together on the bottom bunk, our friend in his own bed up top.
I woke up in the middle of the night to a dog nuzzling at my crotch. I pushed the nuzzle away. I expected a wet furry snout. I met human fingers.
I don’t know if I gasped. I know I was shocked, confused, terrified. I pretended to sleep but also tried to look around the room. I could see nothing, it was so dark and I was so scared. After a few moments a shadow moved and then I heard the unmistakable sound of my friend climbing back up into his bed.
I lay there, completely still. My boyfriend was sleeping behind me but I couldn’t wake him. I knew he wouldn’t be sober enough to help.
I was fully clothed. Under covers. His hand was groping me over the covers. I know it could have been so much worse. I think for this reason I always felt I had been less violated.
I had not.
My friend had betrayed us.
I did nothing that night, after a minute or so I moved behind my boyfriend, to the other side of the bed against the wall. I felt somewhat protected by my slumbering, drunken, boyfriend. I waited. I didn’t sleep. When morning arrived my heavily hungover boyfriend and I got up and left. I said nothing to anyone.
I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want our group to splinter. I didn’t want to lose my friend.
A week later an emotional conversation with a girlfriend about something completely unrelated sparked me to tell my boyfriend. It didn’t go well. His advice to me was say nothing ‘everyone will hate him if you tell people’.
I was confused, upset, completely unsupported. I didn’t want things to change but I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was also alone. My boyfriend felt no betrayal, or showed no sign of it.
Looking back I was just so incredibly young.