Charles was a charming, mellow kid. He was sharp, but had a really goofy sense of humor, which is why I couldn’t tell if he was joking when he told me a girl had raped him.
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For reasons that are obvious, my memory is not the best. Writing stories for this column often brings back important details I’ve forgotten. Every week, I find myself reconstructing whole scenarios and revisiting past iterations of myself that are younger, stupider, and often misguided. The shenanigans I relate are usually just that—shenanigans, silly bullshit that doesn’t hurt anyone. But when I look back on one story from college, I realize how immature my homeboys and I were. We didn’t directly hurt anyone, and in the end the vibe returned to normal, but looking back, one of our reactions makes me SMH. (I’m very into the phrase SMH these days.)
Leaving things to the last minute is my mark, and in college I drew this signature style out over four and a half hazy years. I didn’t put much effort into excelling in my studies until my final semester, when I rallied every ounce of give-a-shit I had left and plowed through my capstone courses. (I’m still quite proud that I made it through these classes, because these classes were fucking hard. Marketing seemed like a bullshit major until those last few credits.) On the first day of my marketing capstone, I was placed in a group of five, and within the first three weeks, the group dwindled to just two guys—myself and a tall white boy I’ll call Charles. Charles was a charming, mellow kid, and being paired together in a hell class accelerated our friendship. He was sharp, but had a really goofy sense of humor, which is why I couldn’t tell if he was joking when he told me a girl had raped him.
We were both early to class that day. We sat at our adjacent desks and discussed a fraternity that had recently been busted for roofie-ing girls. In the midst of agreeing that frat culture is just plain fucked up, Charles said, “Yeah man, I was actually roofied once, and a girl raped me.” My reaction was an uncomfortable chuckle, which I regretted once I realized he wasn’t joking. He wasn’t wearing the serious expression you’d expect to come with such a divulgence, but rather he said it with a nonchalance that showed a lack of trauma. The very fact that he mentioned it to me in class made it seem so trivial, despite the implied gravity of his statement. Before I could ask him any uneasy follow-up questions, the professor burst into the room, and another intense class session commenced. A lesson was taught, and notes were taken, but all I could think about for those 90 minutes was Charles’s ordeal. It wasn’t until we walked out of class together that he fleshed out the horrific story.
Charles’s female friend dragged him to a party one night, asking him to look out for her because one of the guys who lived at the party house had been creeping on her. Though Charles didn’t feel up to it, he obliged. He decided not to drink that night, but when his friend handed him her first drink, he said, “Fuck it, just one.” As it turned out, the creeper his friend was worried about had put a roofie in the drink that ended up in Charles’s hand. About halfway through the drink, Charles began to feel woozy, and shortly after that, everything went black. Other people at the party told Charles that when he started acting fucked up, he caught the attention of a girl everybody called the Dude. As Charles described it, she was called the Dude because of her mannish features; she was derided as the most physically repulsive girl around. “The grossest thing was that she had this potbelly that protruded far past her breasts,” Charles said, making me shudder. According to eyewitness reports, the Dude became enamored with Charles, and as he faded in and out of consciousness, she began fondling him. She eventually led him up to her room, stripped them both naked, and had sex with him without his knowledge or consent. Charles said he’s not sure if there was penetration—or even if he was able to become aroused in his state—but the Dude insisted that they had sex and that she wanted to get breakfast with him. Charles flipped his shit, told her that he had been drugged, and ran out of the house to the nearest STD clinic. He said that the most unsettling part of the whole fiasco was having his pee-hole swabbed at the clinic—a treatment he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy. By this point in the story, we had reached the train. Before we parted ways, Charles made a request: “Please, do not tell anyone about this.”
As I trudged home, my brain was exploding with questions. Did Charles’s female friend know the drink was drugged? Did the Dude know he was drugged? Was there penetration? Is that even possible for a guy to have sex if he was roofied? When I finally walked into my house, my homeboys could tell I was perplexed. They all stopped their chatter and looked at me standing in the doorway. Charles’s story had flushed every other thought out of my mind. Helplessly, I broke my promise to Charles. “You guys are not going to fucking believe this…”
I never mentioned Charles’s name, but I told them the whole thing. As I laid out the story, their reactions ranged from sheer shock to the same uncomfortable chuckle I had uttered earlier. As I told them the story, we smoked a huge blunt and discussed every possible detail at length; we were all incredulous. Eventually, our minds wandered to other places and the story of Charles being raped by a girl was pretty much forgotten. It wasn’t until our final project in the capstone class that it came up unexpectedly.
For our final project, Charles and I had agreed to do a mock sneaker commercial. My house was close to campus and every single one of my buddies rocked black sneakers, so we congregated there to shoot the ad. Charles got along well with my friends. He passed the final test when he said he was down to blaze. We took a break from the shoot, rolled a huge blunt, and took seats around the coffee table in the living room. As we got stoned, we shot the shit, and the issue of frats using roofies came up once again, because another roofie incident had happened at a frat. During the discussion, my buddy Paulito said, “Yeah man, nobody is safe. Hell, the Kid knows that one guy who got roofied and raped by a girl.”
I could feel my face flushing as Charles turned to me with his jaw agape. No one else noticed until Charles exclaimed, “You told all your friends!?!” In that moment, it occurred to me that even though I had blown it, it was up to Charles to confirm that the story was about him—saying this was doing just that. All my homeboys went dead silent. We were all looking at Charles, and he was scanning the crowd right back, his mouth still wide open. I don’t know who it was, but someone chuckled. Then someone else. The laughter became contagious, and as the volume started to rise, Charles’s own expression began to soften, and his wide-open mouth began to laugh. With blunt smoke billowing between us, we all laughed hysterically at the nightmarish awkwardness of the situation. Not knowing what else to do—how else to react—we laughed away the direness of Charles’s ordeal as just one of those fucked up things that happens sometimes.
Looking back on that scene, I am mortified. We were so immature as young men that the same response we would have had for an especially loud fart was the only reaction we could muster. If we had been a room full of girls, the inappropriateness would have been far more apparent, but as a bunch of guys we had no gauge for the situation. I have never heard another account of a man being drugged and raped by a woman, but I recognize that it has probably happened to other guys, and it's far from something to chuckle about.
Previously - Thirty Tons of Hash Set Ablaze? A Pothead's Lament