Surviving sexual assault: Kim’s story

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It was Christmastime, and Kim* was back in Steamboat Springs during her college break. On one of her last nights home, she decided to go out for drinks at The Tugboat with her married friends. After a drink or two, the couple began fighting and wanted to head home. Kim was happy to leave with them, but on the way out, she ran into a former work colleague.

Kim described the man as an affluent businessman in town, and she said he promised her friends he’d make sure she got home safely. She remembers talking to him while holding her jacket. At a certain point, he took Kim’s drink from her hand, asked a friend to watch it and then took Kim around the back of the bar to store her coat on a shelf.

It was during that time, when she left her drink unattended, that she believes her drink was laced with a date rape drug.

“When we got back to where we were, I said I didn’t want the rest of my drink, but he said, ‘why not finish it,’ so I did,” Kim said. “After that, I kind of remember leaving, but everything after that is hard to remember.”

She said images from that night come back to her like clips in a movie. She remembers him holding her up in the middle of the street. She remembers thinking, “How did I get so drunk?” Eventually, she is in his house, it’s dark, and she is having sex, and it really hurts.

“I asked him to stop and said it hurt, and he said we weren’t stopping until I came,” Kim said. “It was still going on, and I was crying and saying it really hurt. He said I had to come, and so, I faked it.”

The next thing Kim remembers is waking up wearing men’s boxer shorts that were too tight and being naked from the waist up. The man was in the shower, and she felt ashamed.

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“I apologized to him and told him I didn’t know how I got so drunk, and I thanked him for taking care of me,” Kim said.

Then she asked for a ride home.

The man at first said “no,” he was running late, but then he got in his car with her and pretended it didn’t start. Kim said she got mad then, slammed the door, took the bus home and crawled into bed feeling shameful.

It took a week for Kim to share her story with a friend — a male friend who would eventually become her husband.

“I told him what happened, and he said, ‘you were drugged, and that was rape,’” Kim said.

He encouraged Kim to go to a doctor where she had an STI and pregnancy test done. Those tests came back negative for everything except oral herpes.

“Now every time I get a cold sore in my mouth, I get to be reminded of him,” Kim said.

Kim, who was 24 at the time, never reported the rape to police, and she hasn’t seen or spoken to her attacker since.

Kim is married now with two children, and she doesn’t like to describe herself as a victim or a survivor. Instead, she looks back at her rape as a “shitty night.”

“I still have a hard time believing this happened to me,” Kim said. “I’m a fighter. I don’t make poor choices. I always choose the good guy, and to this day, it’s still hard not to blame myself. I sometimes think, ‘Was I really drugged? Was I leading him on?’

“But at the end of the day, I remember saying ‘no’ multiple times, and sex was really painful. At that point, he should have stopped. It was rape.”

*Kim is not this survivor’s real name. She has chosen to remain anonymous to protect herself and her family.

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.

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