Sam Sullivan: A Rape Story follows Sam Sullivan, a high-schooler, as he navigates the difficult waters of high school while attempting to deal with his introduction to sex as a result of rape.
Sam Sullivan begins his sophomore year of high school hopeful and happy. JV Soccer, his hobby of sketching, and a summer of being with friends fill his mind as he dreams about what the future year will hold for him. His innocence is brutally destroyed when he is sexually assaulted at a party after Homecoming.
Sam’s friends desert him, viewing the situation as him betraying their friends group to sleep with a member of a rival clique. Kyle, a friend Sam has made through his success in soccer, boyfriend of Juliet (bestfriend of Jessica, Sam’s Rapist) inducts him into their friend group, viewing the situation as nothing more than a natural hook-up. Distanced and ostracized from friends and world he knew, he enters an active relationship with his assaulter, Jessica, who continues to sexually coerce and abuse him. Lost and confused as to what has and is happening to him Sam struggles to comprehend the new circumstances of his life. He convinces himself that he is not a victim, and as he develops feelings for his rapist he accepts the new life he is living.
While Sam struggles to adapt to the circumstances of his life a relationship between he and his step-father, Cliff, develops from distanced tolerance to a true father-son relationship as well as a brother-by-bond relationship that Kyle and Sam develop which concludes with Sam seeing that Kyle, the rock of their friend group, is just as scared and fragile as the rest of the teenagers in the makeshift family of his new friend group that he finds himself in.
The book ends on New Year’s Eve at another party when Sam finally understands that he was sexually assaulted and the truth of what happened at Homecoming is accidentally revealed.
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I turned around, and as I did, I felt my head spinning, but I was okay. Jessica was locking the door. She turned around and walked toward me as I swallowed nervously. As she walked toward me, I stumbled back into the wall. She came up to me with a slight smile and kissed me again. She pressed her wrists against my shoulders and her entire body was up against mine. I was confused; I didn’t know what was happening. I just wanted to talk to her. I just wanted to talk to her.
I pushed her back away from me and tried to stammer out something but I couldn’t. My mind was spinning, I could taste the beer in my mouth and it made me want to vomit. Jessica smiled.
“You’re pretty cute when you’re drunk.”
She came back in and pinned me up against the wall again. She pressed her lips against mine and I could feel her tongue flitting in and out exploring my mouth. It felt good. But this was too fast. This wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted to talk! I pushed her away again. This time she looked at me confusedly.
“What the hell Sam?”
“What are you doing?” I fumbled out, I could hear the slushiness in my voice.
“I’m trying to hook up with you, duh.” She went in again but I held my arm out to stop her.
“I-I don’t want this. This is too fast.”
She laughed. “You’re funny. Everyone wants to hook up with me. Seniors want to hook up with me. I like you Sam, and I want to hook up with you. So, come here.”
She grabbed my arm and pulled me into her. I tried to push her off, get her away from me. Then I felt a sharp pain on the side of my face. Had she slapped me? My ears were ringing, I couldn’t hear. What was going on? Then another sharp pain on my other cheek. Jessica pushed me up against the wall and started kissing my neck. It felt hot and sent chills down my spine.
“Stop fighting it,” she said with an intense heavy breath.
I felt my neck explode in pain. She was biting me. And then the alcohol hit me. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t act. Maybe it wasn’t the alcohol, maybe it was shock, but all I know was that I couldn’t do anything. She ran her hands under my shirt and felt my chest. Her hands were cold as she ran them across my stomach and my hips. She slipped one down my pants and laughed when she felt my bulge.
“Mhhhhm what’s this?”
She flung me onto the bed so that my legs were hanging off the edge. She got on her knees and started unbuttoning my pants. I tried to stop her but my she pushed my hands away. She took it out, and her eyes went wide.
“Huh, so I guess Kyle wasn’t lying.”
She started stroking up and down my shaft. My head was racing at one hundred miles an hour, but I couldn’t do anything. The taste of beer was going stale in my mouth, and I was too gone to stop anything. I didn’t want it, but it felt so good. No one had ever touched me like that; no one had ever done something like this. Was this what was supposed to happen? No, I knew I didn’t want this. I wanted a relationship, not to hook up. I wanted to take things slow. But I couldn’t move, I couldn’t stop her. I was barely staying conscious. I had to do something.
“Stop,” I murmured weakly, “I don’t want this.”
She laughed again. “Um, yeah you do, you’re hard, don’t even lie. But fine, I’ll make it even better for you.”
She giggled and winked at me before she put it in her mouth and went down on all of it. My eyes went wide, as I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. She pulled her mouth off and it came out with a satisfying pop sound.
“Mhhm, tasty.” She looked at me and smiled. “See you like it.” She started licking up and down the shaft while she used her hands. “You know, there’s a rumor that you and that black friend of yours are gay for each other? Well this is all the proof I need.”
I had to get out of there, I had to stop this. I tried to get up but Jessica put a hand on my chest and forced me back down. She got up and unzipped her dress. She hadn’t been wearing anything else. I looked at her body, it was everything everyone thought it was. I tried to look away but she got on top of me and started pulling my clothes off.
“You won’t be needing these.” She said with a giggle.
We were both naked now, her straddling me near the hips and her kissing my neck and chest, biting me or digging her nails into me when I tried to stop her. Maybe she thought it was a game, but I was so terrified, so scared, I just wanted her to stop. I could feel the heat and wetness coming from where she was sitting. I knew what was going to happen next. I didn’t want it. But I was helpless to stop it. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t.
“Well, now it’s my turn to have some fun,” She said kissing my cheek. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone this big before, not even the seniors.”
She raised herself and mounted me, I felt it slide in, Something came over me like a wave. Maybe it was the rest of the alcohol finally hitting me, maybe it was the feeling of me losing my virginity. But I don’t remember much after that. I remember having an orgasm, she was still on top of me. I remember her moaning. I remember her slipping her dress on. “This was fun,” She said. “I’ll have to try you out when you’re sober.” I remember being alone in the room, and then I don’t remember anything. Just blackness.
Excerpt from Chapter 25: December 31st – 8:30 p.m.
Jess pressed me up against the wall and started running her hands over my stomach and chest. She kissed me. I could taste the vodka on her tongue. Homecoming flashed through my mind. Her on me, her pinning me against the wall. I pushed back from her. “Stop fighting me Sam I want to make out.” She grabbed my wrists with her hands and pressed her body up against me. She started kissing my neck. That night kept flashing through my mind. Her pinning me, her pulling my pants down, her slapping me. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. I couldn’t get that night out of my head. It just couldn’t stop seeing her there, over me. Saying she had fun, saying that she’d have to try me out again. Saying I know you like it. I struggled against her. I pushed Jess away from me.
“Sam?” She asked, “Is everything okay?”
But I wasn’t paying attention. I barely looked at her. I was still hyperventilating. I needed to get air. I needed to get outside. I remembered a balcony. I Rushed up a set of stairs and flung a set of doors open. Fresh air that smelled like snow flooded in. I breathed in as deep as I could, trying to clear the smell of vodka and beer from my nose and mouth. I leaned over the railing trying not to throw up.
“Sam?” a voice said behind me.
I turned, still struggling to breath. It was Lexi. She was wearing a powder blue dress. Her hair was in long black curls that fell lightly over her shoulders.
“Sam what’s wrong.” She rushed over to me kneeling over the stone railing in the snow and kneeled down next to me. “What’s going on?”
“I-I-I’m. I’m fine.” I managed to stammer out.
“You are not fine.” She said picking me up. “C’mon, get out of the snow. C’mon.” She led me into the room and turned on the light. We were in some sort of a living room. I sat down on a sofa breathing in the cold air. I was working hard to control my breathing. Lexi sat next to me and put her shoulder around me.
“Tell me what’s wrong Sam.”
“I’m tired, Lexi.” I said. Everything, the weight of everything was coming down on me. Homecoming, having a sex life thrust upon me, the loss of my friends, Jess, Juliet, Kyle, their stories, Jess’ parents, my promise to Juliet, and now this. This was too much. This was all too much for me to handle. “I’m so tired of all of it. Why can’t everything just go back to being normal. Why does it have to be this way?”
“Sam,” she said as she moved my face to face hers. “Do you remember that day in art when you told me that you’d tell me everything about homecoming?”
“Yeah.” I said hollowly, remembering that day. It was burned into my memory.
“That’s what this is all about isn’t it. And don’t lie to me. Tell me everything”
How was she able to figure it out? What did she know?
“Are you sure you want to know?”
I closed my eyes and sighed. Then I breathed in and began. I told her. I told her everything from homecoming. I told her about the party, about Jessica, about me being drunk, and about what happened in the bedroom Then I told her about the following Monday, and then about the bonfire. She didn’t say anything until I was finished.
“Thank you for telling me.” Was all she said.
I nodded. “Anything you want to say?”
Silence filled the room, silence pounding in my ears, waiting for a response. I heard wood creaking from the hallway as the wind blew through the open balcony doors.
“Jess raped you Sam.”
I didn’t expect that.
“Jess raped you. She knew you were drunk, she heard you say no. No means no. No always means no. You said you didn’t want it, and she did things to you, things you didn’t want.”
“She was drunk.” I said.
“That’s not an excuse.” She said. “That is in no way an excuse for sexually assaulting someone. And what’s worse is that Monday, she did it to you again.”
“Don’t defend it Sam. Don’t defend a rapist. I understand you like Jess and she’s your girlfriend. You two want to be together. But think about it. What if you changed places? You forced yourself onto Jess when she was saying no. What do you call that?”
“Rape.” I said softly looking away from her.
“So, what’s the difference if the roles are reversed.”
“I was hard.” I said hollowly. It was what she said to me that night, it was what I had been telling myself.
“So, what? A girl who is raped can be wet, a girl who is raped can have orgasms too. Sex is a thing your body experiences. Rape is a thing that your head experiences. It doesn’t matter if you were hard. You said no. She didn’t stop. That’s rape.”
“Stop, stop it. No, it’s not. I’m not some victim, I wasn’t raped. Jess isn’t a rapist.” I got out of the chair and walked away from her angrily. She got up and followed me.
“So when a guy does that to a freshman girl, gets her drunk, takes her to a room, fucks her when she says stop, saying that she’s wet and that she wants it. That’s rape. But because a hundred-pound girl pins a drunk boy who can barely stand against a wall and rides him, tells him the exact same thing, it’s not the same? Sam it’s the same fucking thing. Trust me.”
“Trust you? Why should I trust you? What the hell do you know about any of this?” I shouted at her.
She flinched as if I was going to hit her, then she got quiet. “I know what it’s like to be in your place.”
“How?!” I asked staring at her. But she didn’t need to answer. I had forgotten what she told me months ago. I saw the look in her eyes. I saw that hollow look I had seen in my eyes in the mirror.
A tear fell down her cheek as she looked away from me.
“You and Hank.” I said putting it all together in my head.
She nodded. “The same story you told me is what I lived through my freshman year, except worse. No one was there to tell me that I was raped. No one was there to tell me it was okay that I felt dirty in my own skin and that it wasn’t my fault. Hank and I were together for a year and a half. That didn’t change what he did to me that first night. And what Jess did to you will never be anything besides what it was. Rape.”
Lexi’s words were hitting me like a freight train, just running me over. I had been lying to myself this whole time. This entire time I was trying to justify what Jess had done. She was drunk, it was an accident, it was a mistake, she doesn’t know any better, it’s because of her parents. Were all things I had used to justify and defend her. I was an idiot. Maybe I was raped.
“Things aren’t like that anymore though.” I told her. “I’m happy.”
Lexi nodded. “I get that. But Hank and I never talked about it. He never admitted what he did. You have the chance to get everything out on the table with Jess, to stop it before you get consumed by it. Trust me. The depression doesn’t set in until months after. You’re confused, lost. You don’t know why it had to happen. But it did. And you need to learn to live with it. If Jess understands what if felt like for you, then you don’t have to feel the way that I did.”
I looked at the ground feeling stupid. Lexi was right. Right about everything.
“Sam, I know what it feels like to want to kill myself. I know, trust me, I tried. Being raped consumes you. You lose a piece of yourself when that happens. But it gets better if you let it.”
“I didn’t want to kill myself.” That I knew. But then I thought about that wall between Jess and I. It was that night. The night was where the wall started. I would need to climb it.
“Thank you, Lexi. You’re right. You’re right.”
She wiped her tears. “Maybe we should go back downstairs.” She laughed. “We wouldn’t want people thinking that we’re shacking up in here.
I didn’t want to go back to the party right now.
“Let’s just stay up here for a few minutes. The air is nice.”
The snow had stopped and so I walked out onto the balcony and breathed the night air in. I was thinking of what I was going to say to Jessica.