Anyone who’s read the New York Times bestselling book Luckiest Girl Alive will remember the haunting chapter that reveals Ani FaNelli, the protagonist of the novel, was gang raped as a teen. In this week’s Lenny Letter, author Jessica Knoll writes that, while the book is a work of fiction, this particular aspect of it was inspired by one of her own experiences in high school.
“I know that before I was old enough to drive, I liked A Boy,” she writes in the powerful essay. “I know that I went to a party at which the ratio of guys to girls was not in my favor, where I drank, flirted with A Boy, was dazzled by A Boy, drank some more, and slipped away from the waking world. I know I came to on the floor of a bedroom, A Different Boy’s head between my legs. I remember A Different Boy from a flare of coherence earlier, trying to help me walk when my anesthetized legs failed me.”
She details waking up multiple times, each time to find a different boy taking advantage of her. She also says she awoke to find herself bleeding and in pain—but that, for a long time, she hesitated to label her experience as “rape.”
“I called it rape, once,” Knoll writes. “In a drunken confrontation with A Boy. The next day, terrified the herd might come after me even hungrier (trash slut had appeared on the inside of my locker just days before), I called A Boy and apologized. I apologized to my rapist for calling him a rapist. What a thing to live with.”
Read her entire essay over at Lenny Letter.