I was a sixteen year old farm girl when I entered college in 1946. I had picked up clues about sex by watching roosters with hens, drakes with ducks, and bulls with cows. Also, I knew what love felt like due to my serious crush on “Tommy” in high school. In our old-fashioned community, no adult woman would dare discuss sex with a girl until after she was married. A pregnant woman was said to be “that way”, in a whisper mouthed behind your mother’s hand.

My seventeenth birthday, on October 28, occurred early in the first fall semester. I was living in a girls’ dormitory on a campus twenty-five miles from where I was born and raised. Murray State College was in the town of Murray, Kentucky, which I knew fairly well because my Grandmother Vicky and my Aunt Katie lived there. I had barely heard of sororities or fraternities, but the first thing I knew I was being rushed by, and pledged to, the Beta Nu chapter of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

As called for, in their pledging system, an upper-class Alpha Sigma Alpha member chose me as her “little sister”. A “little sister” who hopes to become a full-fledged member of the sorority, must do whatever is asked by her “big sister” during the six week pledge period. This “big sister” of mine, whose name I don’t remember, started showing me around, befriending me, and creating a sorority-sister relationship. All the while, I was making sure to be a “good pledge” and do her every bidding.

But, red flags were going up, and my suspicions flared even more when said sister became insistent on having me go home with her for a weekend. Some inner wisdom told me to avoid that at all cost. The word “lesbian” was not in my vocabulary. I didn’t know there was such a thing. I just knew I wasn’t comfortable with this girl and her plans for us to sleep together. As if freshman college wasn’t challenging enough already, I spent that six weeks walking a tightrope between being a good sorority pledge trying to please this “big sister” and doing everything in my power to avoid being alone with her.

At the far end of one wing of our girls’ dormitory was an infirmary where a nurse was sometimes on duty. One day, while the area was deserted, this predatory “sister” somehow got me into a vacant room, closed the door, and strong armed me onto a bed. When her lips came within six inches of mine, I miraculously mustered enough strength to angrily throw her off me and get the heck away from there and out of the building. She seemed stunned by the ferociousness of my rejection.

It was not my nature to cause a commotion by reporting the incident to authorities, which would have drawn unwanted attention to me. I did however confide in my close friend with whom I’d grown up on Standing Rock Creek, and who was pledging the same sorority. The scheming so-called “sister”, who I dreaded seeing again, mysteriously disappeared from campus, and I was spared the awkwardness of meeting up with her after the assault. There was no discussion of the event. I will never know if my friend reported it to the Alpha Sigma Alpha faculty advisor, or if the guilty girl left of her own volition. I never told my parents or anyone else. I just quietly filed the experience away as part of my college “education”.

In retrospect, I am satisfied with the way the situation was handled. My conniving “big sorority sister” picked the wrong victim, as I was not as gullible or as easily manipulated as she had expected. I’d had no coaching in sex education, but common sense served me well. Also, a savvier predator might have predicted that my sex “pheromones” would activate only with a male partner.

I stayed on in the sorority through four years of college, and to this day, mail from Alpha Sigma Alpha of Murray State University reaches me no matter where I go on this planet. Sorority membership can teach you some important life lessons. In my case, it served up an eye-opening  chapter in Sex Education.




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