That time I was raped.
Yes, I was raped. This isn’t something I have ever really talked to many people about. I can literally count on my left hand the number of people I have told. But, it’s been over a decade and I feel like I am at a place where I no longer have to keep this secret buried inside of me. If it’s a secret, it can be exposed. If I let it out, I control how that exposure happens, and can handle it the way I want.
***Disclaimer*** I know many of my readers are family and long -time friends. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was ashamed and I felt that I allowed this to happen. I put myself in that place. I blamed myself for a very long time. The man involved was also someone many of my friends knew and I didn’t want to smear his name. At the time and for many years after, I felt like I had led him on and he didn’t deserve the title of rapist (I still don’t think he does which is why I have omitted names, but that is a whole other post. Please don’t ask me about who it was. I will not tell you). I felt like I was the problem, a slut, a whore, etc… I also didn’t want anyone to retaliate against him on my part, and I know that many of you would. I know that I am loved and cherished and it has taken me a lot of therapy, self- talk, and healing to get here. Please don’t be hurt or upset that you have never heard of this. It was something that I needed to process and it has taken me over a decade to do so. Thank you to those few I did confide in for keeping my secret. Thank you for the countless conversations and helping me analyze it from every view point. Thank You for still loving me even when I didn’t want to confront him and told you that I felt like it was my fault. Thank you for not walking away when I defended him. Thank you to those who have stuck by me as I dealt with the ramifications of that night.
So here goes.
When I was young, I was always told that you can’t trust everyone you want to trust. Just because someone opens up to you and tells you things about themselves, doesn’t mean you can trust them too. I always let this mantra echo in the back of my head. It sat there like a watch guard. Whenever I started to catch feelings for people, it would jump up and down waving bright red flags and screaming at me to slow my roll. “Don’t let them get too close, they could hurt you, they WILL hurt you!!!” the little voice in my mind would tell me. I listened as best I could.
My personality however, did not fit into what this little voice always taught me. I am an outgoing person usually. I like people. I like talking to them and hearing stories. I like listening to people and hearing them talk about the things that make them happy. And when someone isn’t happy, I like being there for them and allowing them to vent and occasionally I can offer some guidance. I have a very open heart and it didn’t coincide with this mantra of keeping people at bay.
In my teens I had a hard time relating to girls. Don’t get me wrong, I had some awesome BFF’s, but I learned early on that I was also attracted to girls. This made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want every girl that I felt friendly towards to feel like I was going to hit on them. I was taught that being “that way” was wrong and I stuffed it inside. But even deep inside me, it caused my anxiety about talking to girls to rocket which lead to me befriending many males. I just got them better. I related to them on a different level than I did chicks.
The problem came when I tried to keep that raging lesbian stuffed deep inside. I would flirt with boys because that is what I was “supposed” to do. I felt pressured by the world around me to be attracted to men. I can honestly say that while I found many of them to be good looking, and I liked their personalities and such, it did nothing for me think about what happened in below the belt with them. The whole concept was beyond my grasp. I had dated guys, and called myself loving them, but I realized much later that I was not IN LOVE with them. I was in love with who they were as people, but I knew that in the long run, I would never be satisfied. It just wouldn’t work. I had this idea in my head that being with them long enough I would eventually just make it work…
After high school, I got a job in town and met some awesome people. I fell head over heels for a woman 9 years my senior. I didn’t give one rat’s ass about what people thought. Expect my parents. They didn’t want me to date a woman. They forbad it. So, when this woman flirted with me, and made me feel alive, I was smitten. She pushed me out of my closet and convinced me that I was at a point that I could live my own life and I didn’t need to worry about what ANYONE thought. I know now that a large part of my infatuation with her was the wildness and gypsy life she led. She was so open and free and had something that I craved. But she had plans for her life. I still remember the day she got the call from her dream job. We were in Walmart walking around and talking and holding hands. She got that call and my heart sank. She was moving away to follow her dreams and I was going to be stuck here without her. She had helped me cut the restraints I was holding onto and then she was gone. I was left with a new flexibility and had no idea what to do with it. So I went wild. I started partying a lot. I gave zero cares to the world because it was just too much.
I started to spend time with one particular group of guy friends more often than usual. I became what I thought, was close friends with all of them. We spent a lot of time together watching movies, playing video games, smoking pot and drinking. It was a blast. I felt at home with these guys, they were my boys. At the same time I was also suffering from the loss of my first real girl crush. I needed something to fill all this new space in my mind. So I resorted to my old ways. I soon became known as a flirt and a tease. I wanted the attention of whoever would give it to me. I just didn’t want to actually follow through with any of it. They would take turns driving me home late at night and would start to flirt back. They got touchy and begged me to follow through. But I never did. I thought I was doing a great job of maintain my status as one of the guys while still being attractive enough to flirt with. As I spent more time with my boys, I opened up and that little voice that tried to tell me not too, got buried down next to that lesbian who I also felt the need to shut up. (More on this in another post, there was a lot of back and forth in my life about being gay and the emotions and things I put myself though.)
My boys never failed me though. They continued to put up with my emotional mood swings. I spent many nights with just one or two of them hashing out the demons that plagued each of us. I felt happy to have them all. I trusted them. I was particularly close to one of them, (we will call him “A”) but I was scared. The last person I grew close to had “abandoned” me. I didn’t want to get close to anyone again. So I kept A at arm’s length. I was intrigued by him, but I wasn’t going to make that leap. He was the only one in the group who hadn’t ever sexualized me, or made me feel like anything other than his friend. I guess part of me thought he just wasn’t interested…
One particular afternoon we all got shit faced at a movie and ended up partying late into the night. I’m not sure how I did it, but I offered to drive “C” home. I was drunk and stoned and had absolutely NO right to be behind the wheel of a vehicle, but I did. Everything about that afternoon was very blurry. I don’t remember a lick of the movie, but I recall briefly smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor in the theater. The next thing I remember is waking up under a pool table in a basement. My cell phone was ringing and it was after 3 am. My dad was calling, frantically trying to get hold of me. (My curfew was 1 on the weekends, I was barely 18). I told him I was on my way and realized I was naked.
WHAT THE FUCK?
I scrambled and found (most) of my clothes. C was passed out next to the pool table and stirred when I started stumbling around. He walked me out to my car and kissed me, thanked me for the nice evening and lit a cigarette for me. I was so lost and confused. I had no idea what we had done; only that he seemed content, happy almost. I went home and sat in my bedroom in disbelief. I was 18 and up until that point had never been with a guy. I had been with women, but I had never had sex with a man. Yet, there I was, and I felt, I knew, that I had; only I didn’t remember ANY of it.
I went to work the next day covered in bruises. My neck looked like it had been strangled. There were bite marks all over my thighs, neck, arms. Worst of all my “down there” was raw. It HURT. I was embarrassed, mortified, and ashamed. No amount of makeup could cover the bruises scattering my body. I had coworkers and managers teasing me about them, assuming that it had been a wild party night out for me. I had no relocation of what had transpired the previous evening.
I didn’t see the guys any more. You see, I was too afraid to bring it up and ask them if they knew what happened. I was afraid I would be a joke to them. A nasty, filthy, skank that ruined the comfortable circle we were in. I was broken.
It wasn’t until I bumped into them at a local gas station and <emC smiled and said hello that I could remember what resulted in that evening of drinking and drugs. When I literally bumped into him and looked into his eyes and heard his voice it all came crumbling back in a waterfall of misery.
When my eyes locked with his, every second of that night flooded back into my memory. I remembered the couch and his facial hair scratching me. I remembered being on my back and the pain coursing through my body as I lay there limp unable to move. I remembered feeling trapped and paralyzed as he knelt over me angrily consuming every inch of my skin and my breaking my soul. I remembered his mother coming down the steps to the basement and he yelling at her to not come any further that he was “busy with company”. I crumbled as I got into my car and watched this movie of memories play back in my head.
Later, I scrounged up the courage to ask A if he and C had ever talked about what had happened that night. In A’s words, C just told him that we went back to his place, played pool, and hung out. But that C said he thinks he blacked out. (Which I had seen C do many many many times while drinking. He had a reputation of doing all kinds of things while drinking and having no memory of it). A had a very sad look in his eyes when we he was telling me this. I’m not sure what he thought went down, but I knew that he and I would never be close again.
To this day, I still don’t know if C realized what he did that night. Many therapists and a few people have told me that his black out is no excuse. That if he did it blacked out, he thought about it sober. What I do know is that I am not going to allow that evening to hold control over me anymore. It’s done.
I saw C at a local sub shop a few months ago. I hadn’t seen him since the night at the gas station when everything flooded me. Seeing him again shook me. I don’t want anyone to have that power over me. I don’t want to cower or be afraid.
I have grown a great deal from that young woman who partied hard and got hurt. I still have issues, but I am learning to heal from them. Part of that healing process is letting the skeletons out of my closet and washing them. I have held a lot of pain from that night. But I am letting it go. I am done being a victim to it.
I forgive C. Whether he intended for those things to happen, or if he truly would not have if he had been sober, I don’t know, but I am ok. I wish him nothing but peace for his future. If he is the same guy that I knew when he was not drinking, when he was just talking and hanging out with me, then he would never have done those things. That guy, would kill anyone who laid an unwelcome or unwanted hand on a woman. Regardless of who or what he is now or then, this weight is off of my shoulders and I am stronger because of it.