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Found 8 results

  1. MARCH 30, 2009 It was a dreary day. End of March my senior year. I decided I wanted to skip my morning classes this day because my boyfriend wasn't coming that morning anyways. We had our own building on this high school campus for this college program I was a part of. It was on the corner of campus, but sort of isolated from the other buildings, of course. I smoked some weed across the street where everyone smoked cigs before school. I was alone though. I remember walking around outside, calling N and he didn't answer. I wanted to skip that morning and go see him but instead I decided I would just go get some coffee and food or something if he didn't answer. Before I could even look up from my purse after putting my phone away, I felt someone close. It was him. At first I froze because I just didn't know what he was doing outside, but my stomach turned. I couldn't even react. If there was even any time. He sniffed me and told me he needed me to come with him and I thought, well fuck I'm busted for the joint I smoked moments before (fucking buzzkill). At least that's what came to my mind when I heard him sniff. I never thought anything more than that. I figured he wanted to punish me (as far as getting me into trouble with the principal or something normal) because my boyfriend always started fights with him and embarrassed him. Well, he ended up taking me toward the main doors, which was on the way to the student parking lot. Only he kept going. Skipping the entrance. The doors I should have bolted for. He led me, grabbing my arm slightly. Not much further to go "can we talk? I just want to talk." At this point, stupidly I thought "Oh ok. Maybe he doesn't want to get me into trouble" (Fucking dumb thought). I didn't even want to be at school to begin with, I just wanted to leave until my next college class later..This was probably second period at this point.. So part of me didn't want to go in the school anyways. I said "Talk about what??" But as we were heading away from the doors of the main building to the student parking area, he must have noticed nobody around because he grabbed me harder, walked faster. I naturally was starting to tense and try to pull away somewhat. He told me "Stop moving" and before I knew it he shoved me into the back of his car. I don't know why it was in student parking. But it was pretty much isolated. I don't know why I didn't run or scream. It really didn't cross my mind at that point that this could be anything violent or rape. Then I heard the doors lock and saw he was right next to me. At that point I was terrified. His windows were tinted. It was a car this time not the truck he took me to before... I felt uneasy. First thing he said to me was "why do you look so confused? I thought this was what you wanted. You keep talking about it." and smiled at me. That smile gave me chills. Like there was pure evil in it. I didn't know what to expect because I guess I'm the most naive person, but I knew I didn't expect him to rape me. I was also young and never thought this kind of thing would ever happen to me. But after he smiled at me like that, my stomach jumped into my throat. It now crossed my mind and I felt sick. I looked at the floor and closed my eyes "what do you want??" He didn't say anything. Just grabbed my face and turned my head to where I was facing him. He came in to kiss me and I tried with everything I had to pull away. Trying to go for the door, but he grabbed me and threw me against the seat and everything happened so fast. He kept trying to kiss me and I kept turning my head so he ended up kissing my face and neck. He was unzipping my coat and touching my body. He ripped my pants down and I was trying to pull them back up, desperately trying to keep myself covered. But he wouldn't let me, it just made him more forceful. "Get off of me!" I couldn't believe I followed him here, to this! I couldn't believe I was so stupid. He said "Why are you acting like this? You've been begging me to fuck you." I was trying to shove any part of him I could grab away from me and telling him I couldn't do this, he couldn't do this. "Sshhh, I can" he pulled my shirt down some. He leaned into me as he pulled my sweatpants, underwear and shoes off all at once, just tearing it all off me. He made an "mmm" sound, it made me feel so gross! Leaning into me more, crushing me with his body weight, he took his pants down. He touched me with his hand and put his fingers in me. Making comments..When he took his fingers out he licked them and told me I tasted "sweet." He grabbed my hand and put it on his di*k and asked me if I was ready for "that." I remember asking him not to again but I don't remember exactly what I said and it was probably a whisper at this point. I guess I realized he was actually for real going to have sex with me. He bent my leg and pushed it against the seat and threw my other leg to where it was hanging off the seat. I said “No. I don’t want to do this part” He asked me what I was scared of. I asked him to not hurt me... “No it won’t hurt, *trying to kiss me* 🤮 you’ll like it.” He was putting his body part against my body part. I told him I didn't want that in me.. “Sssshhh i can make you o* don’t you want to feel that?Just let me show you” He shoved it in me and didn’t even try to be gentle 😣 I said "Ouch that hurts please?" “Oh please give you more” and he would thrust more and it would hurt so I would tense and cry and he would tell me it didn’t hurt that I needed to relax my body and take it all in 🤢 I remember thinking I was trash. I thought N was going to hate me for cheating on him. He was going to think I was gross. My coat was on the entire time with my chest exposed some because he pulled my shirt down. I had no pants on though. I felt so exposed and vulnerable; I was embarrassed and didn’t want to scream because I didn’t want anyone to see me that way. I thought for a second “is he going to kill me here” but he seemed to be okay if I stopped fighting him off. I thought maybe if I just did this he would let me go and I could just get away from him as soon as possible. He said “You’re just tight. Just give it a minute and it’ll feel really good for you” I never had sex with anyone but N and he was I guess average size. But this was large like he always said it was. And it hurt me. I told him I wanted him to take it out but he wouldn’t stop. He kept telling me that it would get better, it would feel better in a min. He touched my cl*. I guess it felt a little better with him doing that but i still didn’t want him doing any of this to me. He was raping me! I said no! I didn’t want his penis in me!! I never wanted that! He kept trying and trying and then he just took it from me..I was being smashed into this small space and trying to get even just a foot away, to breathe. But there was nowhere I could go. I felt so trapped. "You're so tight, I'm going to cum already." I tried once more to fight him off by pushing on his face when I had the chance, but he flipped shit about that. He grabbed my arm, threw it down and punched the car seat multiple times. That was terrifying. I thought he was going to start hitting me. So I guess I became more submissive at that point. He didn't hit me though. He put his hand around my neck, which scared me at first. But he never actively choked me. Just touched me like he was going to choke me? He kept going and saying vile things to me (which I don't remember all of; "you smell so good" "is this how you wanted it?" "Ssshhhh, just relax. You can like it if you relax" "I hope someone sees") until he decided he wanted something else. He was always holding onto my arms, guiding me. He sat down on the seat and made me sit on top of him, facing away. He held my arms behind me as he continued doing what he wanted. I remember was him pushing me more into the back of the front seat. He whispered things in my ear. I hate admitting this right now but I have to get it out- his breath as he was whispering tickled my neck and he had reached around at some point to touch my cl**, and I ended up orgasming. I didn't know it was at the time. It was a hot tingling sensation and my body started twitching. I wanted to scream but I didn't I hoped he didn't notice. If he did, I didn't pay attention to what he said if he did. I was too focused on that new sensation. The next thing I remember was he said "Turn around and ride me." "No, please, I don't want to do this! I'm not ready" I was mortified. I had no idea what I was doing. "I'll show you, it's ok." And this is where it gets even more humiliating for me. These parts make me obsess with deleting what I write. I'm so ashamed! I didn't want to do any of this! But I also wanted it to be over with. So I turned around and he put it back inside He made a comment about me bleeding and it made me start to cry. He grabbed my hips and squeezed "do you like that?" I was unresponsive at first but he made me tell him I did. He made me say other things too. Degrading things about myself (He made me call him by his first name. He told me I was a filthy sl*t ("his") and made me say I was) I tried to keep my eyes closed because I couldn't stand looking at him. He told me I was too stiff and that I needed to "loosen up." I started to cry more almost hyperventilating. "Open your eyes, look at what you're doing." The next thing I remember, he grabbed my arms hard and held them on either side against me until he finished. He leaned into me breathing hard, and all I remember is crying and trying to do it quietly. I couldn't believe where I was and what was happening to me. I was trying to figure out how I could even get out of the car. All I wanted was to get off and away from him, but when I tried to move my arms away from him, he wouldn't let me go. Made me stay there on him. He would let me pull away a little and then pull me back down, laughing. So I just stayed there, humiliated and broken. "Were you a fuckin virgin? Did I just pop your sweet cherry?" He didn't but I definitely wasn't experienced and I guess I was bleeding because he was rough, which I guess he liked. I lost my virginity not long before this. I only had sex a few times before this with N. I didn't respond to him. But he got really excited thinking I was... looking at me with wide, crazy eyes. It was horrifying! I think he wanted to ruin me. Like he thought his career was over so he didn't even care anymore and just wanted to cause as much pain and torment as he could. "Sweet, tart cherry pie" When I was finally allowed to get up, I was in a panic looking for my clothes. I couldn't see them, which he enjoyed watching me freak out. He ended up handing them to me eventually..I heard him say something about doing this again sometime. I remember not finding my underwear in what he gave me. I threw my clothes and shoes on and tried to grab for the locked door. There were no lock switches on these back doors, so I couldn't unlock the doors to get out. He liked watching me panic with fear. He fed off of it. I asked "Can I please go? I won't tell anybody" He said "I know" "Hey, I hope your boyfriend likes the way I taste" with a huge grin, and he unlocked the doors with his keys and I fucking ran for my life. Confused and trying to make sense of what all just happened. If this really just happened. What am I going to do? I had gone to the bathroom in school to figure out if I was bleeding because it felt like I must have been bleeding more-but it was just his se***... I went home, showered and laid down in bed and cried until I couldn't anymore. Wondering why he let me out of the car. Thinking how I needed to tell someone. But being humiliated and scared. Remembering him saying people would just think I had a crush on him and that really bothered me. I didn't understand if I told people he hurt me why anyone would assume "oh she must have a crush on him." As a 17 year old who wasn't at all experienced with anything, I didn't get it back then. But reflecting on it as an older woman now, I see he probably meant everyone would think I made it up "crying rape" to ruin his precious image or whatever. I remember he told us students he had a friend in law enforcement before; how he also charmed his way out of any wrong doing he seemed to commit (like the previous school locker room incident), I was just so discouraged. Anyways, I called N and when he finally called me back, I could tell it just wasn't a good time to talk to him. I didn't even want to tell him anyways. Or anyone. But it was eating me alive. I didn't have anyone else in my life around then. I didn't live with either parent and they both had priorities that didn't involve me... My grandma, who I lived with (I miss her so much) was always working and stressed. She also had bad health; specifically heart issues and I sure as hell didn't want to stress her with my problems. I felt so alone and isolated. So I drank some alcohol just to try to sleep. N ended up showing up at my house, which I didn't expect. Probably because I wouldn't respond to him since I was pissed he wouldn't answer me earlier. He started asking me questions. I looked horrible so I guess that warranted it. I was tearing up so he knew something was wrong, but I really didn't want to talk about it. He wouldn't let up though. "Why are you so upset? Whats going on? Is it your mom?" She stressed me a lot back then so I think naturally that was his first idea. It could have been the alcohol or maybe I was desperate to be seen with this pain, but I muttered "someone hurt me today." "What do you mean?" "Someone forced me" and at this point I was trying with everything I had not to cry more but I couldn't stop it from flooding. He looked at me with pure confusion and what looked to me, at first, as disbelief "forced you what?" So I started to close off and needed to sit down. I ran back to my room where I could sit. He followed me "forced you?" My ears began to ring and I just crumbled. He was still saying stuff but I couldn't even focus anymore. "Like sex?? When? Where?? Who was it????" is some of what I could hear as I ran to my trash can and puked. My head began to spin. And I felt foolish and guilty for saying something. So much shame. N told me I needed to tell someone. I had to tell him who it was first. He asked me a lot of questions and found out it happened at school. With more and more questions I became more uncomfortable and laid down, which he then guessed eventually. He wasn't his first guess though, because I mean seriously who would think that?! When I wouldn't give him a direct answer, he said "just tell me it wasn't him" and I fucking lost it. Once he was confident enough in what he wanted to know, he told me he had to leave. He had to go because he couldn't just sit there. He was too angry and wanted to punch my wall. I freaked out and told him "please don't do something stupid!" Maybe I was selfish in that moment, but I really just wanted him to hold me and tell me it was ok. I just wanted to feel like I mattered at all. And that loneliness added to my feeling of worthlessness and like no one could ever truly understand what happened or truly care. I didn't know what I could do so I called N after he left just to make sure he wasn't going to do something impulsive or crazy. He promised me he wouldn't, he just needed to think clearly right now. He ended up telling me I HAD to tell someone at the school. I had to let someone know what happened. I don't know why our first thought wasn't the cops. I didn't even think about going to the police honestly. I was just so damn scared. So two days after that horrible day, N accompanied me to school. There was the principal of our section of the school and a teacher of my choosing (they let me for comfort, I guess). I couldn't speak. N asked if he should leave the room, if that'd make it easier. I cried and ran out of the office. He followed and told me he saw how hard it was on me, but they needed to know who he really was. So after I gathered myself, I went back in. N offered to go get drinks from the cafeteria with the principal if it was ok with me, and I agreed because it was hard enough to talk to him about this. The teacher said "if it makes you more comfortable, you can avoid using "I" or "me" when you talk about this." So that's what I did. I said "this teacher hurt a student." I was very vague because deep down I was terrified and too embarrassed. When N and the principal came back, they asked me a few more questions. I answered, and then they picked up the phone to call my mom. I panicked. I didn't want her to know. I didn't know what I was thinking going there, telling them these things and thinking everyone wasn't going to find out my humiliation soon. I clammed up and ran out, N following me and we left. I didn't go back to school except to get my things. And when I did that I saw the guy who raped me in the office. I found out later he was putting in his paternity leave for the rest of the year because his wife was giving birth soon. I didn't know anything about him except random things he told our classroom when we were his students, and hearing he was about to become a father made me fucking sick. Made me question even more things. I also soon after this found out the school gave him a lawyer after I told them, in so many words, that he hurt me. That intimidated me beyond repair. I felt so isolated, alone, ashamed. To me, at that time, I just wanted to forget any of it ever happened. I was young and I regret not doing things differently back then. I just didn't know what to do. I was so lost and so confused; felt trapped. If he was also close to someone in the law, then it made sense why he seemed arrogant. Also made sense why he already had a lawyer. This intimidation, in turn, caused me to make bad decisions. I didn't hear anything else from the school or anything from an investigator or anything like that. They contacted a lawyer for him but not a cop for me. So I think that added to my decision to bury it deep. I was so close to the end of the school year when I stopped going that I still graduated. Even if I wasn't on track to graduate, I don't know if I could have gone back there anyways. The teacher I opened up to spoke to me at my graduation and asked me if I was doing okay, but that was it and I never heard anything else about it. N tried to tell the school to get phone records to show he was interacting with female students outside of school (which was my ex best friend R that we KNEW of). He told them this info because he was trying to show them how he wasn't what he was saying he was. But they didn't care. Or at least I didn't think they did at the time (I much later found out he was made to resign from my school in June, two months after the rape. Not sure if it was because of the phone records or me sobbing in the office telling them he hurt me.) But back then, I felt incredibly alone. I thought if I buried it and never spoke about it, it would all be over. But I swear, this person wanted me to be miserable with every embarrassment he suffered from me trying to tell on him.I guess I tried to turn him in, I really did the best I knew how back then. I still have so much anger and shame with myself though that he is still free, but I mean what else was I supposed to do as a 17 year old with no parental guidance? I don't know what to feel about myself some days...
  2. It has been a long few weeks of intrusive, random memories coming back to me that I for some reason never put a lot of thought into back then or blocked from my mind for whatever reason. Plus the pieces of memories I have that don't have a beginning or an end to their story and it only makes it more confusing and uncomfortable. Just need to jot them down as I remember to make sense of my thoughts so it doesn't become too hectic in my head I think some of this is coming from DS watching sequisha. Never really saw him before and I guess seeing him and how he resembles him made me sick! Plus the video game rage and guitar playing just took me back there for a minute!!!! I had to run to the bathroom and hyperventilate a little. Now I guess things are flooding back some. I remember inappropriate things he did as a teacher in high school: -Talking about how he had a large di*k (wtf. everyone laughed, nobody cared) -Talking about sex games he played in college. -Talking about masturbation; both male and female. -Joking about his bass guitar playing being like playing with a clit. -Letting us watch Dane Cook standup (it was funny in some parts) but I remember feeling uncomfortable when the joke was about female masturbation and how it was like being a disc jockey, which we knew he was. -He always wanted us to open up about our problems, like trying hard to get us to talk to him on a personal level or help us one on one with projects. Like one instance during lunch, I was working on homework and he asked me if I needed help, to which I said "no" but he kept trying to get me to let him help me. But I didn't need help so I said no. I wonder what he would have done if I said yes... -He told us he had insane insomnia and barely slept at night. - He also told us he would black out/ pass out sometimes and had done that since he was a kid. -R trying really hard to get me to join their school band "mr. m said he wants me to ask you to sing!" We had done homework together a few times and we would listen to music and I sang I guess and I do remember her saying I had a nice voice; which she must have told him about. Sick. -He gave me the history award at the end of the year and there was actually no reason for it at all. It made R kind of jealous and mad I guess and I think it was easier for her to pull away from me that following year...she never understood why she wouldn't have been given the award because she was his "favorite student" and yea I didn't get it at all either and still don't get why. -I remember apologizing on behalf of my boyfriend N my senior year (before the rape, obviously). I felt like I had to apologize for how N kept making uncomfortable jokes and things. He looked at me like "you should be sorry" Like everything HAD been my fault. I don't know why I felt I needed to do this. I don't remember exactly what pushed me to do it. I mostly remember more about which room we were in in school, the giant windows that showed the traffic on the downtown street. And his look of pure disdain at me Random fragments & recovered memories: -I remember running out of the office crying the day I was telling them he raped me. I saw people in the computer lab and I looked right at R and she looked at me as I was crying and looked concerned. I wish I could have screamed it then! HE RAPED ME . But I couldn’t I am so weak -After I was raped the first time when I was 17, I was In a lot of pain. It made me nauseous to shower and even touch down there. It was a horrible reminder- I remember wanting the pain to just be gone so I didn’t have to think about it -I remember shaking with fear "you look terrified" *smile* "I'm not going to hurt you. Just relax, you'll enjoy it if you don't tense up" 🤢 -I remember N telling Storm my life. Storm then turning around and talking to z and also J and telling them things N was telling them in confidence...which was how word got back to z about N's legal case and things of that sort... - I remember one single memory alone of being in a car, I was naked. I was was bleeding from somewhere down there. It all hurt, both my vagina and my bum. I don't remember when this was or what happened before or after. -I remember being given a ton of water. I was always thirsty and I was always given a lot of water. -I remember being really alert with certain memories. Fragments of others. Maybe some memories were more intense and memorable? I have no idea. -I also remember not being able to talk sometimes. Physically unable to speak. I could make noises and try to talk but I couldn't move my mouth much or form words. He would want me to respond to him but I physically could not do it. It was like my jaw was wired shut or something. -I remember wanting him to choke me more to kill me but he wouldn't, he just laughed "that's not fun for me" -I remember one of the guys who used me had brown skin; light brown skin. He had a chest tattoo that said love on one side and pain on the other. -I remember performing oral sex on him ^ while someone was having sex with me from behind. I had to stop because I couldn't breathe and he was decent about it. Let me catch my breath. -Another memory I have with him is him ^ giving me water and another of him showering me, washing my hair. I don't know why he would have been doing that unless I couldn't do it myself or didn't want to. Which I can't imagine why I wouldn't want to unless I thought it would make me less desirable to have sex with. -I do remember not shaving for a while and him making me shave. Told me he would do it if I didn't. -I also remember how much he hated when I would get a tan or when I pierced my body or got tattoos. He told me he would cut the tattoo off of me.. it got to a point he would inspect me completely before we did things. It was so invasive! Him looking at every part of my body and telling ME what he didn’t want on my body... I felt like I didn’t exist. My body wasn’t mine -I remember when DS (my husband) and I first met he wanted to get me to sq*; this was scary for me-I was paranoid he knew something or saw something about me; it was eerily specific and made me weary but I guess he knew nothing... -My car was also always being fucked with when I lived in Ohio. Weekly had to call work telling them I would be late because something was cut on my car, again. When I moved, it was stolen, cleaned out, abandoned, then repossessed. -When I moved to Cali, someone burned my dads house down. Found out it was a guy I went to high school with. He was paid to do it and nobody really knows who paid him to do so because he was just a street kid who lives on the streets when he is out of jail. Update: -After the second attack, I remember waking up on the bed with urine on me. I was naked and I was sore and I remember just being elated I was in my room. But I was on the wrong bed so I knew that was off. I was naked, I peed, I saw blood on the blanket beside me. I saw needle marks. My body was so sore. Everywhere. But I tried to tell myself no it was just a dream. Had to be. But dreams don’t leave physical marks... when I found my phone I guess I realized this was a real thing and I panicked. I remember falling to the floor and hurting myself. Screaming nasty things at myself. I hated myself. I was nothing. I couldn’t do anything. I was stuck. I wanted to die. But I didn’t want to die at my grandmas house and her find me there and I didn’t know what to do. So I showered. I crawled Into my bed, hurting so much. I smoked and I went to sleep eventually. I remember waking panicking that entire night. What felt like every half hour. When I would wake up it felt like I was holding my breath in my sleep before being startled awake. I couldn’t cry though. I was numb. Just scared. Hated myself but couldn’t die at my grandmas and I could barely walk so I just laid in bed miserable, broken. Completely shattered. Ripped apart. Every inch of my body hurt. My jaw. My throat. My arms. My legs. My vagina and bum. I felt sick to my stomach. My head hurt. I just felt like I had been mauled -DS telling me about the rumors from high school; how I would have sex in the student parking lot during school -I asked him why he hated me so much once, why he wanted to hurt me so badly. He just half smiled and wrinkled his brow, "I'm not hurting you?" -I remember a time I had made him angry, something I said.. But he pushed me and bent me over a bathroom counter and started hurting me in my bum again. That’s what he did when I wouldn’t do what he wanted me to do. The table was digging into my rib cage and hips and I remember not knowing what body part hurt more in that moment. I kind of focused on relaxing my body so it wouldn't hurt so much he made me look in the mirror and he told me I was a dumb w**re and nobody would want me -I couldn’t eat when I was with him- not that he didn’t let me but I physically couldn’t. Just things like apples and mandarins, everything else made me sick. it would get to points where I couldn’t perform the way he wanted me to- physically or the one thing he wanted me to do because I was dehydrated and he would get angry with me, keep me and make me do more things -There were times when he finished, he would make me look him in his eyes. He would grab my face and squeeze "open your eyes, look at me" as he was shaking me back and forth making my jaw hurt.. So I would open my eyes, sometimes looking in his eyes and sometimes looking between his eyes (thank you Dwight Schrute). Then he would cum. He burned these moments into my head. The worst part is I have thought about these memories while having sex and sometimes it repulses me and other times it doesn’t ... 🤢 -He wouldn’t tie my hands or hold my hands down himself after so many times. He would make me put my hands in certain places and if I moved them he would rip my hair or something to remind me I had to put them where he wanted them. Sometimes he made me put my own arms behind my Back and hold them there. That was so painful after a while. -This memory was in a hotel room. He had his camera set up on a tripod. "You look warm. Take all your clothes off. Turn around. Get on the bed on all fours. Yea, like that." He comes over to me after doing something to his camera. He starts having sex with me. He pushed me down on my stomach, and that's when he made me do what he wanted.. . He wouldn't stop doing things to me and it made me feel out of control. He was Making me do so much this specific time and I was so exhausted. I just wanted to lay down in the bed and close my eyes. But he kept going. He made me do all kinds of things :cry:It was over and he gave me drugs, I drank some liquor and I passed out right next to him -There were multiple times I had to lay down next to him out of pure exhaustion. He would stay with me and watch tv or other stuff. Sometimes I would wake up to find him asleep too. I felt fucking horrified. I wanted to get up and leave when I saw him so close to me, but whenever I would move to get up, he would move and it was just pointless -he would make me watch videos he made that’s how I know he really did record things. I don’t know why he made me watch them...but I can remember feeling disconnected from what I was seeing. It all felt unreal. -He also let me use my phone when I was with him. Sometimes I would “forget it” at home mostly because he almost always smashed them at some point of DJ called me or something. But he would let me text people back sometimes if I did have it. He always watched what I was writing, it had to be short and he would read before I sent it -I can remember being so soaked with sweat and then after everything was done, the extreme cold chill that would come over my wet body. It was the worst. I would get the worst shakes. The drugs and alcohol helped most of the time --One night when I was with him and DJ had called me a few times, he took my phone and threw it in the toilet and pissed on it. -"Please, I don't want to do this!" he mocked me in a whining voice. So I stopped asking for anything and just did. -I don't remember some of the violent parts, Except choking when I wasn't drugged. I think my brain blocked them out. But I will have phantom pains during panic attacks associated to memories I only have pieces and parts of not ready to write about those yet though. -I can’t even talk about the parts Where I just did what I knew he wanted me to do- those memories feel consensual even though I know they weren’t :cry:the times I would wake up and flinch because he was laying next to me and then he would make some kind of joke and I would just smile and nod, dead eyes. I think my eyes are still dead -The first time I remember being made to have sex with someone I didn't know, I was absolutely horrified. I don't know if this is the first time because my memory was horrible then, but this memory I remember being scared. This is so hard for me to talk about still. Even though other things were horrifying as well, this was when I remember thinking for sure my life had to be over. I was going to be used by this person I didn't know and my initial rapist (we will just call him z) was finally going to kill me. These people were going to use me and throw me into the woods like garbage.I didn't know this person. He was white. I don't remember his face. Or his hair color. Or eyes. I just remember his smell. Sweaty. Spit from kissing me I HATE the smell of spit. OMG fucking hate it! I felt so grossed out being raped by z, but this was just so strange I didn't understand it! I didn't know what to think of anything going on. I don't really know how to put it into words. I felt betrayed by z. Even though, yea, all he did was betray me. But this was like a really huge "fuck you. I hate you. You are nothing." I didn't get why this was something he wanted to do to me. Maybe break me ? ^ He made me get on my hands and knees and he started having sex with me vaginally. I remember being so scared, trying to focus on breathing. I had no idea what to expect next. It all felt like a nightmare that just couldn't be real! I was fucking petrified. I went in and out. Don't remember most of this. I remember different positions, some choking with something he had (some kind of cloth), hair pulling, smacking. I tried to focus on my thoughts. I really tried to think positively. But bad things kept coming to my brain. "I am seriously dead soon. This is really happening. I hope it isn't too painful. Or too bloody." "Would anyone ever find me?" I was thinking of the fun my cousins and I had growing up. All the laughing. Family. Mourning that I would never be anything more than this. No love. No kids. I wondered if N would know who did it if I was ever found. Or did he forget about me? Probably... I don't remember when it was over or anything else. -He made me dress up as a cheerleader once with no panties on under my skirt. Made me do a cheer to that Ohio state song I won’t name right now because I can’t 😢 so whenever he made me kick it was just like he could see everything of me....💔 i know he made me do something sexual to myself because I remember feeling so humiliated he was watching me. I pretended to like what I was doing but I didnt and I couldn’t because I was too embarrassed. He knew and told me to try something else or he would show me how to like it. So l told him to show me 😣 so he did things to me. And sometimes when these things are done to me I can’t feel them. I numb my body out completely. -He had off the wall fantasies. Wanted me to be pretend I didn’t know him and I was just some sl** he picked up off the street to "fuck" he said. Or the time he recorded my genuine reaction to him making me have sex with some guy with that love & pain tattoo, some other white guy and him. That was a rape video he recorded. A genuine rape video. Wherever it is 😞 this one is really hard to talk about honestly. I don’t feel like it can possibly be real but I remember the feelings I had. The pain. The thoughts I was never going to be able to have a life outside of this. I was just a slave to be used by whoever whenever forever. I didn’t have any other purpose. My stomach hurt. I was queasy and cramping. I had the shakes for a while and I remember him saying things like “yea you can’t control your shaking legs” he knew what he wanted how he wanted and just moved me around like a rag doll. Any which way he wanted. It started with oral on the mixed guy. I remember gagging and almost puking. He seemed to be pleased with that 😞 then he pushed me down on stomach, lifted my bottom up and started having sex with me vaginally. I was crying because it was hurting. I was being mocked by one or all of them I don’t remember. I think I started crying too loud because I remember him getting close to me and telling me to “shut the fuck up” “shut up” over and over . “Shut” thrust “up” thrust over and over again. I don’t remember when I stopped crying. I remember how it all ended though. He pulled himself out of me and just jammed it into my mouth and then he pulled it out and came on my face. Then he stared fingering me and I didn’t get why because he was done! But then I realized I was going to have to do whatever the others wanted to do with me. And one just came over and started having sex with me too. I didn’t even have a chance to wipe the stuff off of my face. I was doing that as he started having sex with me because I felt horrible having one guys cum on me while someone else was now using me 💔 all I could smell was cum and spit. I just wanted to die!!!! I remember trying to get away but I couldn’t because there were two others . He wasn’t interested in anything but a rough scenario this time so he was throwing me around and being aggressive also. I didn’t care though this time I was hoping they would kill me together in this room. I begged him to choke me and kill me “this is better. We are having fun” he used me every way. I had to give oral to the guy at the edge of the bed while I was being rammed behind. And I orgasmed. Only because he was touching my clit and pinching it. “See look you like being double teamed. How about this” he pushed my head down and told me not to scream Or he would be rough and he put himself in my bum again of course I cried because I hate it 💔 after a min he made me get up and before I knew what was happening I was being shoved down On top of the one guy and he was inside of me and then I felt him inside of me behind me and they were both raping me in both places. My body didn’t like what was happening and it just went limp. I remember being told to stop that. He would shake me or smack me or pinch me to keep me present. “Are you dehydrated? Why aren’t you squirting??” “Idk” “well do it” “I don’t want to!!” “stop crying” “I can’t" -I remember once I went to the hotel before him and I was in the shower and he came in while I was in the shower and grabbed me out and did what he wanted to me 😞 for some reason I was in the mindset that I needed to just play along and be into it and let myself relax so I could enjoy it. So that’s what I did. We did that for a while. I can remember thinking it was one of those times that it just went on forever and I probably dissociated because I don’t remember much but being a sl*t Why is there so much? Does anyone else's recovered memories and post abuse realizations look this lengthy?? I am feeling stupid and pathetic about it all 💔
  3. I have decided to write about the individual experiences I have had with other questionable situations I was in. Some of these things have really been bothering me and I hope giving them an actual written outlet besides a snippet of "oh, this happened too but it's not a big deal" because it is really bothering me lately. I think it had been overshadowed by my more violent trauma. My head is spinning with self blame, shame, grief. I just wish I could have realized things and spoke up for myself more. Some of these things I wrote a little about in previous entries but I just feel like I haven't allowed myself to really deal with them or accept them entirely as what they were. I guess I just considered them "awkward situations" instead of "sexual harassment" or uncomfortable sexual encounters instead of "sexual assault/rape". So I will just go in order of when they happened in my life: -When I was 12, I saw my first erect penis. I was in the back of math class and a student next to me said "hey, look" and he had his hard penis out! We were in the back of class, but I know a fellow student Drew saw it happen! His eyes were wide in shock. I told my mom and she was horrified. She told the school and when the principal asked me about it, I told him what happened. He said "you do know it's your word against his?" and I don't remember ever speaking about it again. - My second job was a grocery store where I met a creep, E. I immediately friend zoned him because it was obvious he wanted to have sex and he was very crude and gross about it. When he realized I was not going to sleep with him, he told everyone at work we indeed had sex AT work. Do all sleazy men have the same fantasies?? It seems likely. I am not sure anyone believed him though which was a relief. This same guy during work hours brought me a "poem" he wrote about me. It was titled "c*nt" which he then looked down at my vagina. And the "poem" was in this format: C is for c*nt U (I cannot remember what he wrote for this one) N (or this one) The calls are coming from inside your house I used to have a picture of this poem but it was like 5 phones ago E also made a horrible joke around coworkers once: he said to a friend/coworker of his as we were all stocking the toilet paper aisle "wouldn't it be hilarious if we kidnapped her and took turns with her and then just left her on the side of the road?hahahahahahahahahahaahah" The other guy just kind of looked at him in shock but laughed uncomfortably. I remember being horrified and leaving to go stock somewhere else; mainly because it was extremely triggering and also I had slept with the other guy once and it made me feel sick that maybe they were talking about it behind my back or something and E was mad I didn't sleep with him. I don't remember the reactions of the others around or if they even heard what transpired. I remember feeling like I was nothing at all. People weren't seeing "me". They were seeing something they hated and wanted to dominate and take advantage of. I didn't understand why this is how people wanted to treat me! -I knew a guy from school (not high school, but we had a lot of mutual friends in high school) we ended up meeting up for a mutual understanding of a one night stand basically. I will call him Nate. While we were hanging, he got a phone call from a friend, of course being DJ (we weren't really friends at the time, hadn't talked to him since high school) and I cringed when Nate told DJ we were hanging out. I had friend zoned DJ since the beginning of us knowing each other so he asked "samantha who?" and then Nate fucking told him it was me and we exchanged the cringiest of hellos 🙄 Anyways, this guy and I just drank, smoked, watched a movie. We both started taking our clothes off at the same time, this was what we were getting together for. We had sex that first time. I can't remember if it was before or after sex that he asked me if I had "ever been pissed on." I, of course, looked at him concerned and said "no, I wouldn't want that." So we left it at that. We continued watching that movie "Superbad" and then he asked "will you get a shower with me?" I kind of wanted to wash the sweat off anyways so I agreed. We ended up showering and having sex again, which was also fine. Thinking about this now though, I wonder if he pissed on me in the shower? Why else ask me if I was ever pissed on?? I just kind of had this epiphany not long ago Also, after the shower we went and laid down in bed and continued watching tv. He kept putting his hard penis on me and eventually asked me to give him oral, I didn't want to. Mainly because he had a large penis and I really didn't feel comfortable. Well, he kept pushing my head down and telling me "just put your mouth on it" "come on, just put it in your mouth" and I guess I gave in and did what he wanted, but made it clear I didn't want him to finish in my mouth. He ended up finishing in my mouth! I fucking jumped up and ran to the bathroom to the sink... What a fucking asshole. I felt so betrayed. Then I thought I was stupid , what did I even expect. Blamed myself for being in that situation. I didn't have my car so I felt trapped there. So I laid down and we went to sleep, kind of. Through the night he kept touching me and putting himself on me, but I pretended to be asleep hoping he wouldn't go any further. The next morning, he took me home. I was so relieved. When he asked me to get together with him again I think I made it clear when I told him I was on my period. Took a hiatus from sex for a minute after this also. -When I look back on my friendship with DJ, I feel foolish. I mean, I should have known he was going to want sex from me. I am a fool! But we were friends. He would get me weed when I wanted it. He would also get my favorite beer on the way to his house all the time. I felt safer with him than when I was alone. We did not start out having sex. Just hanging out and listening to music. I guess maybe that was what made me think I was ok from the sex part. But he started showing more signs of wanting to. I should have stopped hanging out with him then, but I didn't want to be alone We had made out once. We were both tired, so it didn't really go anywhere. Another time I was on my period and he wanted to have sex, so I told him I was on my period. He kept trying to convince me to take my tampon out. Which I wouldn't... I guess it just kept progressing and I was stupid to think he wouldn't expect it eventually. He had done other things that should have been obvious red flags; like sneaking into my house and getting into bed with me and things like that but I never took it serious I guess We were listening to ADHD by Kendrick Lamar; I will never not remember this night And this song, the smell, the feel, everything...we were kind of drunk and had smoked some weed. He started kissing me and we were making out. He kept trying to take my clothes off and I told him I didn't want to have sex.. I didn’t want his penis in me. He was large.. it was triggering, so I thought. I said "Stop, I don't want to. Not tonight DJ. Wait." He kept saying "Please? Come on." "No..." I pushed his hands away, I tried everything I could think in that moment. He wasn't violent or loud. Just very coercive. He was pulling my underwear and shorts to the side saying "Just let me finger you at least" and he just started to do it. I remember tensing, he thought I liked it because of that. So he continued doing more and pulling at my shorts and underwear until they were off. He was opening a condom and then he started doing what he wanted. I just laid there. I felt defeated. I said I wanted to get on my stomach and he let me. I was just glad to not have to see him doing it anymore. Then I liked it...I asked if I could shower. So I did, which he ended up bombarding me in there to shower too. We fell asleep on that couch together after this. I went back for his company over and over again. Knowing he wanted to have sex. I never really did want to at first but my morbid curiosity led me to it. it was better than being alone I guess. Or being vulnerable to even worse situations. Mostly. He did other uncomfortable things. Things I went along with because I didn't know how to say "no". He recorded me on his phone once while I was giving him oral. It was triggering, but I didn't even say anything! There were times we would be watching tv and he would be touching me and out of nowhere he would just stand in front of me on the couch, pull his penis out and put it in my face and just tell me to "suck it". I just did whatever. And I found that I kind of liked it. I couldn’t get enough of him and the bossing around and things but he started getting too odd and controlling. There was a time he didn't use a condom and I only found out because we changed positions. I felt betrayed and horrified. I wanted to stop, so he agreed to use a condom. But this wasn't the last time he tried to trick me! I found out another time he didn't use a condom as I was changing positions and it was right at the moment he was pulling me down onto him and he said "ride me". It was like I had a switch that just turned off when he said that because I just did what he told me to do. I told him to tell me when he was almost there so I could get up, but he just grabbed my hips and finished in me. I wasn't on birth control. He knew that too! We didn't talk for a little because I was offended. Then we did talk again because I am a fool. It was around his birthday and it was the last time I saw him. This time I had my car. We were smoking and we started kissing. He pulled my shirt down and said "your boobs are bigger" and he seemed really excited by it because he started kissing them and doing things to them.I actually panicked because it crossed my mind the last time we had sex he didn't use a condom. I know he never was the kind to ever want to have kids. But his reaction made me feel weird and I wanted out. I don't even remember how far we got, if we had sex or not, I have no memory of what happened next. I just remember I left and I felt good leaving. So I ghosted him. Never answered his calls or anything after this. I was not pregnant, but that was my first official pregnancy scare that no one knows about! I don't know what I would have ever done if I were to get pregnant by him. What a terrifying fucking thought. I never allowed myself to think of the initial trauma over the last 10 years let alone thinking about these situations being wrong. I wonder if there are other women out there realizing these same things about these same people. I am sad. And mad. Honestly, heartbroken. This isolation isn't helping me with thinking about it all, almost nonstop. Kind of obsessing over it. sam 💜
  4. After I returned home from Vegas, I went straight to working and trying to stay as busy as I could so I didn't have time to think or be alone to be taken as his slave again. It was 2012 now and I was working on and off for a few different restaurants and sometimes I even worked two different restaurants a day; working double shifts just to try to stay as busy and surrounded by as many people as I could. I would even hang with friends from work as much as I could just so I didn't have to be alone after. I was always terrified he would come for me again soon. He told me I wasn't done "paying my dues" so I just assumed if I let myself be vulnerable, he would do it again. This was probably 3, 4 months after the last incident: After one of my double shifts, I had come home. It was probably close to midnight. I smoked some pot in my car, and when I was walking to my porch I was grabbed from behind. I ALWAYS checked my surroundings. I was always looking around to make sure I was safe, but it was like he was a ghost and just appeared. I had my mace always with the key ring around my finger like a ring, so I had a grip. But he kept shaking my hand though until it fell in the darkness. I couldn't see his face anyways then, not like I could've used it. He could have been anywhere. It was dark outside, my guard was down and he'd won, again. And I knew this was coming soon. I was going to let him violate me again by not being careful enough. He told me it would happen and I was just waiting around I guess... I wonder how long he'd been watching me. I always felt watched, wasn't sure if I was paranoid or if he really was watching me sometimes. He had his hand over my mouth saying things to me. He was taunting me. Again, with the thoughts of "oh, he's going to kill me this time." I didn't think, I just acted and I bit his hand just to try to fight back any small way. He ended up letting go of my mouth and I screamed for a second before he started choking me. "I'm going to fucking kill you now!" ("Oh, I was right he is finally going to kill me. Please just don't leave me here for my grandma to find") He was forcing me back to my own car. "Get in!" He shoved me into my backseat and I don't remember what else happened until I woke up. I had a hell of a headache and woke up grabbing at my forehead which was bleeding (have a scar above my left eye). Realizing I was somewhere else in the back of my car and I was cold because it was February. I was completely naked. One wrist was tied with some plastic ties to the door handle. MY door handle. I was in my car. The door at my feet was open and when I looked up to see I saw him there, outside smoking. I remember yelling and saying no over and over. I was trying to rip my arm loose. He came at me, laying his body weight on me "Yea scream louder, I like it. Nobody can fucking hear you!" He leaned into the front seat and grabbed something and put a pill in my mouth like before "swallow it" so I did. I didn't want to be a part of whatever this was as much as I couldn't be. So I took it. I had water in my car, which I grabbed with my free hand out of the seat flap. He grabbed it while I was drinking and it ended up spilling all over me. "Look how wet you are! You are so ready." He started touching me all over. "You want this d*ck. Tell me how much you want it!" He made me give him oral. He performed oral on me. I was very confused. Now I know he just did it to humiliate me. To play mind games with me. Eventually I began reacting because of the drugs. He wanted me to react this way for some reason. I was trying with everything I had to hide it at first. But I couldn't after a while. I didn't even feel like myself. I was "feeling" all of it without wanting to. "Yea you like that? I knew you'd like it eventually sl*t" "Tell me you like it!" He handed me his lighter and told me to melt the plastic tie on my hand; so I melted my ties with the lighter and told me crudely to get on top. So I did. The worst part that makes me feel so guilty and sick was when I thought I peed. I just went into my head and the next thing I remember is feeling like I had to pee and it just happened. I don't know if I said I have to pee as it happened or before but I remember panicking once it was happening. It freaked me out when I remembered he was fucking me again. I thought he was going to hit me, but he said "fuck, yea, do it again." He grabbed me by the hair and moved me face down on the seat, "yea, c*m! squirt on me" and he wouldn't stop until I did it again. After this he became fixated on it. Only later did I learn what "squirting" even was and felt so betrayed by my own body. I think at this point I realized he did have complete control over me and there really was nothing I could do. So I was completely submissive. I gave up. If it felt good, I just allowed it to feel good because it was better than the alternative. "You'll never c*m again without thinking about me." "You'll try to forget but you never will." ^This and the other two attacks are the ones etched into my mind, but I don't remember a lot of things. Just pieces of conversations, body memories caused by triggering sensations or words,remembering feelings associated with random objects that I guess can be triggering sometimes (which I don't have the full memories to, if that makes sense? example:a toddler shoe reminds me of feeling hopeless. I saw one in his car once, but I don't remember why I was in there or what happened before or after that) This "situation?" or what have you, where he used me sexually became a more regular thing. It was always basically the same as before, with less violence since he did what he intended and broke me with that violence. Drugs, sex. Making me do whatever thing he thought of. Mostly dominant, submissive where I was controlled completely and humiliated but enjoyed the pleasure physically. That was his fantasy it seemed. Like this specific one I'm sure won't sound surprising: He did a teacher-student scenario where he would ask me questions "So you need to pass my class? What are you willing to do for me samantha? can you squirt for me?" (yes he used my real name and it was even more humiliating because he threatened to send it to people I know and then they'd "know" I made "porn"). There were other scenarios like this but I just don't want to get into it I'm scared more memories will come that I am not ready for. He taunted me with telling me he put it online to sell and thousands of people saw me. "People are going to recognize you" "Nobody will want you now, for sure." Did he really do those things? I don't know... He got something from it all. Whatever that was. The feeling of power and control. Living out his fantasies on me to show everyone. Or just re watch later. And I hated myself. I was sure if he didn't kill me, I would. I lost some of my memory around this time. Chunks gone because I guess I would rather not remember (I wish I could forget those initial attacks, though. That'd be pretty dope). Things my mom and grandma and cousins told me about recently that I have no memories of. Not sure yet what that means, or what all I don't remember. That really has me chilled to my bone. I'm still scared of the memories coming back someday. Anyways, I ended up losing most of my jobs around this time because I was a "no call, no show" and that was another tally on my worthlessness chart. I felt so fucking low. I remember lying in bed in the silence for hours, days. Just laying there staring into space. If it became too lonely, I would invite a friend or go sleep on my friends (DJ) couch. I actually only could sleep there. On his couch. In his basement bedroom in the dark, watching Kenan & Kel. I would forget where I was sometimes and wake up in a panic but this was the only place I could really sleep. Especially if my friend fell asleep on the couch with me. Even though he ended up not being the most gentle person, some of these memories in this basement are still some of my favorite... I was broken. Ruined friendships. Close ones I had with people who meant a lot to me (K). I was just so out of it! I don't even remember how we fell apart completely. I just feel like one day we stopped talking I felt completely hopeless, trying to survive one moment to the next. For some reason my friend who was deployed (DS) still continued to email me around this time. He was one of the only people who truly saw me for me and made me feel like I was worth positive attention. When he would bring up more serious topics or try to get to know me on a deeper level though, I would pull away. I couldn't let him in. I didn't really think it could possibly go anywhere. He was so much better than me. I just figured he was lonely. Which I was too, and we could just talk through our sadness. So we did. I didn't open up to him about anything I was going through though. He could tell I would pull away a lot. He told me his last relationship was with someone who was in an abusive marriage prior to their relationship, and she pulled away from him completely. He didn't want me to feel like I needed to do that. He really liked me for some reason. So I only opened up a tiny bit telling him I was still healing from trauma I had experienced and I didn't want to talk about it. I was extremely ashamed and never wanted him to know. He made me feel better about living at the moment though. He respected my space amazingly. Even through our emails. He just brought this up the other day too "when we emailed, sometimes it was just one small sentence emails." Non-intrusive, just talking about random things. He was very persistent with keeping in touch though, which we usually did through email and sometimes the occasional phone call. It took me a while to allow that. He wanted to video chat, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. I didn't like the idea of it. Looking back, I wonder if any part of him wondered if I was catfishing him. It was easy to get away with not talking to him for extended periods of time because he was across the world and almost 12 hours difference. This gave me the space I felt I needed to keep my baggage to myself. That was comforting for me in so many ways. I didn't feel like I could truly get close to anyone. I know my grandma thought I was having health issues and probably drug problems too. She really wanted me to get help, but I just didn't know what to do. She tried to help me as much as she could though. Took me to the hospital when I needed it, and took me to get any medicine I needed. I wasn't on hard drugs consistently though, myself. Only drug I managed to do on my own consistently was pot. Anything harder would kind of take me back to that feeling of being out of control of myself and I didn't like being taken back to that feeling unless I had to be. My friend in the military (DS) really wanted to meet me when he came home to visit family after his deployment, so he asked if he could when he comes home. That's when I panicked and stopped talking to him for a short amount of time. I just didn't know what to say to him. I was so ashamed. I didn't know what to expect or what he expected and I panicked. It was debilitating. So I spent my time working and trying everything to not be alone. I was always with a male friend (DJ) if I was out of the house, and he made me feel safer I guess. It got to the point where I didn't even drive anymore unless I had to. I always had someone take me places. I was fucking paralyzed with fear of being killed when my guard was down. Like I said before, I would sleep on this male friends cozy basement couch or even invite him to stay over just for company. I just wanted to feel safe sometimes. We were friends. We just smoked, sometimes a beer or two, watched nostalgic tv or listened to music. I do remember one instance he told me he was being harassed by a fake account on facebook. I was never able to physically see the account before it was deleted and he never showed me the message, but he told me whoever threatened him had told him to stop touching their "b*tch". He said I was the only person he was hanging out with at the time and I guess I could believe it because we hung out a lot if he wasn't working around then. Plus I had a likely culprit... He seemed mad at ME because of the messages. "You need to tell whoever this is to stop. I don't like this weird shit." Yea, me neither... "Is it N?" and I told him no, so he just kept asking me who it was. Maybe he felt threatened, I don't know. I told him I didn't know who it was, but he wouldn't stop talking to me about it. So I stupidly thought being somewhat honest with him would help. I told him I was attacked in my past. To which, of course, he didn't believe it. "A lot of girls say they are raped..." I remember feeling so numb to that. He didn't know or ask anything and already dismissed it. Another reason to never open up... Why is it so hard to accept these things happen? Or is it just men who rape stick together and give each other the benefit of the doubt and blame the women? I wasn't being sexually active much back then at this specific time because I just felt burnt out, but I could tell DJ was getting to that point of wanting to even though we were just friends. He would sneak into my house sometimes and just get in bed with me and kiss my face until I woke up which I found confusing. No idea if he did more than that ever or anything. There was one instance at his house when he started kissing me. I kept telling him I didn't want to have sex that night (we didn't have sex yet but we had made out before). But he kept touching me, making me say "stop, not tonight. Don't." He took what he wanted anyways... I just gave in and accepted it after this though. I didn't care anymore. We started having regular, wild sex. Did I want to? Not really, ever. I thought it was what I wanted sometimes. (But it really was just a way to self harm and I guess feel like someone wanted to spend time with me) I just didn't want to be alone. He seemed to really like it. So the more he liked, the more I wasn't alone. But he would do other things I didn't appreciate. Most of the time I didn't even say anything because I just didn't care about myself. I was just a vessel to be used each and every way. So I did whatever whenever which I am sure he just loved. There was another time he was inside me and I started doing kegels on him because I just wanted it to be over with, we were going at it for a while; he told me to stop because he didn't want to cum “yet” and I kept doing it anyways because I wanted to stop having sex... And I did it until he finished and I remember him looking at me confused. Since this I have kind of thought bad things about myself... See, he was nice most of the time and we had good times together too; but he was a sleaze bag. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. I guess my initial memories of him weren't very comfortable either. In high school he would grab me from behind all the time where my butt cheeks would be on his di*k. Or he would pick me up after hugging me from behind, purposely putting his arms under my breasts and feeling me. I just find that invasive...it always did make me uncomfortable. The last time he ever did this to me was in front of the teacher who raped me oddly enough and he yelled at him telling him to "never do that again" DJ looked shocked for being called out and we just laughed it off and I teased DJ "yea, stay off of me!" Meaning it with everything inside of me though.. to both of them. He would also act out a little controlling as well while we were hanging out. He said some things during sex and wanted me to repeat things I didn't feel comfortable with. For example "tell me this is my pu**y". I remember specifically saying "no?" He would orally assault me constantly. I guess it’s considered oral rape.. but he would just put his penis in my face and tell me to suck.i never wanted to. He was large also and I just never even liked giving oral to men...it made me feel so dirty. He recorded me once while I was doing it. Looking back. I think he recorded other things we did because his laptop was set up on a chair in front of where we always were and it was always open with the screen brightness turned all the way off. He also would randomly say "I love you" "you know, not love love, just love. You can say it back..." I was like "No...that's ok." He never said it again. He would also take my phone and put it away from me and if I received an alert he would read them first before handing it to me. Right in front of me. I think he noticed I was emailing DS (they were friends in High School) and I don't want to say he was jealous but he definitely seemed off about it. He would say things like "fuck him (DS)." And that was the start of me feeling like I did not want to talk to him anymore.. I didn’t like the feeling of being controlled by someone. I didn’t want another person in my life controlling my life
  5. In 2011, I was not with N anymore. I was working a lot. At this point, I was living in my grandmas house again. I had a lot of alone time since they were not home for chunks of time. My grandma worked a lot and her husband worked for an airline. They also traveled a bit. I liked the privacy and the solace though, until the second rape. My grandma was able to travel a lot for free, perks for having a husband in the field. So they would go on vacation together sometimes to visit family or friends in Florida or Texas mostly. This particular time I was home alone while they were gone for about two weeks. After they were gone for about two days, I heard noises downstairs. Thinking it was our outdoor cat, a cousin, or maybe even my grandma home early sick, I went down my steps to see. When I reached the dining room, I saw someone at the counter moving toward the island touching things and I thought for sure it had to be family. But then he looked up at me and I remember freezing for what felt like way too long, or maybe everything was slow motion; I don't remember what he said to me. I had a bad feeling and I knew I needed to try to get away from him. This was terrifying. I will never forget the pure panic I felt. It makes it harder to open up about these specific things at this point because I realize some people wouldn't want to believe these things can happen. Or maybe he just made me think nobody would ever believe me no matter what. I don't really know. I am only just allowing myself to admit most things about this entire thing This house I lived in with my grandma and her husband was spacious and my neighbors weren't very close. We also didn't really lock the doors back then. And I actually didn't even think about it either... I just never..imagined. I knew I wasn't safe at my old high school. I never thought I wouldn't be safe from him in my own home. I thought he got what he wanted. All the paranoia of feeling watched felt real now. I instinctively screamed out of pure fucking horror. He was saying things but I couldn't really focus on what he was saying. I turned and ran back toward the stairs to my room (which was on the second floor, almost like a studio apartment room). I wanted my phone! I ran upstairs and he let me. Only to chase me with laughter. "I need a huge favor! You knew you'd see me again!" There was nowhere for me to go. I was looking for anything that I could use as a weapon. I had no idea what to do. My neighbors weren't close enough to hear me scream. But I was screaming for him to not kill me. I thought for sure that's why he came there. He grabbed me from behind, pulled and sniffed my hair. "Are you scared?" He shoved his hands in my pants, touching me and putting his fingers in me. He smelled like alcohol, which immediately reminded me of N. "Please don't do this to me, my grandma is coming home soon" "She can watch me ruin you!" I was trying to get away again, kicking, yelling at him to let me go. "Keep screaming, you're making me hard." I had two beds in my room and one was my guest bed on the other side of my room by this large window facing the large front yard. He threw me down onto that bed. Had something in his hand and I didn't know if he took it from his pocket or had it in his hands the entire time. They were scissors from our kitchen, and I thought for sure he was just going to start stabbing me so I mentally prepared for it. I closed my eyes as hard as I could and tensed everywhere. He put the cold blade against my skin, I screamed, and he started cutting my clothes off instead. He told me he could do whatever he wanted. Could have me when he wanted. He was in my house and there wasn't anything anyone could do about it. He told me I was pretty much his property. I remember how badly it hurt when he was pushing on my legs, like he could get them further apart by smashing them into the bed. He was always purposely rough I think because I really felt like he hated me. "I own you. You are fucking nothing." "I could just choke the life out of you. But then I wouldn't be able to do this." And he did actually choke me this time. I stopped listening to what he was saying eventually because he was being so obnoxious, very dominant. Simply because he could and he liked the power he had over me in my own space. I have no idea how long it lasted. At one point I remember him slapping me in the face "Hello? Take this" So out of defeat and hoping it would be over soon, I did what I was told to do. He gave me a pill. He continued doing things with me which I remember up until a point. This next bit is so hard to type. Fuck. The more I think about it, the more I realize how he wanted to scar me these ways. I really believe he wanted to ruin me. I think killing me would have been too easy for him; he wanted to torture and control me. I think these realizations are why I really avoid writing it. Thinking about it. I don't want to remember that rage and hatred. He rolled me over and pinned me completely down, I could not move. I was fucking freaking out. I feel like I am watching it all happen again He put my arms behind my back and leaned into my ear and whispered "Have you ever been fucked in your ass?" I remember trying with all my strength to try to wiggle him off of my back. I never ever thought...it never crossed my mind. I was screaming and sobbing and begging. "I'll do anything else you want. Please don't" And it was all what he wanted. "Don't freak out, you'll like it!" "NO" He ended up tying my hands with something "sshhh , stop. Calm down." He touched my body and then pushed my butt cheeks apart and said vulgar things about my body part. Then he started trying to put it in my bum. "You are too tight, I'm going to fucking rip you apart!" "Noo, Please!" (<I hear this every single day in my head; my own screams) "I'll never be able to get this in *spit*" After however long it seemed to be working easier for him. He was just jamming it in and all I could do was whimper because it hurt so badly. I couldn't form words because the pain was too much. It felt like he was using a knife. He kept saying things, but I didn't focus too much. The last thing I remember was being on my stomach and feeling very tired. The constant thumping of my body because of him was actually putting me to sleep. Maybe whatever pill he gave me kicked in. That's the last thing I remember there. I don't have the best memory of this next few days. I don't know if things are in order, what I am still missing, what fragmented memories I do have fit where; it's all still blurry and I really hope it stays blurry. One thing I remember was I was in the back of a car as it was moving. I was naked. I was going in and out. I remember it was dark out. Seemed like just blackness. Another, I started freaking out, having a panic attack at one point. I couldn't catch my breath and thought I was dying because he poisoned me or something. Another memory I have is in a room I didn't recognize thinking I was going to die, he brought me here to kill me. So many thoughts paralyzed me with fear here. I heard people, sometimes talking. Did he need help killing me? Couldn't do it on his own? I was in this room where there was only a bed, a blanket over the window, and a table. I remember being given more drugs in the arm with a needle. I wasn't terrified anymore and I guess I was more compliant, but I knew this was a situation I didn't want to be in, if that makes any sense. I wasn't restrained that I recall. People used me however they wanted to in this time I was here. I don't know how many there were. I remember two faces besides his, so I guess three people that I know of. I don't remember a lot of it, just random things I can't totally make sense of. Like showering, but not being able to stand so someone was cleaning my hair? I don't even know. Or humiliating details of being used by two men at the same time. I didn't have any sense of time because there was this thick blackout blanket thing over the window and I couldn't tell whether it was day or night. I knew my grandma was gone for days so she wouldn't even know I was gone until she came home. I thought I was going to be dead and thrown in the woods and never seen again. At least I wouldn't be home for my grandma to find though. And those were my constant thought scenarios when I was aware enough to think thoughts... At one point when I was more lucid (I was being cooperative for the most part), he asked me if I wanted to go home. I just didn't respond because I figured this was just another taunt to get me to crumble emotionally so he could get a fucking boner. "How badly do you want to get in the car and go? Badly enough to get on your knees and beg??" He shoved me onto the floor and told me to beg him. "You're such a w**re. Nobody could look at you and think you're not" He made me give him oral. He liked to tell me he owned me while doing these things. He told me I looked like a junkie, that's all anyone would think I was. "You have two options, you're crazy or you're a w**re. You can pass for both" "Do you think anyone cares about you enough to believe you? They'll laugh, you look pathetic." "Do you think anyone even realizes you're gone? They don't even notice." Like beating it into my head..He just kept moving my head the way he wanted until he was done. "Yea, swallow it all" He made me He wouldn't take his di*k out of my mouth until I did...Even though I was about to puke all over him. But I think guys like to see women gag on them. He choked me when I was done "I could squeeze the life out of you. No one would care to fucking look for you!" "But I'm having so much more fun doing this" He let go of my throat at some point. I was trying to breathe, sobbing. Imagining I was dead soon and wishing he would just do it sooner than later. I just felt so fucking done. Tortured. It was like he knew exactly how to break my spirit to turn me into what he wanted. He walked away from me, and I got scared he was getting a knife or something but he came back with a pill and some kind of liquor. "You want some candy" he shoved a pill in my mouth and told me to swallow. I gagged on the pill. He gave me that shot. I drank. He was singing "I want candy" which sends me into the fetal position whenever I do hear it now and again. I don't remember all of what followed. He told me I would like it. Everything gets very trippy around then. Everything I thought and felt just felt right. I don't really know how else to explain it. What I do remember my body began responding in a positive way to the things he was doing to me. Even though he was being very dominant, my body responded the way he wanted me to, without me wanting to! I remember thinking I needed to try to hide it as much as I could, but he caught on eventually. "Stop closing your eyes!" "Yea, see you like that. Moan!" The feeling of connecting shame and dominance with pleasure is hard to get past when you aren't a willing participant. I am not turned on by being used as a rag doll. But that night my body responded as if I was. I don't really know how to explain it... After what seemed like forever, he took me downstairs of this house. I was still completely naked. There were other people downstairs I remember seeing and this was humiliating. I felt like absolutely nothing. He jabbed my arm with a needle, and I welcomed the high. I felt relieved in that moment and for a bit after I guess. Pretty sure he took me to the car, the next memory I have is being naked in the backseat. Maybe a control thing as to why he kept me naked? Or I just didn't have any clothes since he cut them off of me before. I have no idea. I don't remember anything about getting home. I think he waited for me to come to, because I remember basically everything when I first got home. We were sitting in the idle car, he was smoking and I sat up but my right hand was tied to the door handle with a zip tie looking thing (black and thick). He threatened me a little more "Nobody will ever believe a drug w**re. You'll end up in jail for prostitution.You think anyone would believe you're not a w**re?" He opened the door I wasn't tied to and got in the back with me, "if you bite me I will choke you" and he put a mint in my mouth and he made me give him oral while he recorded it. He was so obnoxious with it I fucking hate these memories. He told me to swallow it again "don't pretend you don't like the way I taste." He got out and opened the door I was tied to and it pulled me out and down onto my driveway. I knew it was my house because of the Buddha garden decoration my grandma had by a tree in the yard. I don't know why I didn't scream here. I was so thankful just to be home. He put more drugs into my tied up arm, and then I remember not being tied up anymore. I remember being really cold. A snapshot memory of him carrying me over his shoulder. I don't remember much about how I got into the house or anything like that. I must have passed out. I woke up naked and in the bed he raped me in before. I had pissed on myself. I woke up in a panic. Wondering if I just had the worst nightmare of my life. Realizing I was naked and there were needle marks on me. I thought I was going insane. I genuinely spent hours trying to convince myself it couldn't have really happened. But the more I saw bruises and tracks, my bum hurt, there was also dry blood on my bed where he raped me anally before (how badly it felt I thought there would have been more blood). I realized somehow this was real. But it couldn't possibly be!! I was wondering how I let this happen to me again. How did I survive? Why did he let me live? And come back home? Why didn't he just kill me? I needed to call the cops. But I looked fucking insane rocking back and forth trying to figure out myself if what I think just happened, happened! I wouldn't be considered reliable I was sure. What day is it even? I got up to look for my phone. Couldn't find it at first (ended up finding it behind my tv stand). So I grabbed my laptop and it had been 6 days. I still had almost a week to be home alone. I went and locked all the doors and turned off all the lights. Showered in the hottest water because I still smelled like him and I needed it off. I laid down. But I didn't cry anymore. I think I was in shock. All I could remember was all the threats. How nobody believed he raped me before, why would they now? I eventually passed out. I'd wake up panicking every so often. Then passing out from pure exhaustion. Repeat. This went on for like 48 hours. I finally ate a banana (can't even stomach eating whole bananas anymore because it takes me back to this memory for some reason) and I had someone bring me some weed. I left the money in the mailbox while they dropped it in there because I was so paranoid about unlocking the doors or being seen. My body was sore. I wanted to try to forget. But I couldn't. So I smoked, took sleeping pills to sleep as long as I could. Still woke up panicking thinking someone was right there or choking me. It was horrifying. Worst time of my life. When my grandma came back into town, I avoided her. Told her I was sick in bed and although she did come in to see me, she didn't have to see most of me. I hid from her out of shame. I felt dirty. I felt like a w**re; what he told me I was. I didn't feel like I could look people in the eye anymore. When I felt like I looked decent enough, I needed to get my phone replaced. When I found it behind my tv eventually, the screen was cracked and I had some texts from a number I didn't recognize with a video of me giving oral...it said "mint blowies are the best" So I asked my grandma if she could take me to replace it. She took me. She wanted to go out for lunch and must have thought it was strange when I asked if we could just order and take it home. Which is what we did. She knew something was wrong with me, but she didn't press me after realizing I didn't want to talk. I am glad she didn't because I would have probably had a breakdown and he would have been right; I would have ended up in an institution. It was really awkward and hard but I just couldn't talk to her about it. I couldn't even look her in the eye. I couldn't even think straight. I don't think I could even form sentences with my thoughts after this incident. She probably thought I was on drugs. She offered to take me to Vegas with her when she was going a few months later, and I agreed to go because honestly it sounded like just what I needed. While I was in Vegas, an old acquaintance from high school (DS) reached out to me on a social media account. He was deployed in Afghanistan and started talking to me out of loneliness. I was lonely too. We talked about nothing but it made me feel like I existed for another reason than just being used. He was so far away I guess I felt comfortable developing a friendship with him. He didn't want to just have sex with me. I also didn't have to be with him in person, which it was hard for me to do and be present when it came to being around people because I carried so much shame with me. Every second of every day. But while this beautiful friendship with this guy was blossoming, I didn't realize my life was still under someone else's complete control until I did something drastic about it. I would get phone calls, sometimes saying things and sometimes not. I even received a call while I was in Vegas (we stayed with a family friend) and I remember trying so hard to not let anyone in the house hear me sobbing/hyperventilating because I was having panic attacks from the phone call. This particular time he told me he would be sending videos to my grandma and my parents. I would end up in tears only after some calls because some were worse than others; and the few times someone saw me I would just say it was an ex. I mean what could I even say? "Oh my god, I'm being harassed by this person who is torturing me and using me sexually?" I mean, I guess I wish it was that easy, but I was scared people would think I was delusional and insane. Send me to a psychiatric hospital. I didn't think anyone could possibly believe me. And because of stigmas I didn't think anyone would ever take me seriously if I did break down and end up in a hospital. People would just think I was incredible..I even still think that. I obviously didn't feel like I had a secure outlet to talk about this. I didn't feel secure enough to turn him/them in. I didn't even know who the others were. I felt invisible. I was also extremely paranoid. I became a little more self destructive. Drinking a lot. Experimenting with drugs. I also would starve myself. Sometimes for days. And if I did eat, most of the time it came back up. It was such a dark time.
  6. How could I have been so naive? How could I allow someone to manipulate me so much? I feel worthless. I'm so alone. I feel annoying everywhere. To everyone. I'll have this shame inside me forever. My chest actually hurts because I just feel the loneliness and shame breaking my heart. I find myself seeing others with family or people talking about family or friends and my heart hurts so badly because I just long for it so much. I long for someone to see me and tell me I matter to them, too. I wish I knew what to do to change this feeling. I'm reverting back to bad coping mechanisms; which I guess is bingeing, fasting, drinking. I don't want to do this. But I feel so alone. I don't have one person I feel like I can truly open up to without feeling annoying. I wish I could feel connected. I'm depressed. I never think about suicide for me personally, but I have been thinking about suicide as a topic in itself. I feel so hopeless about ever being happy but I don't think about dying anymore. NOBODY CARES. I am nothing. A nobody. With an unbelievable story. A ghost. Was he right all along and that's why he chose to use me? I was weak? I was nothing? Still am those things I guess. I try not to let him write my life story; but I feel beaten down. I want to feel like I matter. I have always been unworthy to be seen by my parents, most family, friends. I have always tried to be there for everyone in my life and nobody is there to even ask me how I am. I feel like people only talk to me when they want something. So I feel used. Like I have always felt. I feel haunted by him more often than not. The things he said, he spoke them to life it seems. I am nothing Who could care about me? Would anyone really care if I was gone? No Where is everyone now? I own you. You will never forget. You will try, but you never will. And he is right. I cant forget. No matter how hard I try. He has ruined sex for me. He has completely obliterated any thought I have about pleasure. I never had a living sex life before the first rape. And the promiscuity I did experiment with was when I was 19, and so were the guys I was having sex with. So they were young and inexperienced and I never really orgasm-ed with them. I did orgasm with N a few times, but I was young and inexperienced and I didn't know what exactly had happened entirely to reach that each time. The only memories that I think of when it comes to pleasure are the rapes.. Because I orgasm-ed. It is humiliating. Extremely frustrating. I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed to me maybe he knew what he was doing and that's what makes me so ashamed. Because even now I am aroused thinking about it. But it just is what it is...it happened. I can't undo it. So now if I orgasm or squirt, it is very humiliating for me. Every orgasm is met with a "no" aloud and I can't stop it. It is etched into my brain. Forever. I avoid squirting but on a rare occasion it will happen and I end up physically ill from it. Especially because whoever it happens with gets very excited and fixated on it, like he did. It's happened with DJ once and I tried so hard to not do it. It also happened when I was pregnant a few years ago. Now I am constantly edging a full orgasm because I don't want to accidentally do it again. He really ruined me. And I am sure he meant this. He intended this hell for me. I don't know how to not think about it. I have no idea what to do. I feel completely ruined. I don't know how to talk to anyone about this so I guess writing it is my only outlet. It is so embarrassing is it always like this??
  7. This is also posted in Share Your Story. The three installments are now posted in order there, and the board is now open to responses, but you may respond either here, or there, if you wish! As always, please heed the trigger warnings above - and thank you in advance for reading! Normal blogs will resume very soon, as my OCD self wanted these installments to be in order, without 'interruptions.' And so, without further ado: Installment Three: After It might make the most sense to say that this third installment began when I opened my eyes on the morning of October 5th in 1996. I’d gone to bed only hours earlier, but still hadn’t slept long. I still felt sore, my head still ached, and my eyes burned whenever I blinked. I needed the bathroom again but remember not wanting to get out of bed just yet. I was in my room, but scanning through all of my familiar surroundings and belongings only made me uneasy and made everything seem ominous. I didn’t know who I was, anymore. Everything that I knew – wasn’t the same. That realization sat with me all through the rest of the weekend, the rest of the month, the rest of the year of 1996. After the week of school that the ‘stomach bug’ caused me to miss, I’d gone back and auto-piloted my way through the rest of the semester. I went to class, sat quietly through lectures. If there was a break in between classes, I would get a meal at the cafeteria and find a quiet place to sit. That was a challenge, but I’d managed. Then, when it was time to go home, I went home and usually retreated into my room, only coming out to eat, drink or to use the shower or bathroom. My father, not a very emotionally present man, didn’t question anything, which I was glad for. My mother was a little more involved, but I’d managed to pull the wool over her eyes, too – something MUCH easier to do when there is minimal contact. I made my best (also minimal) efforts to stay afloat, and by the time 1997 had rolled around, I’d managed to finish my first semester of school with a solid 2.7 GPA. I don’t know if there was pity on the professor’s end, but I probably deserved to flunk at least half of my classes. Everything was half-assed. I did not participate in the in-class discussion, I really couldn’t focus too much on any of the reading without glazing over and eventually throwing the book aside. My papers were shorter than they should have been. Yet, I’m grateful for the C’s and D’s – they simply meant to me that I wouldn’t have to sit through these classes AGAIN! That was just one of many lucky breaks, though. I’d known that moving into my Dad’s house for college would make it very difficult to maintain my now long-distance relationship, but now, there was even more reason to avoid seeing Matt. The shame was too great; I couldn’t help but think of my ‘non-virginity’ whenever I’d see a photo of Matt and I together. His words would repeat in my mind, “we’ll do it on our wedding night, it will be SO special!” First, I wondered if I could hide it, could I just pretend that I still was a virgin? How even would Matt be able to tell? It wasn’t something that would come out in flashing lights…as soon as we’d done it. Everything in my brain, though, told me he would know, and images of him looking at me with disgust – took over. So, my responses to Matt’s emails (daily!) began to falter and shorten. Eventually, he began to ask when he could come see me, and my excuses that I was busy with classes only worked for a little while. He missed me, he said, and wanted to see me. He’d seen me for Christmas the month before, when I’d gone back to Mom’s for the holiday break – there were a couple of brief visits with Matt during my trips home, but I’d definitely been distant, and to avoid kissing him, I’d told him I was either sick, or I’d make sure we were only around a bunch of other people (his family, my family) so that there was NO opportunity for ‘alone time.’ I am sure Matt wondered what the reason was for my being distant, but he’d never pushed, either. In hindsight, I’m not even sure I would have wanted him to. There was some hand-holding, though, which was probably nice for him but uncomfortable for me, especially because of all the remaining guilt I was feeling. I felt unworthy of Matt’s love and affection – holding this HUGE secret. I knew that I needed to break up with him, and just didn’t have the heart to do it. I think, though, it was my hope that HE would be the one to walk away from me. He wasn’t budging, though. Despite my telling Matt not to make the 2.5-hour drive to my father’s house, he still decided to surprise me with a visit. My Dad was out when he showed up, holding flowers. When I’d gotten through with yelling at him for not telling me he was coming, I agreed to go for a drive with him. THAT’s when he pushed. We were eventually parked outside a restaurant and he’d been telling me about his own classes, his friends, his band that they were trying to form. I’d listened, done a lot of nodding, ‘hmm-hmm’s’ and had thrown in a few automated responses of ‘that’s nice.’ “Okay…what’s wrong?” He finally said. I PROBABLY could have broken down and told my boyfriend what had happened just a few short months earlier, but at that very moment, I literally SAW the walls rise up. It wasn’t safe. It was dangerous. Matt, who had NEVER raised his voice to me, NEVER touched me in any way that was not gentle, NEVER had gotten angry with me – Matt, the saint – now scared the hell out of me. It made NO sense, whatsoever, to want to run away from him, but I did. I think I remember vaguely, my hand clasping the car door handle when he began to say he’d noticed a change in me. I don’t even remember the half of it, even though the words and memories swirled…. I was caught completely off guard when Matt’s lips covered mine – it was one of those unexpected last-ditch effort at romance, I think – kinda like in one of those old films when the man grabs the woman and plants one on her in the heat of the moment. While I might have appreciated the sneak-attack kiss months earlier when Matt was the one who was keeping a distance, it didn’t sit well with me at the moment, and I shoved him away almost as quickly as the kiss had come on. He backed off, stunned, and just stared at me. And that’s when I told an incredulous Matt, without making eye contact, that I just didn’t love him anymore and that we needed to break up. Through the corner of my eye, though, I could see his heart break into a million pieces. He stared at me for at least a minute, which seemed more like several, before he began to plead. He asked me to look at him, which I couldn’t. He asked what he’d done – I couldn’t think of a single thing that he’d done wrong, but at the same time, I couldn’t explain that this wasn’t about him at all. I provided one-word answers, mostly, and let him bawl, I let him take my hand, thinking momentarily that maybe, just maybe, this could be fixed? Maybe the truth wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be – but still couldn’t get past the notion that it STILL might be seen as a betrayal. I’d already said what was hard enough to build up to saying, and there was no turning back, now. I finally asked him to take me back to my Dad’s house, and he put the car in gear and drove. He declined to come in when we got back to the house, and instead sped off – likely heading back home. I went inside, sat down, and cried, tears of relief, tears of shame, tears of self-hatred for having done what I’d done. Matt hadn’t deserved any of that. And here, I’d done a horrible thing and had sent him home upset – I HAD told him to let me know when he got home but was sure he’d be too angry to. I understood that, too, and was surprised to actually receive an email later on that evening – an email that I left unanswered because there had been more pleading, more ‘talk to me’s’ and more questions I couldn’t answer truthfully. I responded a few days later, with ‘glad you made it home safely, will talk to you soon.’ I gave him no hopes of us reconciling. Matt was too good for me, he deserved so much better than me. Eventually, he stopped emailing, and our breakup sank in – and the next time I’d see Matt was by running into him at Party City years later, where he and his fiancée were picking up their wedding invitations. I had my son in tow as I walked in, needing to buy paper products for a party his pre-kindergarten class was having. We’d locked eyes after not seeing each other for nearly a decade, and we’d exchanged a very, VERY awkward ‘oh, hi!’ before walking away from each other. No conversation. Perhaps it would have been different if we were both alone. There was a sigh of relief, I must say, for it was nice to see that Matt had found love again. At this point, I was married too, but my original plan (as well as Matt’s, as we were supposed to have married each other!) had been unfairly foiled. I still resented myself for not having been able to salvage what Matt and I had, but knowing that he’d found someone that he was soon to marry was relieving. At least he was happy. But was I happy? At the time, no. Probably not. I had a husband, three children (the youngest of the three being ours) that I was raising, a part-time job and a whole lot of baggage that LOVED to resurface from time to time. It was day-to-day, there were smiles whenever one of the kids did something wonderful, or during the occasional times my husband would smile…but genuine happiness? That remained a foreign concept. I suppose I should talk about the ‘BH’ (before husband) time period, though, before I delve into the rest of the issues that hold significance. It just seemed to make more sense to discuss Matt, first, as he was my first failed relationship, and the first example of what unreasonable decisions that the after-effects of trauma can drive a person to make. Although Matt’s and my breakup was my decision, it was a choice I’d made without fully considering what it all meant for me. Matt had been my anchor; the guy I’d been saving myself for. My not being able to tell him the truth (about how it had been TAKEN from me and that I’d not given it willingly) was a weak moment, built on fear – and moments like this are built up on even further as time goes on. One weak moment triggers the next. I don’t have any other explanation for the shameful subsequent behaviors that I’m going to be sharing next. Before I get into that, it should be noted that I felt, in a way, freed of my promise to Matt. There was nothing left to save, nothing holding me back, anymore, to the idea that Matt was my one and only. I wasn’t a virgin, anymore, and I’d had sex. The adult version of me can certainly say that virginity was MUCH more than physical; but the eighteen-year-old version of myself wasn’t able to form that conclusion. So, now that I was no longer ‘pure,’ a new perception of myself was born; a self-image that although inaccurate, proved to be the driving force behind the poor choices I’d make next. The men (I guess I can call them all ‘men’ as they, as well as I, were all over the age of 18 and considered ‘adults’) started out being close to my age, if not a year or two older than me. It was 1997, now, and it was around the time when AOL (America Online) was the hottest new thing. The internet, the world wide web, dial-up connecting with that familiar high-pitched screech at the end - was all brand-new, very exciting, and ALL people talked about. I was introduced to chat rooms rather quickly, mostly because I had a clunky desktop computer that my father had given to me for school use, and for some reason, the internet (by 'internet,' I mean primarily the world wide web 'searches') never worked properly for me. I got to exploring one evening and discovered that there were so many OTHER benefits to AOL than simply the ‘You’ve Got Mail!’ announcement upon log-in, and surfing the information superhighway – I don’t think I even knew how to do this until later. For the most part, my online visits were used for the purpose of sending emails back and forth, and for browsing the chat rooms that were themed. There was a teen chat, location-based chats, and, I was shocked to see, a Rape Survivors chat. When it came to the latter chat, I kept a distance for a while. I’d go in but for the most part, I’d just sit and observe. These were the days when instant messaging was insanely popular, and there were many, many conversations with men who were, sadly, visiting the chat room for the wrong reasons. I did very much want to share my story, to talk, to speak with someone who could relate, but AOL’s chat rooms were NOT monitored, and the members were WAY out of control. Questions were rude, and very few people actually spoke IN the chat room. Instead, everyone was pinging each other privately, asking for sordid details and hoping to ‘hook up.’ Each room held about 28 people at a time, and of the 28, perhaps a small handful were actually survivors. The rest, I believe now, were voyeurs or simply people who were curious or got their jollies from hearing of others’ pain or horror stories. As an adult, I know and understand now that people like this exist – but being an 18-year-old who wanted so much to talk, to make connections, to be listened to – it didn’t matter who a person was or what their curiosities were based upon. They were there, they were listening, and responding to me. See, offline, I had nobody to talk to. My parents remained oblivious, the very few friends I had in my classes only really knew the ‘me’ I was post-rape – so they really didn’t notice any ‘changes’ in me. In a way, it was nice to not have to explain what had become different. At that point in time, moving forward was important, and leaving things in the past, where they would be forgotten. (Yes, we can laugh at that thought – it wasn’t until much later that I’d realize that this kind of thing wasn’t able to be forgotten!) Now, I’m not saying everyone was like that. I’ve met and still am in contact with some very genuine people – people I’ve known for that long. Those were the lasting friendships. But while there are lasting friendships, there were other lasting impressions made, although not favorable ones. My first consensual encounter was with another deaf guy. It wasn’t even a good experience – it was more memorable simply because it was the first time I’d said ‘yes.’ And I remember thinking when it was over – wait, THIS was what all the hype was about???? Not only was it a little physically painful (whether it was due to body memories, or simply inexperience) but it was also over in seconds. And that night, I said to myself, ‘I’m not a virgin anymore.’ I guess there was more expectation of losing virginity than what I was seeing, though. Pre-trauma, I’d heard sex was supposed to bring pleasure. It was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be something people LIKED to do, something that kept people going for more. It was what my friends, (at least, the very few friends I had at the time) talked about doing with their boyfriends. All I had to show (or tell) for it was a ten-second experience that left me overall unimpressed and unsatisfied. It’d not occurred to me that this was something I had to build up to, something I had to be comfortable with in order for it to work – not now and not at this time. Instead, I became increasingly convinced that there was something wrong with me, and it had to be fixed. I continued to sign into AOL and to enter chat rooms. It was more so for the connections and wasn’t really for the purpose of finding in-person companionship, but I still got asked on dates by men in the location-based chat rooms. One was a boyfriend for about a month, before he decided that there was someone else he wanted to date. In hindsight, I recall seeing that as a rejection because I likely wasn’t an exciting date. Yes, there was sex, but there was also that inability of mine to invest emotionally. I wasn’t finding pleasure there, either. I guess there was MORE expected of me than sex, especially with someone who was a potential boyfriend, and relationship-wise, I just wasn’t measuring up to HIS expectation. Our breakup was quick, he was distant for a while and eventually sent me an email saying he wanted to remain friends. There was a lax ‘okay, that’s fine,’ response, and I never saw him again. I did eventually (MANY years later) Facebook-search him and saw he’d settled down with a girl who LOOKED as if she were more into him than I ever was. There was love in her eyes, there was joy. There had been NONE of that in mine when we’d dated. Oh, how could I blame him for turning elsewhere? Honestly, maybe that was the problem. Emotionally, my heart perhaps still belonged to Matt – or it possibly just didn’t belong to anyone. It makes sense to assume it was just being kept to myself, it was chained up, and to solidify it, there was a brick wall in front of it. I’m sure this was another after-effect of the rape – but it wasn’t something I was working on at the moment, either. Not with therapy, not with counseling, nothing beyond browsing the self-help section at the bookstore because I’d heard ‘The Courage To Heal’ workbook was worth buying. I had a block in place when it came to interacting with others about my trauma and my reasons behind this particular wall – because I simply didn’t want to, I didn’t want to have to un-barricade my heart and make it privy to being broken again. And so, I chose to just not care, moving forward. I made horrible choices. I didn’t care about my personal safety. I met man after man online, and I’d end up meeting and sleeping with most of them. They weren’t in it for the emotional connection. They just wanted sex. And being that I was avoiding emotional attachments at the time, I usually obliged – even if one seemed to want a date first – we’d almost always end up in bed, in a hotel room, in the back seat of a car, and it was the same thing, every time. They’d initiate sexual activity, and I’d allow it to go as far as they wished. I didn’t care if they used condoms, I didn’t ask them to. Most times, they did, but sometimes they didn’t. I didn’t stop to consider STDs, pregnancy, none of those things mattered. I wanted to feel SOMETHING, even if it was occasional pain. It was all a part of my self-destructive plan. I felt numb during the actual sexual activity – there was a bit of shame after the fact, but it wasn’t enough to make me cease behaviors. It instead fed into my desire to feel something…ANYTHING…even if it wasn’t favorable. Over time, my depression got deeper and my behaviors became more risky. I drank heavily, with the goal of being too drunk to feel anything afterwards, should things become physical. It was now an expectation, for all of these random men (and women) were the opposite of Matt and always were ready to go. Perhaps I wasn’t admitting it to myself, but I would secretly hope one of these several partners of mine would finish the job that my rapist seemed to have started. The job of just ending my life. In a way, they were, I was just dying slower than I wanted to. The guy who was into bondage…would he just kill me when he was done? The older, fifty-something car salesman – would he take his enjoyment of rough sex a little further and finish with snapping my neck? The sex itself wasn’t painful most of the time – and even if something were being done that I didn’t especially enjoy, I still kept my mouth shut and allowed them to finish, to satisfy themselves. There were a couple of ‘generous’ partners who wanted to reciprocate, and I’d end up faking it because it wasn’t happening for me, and I was honestly ready for it to be finished. Truthfully, when they were done, I’d be too disappointed that I was still alive and feeling no satisfaction. Just more numbness, more shame, more self-disgust. And these feelings were what drove me down a very dark path consisting of self-injury and more recklessness. I wasn’t in a safe place with all of these thoughts – and it scared me to realize that I’d be disappointed time after time again when none of these men wanted to kill me – they were GETTING what they wanted, which was an easy lay. I was getting absolutely nothing. Yet, the behavior continued – I’d meet people, we’d hook up, and 95% of the time, there would be a sexual encounter. Not all of them were the same, but I’m fairly positive that some were questionable as far as consent was involved, but because I wasn’t the one to initiate, I was also the one who never actually said ‘no,’ either. When things didn’t feel right, I still allowed them to happen. There was almost ALWAYS that memory of what had happened the last time I DID say ‘no.’ It wouldn’t be until MUCH later in life that I’d understand that being silent doesn’t equal consent. At this time, though, I viewed my actually being there, in whatever situation it was, and willingly – as consent. It didn’t matter if it started out comfortable and finished with my feeling the need to hurt myself in some way in the near future – I was there, and I’d let it all happen. It was very, VERY rarely that any of my partners would stop and ask me if I was okay – most all of them were simply too caught up in the moment. This was behavior I was used to when the wasband (if you’re a follower of my blogs, you know that this is how I refer to my ex-husband) entered my life for the first time. He was 29, I was 20. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend who knew a little bit of my depression – she realized that he and I lived 20 minutes away from each other and thought that since he was a police officer, he would be a good resource and someone who could find me ‘help.’ We talked online for several weeks before agreeing to meet. He’d been told of my self-injury tendencies (by our mutual friend) and he did know a little bit more about my past by the time we’d planned to meet at a small corner diner near where he worked. The plan was to have dinner and get to know each other. I remember the first time seeing him – he was pudgy, had a rounded, boyish face, he had hair on his head – although thinning. He was in the middle of a separation with his wife. He had a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son, that I wouldn’t meet until a bit later. I’m not even sure what it was about him when we first met. He wasn’t without flaws, but then again – neither was I. He was a heavy smoker, something that I KNEW my father would despise. By this point in my life, I’d tried occasional cigarette smoking and never really liked it enough to form a habit. He listened. He talked to me. He didn’t judge anything. He would notice the scratches, bruises, burns on my arms, and ask about them. In a way, it’s a good thing that our mutual friend had supplied him with some background information – I don’t think I could ever FULLY explain to a non-survivor the reasons behind these self-inflicted injuries. He seemed to understand, though, and eventually disclosed that he, too, was a survivor – not of sexual abuse, but of neglect and physical abuse at the hands of his parents. His mother was a drug user. His father was both into drugs and alcohol, and the wasband had left home at the tender age of 15 – he’d moved in with a grandparent and then straight after High School, he’d joined the army. He was someone with a tough façade, but, for a while, (likely for as long as we were still in the ‘dating stages,’) his interior was smooshy. He held my hand when we went for walks, he was gentle, he was kind. He didn’t judge me for any of the marks I’d made on myself. And I think this is what made some of those walls begin to lower – but he was the very first man (since Matt) who held my hands in his and asked my permission to kiss me. I granted him permission, and from that point on, he asked for permission to proceed any further. We didn’t sleep together right away – it wasn’t until we’d been seeing one another for at least a month. This was new to me. While I was ‘getting to know’ the wasband, I had stopped entering chat rooms. I would just talk to him, day in and day out – while he was at work and I was in school, I’d write him letters to give him when I saw him, even if it was going to be later that same day. He became someone I looked forward to seeing, connecting with, sharing with. Kissing. I was starting to enjoy it. I was feeling something. Physically, also, there was a connection that I’d not felt before – not even with Matt, because I’d simply not gotten that far with Matt. While I’d gotten that far (and sometimes further, if that’s even possible) with complete strangers, this was all new to me – this was with someone who seemingly WANTED for me to feel safe with him. He took things slowly, he took his time, he was patient when I needed to stop. It’s possible that what I was feeling wasn’t accurate, though. Because I was now dating the wasband, I was no longer ‘hooking up’ with anybody else. I wasn’t putting myself into risky situations any longer. I was now with ONE guy, who seemingly cared about me, about how I felt. There was no longer a need to find these things elsewhere – it felt NICE to gain this sense of security that I’d never felt before. Then he proposed – we were out for coffee – at a coffee shop that no longer exists today. He presented me with a ring – and asked me to be his wife. I accepted immediately. I’m not sure if it was love, though, that prompted me to say yes – perhaps it was the idea of prolonged security – a safer path to be on than the one I PROBABLY would end up back on if this didn’t work out. And it wasn’t a bad alternative path, not at this point. Here was a guy who seemed to genuinely care about me – a guy who was considerate, a guy who had his own faults that I knew I could accept….he was, after all, accepting of mine. It meant I would become a step-mother. I’d met his children at this point and had such love for them, for spending time with him and the two of them. Despite my mother’s hissy fit when she learned of my plans to move in with him, I left home at 20. She’d never liked the wasband. At least, not in the beginning. “He’s been married before,” she’d say, “why did he break up with his first wife? What went wrong?” (I’d not be able to truthfully answer this until MUCH later, but these were questions my mother had thrown at me, since the day I came home with the announcement that we’d gotten engaged.) I told her that I loved him and was moving on with my plans to live with and marry him. Shortly after moving in with him into his apartment and going to school from a new ‘home,’ things began to change. The changes were slow and gradual, though – in ways that were too minuscule to really make a big deal out of, and I was not seeing the waving red flags. First, it was the small things – he’d take notice of the fact that I didn’t really know how to make coffee. Or how to do laundry. My parents had always done those things, I’d never been on my own. He’d already been married once, had experienced married life once – he’d had a partner in which to run a household, parent children with – things I had absolutely NO experience in. I seriously lacked in life skills – but what I DID have, though, was credit. His debt piled up on MY credit cards, from the very beginning. There was always the promise that he’d pay this bill when he got paid, that one next month, etc. I didn’t think much of it, because really, they were for US. For things we needed. Food, stuff for the apartment, clothes, gas, etc. I paid no attention to the charges – as long as there was a ring on my finger, whatever was mine was his, too. His responsibilities were now also mine – and I thought nothing of putting things onto my credit cards. This, in hindsight, was another HUGE mistake, as it made me file bankruptcy before I was 25. There was one day he’d asked me to wash one of his shirts for work – and I’d had to admit that I didn’t know how. Not one of my finer moments, no, but the look on his face then, DID make me feel about two inches tall. But then we’d both gone down to the laundry room and he’d shown me how to operate the machines – how much change to use, how much detergent, the works. But, now, this became MY job. I did ALL of the laundry, from that point on. I was to ensure he had clean shirts for work – if he didn’t have one, it was my fault. There were times he’d say he loved me, but it still felt as if we were worlds apart – he’d experienced so much more in the course of his nearly 30 years – he’d seen combat and I’d only seen the inside of a classroom. He’d been married before, had children – I’d just left my parents’ house. There were no deal-breakers at this point but it was clear he wanted me to step up, to step in where his first wife had failed to do so. He wanted me to grow up, wanted me to skip ahead, catch up, be where he was in life. He didn’t say so using exact words, but there were little actions of his – little looks, little comments. Including one day, when I’d just gotten out of the shower, “I’d like to have a child with you, soon.” Make no mistake about this – our son was NOT unwanted. He was perhaps rushed, but never unwanted. I was still in school, with two years or so to go – and when the wasband had mentioned having a baby, there WAS a part of me that felt that although I DID want my own child one day, if I didn’t agree to it now, it would become something else that he would view as further resistance toward the life he wanted me to share with him. We were already engaged to be married – there was already commitment, there was job security on his part, there was no real reason not to agree to having a child with him – at least not one good enough to present to him. It would make him happy, after all. He’d said he would let me think about it, and there were a few more sexual encounters in between my ‘nod.’ See, it hadn’t been discussed beyond that day in the bathroom, I’d not thought about what having a child at 21 would mean for me – I thought nothing other than how happy it would make him. I didn’t think I’d be entirely unhappy with having my own child, either. I’d worry about being a mother – I was already becoming a stepmother, but being a mother to my own biological child was a terrifying thought. It was a thought, though, that I was sure plenty of other women shared, at least, until they had their first baby. There were also thoughts of what any baby the wasband and I made together would look like…and that was admittedly nice. Girl or boy? Maybe they’d have his blond hair? Maybe they’d have my freckles. He already had an adorable little girl who looked just like him – and son….would our child look like his or her siblings?? So, that night in October, he’d paused during an intimate moment – a sign that he was ready to finish - and I knew. He was again, asking permission. I didn’t want to spend too much more time over-thinking, over-analyzing, so I gave the nod. When we were finished, he kissed me, and said, “you’re pregnant.” I don’t remember saying anything. I do remember thinking, though – HOW? Was it really this easy? I didn’t know too much about my ovulation cycle at all – I’d also had a LOT of sex – although mostly protected, there was ALWAYS that possibility that it hadn’t worked. Maybe this, too, would take a little time? I did already know from hearing others talk, that sometimes it took a while…maybe this, too, would take several tries? But, sure enough, I WAS pregnant. Whether it was that night, or the within the few times afterwards, I conceived VERY quickly. The wasband, to this day, jokes that our son was a ‘one shot, one kill’ deal. At the time I’m writing this, he’s fathered five, in total. Perhaps there are others from his military era – but there are currently five biological children that we know of. My mother, several years later, would joke that the wasband could get a piece of furniture pregnant. And if furniture could reproduce – that would be true. Our son was born in 2000 and instantly became the love of my life. Any doubts I’d had before – gone. The Son, however, was NOT an easy baby and challenged me in every single way – he was colicky, he had a lactose intolerance, he had to be in my arms CONSTANTLY, which was never an issue for me as much as it was for the wasband – I loved holding my child. This perfect little extension of the wasband and me. He had soft golden hair, beautiful brown eyes, rosy cheeks, tiny little lips and ears that stuck out in an adorable Yoda-like way. He was most peaceful whenever sleeping, and I could stare at this image of perfection for hours on end. Sleep was already hard for me, but now even harder, as the Son VERY rarely slept when he was not in my arms. MANY nights were spent in our living room recliner – for any time a transfer from the arms to the crib was attempted, he’d wake up and scream for the next amount of time it took to get him back to sleep. I was sleep deprived fairly soon – and there was absolutely NO help from the wasband during the day – he worked within walking distance from the house, but rarely came home for lunch. My days were spent tending to not just our son, but also to his daughter and son from wife #1. They needed picking up and dropping off from school. The stepdaughter was sick EVERY other week – it was like clockwork and continued until she was eleven and had her tonsils removed. But she needed to frequently be picked up and brought to the pediatrician, with both boys usually in tow. Their mother usually wasn’t able to take them to the doctor, which, to this day, STILL irritates me – it was enough that my husband was expecting me to take care of his children in his absence, but you’d think that the real mother of these kids would step up whenever needed – especially since I now had an infant. I made the mistake of complaining to the wasband ONCE when the stepdaughter needed to be brought to the doctor in the middle of the day and the baby was napping – it was actually more of a vent than anything, but something to the tune of, ‘why can’t her mother take her?’ I was now ‘lazy.’ I’m sure he had more reasons built up to call me lazy. Time went on and raising three children who had NO concept of tidiness, the housework piled up. The laundry was delayed. Dinner was NEVER ready when he got home. We were now married – we’d tied the knot when the Son was nine months old. I was a horrible wife when it came to keeping everything running smoothly. I was in my very early 20s, and EXHAUSTED. I was ending up doing emergency loads of laundry in the middle of the night, with the Son, who still wasn’t sleeping like a normal child, in the Snuggli thingy that you wear on your torso. You know what they say about exhaustion bringing forth additional stressors, and I was no different. I began to see my husband in a different way than I had a year earlier. Especially when the nightmares, the restless nights, the stray memories started up, again – likely around my traumaversary-time. He was very rarely kind to me anymore – whether that was because now he viewed me as lazy or it was because he was stressed out, too – either way, he was not the man he used to be. He was more critical than he was pleasant, he would joke around (and not about the typical things worthy of joking around – his jokes were hurtful, mean and of the bullying sort) and when his jokes weren’t taken well, he’d shoot me the look of disgust – why couldn’t I take a joke? I had no sense of humor, I guess, and was constantly made to feel badly about it. My depression sank in again. I gained weight, and this was yet another thing that he would chastise me for. I began to spend more time online again – not for the same purpose of my previous online encounters, of course, but more so for friendship, for conversation where I didn’t have to be judged for whatever I might be feeling. For the kindness that I was no longer receiving at home. For connection, for there was none of that, either. For commonality, for I now felt alone in a house FILLED with people. I was an army of one, the ONLY one who knew what I was dealing with, and the only one who cared, too. Although I was not entirely verbal about these things, a LOT of time was spent within the confines of my own mind, while I tried to balance everything else. The wasband was NOT pleased with my being online, though. He’d read over my shoulder, question me about whomever I was speaking with. I’d made the mistake of telling him that one of the people I was speaking with was also a rape survivor and that we were talking about things that had helped her deal/cope. You WOULD have thought I’d told him I was having an illicit affair. He said some pretty hurtful, disgusting things, and pretty much accused me of everything in the book. “Why are you trying to make other people feel sorry for you?” “Your sharing stuff of such a personal nature can be viewed as an emotional affair.” “Nobody wants to hear about these things.” “These personal things need to stay private. It’s not anyone else’s business.” And my favorite: “You’re supposed to talk to ME about these things. Not strangers.” Okay. Fair enough, on the last one. Yes, perhaps he was the one I needed to go to for support, but he wasn’t providing it. Maybe, though, NOW he would ‘step up’ and into a more actively supportive role? Now that I was seeking it elsewhere? You see, I never shut him out. I WOULD tell him about how I was feeling. I HAD. I’d told him a few things while we were still in our dating stages, and he’d been supportive and kind. The problem here, I think, is that he felt this ‘support’ he had given was a one-time thing. It was not something that should continue beyond the initial giving of support. I should now be over this. I should NOT be letting this consume me, anymore. I should be focused on being his wife, being a mother, our home. To him, it was frustrating that I couldn’t do this easily, and to me, it felt as if I was truly broken because of my inability to ‘move on.’ At one point, I suggested going to a therapist, and he’d made this face – one that my daughter, to this day, calls ‘the Trump face.’ Eyes narrow, lip curled upwards. Even better when he’d say, ‘Therapy??’ and refer to it in a tone that was nothing short of belittling – of both me and of the idea of my taking my issues to a therapist. It was enough to make me decide against it entirely; and further paved the way toward option number three – which was to completely withdraw and self-isolate. I stopped reaching out for support, whether it was online or it was offline. I still maintained ‘platonic’ friendships (people from my bowling league, online friendships) but made sure to keep walls up - it seemed to make him the happiest when I did that. He’d ask how I was doing, and my response, if not ‘fine,’ would be met with the ‘you don’t need therapy, do you?’ I became increasingly miserable, but tried to focus on remaining as engaged with his and my children’s lives as possible. I carried on this way, for years. I ignored whatever uncomfortable triggers might have arose along the way – during everyday life, during the night when the nightmares would revisit, during every October that would come and go, during sex with him, which while it wasn’t forceful, it WAS almost ALWAYS initiated by him, emotionless, and devoid of feeling. He had his ‘bedroom routines,’ that I cared nothing for, but like with anything else I didn’t particularly agree with, it became yet another thing for me to remain silent about – even if it was just for the sake of avoiding an unnecessary argument. He was a man that needed consistency in the bedroom – and while I could honestly go for weeks without sex, this NEVER would have flown for him. I never refused him, though I would feel HORRIBLE afterwards – dirty, disgusting, tainted. It didn’t seem to be the right way to feel after sex with your spouse – but like anything else, I ignored these feelings, too. I chose to keep my mouth shut and shoved ANY negative feelings down almost as quickly as they’d surface, because I felt that if he saw me struggling with any of it, there would be MORE looks of disgust, MORE criticism, MORE comments on why I’d not moved on. MORE reason for him to not see me as the perfect wife he’d THOUGHT I’d be on the night he proposed. There was just NO sparkle in his eyes, anymore. In me, there was only emptiness and a yearning for more, for something that seemed impossible to find. And I’d doomed myself to all of it, I’d chosen to adopt his mindset, even if I didn’t necessarily feel there was anything ‘right’ about it. We had our daughter in 2006. I’d have liked to have her sooner, but after how difficult a baby the son was, the wasband had always said he didn’t want any more children. (Yes, laughable now, that he’s got six – five of his own and one belonging to his current wife!) I’m not sure if he’d sensed my overall unhappiness and that was what changed his mind, but he did eventually ask if we should try again. Thinking this would make a difference; even the smallest bit of a difference, I agreed to it. I DID want more of my own children. Where there was a VERY noticeable void with HIM, there was never one when it came to my son. He had unconditional love, he cared nothing about what I might be struggling with, he’d just climb into my lap and I’d instantly feel comforted. I loved NO ONE as much as I loved him. And the idea of having someone else to love, to nurture, was certainly appealing. I DID want a little girl, and knew that whe opportunity likely wouldn’t present again if I’d passed on it now. It took three months of trying before we conceived the daughter. There were times where he was overly loving and sad to say, it’s likely because I was pregnant. He was more gentle with his words and his touch. He did some stuff around the house, mostly when I’d hit my third trimester. He’d barked at the rest of the kids to clean up their rooms, their toys off the floor so that ‘your mother doesn’t step on them and hurt herself or the baby.’ I knew this change in him was likely temporary – and that what had happened after the son was born, would likely happen again after I’d had the daughter. I was right. The daughter was not as difficult as the son was. She was not colicky, she was fine with being put down into a swing or a rocker, she was content with being placed in front of the television while I went about normal chores. But, now, I had FOUR children and a husband who worked from seven in the morning until five in the evening – and his expectation that I’d have to (flawlessly) hold down the fort, remained the same. With three out of four being school-aged, there was ALWAYS the chance one would have to be picked up, one would be home sick and have to be taken to the doctor’s office, one would forget a science project was due until the NIGHT before…there was absolutely NO help from him when he got home. He’d have his dinner and retreat into the living room and sit in his recliner for the rest of the night. He’d complain (from his chair) that the house was untidy, there were dishes in the sink, dinner wasn’t ready, laundry was piled up, kids’ rooms were a shambles, the floor hadn’t been swept, vacuumed, etc. There was that occasional ‘what did you even DO around here, all day long?’ I’d shoot back, ‘taking care of a baby is a full-time job!’ He’d scoff and rattle off a list of things he’d gotten accomplished before noon – and top it off with, ‘I bust my ass all day long, so when I come home, I want to not have to handle anything at home.’ Yes, he actually thinks that’s how a household is run. That duties are separate. The man goes to work and the woman does everything at home. So, because he works most of the day, (and let’s not forget, he gets MOST of his heavy work done before noon!) anything having to do with the house and with the kids, is on me. Where’s the partnership, here? Are we forgetting that two of these kids aren’t even biologically mine? And don’t get me wrong – I NEVER treated his elder son and daughter any differently than I treated my own. I even LOVED them as if they were my own. Whenever I told anyone about my kids, I never said I had two children – I said had four. There was just ALWAYS a shred of existing resentment, toward him and toward their mother – for not stepping in when things were noticeably overwhelming. Knowing that I was not only taking care of what was REQUIRED for me to take care of, but also going above and beyond that to make sure HIS elder two children had stability and security in their lives, even if it meant compromising my own happiness. What did I want? A thank-you? No. That’s not what I wanted. A little recognition would have been nice, though. I did it all without a complaint. These kids shouldn’t have to suffer because their mother was stupid and and their father preferred for ME to be the more attentive parent. I wouldn’t have minded it so much, either, if he would have just occasionally said, “I appreciate all you do for my kids, for me.” Those words NEVER came. Instead, the criticism came. The put-downs, the consistent mention of where I would fall short. He also NEVER had my back in any of it – he would undermine me – CONSTANTLY – and in front of the kids, too. If I complained that one didn’t clean their room properly, his response would be, ‘that’s where you have to step in and supervise.’ These kids could do NOTHING wrong – it was always MY fault if they didn’t do what they needed to do. Even his eldest, who at the time was 12-13 years old – whenever I complained to him that she wasn’t doing what was asked of her, his response was, I’m too hard on her, I’m not willing to help her. At 13, my mother was NOT helping me clean my room, or perform simple chores. I was doing that, myself, and when asked. My mother did do me an injustice by not making me do my own laundry – but that wasn’t even what he was complaining about. And this was just plain bullshit – I was to drop everything else I had to deal with during the course of a day, and help a pre-teen clean her room? I didn’t make the mess. I shouldn’t have to assist anyone over the age of six in the cleaning and tidying of their bedroom. But I did – and this push was now coming from the man who stated that I had absolutely no life skills? What favors was he now doing his children? His children, who, currently and in present day, now have absolutely no life skills??? (and YES, this includes my two, who, over time, have become lazy slobs!) Rather than things improving with the arrival of our daughter, they seemingly became worse. He’d come home in a cranky mood, EVERY day. There was less frequently a smiling moment. We were both miserable, despite sharing four children, having a (very small and cramped) home and our physical health intact. We rarely spoke to one another, and when he DID speak to me, it was not usually gently. I began to ‘rebel,’ in very small ways. I waited until he left for work in the mornings, and I’d boot up the computer. Again, I felt the need for connection, for friendship, to feel less alone. While I didn’t care too much about what he wanted, as far as reaching out ‘beyond the home,’ I was still careful to NOT allow him to see what I was doing online. My internet browser history was promply deleted as soon as his car pulled into the driveway. Anyone I spoke to through messengers, was informed that my husband could not ‘see’ us speaking, so if it was later in the day, they knew to let me make the first contact. There was absolutely NOTHING inappropriate about my conversations – I was never unfaithful to the wasband. I, however, knew that It would make him angry to learn that I’d 1) started talking about my past trauma again, meaning I wasn’t 'over it,' yet, and 2) it was with people that ‘had no business knowing about my personal life.’ In hindsight, I do wonder if a small part of him feared being pegged as the one who was unreasonable and irrational – but I suppose that’s something I’ll never know the answer to. I knew there was absolutely nothing that I should be ashamed of, but there was always that fear of being MADE to feel as if I were doing him an injustice by spending my time the way I wanted to spend it. I didn’t want him questioning my conversations or online activity – so I made sure to hide it all. It was simply the path of least resistance. While I didn’t fear any physical blowback, should he ever discover how I was spending my days, it was the emotional response that scared me more. My husband NEVER struck me in anger – let that be known. He, however, had a way of battering someone with his words and his often unreasonably strong opinions. Regardless of my ‘rebellion,’ I still tended to my baby/toddler. I balanced the cleaning and childcare and dubbed the half-hour before his arrival home the ‘crunch time’ and would scurry through the house, making it look as if I HAD done some cleaning. It was SIMPLY just a matter of there being clothes on the floor, or stuff on the table that needed to be put away, or a quick sweep of the kitchen floor. I began to put in as much effort as he’d previously said I was. Why not, right? I might as well REALLY be the fat, lazy wife he’d always said I was. It was, in fact, a spring day in 2007 when I found After Silence. I’d been conversing with someone else, a fellow survivor that I’d told the wasband that was a parent of a child with a hearing and speech impairment (because THAT commonality was okay to have) and it was she who provided me the link to AS – saying, ‘try this place.’ I registered an account with AS and began to look around. The interactions between the members, the staff – it all was so wonderful to see. I quickly felt compelled to become a part of all of it. And so, every day, in between feedings, diaper changes, housework and errands, I was browsing AS and making the connections I’d been denied for so many years. As time went on, I felt MUCH less alone and I cared less and less about what he’d think about the whole thing. I carried on with my ‘plan’ and he was none the wiser. I made friends here, and looked forward to spending time on the site. It was a Godsend to me – a home away from home. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when he, after a while, came home from work and asked me while I was preparing dinner – ‘what do we have in common other than the kids?’ For the life of me, I couldn’t answer. I thought about it for a full minute, though. We didn’t like the same TV shows. We didn’t share views. Well, we WOULD – mine would be ‘stupid,’ while his was right. Every time. We didn’t see eye to eye on ANYTHING. He might’ve thought we did because whenever there was a heated debate, he’d turn to me and ask, ‘am I wrong?’ and for the sake of avoiding an argument, I’d shake my head in silence. Even if yes, he was wrong. Even if none of it made sense. Even if it meant that something I believed to be right would be dismissed. There was NOTHING in common in the bedroom. He liked things I despised. He was hard, I was too sensitive. When I’d come to the conclusion that the only thing we likely both equally enjoyed were certain foods. “I don’t know,” I finally told him. “I was thinking, maybe we should get a divorce,” he said. I don’t know whether he expected to hear that we REALLY had nothing in common or he’d expected me to surprise him with my answer. “Okay,” I shrugged. Perhaps I’d answered too quickly and surprised us both. Either way, it was an out…and one I needed to take. An opportunity. I’d been imprisoned within this loveless marriage for FAR too long, and I was NOT seeing any ways that this would change. Not anytime soon. He’d never change. He’d remain this horrible bully that I’d grown to despise, despite being married to him. He nodded and retreated into the living room and I sobbed silently as I continued to prepare dinner. Not because I was upset over this marriage ending – but because this, like everything else – was on HIS terms. Although it was best, and I knew it – I still wouldn’t have left him first. I was loyal, to the end. I cried for my children, who loved us both equally…especially the son, whom I knew would take this news especially hard. And he did. Days later, we sat him down and explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were getting a divorce. We were, however, both still going to remain a constant in his life and that he’d be spending an equal amount of time with us both, and that we’d still be ‘together but separate.’ The wasband did most of the talking – I was unable to do much other than nod in agreement. This was all just so surreal. He had become a different man. At first, I suspected he knew he’d been the one to turn my life upside down, and he was the one who was going to be walking away. So when I told him, yet, again, that I wanted to go see a therapist, he surprisingly agreed. ‘Go ahead,’ he said, ‘I think it’s a good idea.’ Two weeks went by. Now that we had a ‘plan,’ he said very little about my therapy, my online activity, or even about the housework not being done. I questioned that, honestly, especially for the first few weeks following his request to get divorced. It all made sense when he casually mentioned that there was a woman that he’d like to begin to get to know. He’d met her online, playing poker. She lived an hour or so away from us, and was a single mother, having just gone through her own divorce. THREE weeks after he’d told me he wanted a divorce, he was wanting my blessing to go see someone else? He did add, ‘If you’re not okay with it, I won’t.’ We hadn’t even gotten OUR paperwork started. I wasn’t okay with it, no, but I wasn’t going to hold him back, either. Especially if it meant he would be around less. And even more especially if he’d been seeing this woman for a little while already. That’s what my gut instinct was telling me – THIS was why he asked me for a divorce. He’d already proven he couldn’t be alone, couldn’t do his own laundry, couldn’t do his own cooking or cleaning. So he’d waited until he had his third wife (she’d eventually become his third wife) lined up before asking me to grant him the divorce. He was going to make sure HE was all set. Of course, if I were to ask him today, he’d deny that. He’d deny ALL of it. Upon my ‘do what you want,’ he began to see her, and spend a lot of time with her. I did put my foot down, though, and made it clear to him that this woman would NOT be meeting my kids – not anytime soon. He agreed, although reluctantly. He would come home after work, spend a few hours with the kids, and then sometimes drive an hour away to where she lived – sometimes he’d spend the night there and go to work from there in the morning. He’d made plans to move out, but eventually realized that he couldn’t afford first, last and security. So he approached me again, and asked if he could stay at home a little bit longer, until he was able to come up with a little extra money for an apartment. As is, he was only ‘home’ a few nights a week. I told him that was fine, but he’d have to sleep on the couch. You’d have thought I told him he had to bathe in his own shit. “I work every day. You’re going to kick me out of my bed and make me sleep on the couch? I’m the one who should be more comfortable.” I looked at him. There he was, again, looking down at me, with that narrow-eyed look of disgust. I was, once again, completely wrong. What I’d said to him was appalling. So, like always, I’d backed down. “Fine,” I told him, “You can sleep in the same bed. But we are NOT having sex.” “Why not?” He smirked. “We’re still married, after all.” I just looked at him for a minute before walking away with no response. For a while, he adhered to my wishes. He’d come home from seeing her, or on nights he wasn’t seeing her, and he’d go to bed on his own, usually after me. I was even more exhausted those days, more so than when I was when I was a teen. I was spending more time on AS, too, for he now no longer asked any questions about what I was doing with my free time. He no longer cared – as long as he was free to do with himself what he wanted. I’d secured a staff position by then, on AS, as a chat room moderator. It was where I spent most days and nights – it was where I felt happiest, most wanted, most needed, most valuable. I was still cautious, especially on the nights that he did come home. I didn’t want him to know much anything about AS, so whenever he was around, I kept my distance from the site. There was that one night when he’d came home late from being out with her. I was already three-quarters of the way asleep. Nearly down for the count, but not enough that I didn’t feel him get into bed as he normally did. Moments later, he was on top of me, and was having sex with me. I didn’t protest, I didn’t say no. I, for the moment, felt that the best course of action was to do nothing. A sense of familiarity sank in. This was the father of my children, we were still legally married, even though he was no longer ‘with’ me. Maybe I WAS being ridiculous, after all. Even though none of this felt right, it felt a little too familiar to be considered wrong. He was not rough, nor did he move to reciprocate – when he was finished, he simply rolled over and went to sleep. The following morning, he had a smile on his face. I want to say this was likely a weekend – for the kids were home, and I remember being in the kitchen. “You know – I can still see us doing what. Ten years from now. Even if we’re with other people.” Again, there were no words. I simply stared at him. I’m not sure if I was expecting him to say he’d made a mistake, that he no longer wanted his other woman, he wanted me – he didn’t want a separation, that he wanted us to go to counseling, to fix this, fix whatever had gone wrong in our marriage. At that point, I’m not sure if I’d have agreed to it, but it was, at least, something to hope for, even in the slightest bit, the morning after sex – something different than what I was getting from him now. But no, here he was, basically saying he wanted his cake, and he wanted to eat it, too. He was now cheating on his mistress – with his wife. Imagine that? When I’d finally managed to ask him what she’d think of it, his response was, ‘she won’t know...she’d kill me if she did know. You won’t tell her, right?’ I sat on that for a couple weeks. He’d not tried again to have sex with me – I think I feigned a period in order to keep him at bay for a few days, but then there was a time where opportunity simply didn’t present, or I’d kept my distance. He was now in the process of LOOKING for an apartment – but likely wasn’t going to find one that would allow for his specific needs – he was a heavy smoker, he wanted his dog with him, his credit was shit, he needed extra space for when the kids came to visit. Although I wanted him gone, so that I could move on with my own life, I still felt that I owed it to the kids to ensure that their father wasn’t homeless. If I were paying anything toward the house, the bills, I certainly had more leverage in order to eject him – but I didn’t have a penny to my name. I had absolutely nothing. There was one additional time when he was in the shower, and called me in. Thinking he needed a towel or toilet paper, I poked my head in asking what he needed. He whipped open the curtain and asked me to join him. Saying no seemed to take too long. I remember staring at him, thinking to myself – what is wrong with him? Doesn’t he SEE that this is wrong? Doesn’t he see what this is doing to me? CLEARLY, I’m not into it and I’d said nothing to allude to wanting any of it to continue. But – the words did escape my lips – somehow. “No. I can’t.” With that, I left him in the bathroom and locked the door from the inside behind me so that I couldn’t get back in, should he call me again. I then went and tended to the kids – half proud of myself for having done what I did, and half terrified. Was he going to yell at me, was he going to verbally harass me for having told him no? In the eight years we’d been married, I NEVER told him ‘no.’ Never. Whatever he wanted, I agreed to. Whatever he asked, I did without question. Whatever he believed, even if it seemed a bit unreasonable, I said I believed, too – even if I didn’t. I didn’t want him angry with me, I didn’t want there to be an argument, I didn’t want him to continue to tell me how lazy or stupid or fat or otherwise undesirable I was. Imagine my surprise when he came out, fully dressed, and pulled me aside. He leaned in and said, “thanks for keeping me honest.” Another silent nod on my part. I’m glad to say he never again approached me for sex. While this was a good thing, it was also VERY damaging – and I’ll explain why. You see – it was the one time that I had the nerve to say no to him. A time where it WOULD have been easier, although equally as damaging, to give in and do whatever it was that he was asking. And now he was okay with my response? He wasn’t going to treat this like any of the other arguments we’d had in the past, and resort to nastiness and belittlement? Were all of the past issues I’d had with him – now my fault? Had I said no to him in the beginning, would I still be in this position? Would a ‘no’ any other time have been listened to, as this one was? What about that other night? Would he have stopped if I said ‘no’ to him? Was ALL of this entirely my doing?? The mind is a relentless, vicious machine when it wants to be – and for a while, I allowed it to continue to run, to allow myself to self-blame, rather than shut it down. He was still living at home, I didn’t feel safe enough to ‘shut down’ this machine, yet. And so, I carried on as I normally would, while he began to spend less and less time at home. Around this time, was when J entered my life. You all know J from my previous posts, my blogs. She’s my better half, my best friend, my lover, the one I trust the most, the one who is my everything. And at the time of this posting, she is my partner of ten years. I had met her here on AS – and we were friends first and foremost. After talking with her daily for a while, I realized how much we had in common. There was much more to our friendship, and we were both beginning to slowly realize it. I’d never been with someone who had similar trauma in her past. There was a connection here that I’d never felt before. I found myself talking about things I’d never discussed before – and felt safe doing so. This, too, was new. I felt understood, I felt validated. I did worry about what the wasband would say when I found myself becoming attracted to her – but surprisingly, he said nothing negative…unless you count, ‘you were always a lesbian,’ negative. He instead smiled, and said, ‘it is what it is.’ Granted, it was probably because he now had his new woman, and was glad to see me considering ‘moving on.’ And, so, I did. I suppose there’s more to the story relating to my marriage and after it ended, but I’ve now reached the point where fast-forwarding is a little bit easier. Perhaps installment three will be due a re-do in a few years from now (or 12?) but, for now, there SEEMS to be further processing to do. I thought I'd be finished at the end of this installment, but as I sit here day after day, I'm realizing that it's not as easy to reflect upon these things, and my writing is not as 'flowy' as the previous two installments. I am getting stuck more often than I want to, and I'm feeling more need to put it away. In the beginning, I was putting this away for days. Now, I've realized that I've put it away for weeks - and if I don't finish it now, it'll likely be forgotten for another decade. To summarize what I've been up to lately: I’ve restarted therapy, after several years, as there are now things that have come up more recently for me – things I know I’ve not had the time or even the desire to deal with. At least, properly. I know that I’ve recognized that I am a victim of not only CSA and of rape – but also of domestic violence. I’d always thought of DV as the beatings, the punching, the broken bones, the visits to the hospital…this is not what was happening to me. My ex’s abuse of me was not physical – it was emotional. It was verbal. It was mental. Before returning to AS after a lengthy hiatus, I didn’t even KNOW what gaslighting was. I do now, because that was, also, what happened. This realization has floored me - because I'd been so blind to it. All of it. I've come to realize that I'm not completely free of his grasp; of his influence. There IS still difficulty saying ‘no' to him. There is still that fear of letting others in – because that was once not allowed, or acceptable. I am not, by any means, where I want to be. Not yet. In some ways, not all of the puppet strings have successfully been severed and I'd be lying if I said I was 'healed' from this. Safe to say, though, that this is a healing process that I've restarted and have been diligently working on, especially recently. I'm starting school one week from today - after taking a 20-year-long vacation...a break that HE encouraged me to prolong. I can't entirely blame this on him as I did agree to have our son and the desire to go back never really presented itself - but even after I'd married him and born him children, he'd made sure I was too busy to focus on anything other than him, the house, the kids. I never came first. It NEVER mattered what I wanted - THIS was my purpose in life. I was secondary to everyone else, and I believed that this is how it should be. I don't believe it, anymore, though. Going back to school is just one of the first steps toward my getting to where I want and need to be. I think it is safe to say that I am where I am now because of the events of the previous installments, and that recognizing this has been yet another step in the right direction. I don't know where I'll be in three years, and I know that question has been asked...but I CAN say that I am a little closer to answering that than I was a year ago. So, perhaps, this is why I should end on the note that I’m still healing, and why I must admit that I still have quite a bit of work to do. But for now – I want this to be where installment three ends – and hopefully there won’t be a fourth installment to write, but instead a more confident ending could be added to this one. Let's just say, for argument's sake, that my next installment is simply yet to be lived and experienced. And it'll all be shared via blogs! In closing, I'd like to thank you all for reading each of these installments. I've unlocked this board to responses, and do hope to hear from anyone that can relate, that understands, that can validate who I am, and the reasons for being who I am. I am sending my love to each and every one of you - I've so much appreciation for those who choose to walk this path alongside me. There is indeed strength in numbers. I believe this, 100%. - Capulet
  8. Also posted in Share Your Story: Installment Two: The Party I am now fast-forwarding, (or rewinding, depending on how old I was in your minds upon completing reading of the first installment) to when I was seventeen years old as I bring to you all, installment 2 of my story. This is the full, uncensored version of what was shared back in 2007. One would think that as time goes on, you’re likely to forget some details. While that may be the case for some, I WISH that was true for me. Time has gone on, but in some ways, remained stationary – frozen, almost – and I still remember the details of that night as if it were only yesterday. And for the last nearly twenty-three years, it HAS been ‘yesterday.’ While I know a lot of work has been put into my healing efforts, the memory of the work isn’t as strong as the memory of the actual event. It’s stayed fresh, although I do have to admit that time HAS made it sting less. In this newer version of my story, I’ve decided not to talk about the ‘fluff stuff;’ by this, I mean the benign, unimportant events leading up to what happened on the night of October 4th, 1996. The pre-story of having gone to a classmate’s house, my lying to my father, telling him that I was going to be working on a school paper, my thinking this was a good way to jump-start my social status. Why not talk about these things? Because they’re not important, now. Originally, I perhaps felt partially to blame for what happened. It was a classic case of, ‘well, if I hadn’t been there, this wouldn’t have happened.’ Perhaps I was waiting for someone to say to me, ‘yes, that’s exactly why this happened. You were in a place you did not belong, and at a time that you shouldn’t have been there.’ Believe it or not, there WAS the occasional question of ‘why?’ but I have come to realize that there simply is not an answer good enough to justify what happened. I could search for the rest of my life and I’d still never find one. There IS one very important detail that you should know about me, though, before I delve deeper into this part of my story. If you’ve read through my first installment, you know that I was born deaf. This is something I don’t like bringing attention to – unless circumstances make it that I have to. I don’t share this with many people unless, well, I think there will be a reason they need to know. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with it. It just plays a COLOSSAL role in who I am. While it doesn’t define me, it also does. And this, as much as I HATE to admit – is a HUGE contributor to what happened that night. Whenever I think back on my trauma, it also ALWAYS comes back to this. As a matter of fact, it plays such a role in BOTH of my traumas, although I cannot remember one of them. I guess the running joke on this is – even from the very beginning, I didn’t want to hear it…it being drama, bullshit, and whatever else makes me momentarily (and rarely) appreciate my lack of hearing. My mother and father wanted me to speak, so they were quick to alienate me from the deaf community and (my mother mostly) moved Heaven and Earth to ensure that I functioned as a ‘normal’ hearing person. And, to be ‘normal’ was always something I had to work extra hard at – with certain limitations that were beyond my control, I had to overcompensate, all under the impression that this was what was ‘wrong’ with me and that it was never something I could fix. This was simply the hand I’d been dealt. And now – back to the story. To summarize, I was 17 and was at a house party. It wasn’t a frat house – it was simply someone’s home – off campus. I’d gone with an acquaintance from one of my classes – thinking this was what the stereotypical college kids did with friends on a Friday night. To call her a friend is inaccurate, for she never once had my best interests at heart and likely invited me to accompany her to this party so that she could delay working on the research paper we were assigned to complete together. She probably still, to this day, thinks I’m angry with her for forcing me to find another way home at the end of the night. I’d only seen her a small handful of times afterwards – once when I finally picked up my car, which was parked near her house – and a few times in class. I made very small talk and avoided her at all costs. We’d never spoken of what happened; which was my choice. She was the enemy. I wanted her out of sight and out of mind – and thankfully, I got my wish – we were fortunate to not share any more classes after that semester. And for a long, long time, possibly YEARS, I WAS angry with her. I even blamed her. It was, after all, because of her – the whole thing was her fault, simply because she was having too good a time to leave when I wanted to. For years, hers was the face that popped up into my mind when thinking back to that night. No, it wasn’t the ONLY face, but it was still a face that shouldn’t have been as much a focus as it was. HIS face is the one I see now. The only one I see when I think back to that night. There is no longer any blame for her. While I still unfondly remember her face, I’ve mentally connected the image of it to a ‘type’ of person that I’ve vowed to NEVER trust again. That’s the face I see when people around me are acting recklessly, in a manner that reminds me of the behavior of those around me at that party on that night. Although nearly 23 years have elapsed, I still remember. It’s funny, isn’t it? How we can recall with ease the moments BEFORE trauma, but draw blanks when it comes to the actual event? I cannot bring myself to forget their oblivious, stoned, drunk-off-their-asses expressions as I followed the man who would forever change my life through smoke-infused hallways. The obnoxious laughing, the booming music, the glazed-over looks, the tongues hanging out, the god-awful SMELL of weed. All of these things added to my overall discomfort of the whole scene and I wanted nothing more than to go home. This is where I will issue a trigger warning for those who are still reading. I am going to be sharing some things that I’ve never written before. If you’re not in a good frame of mind, please close this and bookmark it for another day. I totally wish it were possible to turn this night on and off in my brain – and there are times I have succeeded in doing so. But instead of an on/off switch, there’s a dimmer – sometimes it’s bright, sometimes it can be reduced into the background so that I can carry on as normal, whatever that means. The very purpose of this update is for me to be able to shine a brighter light on some of those things that I’ve kicked into the shadows for as long as I can remember, in hopes that they’d not find their way back into the light. We all know how well that works, right? So – trigger warning now in effect, for several details and for rape. The first thing I noticed about my attacker was how incredibly good-looking he was. Sporting thick jet-black hair, broad shoulders, a dimple, a complexion hinting that he was of either Spanish or Italian descent, ‘Eddie’ was undeniably handsome. I’d later learn that even the most physically beautiful people are truly capable of evil, of ugliness. For the moment, though, I remember having to remind myself that I had a boyfriend that I’d been seeing for two years prior to this night. I had my boyfriend in mind when I politely declined when Eddie, after overhearing my drunk acquaintance tell me that she was not ready to leave, offered me a ride home. There were a couple reasons, really, for my passing on the ride home – one – I didn’t see a drink in his hand, but I didn’t know if he’d been drinking before he approached me, and two – I didn’t think any girl should be in a car with a guy who wasn’t her boyfriend. Things might happen! I suppose, in hindsight, knowing that Eddie turned out to be the predator I was unaware he was at the moment, that was likely his original plan – for something to happen. Instead, I asked him if he could make a phone call for me – something that I’d asked several strangers to do for me in the past. I had someone from the campus office call my father for me when I’d left the lights on and now the car wouldn’t start. Someone to call my mother when my wallet was stolen. And in this case, for Eddie to call one of my other friends to see if she could possibly come pick me up from this disastrous party. He seemed slightly taken aback by my request, but agreed to make the call. “Come with me,” he said, “I know where it will be a little bit quieter.” We weaved through a crowd of other partygoers, went up a flight of stairs and eventually got into a bedroom, where he locked the door behind him. I’d gone in first, wanting to believe nothing more that this man was going to help me to get home. I am sure there were other phones in the house – he insisted that being in one of the rooms farthest from the speakers downstairs would be best and he’d be able to hear. There was the phone on a night table, next to the bed. It was black, the buttons glowed. The bed was along the east wall, there was a small adjoining half-bathroom straight ahead. Along the west wall, there was a window, a desk and a chair. There was a small area rug and there was a pair of 20 or 30-pound barbells rested on the floor next to the bathroom door. If this was a bedroom belonging to a teenage or college-aged boy, it was by far one of the cleanest I’d ever seen. The computer sitting atop the desk was on, but had been left idle for a good while – the screen-saver was activated and there was this bouncing, morphing shape…it would first be a ball, then a square, then spiky, then something else, all the while changing colors – before returning into the original ball shape. Background was black – it was the first thing I saw when entering the room and little did I know it would become an unpleasant reminder. I didn’t know what the definition of a trigger was, until this became my first one. It was a very popular screen-saver in the late 90’s, too, so it was every-freaking-where. At libraries, at doctor’s offices, on computer screens at electronics stores… Eddie went straight toward the phone. He sat on the bed close to the night table and patted the seat next to him. I sat, but not too close. He picked up the phone and asked me what number I wanted to call. I gave him the first name of one friend of mine that didn’t go to school with me, but lived somewhat close to my Dad’s house. I figured she’d likely let me crash at her house, and then perhaps she could bring me back to pick up my car in the morning, so that I wouldn’t have to tell my father the truth. I was also admittedly trying to think of another ‘cover story’ to tell my father – I certainly didn’t want him to know I was in this predicament. I recited her phone number from memory. He dialed. “It’s busy,” he said after a few seconds with the receiver to his ear. I had no reason not to believe him – this friend of mine was one of those who’d have her phone surgically attached to her ear if it were possible. He asked if I wanted to wait a few minutes and then try again. All I could think of was how much I wanted to go home, versus going back out into the insanity outside these four walls, so I nodded in agreement. He hung up the receiver. That’s when the questions began. At first, they were innocent. It was when I learned his name and his age. Eddie, 25. Twenty. Five. My initial thought was that this was the house of someone he knew. He claimed that he was a friend of a friend, and he didn’t live in the area. He was just ‘passing through’ and heard that there was a party and came down. He asked where I was going to school and what I was majoring in. I told him. He told me he was in between jobs at the moment. He then asked if I had a boyfriend. Let’s call my boyfriend Matt, for anonymity purposes. I confirmed. Eddie became genuinely interested in my relationship with Matt. Those questions started out innocently, as well, before becoming much less so. He asked how long we’d been together, if Matt went to the same school as I did – and then, boom – there was the question of whether Matt and I had ‘fucked’ yet. In those words. I could feel my face turn beet-red. I cannot believe, looking back, how much SHAME that question made me feel. Not because it was overly inappropriate for a pretty much stranger to ask me this, but because the truth was, I was a virgin. I’d never experienced sex. Matt was a virgin, too. Like me, he hailed from a strictly Catholic family, and pre-marital sex being forbidden and sinful was something his parents instilled into Matt and his siblings. My family was of the same belief, but this was never something impressed on at home. My sisters were barely 10 and 7; and my mother hadn’t had this ‘talk’ with me, yet. Perhaps she knew, she herself hadn’t been married when she’d first had sex – maybe this was one thing she didn’t want to be hypocritical on. Matt was a typical 17-year-old boy with raging hormones and we’d only gotten as far as kissing, roaming hands over the clothes and occasionally down the pants, but whenever it became dangerously close to becoming an ‘all the way’ situation, Matt would slam onto the brakes and it’d be over. Personally, I was ready to experience it all – and to lose my virginity to him – but respected that he was not yet ready for that step. We’d talked about marriage and how our wedding night would be absolutely amazing – but that, like many other things, was just a dream. An illusion. And it would never become a reality. When I didn’t answer Eddie’s question, he proceeded with, “Do you like it when he fucks you? What’s your favorite position?” There were other questions, too, and I could feel my face flush even more with each one. I felt increasingly embarrassed, and I HATED the fact it was because here was this handsome, likely experienced twenty-five year old man asking me about sexual encounters that I didn’t have. What the hell would he think of me if I were to tell him that the closest I’d had to sex was Matt’s hand down the front of my underwear for all of 0.4 seconds before he’d put the kibosh on the whole thing? It didn’t occur to me, not at 17, that there was more cause for alarm to be derived from that line of questioning, especially by someone that much older than I. Instead of scrambling for an answer to a question I didn’t wish to entertain, I asked Eddie if he could please try my friend’s number again. He picked up the phone again and asked me to repeat the number. I gave it to him, but this time, watched his fingers carefully. Back then, there was no need to dial the area code first, and I saw him dial SIX numbers, instead of the standard seven-digit telephone number. His finger did not fully press down on the number 4. He skipped right over it and went to number 8. I saw it with my own eyes. My heart jumped into my throat as realization sank in – he’d been lying to me. Playing me. This whole time, he’d been manipulating the situation. If the mental danger flags weren’t waving before, they were, now. My heart sank when he hung up the receiver again, turned to me and said, “it’s still busy,” thus confirming my suspicions that I might be in trouble. I suppose for a split second, I hoped he’d realize he didn’t fully press the number 4 and try redialing – but he did not. He’d already hung up the phone, and was again focused on me, probably expecting I’d answer his question now that we had more ‘waiting’ time. My heart began racing. The panic was setting in. If we had the option to ‘press pause’ during significant moments in our lifetimes, so that we could re-evaluate and to give more thought on how to proceed, this would have been my first pause of the night. Maybe I’d have answered his questions – if I’d known what would alternatively happen, perhaps I’d have been better off answering and buying time by doing so. Maybe someone would have knocked on the door. Maybe this, maybe that… I’m not even sure how I managed to croak a weak, ‘thanks for trying,’ as I stood up and moved for the door. I’d just managed to reach for the knob when it all went into motion. First, I felt his hand firmly clasp around my arm, just above my elbow. Then, before I could scream, I felt myself being flung. My body quickly hurled toward the bed that we’d just been sitting on, and then bounced off. I landed hard onto my back, hitting the back of my head on the floor. It took a moment to process what had just happened, plus I’d had the wind knocked out of me. I couldn’t move quickly enough. By the time the stun had worn off and I’d managed to pull myself into a sitting position with my back against the side of the bed, he was standing above me with his pants and zipper open. Still, I remained in that place in-between shock and paralysis. I’d always been taught there was a cause and an effect to everything. All I could think at the moment was, what I’d possibly done to make him transform from the man who was going to help me, into this angry, violent monster that I now needed help getting away from. Was this a punishment for finding someone other than Matt attractive? Was that considered to be cheating and this was the price I’d pay? Was it a consequence for having lied to my father and told him I was working on a school project that night? I MUST have done something wrong! Everything was seemingly in slow-motion from this point on. One of his hands was now behind my neck, and from there, he reached up and clenched a fistful of my hair in between his fingers, pulling backwards. His other hand was on his now-exposed penis. I’d never seen one up close before. I’d FELT Matt’s, even touched it once. I’d seen photos. I’d seen the ‘adult section’ at the video store (when they still had them, back in the day before digital streaming was a thing!) and those video cassette jackets were NOT censored in the least bit. Although I had very little sexual experience, I somehow knew what he wanted me to do, and again, panic took over. I pressed my lips together as tightly as I could, trying to shake my head every time he moved himself closer. With each time I moved, his grip onto my hair tightened. Eventually, he roughly yanked again, forcing open my mouth when I gasped in pain. He wasted no time and maintained his hold onto my hair as he forced his organ into my mouth. Every time I tried to move my head in desperate attempts to evade him, he’d jerk me into position again. I began to gag as he violated my mouth and throat, and in the process, felt my teeth eventually sink into the shaft of his penis. I WISH I could say this was done on purpose, but it was completely, 100% an accident. Regardless, he released my hair, quickly withdrew, and angrily struck me in the mouth, knocking me back onto the floor. I immediately tasted blood in my mouth, as my lower lip was punctured on the inside by a tooth when he’d hit me. I hadn’t noticed the tears until that moment. Maybe they’d started forming when I was gagging. Maybe fear had caused them. Maybe it was the pain – in my back, my throbbing head, my mouth, my throat. Either way, the tears were now rolling down my face and I could no longer hold them back. It was also the moment I chose to plead with him, as hysterical as I was becoming. When a normal hearing person with normal speech is upset, they sometimes become difficult to understand. When a DEAF person with ‘different’ speech becomes hysterical, all hopes of being clear and understood are pretty much out the window. I’m not even sure what I said, as I was in no condition to choose or plan out my words. But I know I begged him to stop, I pleaded with him to let me go. It’s likely I said more, but my thoughts were racing and I had no idea what matched what was coming out of my mouth at the moment, and what didn’t. I stayed on the floor as I sobbed and spoke to him. I was terrified that getting up would mean he’d hurt me more or strike me again. He stood over me, holding himself in one hand, rubbing where I’d bitten him. When he was satisfied that I’d not permanently damaged his penis, he smirked, got down onto his knees, and lowered himself on top of me, straddling me just above my waist. I could not move, for his knees were pinning my arms to my sides. I continued to shake in fear, to cry, to beg, to appeal to any part of him that was kind. I know now that there was no part of him where such kindness existed, especially when he brought his face close to mine and began to mimic my sobs. He spoke with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, to emphasize on what I probably looked (and sounded) like to him. To clearly state to me that he saw me as a special-needs person who somehow deserved to suffer simply because they were different. There was no doubt in my mind then, that he’d taken pleasure in hurting others before me, or even after me. Although I somehow came to this conclusion at this moment, I’d not revisit this particular thought until many years later. I shut down. I stopped begging. Just so he’d stop mocking. He did. He kept on speaking to me, though. I didn’t catch all of it. But I was called some very nasty names, names that fully supported my theory that he viewed me as completely helpless. I cried silently. Eventually, he began to lower himself, slowly releasing my arms in the process. I waited until they were free, and then attempted to push him off of me. My fighting seemed to excite him even more. In one swift movement, he lifted himself off of me and roughly flipped me over to my stomach. In that split second while he was no longer on top of me, I attempted to crawl away, but now, he was in a position that better served to his advantage. He shoved me forward, and I stumbled and landed face-down onto the floor. And quickly, his lower body was between my legs, he was using his legs to hold mine apart, and the heaviness of his torso was keeping me from further being able to try to escape. I couldn’t see his face at this point. I saw only the bedroom door in front of me and called out for help. I screamed. My arms flailed; I used the palm of my hands to bang the floor, but these were likely camouflaged as stray musical beats and vibrations, as I could feel from underneath me, that the music was blasting loud enough to wake the dead. I kicked my legs against the floor, too, but that, too, was ineffective and went unnoticed to anyone who was not in the room with us. He managed to gain control of both of my arms and momentarily held them above my head. Then, using one hand, he continued to hold them there, by pinning my wrists to the floor. He brought his face close to mine, and using his other hand, began to roam. He first ran it over my breasts, (more so along the sides, whatever parts were accessible with all of his weight being on top of me) and then began to hike up the skirt I was wearing. Next, his fingers were inside of the elastic of my underwear, and I felt them being pushed to the side. “No.” I remember saying it. I did say it. There was also a ‘please’ in there, but he ignored me. I said it several times, each subsequent ‘no’ becoming quieter as I began to realize that I’d lost this battle. I was trapped. He replaced his probing fingers with his penis, and again, there was a sharp, searing pain. It was like nothing I’d felt before. A combination of burning, friction and pressure. More of my tears rolled, but I went silent and limp. There were no more remaining ‘no’s;’ I saw no point in it, anymore. There was no desire to fight any further – hadn’t I been fighting all along, just to try and prevent this moment? A moment I never thought would happen to me – a moment I’d only heard about on the news or seen on television shows or movies. It was too late, now. He was inside of me. His grip on my wrists eventually loosened, as soon as he’d realized that I was defeated and resigned. And I was. I let my cheek rest on the cold, hard floor, feeling right away my tears transfer onto the wood below. While he moved my body with his, I stared at the screen saver, that was still bouncing, still morphing. I counted the beats that I could feel beneath my body. I noted the time on the clock and saw that I’d only been in this bedroom for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes. That’s all it took. I could tell that I was in a house that was cleaned regularly – with my face rested against the floor, I could smell the unmistakable scent of Pine-Sol. This would become yet another trigger – the Pine-Sol. I paid attention to everything except what was happening to me. I stared only at the things I’d chosen to focus on, even when he brought his face close to mine and told me how much I liked it. I’d caught that through the corner of my eye and wanted to scream back, no, I didn’t like it. But I feared that I’d receive the worst possible response to anything I could do or say, so I held my tongue. He’d added some other choice words in there, too. Even when he licked my face, even when he would become more rough in hopes of soliciting a reaction or even a cry from me. Even when the necklace he wore (it was a thick chain) hit me in the face with every thrust. Before tonight, I’d not know what dissociation was – but sure as shit, I did it that night. I felt my eyes glaze over as I left my body, and I encased myself within my surroundings, the music, the vibrations, the computer, the barbells on the floor, the flashing colon between the hour and minutes on the digital clock. On ANYTHING except what was happening to my body at the moment. For the moment, I only existed outside of the body I no longer would recognize as my own. I also remember thinking momentarily, what if these were the last things I’d see? What if this was it for me? What if he planned to kill me when he was finished? Would I ever see my family again? Would I ever turn 18? I didn’t want this stupid screen-saver to be the last thing I saw, my last memory. I remember letting my eyes slowly close as I scrambled for thoughts of good times, the smiling faces of the people I loved. It provided a measure of comfort during a time where my life was uncertain, although in a miniscule way. He eventually slowed, stopped, and withdrew. I opened my eyes only when I felt his weight shift from my body. Still, I didn’t dare move. Moving had always gotten me into more trouble. Instead, I remained stationary on the floor, even after he’d gotten up. I assume he took a moment to zip up his pants, because I only watched his feet. I didn’t want to see his face again. It was a passing thought that if we’d made eye contact, he’d speak to me. He likely had more horrible things to say. I didn’t want to be put in a position where I’d have to respond, so I avoided looking above his feet – which was easy, being on the floor. They eventually moved for the door, which was perhaps six feet away from where I lay. I saw it open, then close again. I was now alone in this bedroom – once a symbol of hope, and now a museum of unpleasant memories. Everything hurt. My head was throbbing. My stomach was in knots and was churning. My heart was racing. And down there, there was burning. I could tell I was bleeding. I could feel it. Still, I stayed on the floor and continued to stare at the same few things I’d stared at before. First the computer, then the barbells, then the clock…back to the computer for a few seconds, over to the barbells…. Oh, God, what if he came back? What if he wasn’t finished? The thought that he might not be finished was enough for more tears to fall before I began to slowly shift my thoughts over to how I was going to get out of this place. More than anything, I wanted to go home. I wanted to be in my own bed. I wanted my DAD. I don’t know that I wanted him to know what had just happened – I was still undecided on whether he would be mad at me or he’d criticize me for lying to him. Never once did I consider he would tell me it wasn’t my fault, because all I could think of at the moment was how much it was. I think, more so, I wanted to see my father’s face. I wanted to crawl into his lap like I used to when I was five, and watch a Mets game with him. I wanted to see him cheer when one of the Mets got a hit. I wanted to see him grumble when the relief pitcher turned out to be a bad idea. I knew though, most of all, I wanted to be anywhere but here. I moved my arms for the first time in several moments and using them for support, picked my head and upper torso up slightly to check the door. Eddie had locked it behind him, the lock was in its vertical position, same as it had been when he was in the room with me. Whether that was a plot to buy time so that he could make a clean getaway was only a consideration for a moment – I’d certainly been laying there long enough and was more concerned with how I was going to be leaving. If anyone were going to help me, to rescue me, they’d have done so already. No one even knew I was there. I could feel that the music was still blaring downstairs. Everyone was still having the time of their lives, while mine had just been hanging by a frayed thread – or at least that’s how it felt. The pain in my stomach had turned into complete nausea. Remembering there was a small bathroom behind me, I hurriedly scurried toward it and made a beeline for the toilet. I collapsed next to it, bent my neck over the side, and threw up. It was mostly liquid and whatever of my dinner (several hours earlier) wasn’t digested. When the contents of my stomach had been emptied and I was no longer heaving, I looked down. My skirt was still hiked up, and there were blood smears on my legs, mostly in my inner thigh area. My underwear was still on, as when he was finished with me, it had snapped back into place. I could feel they were wet, likely with blood. I sat there for several minutes longer. At least, it FELT like several minutes. In reality, it probably was not very long at all – but still. NOTHING made me feel dirtier than what was on my legs, what was in my underwear, what was probably still on the floor where I’d been lying. Again, I felt my heart begin to pound. Everything felt wrong. I felt as if I didn’t belong. As if I were intruding. There was not only the mess left on me, there was also the mess I’d made in a complete stranger’s bedroom. Completely disregarding the fact that a very serious crime had been committed here, I immediately felt the need to clean it, wipe it away. Erase myself from having ever been in that room. The words played over and over in my head, this is entirely my fault, I lied to my parents, I knew there was going to be drinking at this party, yet I came…I willingly walked into this room with a guy that I felt attracted to, although only momentarily. Maybe deep down, I’d wanted this, maybe I’d considered, even if only for a few seconds, that I was ready for a sexual experience – being Matt’s girlfriend was not a bad thing, but it was indeed frustrating at times, not being able to explore what sex was. Maybe I’d realized that, even if it were only for a very brief moment. I was a horrible person. That HAD to be it. I stood for the first time since I’d been thrown down. My legs shook as the skirt, that had been hiked up, finally dropped back down. I felt weak and used the sink to steady myself. I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror hanging above the sink and saw that there were also blood smears on my left cheek, and around my mouth area, from the split lip. It was no longer bleeding, but had certainly puffed up. That was first. I turned on the water and washed my face thoroughly. I washed away the blood, the tears, the snot. His saliva. I cupped my hand underneath the faucet and rinsed my mouth out, wanting him out of there, too. When I finally understood that no amount of rinsing could remove those feelings of shame and disgust, I stopped. Almost as if some cosmic force was trying to let me know what my next step was - because I sure as shit couldn’t think straight - I felt a gush. Almost like a period gush, but deep down, I knew it wasn’t from that. Even periods, with the added cramping, did not hurt as much as I hurt at that moment. I hiked my skirt up again, pulled my panties down and quickly sat on the toilet. Once I was seated, I lifted my ankles out of the leg openings and picked my underwear up. I wasn’t ready to look at them, yet, so I held them in my trembling hand while I sat silently for a few minutes. I knew that to look would confirm whatever pain I was feeling. The pain was in the same area I’d cramp in when I did have my period. Just far worse than any I’d ever had in my life. I shook more as I became overwhelmed with my first flashback – if you could call it that, given it’d happened just minutes earlier. He’d repeatedly torn into me, paying no mind to the pain he was causing me with each angry push. Somehow that thought turned into, ‘maybe if I’d asked him to stop, he would have?’ The adult me now knows that he absolutely would not have shown me any mercy, but the 17-year-old version of me couldn’t see past that fact that she’d stopped pleading with him, thus she’d allowed him to do what he’d done. Stopping the fight was the equivalent of giving in, and to do so was giving consent. I’d soon mustered enough courage to look at the garment I held in my hand. The back and sides were clean, but as I’d suspected, there was blood in the crotch area. There was absolutely no way that I was putting these back on. There was a small trash can in a corner across from where the toilet was positioned. I found the cardboard core of an empty roll of toilet paper, and using my finger, pushed my soiled underwear into the open space in the center. I then plugged both ends with small pieces of tissue to keep the panties hidden, and tucked the roll back toward the bottom of the trash barrel. I was sure there was also some blood in the toilet, something I’d confirm during the next stage of my clean-up. Dirty. I felt SO dirty. I reached over to the sink next to me, turned the water back on and dampened wad after wad of toilet paper and cleaned myself up as best as I could before flushing my ‘sins’ away forever. When I was as satisfied as I could be with my cleaning, I stood, grabbed another handful of toilet paper and wet it. I exited the bathroom and walked over to the spot where I’d been raped. There were some droplets and smears of blood on the floor. Not wanting to see them anymore, wanting them gone along with the evidence I’d just cleaned off of myself, I immediately took the wet wad of toilet paper to the floor, wiping furiously at each spot and smear, until I was convinced that there were no further traces of me and that nobody would ever know what happened here. When finished, I returned to the bathroom to flush the bloody wad of toilet paper. I then ensured there was no remaining traces of my blood on the toilet seat, in the toilet bowl, in the trash, on the floor or the sink, before leaving the bathroom. I realized then that I had nothing on underneath my skirt. Almost immediately, I felt exposed and overly vulnerable. I needed something to wear, something to protect what was right now, the one part of my body I wanted hidden by several layers of clothing. Inpenetrable steel would have been a lovely, although unrealistic alternative, but I needed something there before I could safely re-introduce myself to the world beyond these four walls. Realizing again that I was in a bedroom, I made my way over to a dresser and opened the top drawer, where I found a pair of boxer shorts. They were faded and looked old and unlikely to be missed, so I took them and slipped into them. I did feel badly about doing that, too – stealing was added to the mental list of things I’d done wrong that night. I made one final trip to the bathroom where I grabbed another large wad of toilet paper, and stuffed it into the boxer shorts, between my legs, with the intention of it acting as a makeshift maxi pad. I stood in the middle of the room for what seemed like an eternity. I stared at the door, mostly. What if he was still here? What if he was standing right outside? What if he was waiting for me? Would I even see that ‘acquaintance’ of mine? It’s awfully hard to put into words the impasse I was at during this particular moment. I no longer wanted to be in this room, but what was out there was proving to be just as threatening and terrifying. What if I was in fact, safer in here? I‘m not sure what drove me. Perhaps it as the feeling of suffocation that was starting to set in. Maybe another part of me took over – a part of me that knew that I’d likely be standing in that room for several more hours if I didn’t move now. I felt my fingers turn the lock, and then my hand wrap around the cool-to-the-touch silver knob. I then was greeted with the heavy smell of pot once I’d let myself out into the hallway. There were other people in the hallway, there was a lot of smoke, there was the same loud music playing and the place was jumping. There had been no lapse in their world – only mine. I knew from memory that the front door was only a few feet from the bottom of the stairs and that in just moments, I’d be out of this house. I descended the stairs in a daze, refusing to look in any direction other than straight ahead. I think, deep down, I told myself that if I continued to look straight ahead, I would be less likely to find him, less likely to see his smirk, his amused smile. As soon as I stepped out the front door, I was met with a cool, relieving breeze. I am unsure of which was more relieving – the fresh air, or finally being out of that house where the smell of pot was overwhelming. I walked as quickly as my shaky legs would allow me to – I took step after step, knowing each carried me further away from the nightmare I’d just endured. I will admit that I’d hoped that the further I became from that house, the less hold it would have over me. My plan for the moment was to go home and forget about it. All of it. I’d not tell anybody. Not my Dad. Not my Mom. Not Matt…especially not Matt! Once I got to it, I’d crawl into bed and sleep. For days, if I needed to. Until I felt better, then I’d move on with my life as if nothing had happened. I know that plan is laughable, but for the moment, it was pure gold. But I had to get home, first. I thought as I walked. How the fuck was I going to get home? My car was at that stupid bit*h’s house! Still, I kept walking. If only I could remember where she lived and what streets she took to get us to the party? Maybe I could walk there? But my keys were inside her house. My purse, too. My wallet. My book bag. Everything. It was either inside her house or in my car. EVEN if I could remember where she lived and was able to get myself there by foot, I didn’t want to have to knock on her door. What if she’d gotten home already? Would I be able to refrain from punching her in the face when she answered the door? What if her mother answered the door? No. That wouldn’t work… Kept walking, still. I could feel that there was more bleeding, but still needed to be further away. I needed more distance to be put between myself and that horrible place. I kept looking behind me, to make sure he wasn’t there. What if he’d seen me leave and was following me? I needed to be states away. My legs couldn’t get me that far, and that quickly. No fucking way was I going back to that house or stopping to knock on someone’s door. That was completely out of the question. I needed to move forward, not backwards, and to ask another stranger for help was, to me, moving backwards. I walked for several minutes more, pondering my options. There weren’t many. And the burning between my legs was back and intensifying with each additional step I took. I could tell the tissues I had stuffed into the boxers were already becoming saturated. I needed a bathroom so that I could clean myself again. I’d arrived at a busy street. It was late at night, so traffic was light, but there were still cars passing by. Across the street, there sat a small diner. It was one of those storefront diners, you could see through the front windows that there were booths lined up along the length of the window, there was a counter. And there was likely a bathroom, too, as any establishment that served food must also have a bathroom… My first thought when walking in was that they’d likely not allow me to use their bathroom if I wasn’t a paying customer. As it was pretty late in the evening, there was only one customer there - an elderly man sitting in one of the booths farthest away from the front door, his companionship being a lone cup of coffee and a newspaper. A plump, kindly-looking waitress stood behind the counter and greeted me with a smile. I leaned against the counter, exhausted, and asked her for a glass of water (as I was of the impression that you couldn’t use the bathroom unless you were a customer, and although I didn’t have any money on me, I NEEDED the bathroom and needed to, at least, LOOK like a paying customer!) and then after a pause, if I could use the ladies’ room. Without hesitation, she pointed in the direction of the bathroom. It was just past where the old man was sitting, and he briefly looked up from his newspaper as I walked past him and disappeared into the rest room. There was more blood, and several more flushes. I sat for a little bit longer, as my legs were weary and sore – I’d walked as fast as they were capable of carrying me. It hit me that I was still unsure of how I’d be getting home. It was looking more and more like I’d have to call my father – or have someone call him FOR me. The lady at the counter worked at the diner. Name tag and all. (What was it? Susan? I want to say it was Susan…) Could I trust her to make a call to my father? I probably could trust a business employee but I’d have to build up the NERVE to ask, first. I needed to think some more. When I’d replaced the wad of toilet paper, I stood and walked back over to the counter, where Susan was patiently waiting. Right away, she produced a glass of water and a menu, I guess, just in case I WAS a paying customer. In hindsight, she probably wouldn’t have cared if I was or wasn’t – she was soft, kind-looking and I believe, deep down, she knew something was wrong. She was careful not to touch me when she handed me the water and the menu. Perhaps it was the body language that spoke for me – back OFF. Or was it something else? My hands had been shaking on and off for the last hour – perhaps they were still unsteady? Maybe my lip was swollen? Had it begun to bleed again? I hadn’t looked in the mirror on my way out of the bathroom…what if there was blood on my skirt? I’d not seen any when I cleaned up at the house, but what if there was some there, now? I remember gently touching my lip with a finger and running my tongue along the inside of my mouth to check. I wrapped both of my hands around the tall glass of water, needing them to be still. The concern of there being blood on my skirt was the biggest at the moment, especially now that I was sitting down. What if I’d bled through? Susan waited until I’d taken a sip of water through the straw before leaning in. I felt myself tense up but didn’t move. I was terrified of people right now. Even the old man, probably harmless, sitting in the booth on the way to the bathroom. Even he scared me. I didn’t want to be seen; I didn’t want to be smiled at. I didn’t want to exist. Eye contact was a dangerous thought – I felt as if ONE look at my eyes would reveal everything that had happened, every shameful detail - and I wanted to NOT be in the spotlight. I wanted to be invisible – or at least completely unseen for the time being. Still, I knew that if it was likely I’d have to suck it up and ask for help for the second time that night, I’d better at least LOOK at her. Slowly, I raised my eyes and met the lips of the waitress, who spoke softly, almost in a whisper. “There is a cab on his way here,” She said, “the driver is a relative of mine and he’s trustworthy.” I’m not sure how I managed, but I thanked her. She said, ‘you’re welcome,’ and, I suspect that in addition to her good timing, she also had a touch of ESP, because she must have sensed that I needed a moment. She left me to sit in silence and walked over to the old man with a coffee carafe. My hands were getting cold from being wrapped around the glass, so I gently pushed my drink over to the side and picked up the menu. I knew I wasn’t planning on getting anything to eat, but there was still that desire to ‘blend in.’ To look as if I belonged, as if I was ‘fine.’ To put SOMETHING into my hands. It was either the menu or the nearby salt and pepper shakers. I knew I wasn’t ‘fine’ or even okay, and that I wouldn’t be for a while. Still, I held the menu in my hands, feeling them begin to tremble again. I looked only at the calligraphic writing for another indeterminate amount of time. I don’t even think I remembered how to read at the moment – the words stared back at me and would blur every few seconds. My head was pounding, and I felt sick to my stomach. Yet, the kind words of Susan the waitress, replayed in my mind. A cab…on the way. She’d called a cab. I didn’t have to ask her to – she’d done it on her own. She’d saved me the trouble of having to muster up enough courage to admit that I needed help. I wanted to cry, this was one of the first things to have gone right that night! When I felt a breeze from the front door being opened, I looked up only briefly to see a man walk in. He had on a Yankees hat, jeans, and a black leather jacket. He stood at the opposite end of the counter for a moment, as one would if they were waiting to be served. Susan, who had disappeared into the kitchen a few moments earlier, re-emerged with a tray of desserts to put out on display in one of the see-through counters that was noticeably low on muffins and cakes and other desserts that I normally would have found appetizing. There was a brief exchange between Susan and the man, following a quick kiss hello. They spoke softly while Susan grabbed the nearby carafe and poured him a coffee ‘to go.’ He then took his coffee and left the diner. I watched as Susan opened the dessert display case from her side of the counter and she put the tray onto one of the shelves. She then began to make her way over to me. Again, I tensed up and my heart began to race. I felt safe for the moment, but at the same time, still wary of impending danger. I wouldn’t be completely safe until this night was over and I was in my room, in my Dad’s house, in clean pajamas, with my own pillow and blanket. “My brother-in-law is here. His car is right out front. He will take you wherever you want to go. All you need to do is give him an address.” I turned my head and looked out the diner’s front window. The man with the Yankee hat was sitting in the drivers’ seat of a black sedan, with the name and number of a local cab company printed on the side. The lights were on in the car as well as the headlights. He was sipping from the coffee cup Susan had given him. I wasn’t sure about this. Susan had indeed been helpful and had taken the initiative to call the cab for me, but she’d not asked me what I wanted her to do. Perhaps I’d not have been able to verbalize, nor would I have been too comfortable having her explain to my father that I needed a ride home and why. Maybe the cab would have ended up being something I’d asked for. I just hadn’t had the time to entertain the idea of getting into another stranger’s car – even if it meant that it would be bringing me to safety. How was I to know, though? What if this guy was a crazy, too? But then again, if I didn’t get into the cab, how WAS I getting home? How much longer would it be before I would figure out what the plan was? I was aching badly in places I didn’t even know existed, my head was continuing to pound, and my legs felt rubbery and sore. It was an opportunity I had to take. I stood, slowly, knowing that it was my best option. I thanked Susan again and made for the front door. “Take care,” was what she said. That was the last I saw of Susan, at least physically. I’d see her several more times in memories of that night and of the difference she’d made. I’d regret never having the nerve to go back to that diner to see if it was even still standing and of course, if she was still working there, so that I could say the words to her that I couldn’t say 23 years ago. I got into the back seat of Susan’s brother-in-law’s cab. He put his coffee into the cup holder in between his seats, turned his head and asked, ‘where to, honey?’ Where to? To the house of my acquaintance to pick up my car? I did have her address confined to memory from when I’d MapQuested it earlier. Yes, back then, GPS’s didn’t exist, at least, I don’t think so. So MapQuest or written directions were the way to go. But could I actually drive my car, feeling the way I did? Or was I more likely to die in a fiery crash on the Sunrise Highway because everything was blurring on me? To the hospital? The thought of painkillers was a good one. There HAD to be something they could give me that would numb my entire body. But, wouldn’t they have to call my parents? I wasn’t 18 yet. I didn’t have any insurance or even any ID on me. They’d likely call the cops. And then THEY would call my parents. And then my parents would know. And, so would Matt, eventually. My mother never could keep her mouth shut, so naturally, that would mean the whole world would know, after what had happened was broadcast on the six o’clock news. Then my parents would be SURELY be angry with me… The driver was patient. He waited quietly for me to mentally scroll through my choices of places he could bring me, and only pulled out of the diner’s parking lot as soon as I supplied him with the instructions, “Exit 43 off the Sunrise. I’ll direct you from there.” I was going home. I’d figure out the car later. After I’d showered, slept, and the pain had subsided. When I was able to form a conscious thought. When every damn part of my body wasn’t shaking or throbbing or otherwise uncomfortable. The ride lasted about thirty minutes – and that’s only because it was late and there was very little traffic on the road. After he had taken the exit and I’d told him which turns to take, we arrived at my Dad’s house. All of the lights were off. My Dad had likely gone to sleep hours earlier. I realized then that I didn’t even have my house key. I knew though, that my father kept a spare key underneath a large rock on the side of the house – it wasn’t a decorative rock, just one of those stray rocks that nobody knew served an additional purpose than to just exist. I knew my father kept a pouch of grocery money in one of the drawers in the kitchen – I hoped there was enough in there to give the driver. As soon as we were in the driveway, I told him to wait while I went in to get him some money. “No,” he said to me. “Susan already took care of it. You just get yourself inside, okay, honey?” I tried to ignore the ‘honey’ – I knew he wasn’t being fresh or inappropriate. He was genuinely a gentleman – and had gotten me home, he hadn’t tried to engage me in conversation, he’d driven responsibly. For all of that, I was eternally grateful. I just didn’t like the ‘honey.’ Especially not tonight. I shook it off, though, for I was finally home now – and nothing mattered more than that. “Are you sure?” “Go on.” I thanked him, (and mentally thanked Susan, again) and got out of the car. As soon as he’d driven away, I made my way over to the side of the house, where I prayed no one had moved the concealed key. I REALLY didn’t want to knock on the door and alert my father to anything – I just wanted to quietly go inside and get OUT of these clothes…clothes that usually were comfortable and that I actually liked – now were tainted. I never wanted to see that skirt again. I wanted the boxer shorts I’d been wearing wadded up and discarded. I wanted the smell of weed off of my shirt, out of my hair, out of my nostrils, where all of the unpleasant smells of that night continued to linger. I located the key despite it being dark outside, thanking God that it hadn’t been disturbed, and let myself into my father’s house. I disabled the security system, and quietly made my way into my room, where I wasted NO time. I grabbed clothes from my dresser drawers and made a beeline for the bathroom one door down. Finally. Fucking FINALLY. I stripped as soon as I’d locked myself into the bathroom and stepped into the shower, switching on the faucet. I don’t know how long I was standing there – it could very easily have been forty-five minutes before the water went from hot to cold. Still, I stood there for yet another period in which time seemed endless, letting the stream of water wash away any residual traces of blood – and him- that had dried up in between my inner thighs and on my legs. I washed myself thoroughly with a soapy, even though it burned to do so. The bleeding had slowed significantly by now, but I still avoided looking at the blood-streaked water before it disappeared down the drain, along with any evidence that might have remained. I know what you’re all likely thinking at this point. No, I thought nothing about reporting what had happened. By now, I’d decided that I was NOT going that route. The shame was far too great, and I truly felt at this point, that the events of the last few hours had been entirely my fault. My parents would tell me the same thing. They’d call the cops. The cops would ask me about him and really, what would I say? I didn’t know anything about him, just that his name was Eddie. I didn’t know his last name or where he lived. They’d never find him. And I didn’t want to get into it. I wanted to forget it. ALL of it. I wanted it buried. The thought of people knowing about this – TERRIFIED me. What would they think if me? I suppose you could call me chicken – but my excuse stands – being seventeen and still ‘a kid’ DEFINITELY hinders sensible thinking. That shower was also the first time I cried since it had happened. I know I’d cried during, but in between Eddie’s leaving me and my arrival home, it had been unsafe to cry, to show weakness and vulnerability. Look at where it had gotten me in the first place, after all. I’m not sure what that night taught me as far as showing emotion, but to this day, I still have trouble crying in front of others – most particularly when talking about this one event. As I finally felt safe and alone and that the spotlight had been removed for the time being, I stood there in the shower, bawling, and at one point, sank to the floor of the tub and sobbed silently and until my tears had run out. It would be the most I’d cry about this for several years. When the water had become too cold to bear, I got out, dried off, put my pajamas on and gathered all of the clothes I’d been wearing that night. Into a plastic bag they went, until the bag was eventually discarded days later. After ‘squaring away’ those clothes, I’d crawled into my bed, and that was where I’d spend most of the weekend. I didn’t want to get up, or to move. It took a little time for me to fall asleep and it was almost dawn when I’d finally succumbed to it. My father had poked his head into my room a few hours later, and had asked why I was home – where was my car? He hadn’t expected me home until later that day. I told him that I’d gotten sick with a stomach flu and that my classmate had driven me home – I’d have to pick my car up when I was feeling better. He didn’t ask any more questions – and while part of me was disappointed that my own father hadn’t even been able to pick up on the fact that something was wrong, another part of me was glad. Maybe, just maybe I could keep this secret. It was, after all, mine, and mine only to hold, to carry, to hide whenever necessary. This installment is dedicated to the woman who just wanted to fit in. The woman who wanted to have a good time. The woman who wanted to try new things. The woman who was put in a bad position by stretching the truth. The woman who found him attractive at first. The woman who allowed herself to trust a stranger, a friend, a family member. The woman who stopped fighting because she couldn’t anymore. The woman who was rendered defenseless and powerless. The woman who was too afraid to report it to the authorities. The woman who did what she needed in order to survive. The woman who is to blame for none of it. - Capulet
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