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Found 11 results

  1. I have trouble with the passage of time. The beginning of last week started out really painful and emotional. I was out of my apartment because of the situation I wrote about two blog posts ago, and I was facing two weeks at my mothers house. I was in a state of complete anger and delusion. I was redirecting all that anger towards my roommate/ex/best friend because he was, "kicking me out." Now, those two weeks are almost up. Things don't feel as painful or emotional and I don't feel as angry and upset. But I am a paranoid person and I know how my mental illness works. Time is fleeting, we experience high's and we experience low's but how does someone deal with the possibilities. Right now, I feel relatively calm and ok with myself. I feel somewhat like maybe I've been dissociating a little bit. But what will two weeks from now look like? It's a paranoid and scary thought that sometimes throws me off my self-care track. I mean, just two days ago I was sitting in bed, on the phone with my ex screaming that I wished I was dead, that I hated myself, that I hated him. No, I am not "normal" but I find myself faced with the polarizing reality of "craziness" and "sanity" and what it all means... I started this week still blocked from talking to my ex. The only mode of communication I had available to me to him was email. He set up the boundary for himself that I could email him when I was ok to talk on the phone, in a non destructive and toxic way. (I know I must be dissociating because I am having trouble recalling my week as I am typing). On Monday he called me while I was doing my classwork, I saw my phone ring but I didn't pick up because seeing his name automatically caused intense anxiety and fear. I knew that picking up the phone and talking would result in me having to display an amount of vulnerability that I struggle with. I knew he would want to know how I was dealing and feeling, that he would be his usual introspective, psychedelic self (the man I fell in love with) and I would find myself constricted at the throat. Completely aware of how shitty I treated him just a few days prior, how there couldn't possibly be ANY way I could express how deeply sorry I felt, how much I missed him and how much I loved him. So I ignored the call and let him leave a voicemail. He was happy and cheerful, he told me he had just taken an E pill and that even though we were experiencing what we were experiencing, he is thinking of me, he loves me and he misses me. That night, I was sitting on the couch watching T.V with my mom and I couldn't stop thinking about him. So I sent him an email, asking, "how are you feeling?" because I knew he had taken the E and was probably feeling pretty good. He emailed me back, that he was feeling great and he asked me to come over for a bootycall (he was joking/flirting). Immediately, it triggered me. I was sent in to an anxious spiral. This is our issue in our relationship. I have known him for many years now, he has never once abused me, taken advantage of me or hurt me... he has been an amazing (though sometimes complicated) man to me. He always asks me why I can't see him and treat him as the man he has proven himself to be, instead of the man I see him to be based off my trauma. So, I was triggered. I started to overly explain why I couldn't, feeling guilty because I didn't want to...than feeling anger for him asking me to begin with. It turned in to a back and forth, him asking me not to take it too seriously and me taking things too seriously. He ended up calling me and through an hour long conversation of me crying, we agreed I would go over to the apartment in the morning in an attempt to have a positive experience between the two of us. I tossed and turned all night, and woke up around 8 in the morning where I composed a short email basically saying I can't come, I'm too nervous, he would be better off if I didn't come. Of course, he was upset, disappointed, hurt... He called me later in the morning angry. I reacted angry too because I hate when people are angry at me. It is a huge trigger for me, every time someone is angry with me (whether I have done something wrong or not) I respond with extreme, volatile rebellion and aggression. We eventually hung up the phone and I texted him, telling him everything that triggered and upset me. His response was sweet of course, pleading with me saying why didn't you tell me these things in your email or over the phone. Truth is, I am not entirely sure. We were overcome by sexual desire and attraction. I did end up going to the apartment. It was nice to be in my room again and it was nice to see him. I did feel a bit strange at first. Worried that I was doing something sexually toxic. He kept telling me that if I wasn't comfortable, we didn't have to do anything. But we had amazing sex, for hours. This is something we haven't been able to do in months. The next day, I went back to my moms. Friday, technically tomorrow, he is supposed to be coming here so we can officially talk about what needs to be talked about. A game plan for how to deal with these episodes, so that they don't hurt and affect him. I am incredibly nervous, because sometimes the actions in these episodes feel out of my control. But, I think I know why I have been feeling dissociative since I left Wednesday. Just like the contrast between crazy and sanity, there is the contrast between intense, emotional connection and being alone. How do I maintain a sense of -being- through sexual intimacy and vulnerability, without becoming scared and paranoid that my personhood is being taken away from me. Every time I have a vulnerable emotion, a romantic moment, or really wonderful sex... I get the overwhelming fear that I am being taken advantage of and the wall is built back up again. Sometimes it makes me mean and cold or distant and away. How does everyone cope?
  2. Writing out these thoughts has been tough, not just because I'm finally coming to terms with a part of my childhood I forso long hoped would just disappear, but I'm having trouble putting it down in words. And I know that at some future date when I am comfortable with the idea of sharing this blog's contents with Ls and Lb, I don't want to hurt them more. Even now, all these years later, I'm trying to shield them from the pain my csa may cause them. I know I'm not responsible for it. I cannot continue to play the roll of preschooler RR, taking care of everyone else's feelings like my own don't matter. If the truth of my experience hurts the people who love me, that is not my fault, any more than any of this shit was my fault. Writing it out has helped me actually define what sexual abuse is. Some of what I now see as csa I just saw as physical abuse at the time it was happening. This seems weird, but I never realized before that an abuser might not be seeking pleasure, either for themselves or for the person they are abusing. They can unintentionally be abusing another person. Or, they can thoughtlessly do it without really considering what harm their actions are doing because they aren't thinking about the other person. Or perhaps they are just selfish. Or maybe they are sadistic and just don't care. For whatever reason, I had never considered that sexual abuse was more about the harm done to the survivor than about the motivations of the abuser. I had pictured the abuser to be seeking pleasure or power. I had assumed that absence of the pleasure seeking motive dropped this action from csa to "just" physical abuse. Even now, explaining it like that, I feel like I'm still a little in denial. Still searching for a reason that explains why she did what she did. I feel like an enabler of sorts. How do you get away with bad behavior? 1) convince people that you didn't do it, or 2) convince people that, while your actions may have been wrong, your motives weren't nefarious. I never realized how much labels effected how I thought. Once I finally saw what my mom did to me in the tub as sexual abuse I had the realization that she sexually abused me, too. I know this might sound obvious but it took me a long time to actually make that connection. I don't know why it took so long, but it did. Maybe I just didn't want to see her as a sexual abuser, too. Maybe it was just too much to handle on top of the physical and emotional trauma she doled out so regularly. Maybe I just compartmentalized it. Maybe what she did to me didn't fit the category of what an abuser does because she didn't do it in some pervy-creepy-old-dude-in-a-trench-coat-hanging-out-in-a-playground kinda way. Maybe in my head I defined what the perpetrator of csa looks like and I defined her right out of the picture because she 1) was female and 2) her motives seemed to not be for her own sexual pleasure. My own assumptions about abusers left me with a blind spot big enough for her to hide in. But it's not just the motivation of the abuser that can define something as csa, it's the combination of the action and the affect. And I CLEARLY remember absolutely dreading the end of bathtime, and knowing that she was going to hurt me down there. Feeling trapped because both of my parents touch me down there in ways I don't like and I can't make them stop. My childhood self, even my teen self and adult self, considered it about as sexual as if she'd been roughly scrubbing salt into an open wound on my arm. I saw her actions as physical abuse, and his as csa. For whatever motivated her to do it, I'm working through this idea right now. At first I thought I must be an idiot not to have realized this before. But I need to forgive my younger self for not knowing, not realizing, possibly not wanting to know. How would I have known? No one defined these things clearly for childhood me. I was young and didn't have the opportunity of hindsight or the logical reasoning skills I have as an adult. I certainly didn't have any type of support system to help me with the heavyness of this truth. I was alone and coped as best as I could. It's possible that the reason I see it for what it was now is because I'm finally at a place where I'm strong enough to handle it. I'm in a safe place where I can actually process this. That's enough for now, RR
  3. I've been writing this blog for a while now and I have a few observations. Some were expected, others surprising. Occasionally (either while I'm just thinking about what to write or, much less often, while I'm actually writing,) when something happens that reminds me of mychildhood - a smell, a sound, etc) I burst into tears, reminded of how I felt as a kid. It's been happening several times a week. This usually only lasts a few minutes. I feel profoundly sad for the young RR. It's like I'm feeling all this now because I'm allowed to feel this now. Sometimes I don't know what the mystery trigger was but often I can figure out what it was. This doesn't happen everyday, and I've talked to my T about it. I think I'm just working through some things. Lol. It seems so obvious when I type it out like that. Obviously I'm working through a bunch of things. 😁 Overall I feel a lot less anxious than I did before I started this blog. I still have anxiety, it's just been reduced quite a lot. In the beginning I was massively worried about sharing. I was worried about well-intentioned people pitying me. I didn't want to feel belittled. That seems kinda silly now, but I was worried about it a lot a month ago. This fear was based on my past experiences sharing parts of my story with people. Some people never look at you the same again when you share details of your survivor story. They said things like "that's unbelievable" and seemed like they cared but really I wondered if they weren't just thanking their lucky stars they never experienced something like that. I think that my concern on this came from not liking to feel like a little kid. I do not like feeling powerless. Others pitying me sets up an unequal power dynamic that makes my skin crawl. I do not like feeling pitiful. Here's the thing though, even if someone says something like that, I don't have to feel like that. I can choose what kind of support I listen to. I can ignore well-intentioned people who say unhelpful stupid things, even if they are not trying to harm me. Just because someone is trying to be nice doesn't mean I have to listen to them. I don't have to take it to heart. It doesn't have to trigger me. I don't have to be worried about that trigger. People will say unhelpful things. I don't have to listen. I can choose not to. That doesn't mean I'm rude. It means I can curate who gets to be on my personal support team. I have a personal cheering section just for me and I get to choose who's on it. If you are well-intentioned but obtuse...sorry, you didn't make the team. Incidentally, absolutely no one on AS has said anything like this. Everyone has been super supportive. So this was an unfounded concern I had. All of the pity reactions I've been subject to have happened in real life, face to face, situation s. Writing for me is a long process. It is kindof a jumbled mess with lots of first draft errors. Because of the aphasia, understanding written words is much harder than it was before for me. I read better and understand more when I read out loud. I also catch my own mistakes better when I read out loud. I do a bunch of writing at night, after everyone else has gone to bed. So often I find myself sitting on my bed whispering quietly to myself as I read and edit and read again, sifting through the mess to find grammar mistakes and homonyms. Freakin homonyms, man! I'm sure it looks crazy, but it works. At first I genuinely hated this. I hated everything about it. I used to be great at writing. I compared my post-TBI writing skills to my pre-TBI skills and only saw what was missing. I judged myself for the mountain of mistakes I found after the 7th, 8th, 9th reading. But then...an unexpected thing happened. In a strange way having to go over it so many times I think has been helping me face it. It's helping me validate my childhood self. Yes, this happened. Yes, it was real. Yes, it's safe to tell, safe to talk about now. Telling it over and over to myself helps me kind of slowly digest it, before I hit the button and send it out into the universe. It's odd because I rarely cry during the actual writing process. I feel vulnerable, hurt, and alone, but I don't usually cry. I think going over and over it helps me really feel the pain completely before letting it go. Before, I saw this brain injury as a massive disability, but now I'm starting to see it as a series of speed bumps. It's reminding me to slow down and helping me slowly get through all this shit. I have to repetitively go through it or it just wouldn't be readable. That leads me to the next unexpected thing - I never realized just how much shit there was. What I mean is, I had a general sense of having lived through a shitty childhood. There is far more bad and shitty memories than there are good ones. But I didn't really understand the sheer volume of crappy things I've endured. Just a mountain of it. How did I not realize there was so much pain? Possibly this is because I packed it all away in little boxes and chose not to open them all at once until now. It is seriously a lot of shit, just a fuckin lake full of it. No, not an lake, bigger than that...a childhood full of it. I need to be a less judgy friend to myself. My yoga teacher last week had us think about something untrue that we say to ourselves, and then later had us reword it. My thing was "I shouldn't feel...." I scold myself because I think that I shouldn't feel a certain way about something. However, if someone else was in the same position, I'd be gentle to them. My gentler self reworded it to "it's ok if I feel...." For instance, a few days ago I forgot to take a medication in the morning. It's one I have only been on for a few weeks, so it's just not part of my routine yet. I felt awful and just generally lousy. But by the time I realized I had forgotten my pill it was already early evening and too late to take it. Then I started with the negative self talk. I'm such a fuckin idiot... What the hell, RR?... You can't even remember one simple little pill??... The thing with negative self talk is I really shouldn't trust the source. Lol. But really, my negative talk comes from using my depressed brain. My depressed brain doesn't give me great advice. It expects me to be superhuman or something. To never make simple mistakes. And, although I am on the upswing as far as the depression goes I should really just not listen to that voice that whispers shitty untrue things inside my head. The scary thing is that sometimes I believe the things, even though I know they are not true, I fear they might be. Maybe I am a blooming idiot? Maybe I am just a jumbled mess of things I used to be able to do, but can't anymore? A collection of vacuums where there used to be skills? "I shouldn't feel so bad about my struggles." The thing is that I'm a shitty friend to myself. A good friend wouldn't talk to me this way. I need to get better at this. I need to remember to be a better friend to me. So... -It's ok if I feel sad about my TBI and how some things are harder now. That's a normal reaction to a loss. -It's ok if I missed one pill one day. That's still a greater than 95% success rate. 😁 -It's also ok to feel good about my writing. If anything, positive feedback about my writing now means so much more to me because I know the effort I had to put into it. It used to be easy. It wasn't something I had to work at. It's like getting a compliment about your eye color. Ok, it's nice I guess, but I had to put in exactly zero effort, so.....is that even a compliment? Now I actually have to put in the work. Another surprising thing that has happened is I've been remembering a few more good things that happened in my earlier years. Going on this trip down memory lane has uncovered a couple of goodmemories that I'd forgotten. I'm a very visual thinker. Here's what I envision almost every time I hit the "publish" button. Me whispering a secret into my closed fist, then holding my hand out, palm-up, in front of my mouth to blow it out into the universe. The way a little kid blows a kiss. I picture myself sending that secret away. Some of them are heavy, dusty secrets. Some are less so. But always my chest feels a little lighter for having given the secret back to the universe. It's not mine to hold anymore. It's not mine to shame myself about any more. I no longer need to keep it locked away. I can release it. I can set it free. Once I set it free it becomes a non-secret, no longer weighing heavy on my heart and shoulders. It becomes weightless. I've always had some pretty wild dreams, but lately they seem quite metaphorical. I've had this one a few times in this past month. I stand in front of my closet. I take a deep breath and open the door. I stare at the chaos inside. A tangle of clothes and hangers above a jumbled mess of old clothes. Boxes bulging with forgotten memories precariously stacked on the shelf above. Slowly I start to clean out all the old shit that doesn't fit any more. Sorting through boxes and piles of too big or too little stuff, and using some of it to make something useful to me now. Like a denim rag rug made from the memories my body still remembers but my mind had almost forgotten. Now they are flooding back as I dig through the pile. These clear memories of the sights and sounds and emotionsof my childhood. And maybe I will make something useful out of them. Something useful to me, or helpful to someone else. I'm trying to make a quilt out of my old clothes. Maybe it will keep someone else warm? I am trying to use sunlight to turn my pain into beauty. I've got part 2 coming, just don't know how to word it just yet. I'll let it sit at that for now. RR
  4. Well, I moved barns a few more times.... Long story short back to managing a barn full time. My horse went lame when I tried to put him back into full work (dressage, rather than something where he can move freely). Have to have a vet come out and do a lameness exam and possibly prescribe something: seems to be an old stifle injury acting up. I am riding someone else's mare with the intention of showing her this season in dressage (probably in August). Started taking Martial Arts as well. And my foster dog ended up staying. I'm going to keep this short, since it is bed time but here are some pictures to look at:
  5. I had never experienced a complete lack of appetite like this before. At first my stomach burned, but after a week the sharp empty pain in my belly let up. I knew I needed to eat, I wasn't trying to die, but I didn't feel hungry for anything. I forced myself to eat once a day. No biggie, I thought to myself. It's not like I don't have belly jiggle to lose. Who cares if I lose a little bodyfat? That's not what happened though. The ache in my belly was replaced by a burning in my legs. My thigh muscles felt like they were on fire. My calf muscles have shrunk. A pair of thick knee-high grey and red wool socks that used to fit snug around my calves now sags down around my ankles. I've lost a major amount of muscle. Glutes, thighs, calves. My legs have gone missing. I didn't care enough about myself to care that I was hungry or uncomfortable. It was more like, up 'til now I took care of myself as an afterthought or while I was in the process of caring for others. I'd stopped cooking. I was so chronically exhausted that I just ate canned food. Most of the time I didn't even bother to heat it up. Cooking had been an act of love. A way to show the people around you that you care. Feeding others was one of my go to ways to show love. The realization that I never really learned how to value myself. I never learned how to love myself enough to care that I was wasting away. I didn't love myself enough to care that I was so deeply uncomfortable. To care that the muscles in my lower body were shriveling up and dissolving away. My once strong legs were now shakey when I did get out of bed. Walking to the bathroom felt like running a marathon. I felt unsteady and fragile physically and mentally. The shame of not knowing how to love me. Of never having learned how to love myself. I was a fraud. Thinking with a depressed brain made this feel worse. It magnified the shame. I was a fraud and I am a fraud. I have cared for babies and kids, old ladies and teenagers, but I don't know how to care for me? Well, just look at me. I'm a trainwreck. I wouldn't trust me to plantsit right now. I'm too deep in the muck. "You can't love anyone else until you learn to love yourself." Yea, that saying is BS. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first, sure...ok...I'll buy that line. But love, no. It's totally possibly to love someone and not really care that much about yourself at all. To not have ever learned to love yourself. I call bullshit on that saying. I hated goals, they seemed so pointless. Why have a goal if it seemed like whenever you really wanted something, had your heart set on it, it was the job of every adult to put up hurdle after hurdle? Don't get me wrong, I still accomplished things, I just thought capital G Goals were for someone else. They were for little girls who had moms who dressed them carefully and did their ponytails before sending them off to girl scout meetings. I thought of myself as endlessly more flexible than that. My own superpower was that I adapted to anything. I rolled with the punches. I changed plans suddenly when I was unexpectedly left in charge of Lb and Ls and about a hundred cousins. "Don't worry, RR can handle it." My mother's voice rang in my head. And you know what? I did handle it. Because I had to. Because who else was going to do it? Goals were stupid. My goal that I wanted to be comfortable was stupid. When the fuck was that ever going to happen? Why did I even think it was possible in the first place? For a long time now I've considered myself a cautious optimist, my glass is two thirds full to allow for expansion due to freezing. Lol. Ok, it's a Minnesota joke. But it's also a joke about my only slightly positive self protective outlook. Protective because I expect people to let me down. I have to be the stable one for me and for the little kids. They needed me. I had to be strong. I trust very few people. My lack of trust is my protection against abuse and disappointment. It protected me from the million broken promises adults made to me when I was younger. It protects me from men who break their "rock solid" commitments. It protected me from a string of fake friends who were there for the sunny days and nowhere to be found when the downpour started. It helped me to protect Ls and Lb from my parents repeated broken promises. I knew they would probably fail us. I expected them to fail us. And they did, spectacularly. I was disconnected from my own body. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to blink and vanish from existence. I didn't want to die. Really, I didn't. I just wanted to never have existed in the first place. But I can't do that. I don't have the power to blink myself out of existence. Slowly I realize that obviously I need something to take care of, because I am not enough. Look at my chain of jobs I've had since as far back as I can remember. Taking care of Ls and Lb, my cousins, kids I babysat, clients at the nursing home, daycare kids, my own kids, kids at the school when I was a para, the tenth graders I tutored, hospice patients, the foster care kids I worked with, Alzheimer's patients, developmentally disabled clients at the group home, the kids on the school bus, my nieces and nephews... I literally have taken care of people from birth to death. And, somehow, I don't know how to take care of me? I don't know how to love me enough to care that I'm not taking care of myself. I am on the phone with the crisis line, the lady on the other end is talking me through the panic attack this realization triggered. I feel deeply deeply like a fraud. How the fuck can I not know this. It's basic shit, but I don't know how to love me. "Give me a puppy, a house plant, ANYTHING, and I take care of my basic needs as a necessary step to taking care of the other thing." I say. She says that she thinks I'm being too hard on myself. She is probably right. I say I hate goals but this is my short term goal, this is what I will do for me - when I am hungry, eat. I will do this for four days. That's all I feel like I can commit to. Four days of paying attention to if I'm hungry, and feeding myself. Four days of paying attention to my most primitive feelings and taking care of me. I say it's stupid. She says no, it is not. This is a perfectly attainable goal. It's good. Four days isn't too long. It's achievable. I say it's stupid and I'm stupid for having to even have this as a goal. "No, it is not. It is important." She has me repeat my goal and then use positive words to lock it in my brain in a positive mindset. "My goal is easy and attainable. My goal is easy and attainable. My goal is easy and attainable." If you'd asked me about basic hygiene being an act of love, I'd've said no, it is not. I have given baths/showers to maybe a hundred different people. Maybe more. As part of my job. But, if you really look at it when I first started helping Ls & Lb it was out of my love for them. My want to take care of them. To protect them. At the same time, my own self cares were so I didn't get smacked, or called stinky. So I wasn't physically or emotionally abused more. And mom was teaching me how (not) to love myself. How to (not) value myself. And S-dad was teaching me that I was not in control of my own body. I didn't get to use my voice to change things and make them better for me. But I did get to take care of Ls & Lb. I had a choice - lay there and listen to what the programming and the depression playing in my head said, or... don't. Or, instead, get up and do something for me. Brush my teeth, my hair, take care of this body that had for so long taken care of me, but I'd neglected for the past three months. Taking care of myself became a radical act of self love. It went against all the abuse. All my earliest programming that taught me how to think about me. All the teaching me that I wasn't worth it. So, slowly, I crawled out of the black hole I was sunk in. It's been a year and a half, and I'm still working on it. I told my siblings how bad it had gotten. I asked for help. I did physical therapy and saw my doctors. I did counseling. I feel like I'm not really quite "there" yet, but I'm working on it. Things are slowly getting better. A radical act of self love indeed. 💗 RR
  6. I think it’s time. Let me back up a bit. First, I want to say hello to all of you and say that I hope you’re enjoying the impending holiday season! I love the holidays and I’m looking forward to my mini vacation next week. That being said, I want to let you all know that I am taking a few days away from AS. If you’re someone that I see around a lot on the boards, or talk to frequently, just know that I will return! I am leaving next week to drive to Nashville, Tennessee for a church conference. I am SO looking forward to this! I’m going to meet new people, see old friends, and enjoy a break from the normal struggles life presents. Yes, I will be away from home on Thanksgiving and I will not see my family as they are not going with me on this trip, but I really am okay with that. There’s been a lot of brokenness in my family lately and I’m looking forward to not having it rubbed in my face. Being away will let me escape the fact that things are bruised right now. I’ll be gone for 5 days but will be back by December 1st so I can participate in the Holiday Buddy Program here! If you’re a member here and you don’t know about the Holiday Buddies, you should check it out! It’s an amazing way to get and give support during the holiday season. You can find the information as a pinned thread in the News and Updates forum. I would recommend looking into it if you’re even just the tiniest bit intrigued! You never know what kind of relationships you can make here and this is a great way to get to know someone. Now, I know you’re wondering about that first sentence up there. You’re probably thinking I’m referring to Thanksgiving, or my trip, or Holiday Buddies. None of those are what I’m referring to. I think it’s time for me to share my story here. I’ve shared fragments of my childhood assault, but I have yet to share the story of my rape. I posted it a couple of months after I joined this site, but I immediately had it hidden because I was too ashamed and afraid. I felt too exposed and I wasn’t ready for the opinions or backlash that I was sure I would receive. I feel like I am in a different place now than I was when I posted it the first time. I’ve done quite a bit of healing and I know my truth now. The self-doubt is fading little by little and the self-blame is slowly dissipating. I’m not saying that I am fully okay with what happened and that I will never struggle to think this was my fault again, but I am saying that I know my truth for myself now. I know this was rape and I know better than anyone else how it made me feel. I’ve dealt with the aftereffects of the trauma, I’ve lasted the nights with the nightmares and flashbacks. I’ve sat through EMDR sessions that I couldn’t handle because the pain was just too much. I know I was hurt and I know what he did was not okay. Because I’ve come to terms with this now, I can share my story in hopes that I gain more power over it. In hopes that in some way, this might help someone else. Before I get started, I want to issue a trigger warning here. I am not planning on holding anything back. I want to tell this story as my truth and I want it to be told the way I want. This happened to me, and I want the freedom to tell it as I would like. So, PLEASE don’t read ahead if you’re feeling sensitive. There are very graphic depictions of rape and sexual trauma. Take care. This story begins when I was 21 years old. I am 22 now. It’s been 1 year, 5 months, and 5 days since I was raped. I was very naïve and I never thought something like this would happen to me. I had just turned 21 three months prior to this and had just started going to bars. It started off simple. I would meet up with an old co-worker after work and we would have a couple drinks, then I would go home. Alcohol was new to me and I wanted to know more about it. I tried several drinks during my first few visits to this bar. I always went to the same bar with the same person. I drank quite a bit on these nights but never felt much from the alcohol. Turns out, I’m not a lightweight! One Friday night, I had several people cancel plans on me. I wanted to go for drinks, but I had no one to go with. I was frustrated and mad and I decide that I didn’t need anyone to go with me – I would go alone. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I had been here many times before and I wasn’t going to drink a lot. During some of my previous excursions to the bar, I would make sure I was prepared for sex. Just in case I met someone that I wanted to have fun with. I never ended up having sex with anyone I met in the bar. While it was something I anticipated, it never happened. On the nights I thought there was a possibility of it happening, I would make sure I was freshly showered, shaved, and my bra and panties matched. I would wear something a little revealing and I would put myself out there. This night was not one of those nights. I remember that I didn’t shower again after work, I remember than I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. I remember that I didn’t care what bra and panties I wore, I actually had on a sports bra, and I didn’t put on anything revealing. I told myself that I did not want to have sex that night. I wanted to have a few drinks to take the edge off, and go home. I wasn’t even in the mood for conversation. I made my way to the bar, ordered a drink, and lit a cigarette. I was content with being alone. I stared blankly at the wall or the TV. I made a couple of casual remarks to other people there. But above all, I wanted solitude. There was a man sitting to my left. He kept trying to talk to me, but I politely gave him one-word answers and directed my attention elsewhere. I did not want to speak to him. He continued to push. I relented and figured some conversation wouldn’t hurt and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. He was older than me. I would guess maybe late 40s or so. He had greyish hair that was all messy and out of place. He had quite a bit of a beer gut, but he was not obese. He looked as if he had just rolled out of bed. I think he was wearing sweats and a sweatshirt or something similar to that even though it was the middle of June and not cold outside. For the sake of the story, we will call him Clay. Clay was annoying, but he was also nice. He was drinking beer most of the time and decided he wanted a shot of fireball because he loves it. He asked if I wanted a shot and I declined. Not only had I never taken a shot before, I had also never tried fireball and I wasn’t sure if I would like it. After this, he continued to drink his beer and push conversation on me. I don’t remember anything we talked about aside from the alcohol. He would ask what I was drinking, and he would tell me what he liked and didn’t like. I was VERY careful to always finish my drinks before going to the restroom. I had read about people being drugged and I didn’t want that to happen. Although Clay seemed harmless, I wasn’t taking any chances. After about my 3rd or 4th drink, Clay offers me a shot again. I take it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe because I already had some alcohol in my system, or maybe because I really like fireball, I don’t know. I can say that I’ve not had fireball since this night. Before he ordered the shot, I told him I would take it and then I was going to have a beer and be done. I didn’t feel drunk, just a little tipsy. He ordered our shots, we took them, and I went to the bathroom. When I was coming out of the bathroom, I remember hearing the bartender ask Clay if I said I wanted a beer. He was double checking, I guess. I made my way back to my seat and the beer was there. I drank it and at this point, was feeling a little drunk. Not wasted, but drunk enough. Clay decided we would have one more beer. I told him no, but he ordered it anyway. This is where my memory gets fuzzy and I only remember fragments. I remember him ordering the beer and the female bartender going to get them. Right after this, a male bartender comes over and asks if we need anything. Clay tells him that we ordered 2 Corona’s but we thought maybe she forgot because it was taking a while. The male bartender goes to get us one right as the female bartender brings over the ones we ordered from her. The male bartender decides he’s going to stick the others in the freezer to keep them cold and we would drink those too. I felt bad because Clay was buying these and I knew I HAD to drink them. I didn’t want to waste his money. Somewhere between my second and third beer, I quit remembering to finish my drink before going to the bathroom. I left my drink unattended at least once that I remember for sure. I remember coming back from the bathroom and Clay was talking to another guy. We’ll call him Adam. Clay and I had been taking turns going to the bathroom so the other person would watch our seat. I came back and Adam was in my seat. He got up and let me have my seat back, likely because I was getting a little unsteady on my feet. I don’t know this for sure, but it seemed like Clay and Adam knew each other. I remember Clay introducing me to Adam and I don’t know if they had just met or if they knew each other. Adam was by himself – he didn’t come with friends or anything and neither did Clay. I remember that now, it was loud. There were suddenly so many people in the bar and I didn’t remember any of them coming in before I went to the bathroom. Adam was 23 and was wearing the ugliest pastel yellow polo I’d ever seen. His hair was black and curly, but still messy. He had some facial hair, but not a lot. He was slim and kind of tall and he had just ordered his first beer. Clay says he needs to go to the bathroom and I tell him I will watch his seat. At this point, I can barely keep my eyes open, I’m swaying, the room is spinning, and I know I’m not okay. Adam sits in Clay’s seat and starts talking to me. I remember giving him my phone number. Then I remember that he kept running his hand up my thigh under my skirt. I had my hand under my head holding myself up on the bar. I felt really off. I couldn’t hear anything or see anything. It was all really fuzzy. Clay came back and I remember him saying something about wanting his seat back, and then he left. But he kept his eye on me from a distance. He never wandered off too far. The next thing I remember is ordering water. I knew I needed to sober up so I could drive home. After I got my water, Adam took it from me and said, “don’t drink water, it makes you more drunk,” and I knew this wasn’t true. I ALWAYS drink water to sober up. I listened to him anyway and stopped drinking the water. I remember sitting there a little longer and he asked if I wanted to leave. I think I said yes. I’m going to pause to insert my thoughts here, then I will continue with what happened. This is where I feel like it’s possible that I was drugged. I was so out of it and yes, I had a lot of alcohol, but I’ve been super drunk before and this is not how it felt. It was different and I know I was leaving drinks unattended. I also think it’s possible that this was planned. Not toward me specifically, but in general. It seemed like Clay and Adam knew each other and Adam didn’t show up until after I was already pretty gone. Clay was too quick to leave after I met Adam and he seemed to linger after Adam started talking to me. I’m thinking it’s possible that Clay put drugs in my drink, and then Adam sweeps in to take me home. I don’t know any of this for sure, but this is stuff I have thought about since the rape and these are things I think could have happened. Or, it could all be coincidence and I’m making it into something that it’s not. I really don’t know. Anyway, back to the story. I remember paying my tab and not being able to see the lines to sign my name. I’m not even sure I actually signed my name. I remember trying, but everything was spinning and I couldn’t see straight. We got up to leave and I couldn’t stand. Adam had his arm around me and basically carried me out. My eyes were mostly closed and my body felt really heavy. We made it outside and he took me to his car, put me inside, and then went to my car to get my phone charger. I was texting a friend through Snapchat – it was the friend I usually go to that bar with – and he said he was coming to get me. I told him no. He was almost an hour away. I don’t remember how I convinced him not to come, but he never came. Adam drove me to his house. The entire time I was in the car, I was falling over onto his shoulder. I just couldn’t hold myself up. I think he thought I was doing this in a flirty or loving way, but I was just so tired and my body felt so heavy. We made it to his house. He came around to my side and got me out of the car. I still couldn’t walk and I was stumbling across the lawn. He carried me inside and took me down the hall to his bedroom. I immediately fell onto the bed. I just wanted to rest. I physically couldn’t hold myself up any longer. He plugged my phone up to the charger and then tells me that he needs me to get up. I stand up and he pushes the mattress back on the bed – I guess it was falling off. It seemed like something he was used to doing. His room was messy. I remember navy blue sheets on the bed. I remember the room was small and there wasn’t very much room to move around. His nightstand was covered with empty water bottles, a bong, and other things that I didn’t take special note of in my head. I think the wall opposite the bed was like a bookshelf. Maybe it had books, but I think it was filled with video games, DVDs, and other things like that. At the foot of the bed was a television on a TV stand and all kinds of clutter around it. I remember there being clothes on the floor that he tossed aside and I think there was a window by the bed. It wasn’t very appealing. After he fixed the bed, I asked for the bathroom. I walked down the narrow hallway, made a left, and found the toilet. I pulled my skirt down and sat down. I almost missed because I was still so out of it. I held on to the counter and somehow managed to not fall over. I have no idea how long I was in there. Time seemed to stand still and everything was moving in slow motion. I made it back to the room and he was laying in the bed. He had no shoes on, but was still fully dressed in his jeans and ugly yellow polo. I fell onto the bed beside him and started drifting. After what seemed like a few moments, I had to go to the bathroom again, only this time, it wasn’t to go pee. I made it to the bathroom and knelt at the toilet. I proceeded to throw up bright red while swaying and holding my entire head into the toilet. I got up, rinsed my mouth, and stumbled back to the room. He asked if I was okay and I honestly don’t remember if I answered. I was feeling better having thrown up which is another reason I think I could have been drugged. Being drunk and throwing up has never made me feel more sober. It doesn’t change the blood alcohol level, but I’m thinking throwing up if it were drugs would make me feel better, but again, I don’t know. This is just speculation. I laid back down on the bed wishing for sleep. I had my head on his chest and he had wrapped his arm around me. He was watching New Girl on Netflix. I had kind of fallen asleep at this point. I was in and out of consciousness but never fully gone because I knew I had to get home. I remember resting my hand on his abdomen – maybe just to steady myself. The next thing I remember is him lifting up his shirt and unbuckling his belt. I was just catching glimpses because I was still not fully conscious. I think he was asking me questions. Maybe he was asking if I wanted to have sex or maybe I was asking if he wanted to. I don’t remember. A lot of my thoughts I can’t remember if I said aloud or just in my head. The voice in my head was so loud that I don’t know what was verbalized. He proceeds to unbutton his pants and expose himself. He guides my head onto himself and makes me give him oral. I didn’t fight him off, I never said no, but I was also not fully aware or conscious. I also knew that I wanted to go home and to do so, I had to have sex with him. Even in the state I was in, I knew that I wasn’t getting out of that house without giving him what he wanted. The oral seemed quick maybe because had me stop because I wasn’t doing a good job. I was still drifting and I wasn’t aware of what I was doing so I’m sure it wasn’t good for him. He removes himself from my mouth and gets up. I remember losing my shirt and bra at this point. I was on autopilot – survival mode. I was doing what I had to do so I could get home and sleep. I was tired, I didn’t want to be there, and I wanted this to be over. I laid back down on the bed and closed my eyes. I don’t know how much time passed but when I opened my eyes, I looked to my right and he had completely undressed and was standing there looking at me, fully erect with a condom on. I will never forget this image. The picture of him standing there naked, staring at me with a grin on his face. He makes his way back over to me and gets on the bed in front of me on his knees. I closed my eyes and drifted. I remember my legs being in the air and resting on his shoulders. I don’t think I had shoes on, but I don’t remember taking them off. I don’t even remember what shoes I had on that night. He didn’t bother to undress me the rest of the way. He was seemingly uninterested in my breasts or seeing my naked body. It was like he just wanted somewhere to stick his penis so he could feel some pleasure that wasn’t done by his own hands. To my memory, he never made comments about my breast size or the tattoo on my ribs. He never made mention of the way I looked while he raped me. The lights were still on and there were no blankets or pillows around. He pushed my skirt up to my waist, lifted my bottom off the bed, pushed my panties to the side, and inserted himself. I felt nothing. No pain, no pleasure, just the feeling of something happening. I could feel him inside, but I was numb. I was frozen and I wanted it to stop. He leans over me while my legs are still on his shoulders. His face is right in front of mine and I can feel his heavy breath on my face. I could hear the way he panted like a dog on a hot summer day. I don’t remember how rapidly he moved in and out of me. It seemed like it was in slow motion, but his breath made it out to be like he was going fast and hard. He moved his head down onto my shoulder, so his face was right next to mine. I wasn’t in pain from my legs being pulled so close to my face or from him ramming himself inside me. I was still numb from the alcohol or dugs or maybe just from fear. I remember staring at the ceiling while my body moved up and down and wishing it would stop. I wanted to go home. I never wanted to have sex that night. I remember making it a point in my mind before leaving my house that night. I actually told myself that I was NOT looking for any sexual activity. Yet, here I was. He stops. His penis is still inside me as he lifts his head and looks at my face. I don’t know what he saw in my eyes. I don’t know if he saw pain or fear or even a blank stare. I was completely frozen. I was breathing hard but not from physical exertion – I was panicking. He removes himself from inside me, takes my legs off his shoulders, and strokes himself. My legs are folded and tossed to my side, my underwear is still out of place, and I’m frozen on the bed. Stuck. I can’t move. He moves to my left and gets next to me on the bed while continuing to rub his penis with his hand. I thought it was over. I close my eyes and try to catch my breath and calm myself down. I look to my left and he’s looking at me, smiling. I start to get up and me moves my hips to where I’m straddling him. He puts me down on his still erect organ and moves my hips up and down. I do as he showed me. I want him to finish so I can go. After a few minutes of me moving up and down on him, he says, “I’m not going to cum again,” and stops me. He lifts my hips to remove himself from me again and tosses me to his left toward the wall. He gets off the bed and I start to get dressed. I’m still on autopilot. I find my bra and my shirt. By the time I have my shirt on, I look over and he’s fully dressed again in that hideous yellow polo, sitting in a chair, and watching television like nothing happened. He no longer cared to help me with anything. Before the rape, he helped me walk, carried my phone and made sure it was charging because I was worried about my dying battery. He would touch me in a seemingly careful way like he actually respected me or cared about me. Now, he wasn’t even looking at me. He was silent. As I fixed my hair, I asked for some water. I still didn’t feel well. He grabs a mostly empty bottle of water from his nightstand and offers it to me. I tell him I don’t want it anymore. He sets it down and goes back to watching television. When I’m done, I stand up to put my shoes on and he’s already left the room. I grab my things and follow him. We walk down the narrow hallway toward the living room. When we make it to the living room, I see his roommate sitting in there on the computer. I only saw him for a split second but in that moment, my only thought was ‘this guy just heard everything that happened and he won’t make eye contact.’ Adam let me walk out the door first and he followed. I stumbled across the lawn toward his car. I was still unable to walk straight but I was feeling more alert. I fell into his car and we drove away. I don’t really remember the drive back to the bar. I don’t know if I was still fuzzy from the alcohol/drugs, or if I was just dissociating the whole time. I never knew what dissociating was until after this, but looking back, that could be what happened. We made it back to the bar and he stopped in the middle of the street and dropped me off. He didn’t make it to the parking lot where my car was, he didn’t help me out, he didn’t even say anything. He left me in the street knowing that I was not coherent. I made my way back to my car and got inside. I knew I had to puke again but didn’t want to do it outside because there were 2 men behind my car talking. I had no choice. I opened my car door, leaned outside, and vomited on the ground. One of the guys outside came to me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was fine. He offered to give me a ride or call me an Uber but I refused. I couldn’t leave my car at the bar. He brought me a Vitamin Water that was cold and unopened. I’ve never been so grateful. I was still so thirsty from before and now my mouth tasted like vomit and I needed the drink. I told him thank you and he left. I was feeling even more sober now that I had thrown up again. I drank the water and sent a message to my therapist. At the time, I was doing online therapy and my therapist was always online in the evenings. I told her that I had sex and I was freaked out. I didn’t know that I was probably just in shock about what happened. She told me to let her know when I made it home, and she made sure I was okay to drive. I stopped at McDonald’s to get some food to help soak up the alcohol. When I made it home, I let my therapist know. It was a little after 1am at this point. She stayed up late waiting for me to get home. She said goodnight and said we would talk later. I changed clothes, ate, and cried myself to sleep. I wanted to die. It took me some time to come to terms with what happened. It took a lot of time talking to my therapist. She was the one that told me I was raped. I told her what happened and she apologized to me for not being there the night it happened. I was confused because she WAS there. She said that she thought I had consensual sex, she didn’t realize I was raped. In all fairness, I didn’t know either. I talked with her a lot about what happened and eventually had to stop seeing her because she wasn’t specialized in trauma. I sought out a trauma therapist and I see her now every week. I’ve done a lot of work on my healing since this happened. I am still struggling and I still have days where I feel ashamed and disgusted. I still have days where I feel like this was my fault and there were so many things I could’ve done differently to prevent this from happening. There are even still days that I don’t think I can call this rape. I have lived this. I have survived this. I know this was trauma, and I know I was taken advantage of. There was no piece of me that wanted to have sex with him. I’m still working on forgiving myself for what happened, but it’s getting better. To anyone that has struggled with their own story, or anyone that doubts or deals with self-blame, just know that you are not alone. I wish I could go back in time and heal this before it happened, but I can’t. So I’m looking toward my future and I’m trying my best to move on. It’s the best I can do. Thank you for your time and for reading this. As always, I appreciate you for listening to me and hearing me. I will be back soon. Until then, keep your head up and let your voice be heard. Hugs, Poppy
  7. This post contains graphic details of sexual assault. Please take caution reading ahead. Well, happy Tuesday, everyone! I’ve gotten over the idea of posting once a week and always posting on the same day. While in theory that was a good idea, my life demands my attention to other things and sometimes I need to write about the stuff that I just can’t get out of my head. Today is one of those days. My mind is swimming in thoughts and ideas and memories and until I get them out on paper, I feel as though I will drown in them and not be able to breathe again. I’m longing for that breath of fresh air so I’m writing the thoughts down. Clearing them. Purging my mind of the details that plague me and render me completely useless in life because I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t properly function. I’ve been avoiding writing for about a week now. I’ve had things to write about, but I guess I just wasn’t ready. My Thursday therapy session revealed some new information that had me in shock for a while, then the shame came. It felt like something I COULDN’T tell anyone. It still carries an undesirable amount of heaviness, but I can’t get it out of my head. I’ve only shared this with one person after discovering it in therapy, and then I shoved it way down and decided it was something I didn’t want to deal with. Not now, and not ever. I was fine before pulling it out of the depths of my twisted brain and now it’s just sitting here, and I can’t get rid of it. This knowledge I have that I wish never would have revealed itself. It’s not something I even shared with The New Guy. Partly because it didn’t feel relevant, and partly because I was just flat out afraid to. I don’t even really know how I feel about sharing it here, but my writing has become my safe place. This feels like somewhere that I can truly open up and share what I need to. Since I’m having trouble functioning as a regular human being, I decided I needed to write it out. I need to process it. I’m not typically one to keep things to myself, so that tells me that this thing I’m about to tell you, is a thing of great magnitude and it’s something so very private. I’m hoping you’ll bear with me as I expose the inner parts of my very being. I know you’re probably tired of me beating around the bush. I guess I’m avoiding my own writing. Part of me DOES want to write about this, but the other part of me wants to continue to keep it locked away forever. I’m also tired of my brain being such an unsafe place for me right now…so I need to get it out. For those that read my last blog, you know that I am in the process of uncovering some disturbing sexual experiences from my childhood. The New Guy opened a door and it’s like I haven’t been able to stop the influx of painful memories that are barging in and interrupting my life. Funny that he was the one to open this door and he’s the one I DIDN’T tell about this new memory. I should probably tell him as it might be important for my treatment, but I just haven’t worked up the nerve. I see him again in two weeks. I MIGHT tell him then. Anyway, he opened this door and all these memories came flooding in and as I was processing, more memories came up. I’ve already written about all of this. What I have neglected to share is what came up after. I didn’t tell about what happened with my other therapist at my Thursday appointment that week. I told Thursday T about my session with The New Guy and everything that came up with him. She proceeded to pull out a timeline I made for her when I first started seeing her. She calls it a “timeline of bothersome events.” The stuff I talked about with The New Guy was on that list, but I had neglected to share something with him. It wasn’t intentional, I just didn’t think about it until Thursday T pulled out that list and asked me about it. When she mentioned what I wrote down, I remembered that specific part, but the more we talked about it, the more I remembered. I’m going to share this with you in the same way it came back to me. Thursday T asks about the time I was in the backyard and I pulled my pants down for a boy. He was a neighbor boy and he had a younger brother. Right after I pulled my pants down, my mom saw it and the boy had to leave. I remembered that I had touched his penis before. That was the extent of my memories. I then remembered that I was only in second grade and I didn’t go to daycare yet. This was before the other boy that I gave blowjobs to and the girl that asked if I was horny. This was different. I started to remember that the boy was older than me. He was maybe 12 and I was about 7. I remembered that he made me touch his penis when I didn’t want to. I remembered all of the times we were outside playing, and he would take me to the side of the house where no one could see us, and he would touch me and make me touch him. I remember not wanting to do it. Then I remembered the big thing. The part that was hidden from my own brain and I wasn’t even sure WAS a memory, but maybe something I made up. Thursday T reassured me that the way it came back to me, meant it was definitely a memory. It did happen. I remembered that we would all play house upstairs in my younger sister’s bedroom. Me, my sister, the boy, and his younger brother. I remembered that because the boy and I were the oldest, we always played the mom and dad. When it was time to sleep in the game (which seemed to happen often), the mom and dad would go into the closet to sleep. I remember that in this closet, the 12-year-old boy tried to have penetrative sex with me. A 7-year-old girl. The memory stops there. I don’t remember if he made it inside, I don’t remember if it hurt, I don’t remember if I cried. I do remember him trying to insert himself inside me. I also remember that nighttime in a game is usually not very long. I remember him telling the others not to come in the closet and telling them it was still nighttime. I remember that I wanted the night to end. Right now, this is my earliest sexual encounter that I remember. I don’t have much else to say about this. I just needed to share this because my brain couldn’t take anymore. I was also kind of hoping more stuff would come back when I put this down on paper – that didn’t happen. But then again, maybe that’s for the best. I need to clear some of this out before I take on more. In closing, I’m sorry this hasn’t been the uplifting blog I hope to someday bring you. I’m going through a long, hard depressive episode right now and I can’t seem to find my way out. I’m on medication to level out my episodes of depression and hypomania, but it seems the medication has left me in just a depressive state and the other medication isn’t helping with that. But, that’s a blog for another time. Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back soon, I’m sure. XO, Poppy
  8. I have no idea what to say here, but here goes anyway. I became an active member yesterday. I'm here because I was assaulted by someone I thought I could trust back in 1996, and I'm trying to work through the remaining trauma. I posted what happened in Share Your Story, the Date/Acquaintance thread, and the Drugged Sexual Assault thread, and everyone I've encountered so far has been amazingly kind and supportive. I hope I can be the same for some of you. I was dosed with what was ketamine as near as I can tell from research and medical professionals, and one of the effects that it has in high doses is paralysis. I was conscious for the whole thing but couldn't move or communicate, and there was no amnesia the next morning. From what I've read, that is fairly uncommon when the person is drugged, so it's been difficult to find others that went through exactly what I did. Having that connection is important insofar as feeling less alone, and I've found a few others on here already, but if what I'm saying sounds similar to what you experienced (or even if it doesn't) and you want to talk, please don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks for the welcome I've gotten so far. I am so glad this site was recommended to me as it's already doing some good. Thanks all.
  9. Im sitting up the night before my first therapy appt. (again), can't sleep so I'm reading articles from the day. I come across this https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/06/13/sarah-mcbride-gay-survivors-helped-launch-me-too-but-rates-lgbt-abuse-largely-overlooked/692094002/ and i felt it touched home for me. now i know i shouldn't be reading this stuff, which i didn't in a way. it was more the headline spoke to me of my situation. it wasn't long after i came out in college that my r*** happened. the people in my circle knew and were cool with it, though i will say this sorority i thought about joining was homophobic so i passed. nevertheless, for the most part i was accepted. the guy who did what he did asked me that night if it was true that i was gay then proceed to i guess prove if it was true or not. even as my previous therapist told me that is what probably happened, i still couldn't believe it, nor accept it. but seeing this headline set off a light bulb in my head. sometimes things need to be heard from more than one source before the mind can accept the truth.
  10. healingt

    My Rape Story

    The night started in the local Rite-Aid parking lot. "If only I hadn't have used the restroom," I torment myself. the little things. I warmed up to them and we hit it off; they even joked about me joining their friend-group. After a while, the self-proclaimed ‘leader’of the group asked for my number. Innocently, I gave it to him. After making small talk with the boys for about an hour, I decided to head home. “What a cool crowd,” I thought. Shortly after arriving home, the boy–Simon–texted me and asked for my snap-chat. The conversation continued, which included his casual, light-hearted requests for nudes and my virginity confession. I didn’t overthink the sexual content; it’s typical teenage conversation. Plus, he said “LOL” like every other message. Soon the messages became about we still being ‘strangers’ and how we should hangout that weekend. I was excited! I wanted to expand my tiny social network. Eventually he invited me to his house that night, but I told him I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I didn’t think it was wise to go to stranger’s home, but I appreciated his hospitality. He offered to meet me at the neighborhood elementary school playground instead. “Sure, that’ll be chill! Lit, now I don’t have to be home alone on a Friday night,” I thought. I changed from my slacks and sweater into a black jacket over a black tank-top with blue jean shorts–appropriate dress for beautiful Southern California weather. I threw my hair in a messy bun, slipped on my flip-flops and grabbed my phone, keys and backpack with a water bottle. I said goodbye to my dog and headed out the door. “Just left!” I messaged Simon. In no longer than 5 minutes, I approached him sitting at the picnic benches, anxious as usual. I removed my jacket, set my things on the table, and sat down. He asked me if I wanted to tell anyone about this, and confused I replied, “Uh, I don’t know?” Before I knew it, he kissed me. Surprised, I kissed back, and he slipped his hands behind my butt. I was perplexed, but fine. In all honestly, I was flattered that he found me attractive enough to kiss me, and I was comfortable with making out with boys. I shyly touched his hair and he felt me up. I was still okay. But before I knew it he was tugging at and removing my clothes–first my shirt, then bra, then shorts and underwear at the same time–before undressing himself. He pulled my onto his lap and things went in a new direction. I was no longer okay. Immediately he rammed his fingers in me, quickly advancing to finger-banging with who knows how many fingers. All I knew was it hurt. I was too speechless to tell him to stop yet, so I insisted he be gentler and slow down, but with no reply he laid me on my back and I was submissive. I didn’t know what else to do. “This is happening. Okay, this is happening. You’re okay, Tiffani. You’re okay. Just be still,” the voice in my head repeated. I scanned for cameras on the building–none. I felt the cold metal against my bare skin and clenched my eyes. I should have left, but I didn’t know how. I should have fought harder, but I didn’t know how. I should have just let him do what he wanted, but I didn’t want to. Over the course of the next 25 minutes, Simon exercised power over me by ignoring my contentions and pleas. Anytime I moved, he repositioned my body the way he wanted: when I lifted my hips in a flinch, he pressed my pelvis flat on the bench. When he wanted to touch my torso, he lifted my arms from my side. When my legs bowed, he spread them. Simon continued thrusting his fingers in and out of me, ignoring my demands to be more careful. Still, I was fearful of what he might do if I protested more–even though I wanted to. I stared at the sky and drifted in a daze before I felt a massive amount of pressure and sharp pinching. I looked down and realized he was forcing his penis in me, which I did not consent to whatsoever. “No! No! No!” I argued, but he did not stop. Wait, is this sex? Am I having sex? Whatever this is, it hurts. I didn’t agree to this– how is this happening? Why did I come here? This isn’t supposed to be happening. I don’t like it. I want him to stop. “Stop!” “It’s okay,” he tried to solace me. His coercion ploy was to no avail: “No! Stop, stop. Please,” I begged. “Come on,” he insisted. “No! I’m saying no!” After however long, he pulled out and scowled at me. “Will you give me head at least?” he requested. Frustrated at my refusal, he yanked on the roots of my hair, jerking my neck forward. He was dominant over me, and he knew that as much as I did. He returned to aggressively jabbing at and twisting my insides. More finger-banging punctuated his grinding against my vulnerability. I closed my eyes and wondered how I could get out of this situation. My thoughts raced. “This can’t be the ‘R-word,’ is it?” My heart raced faster than my thoughts. “No. Rape happens behind dumpsters in dark alleys. No. Rapists are hooded men that lurk in the shadows. No way. Rape can’t happen to me–ouch!” He spread my labia and soon came that all-too-familiar pressure again. I opened my eyes and saw his naked body hovering over mine. Confused, scared, and overwhelmed, I resorted to more verbal denial and repeatedly demanded triplets of “stop; wait; don’t; no; I’m not ready,” but he only thrusted deeper. My words were not convincing enough, but I was too scared to be physically violent. I bowed my legs to obstruct his entry, so he spread them again. “Stop!” He tried to conciliate: “Just the tip, just the tip; come on, let me please.” Aw, what a gentleman. He said ‘please.’ “No, stop!” “Come on, just like it was before. You have to let me get the hard part over with.” “No, I don’t want you to!” “Okay, okay I’ll go slower.” My mind shrieked, but anxiety silenced my words. “No! That is not what I said. I told you to stop. I want you to take your penis out of me.” “Quit!” I protested sternly. There went that voice in my head again: “What does he think he’s doing? Why is he doing this!?” I wanted to leave; I wanted to go home; I wanted to get away from him. I wanted him to get off of me. More finger-banging. I lowered my hands to my pelvis to gain control. “Stop!” I said. “It’s not my di*k.” “whatever.” “I know. But I don’t care; you’re hurting me,” I said. Unrelenting, “It’s–,” he began. “No, don’t!” I plead. “It’s not ‘it‘” “I. don’t. care. Hell, you can’t even say what ‘it’ is,” my mind shouted. But I said nothing, because what more could I say? For the third and final time, he inserted his penis in me. I felt so helpless–so defeated. I stopped staring at the black, starless sky and watched his body thrust erratically. “He’s not wearing a condom!” my conscience reminded me. “Dammit, do something, Tiffani!” ‘Fight’ mode: on. I tensed up and sternly commanded, “No! You’re not wearing a condom!” My right hand pressed against his chest and my left pushed on his stomach. “What?” he asked, thrusting. “Stop! You’re not even wearing a condom!” I exclaimed. I wanted to fight, but I felt like all the power I had was to beg and try to push him off. I wanted to know what diseases he was giving me and how I was supposed to raise a child at 16. I wondered what I did to deserve this and what made him think this was okay. “No! Stop!” I demanded. I pushed harder on his torso but he didn’t budge. My hands pressed against his intimidating abs. He looked me dead in the eyes and initiated a series of pitiful persuasion: “It’ll feel good, I promise; I won’t cum; I won’t nut; it’s okay; I will pull out; I always pull out; you have to trust me.” The voice in my head groaned and ferried with questions. “Grrrr. Do I look like I am enjoying this? What does he mean, ‘I have to trust him’? I just met him! Will he ever stop? Am I still a virgin? Did I allow this to happen? Can he not–“ He interrupted my thoughts with collisions of his lips against mine. I closed my eyes and squirmed my face away from his. He thrusted against my persistent demands to stop. My legs quivered. “No, I can’t, I can’t! I’m sorry, I can’t! Stop!” I contended. “You can’t. You’re hurting me,” I whimpered. “It hurts the first time. You just have to get it over with,” he told me and crashed his lips into mine. Nevertheless, my mind submitted to reality. It became clear to me that he did not want nor need my permission: he was going to have sex with me whether I consented or not. I was no longer confused. I lost all consensus of time. I remember wondering if I were capable of making him stop hurting me, but I was so overwhelmed that I forgot it was an option to scream, scratch, kick, punch, or show any physical violence. And frankly, I was too petrified to. I laid there on the cold bench protesting and begging him to stop, flinching against his thrusts. I felt his cold hand pushing my pelvis down. After what felt like an eternity, my phone rang—I knew it was my mom’s text message. I asked him to read me the message since my phone was facing upright closer to him. He did: “Hi, be home in 15 min ” That was my excuse to leave. I told him I was worried about getting home, and he asked if I wanted to get dressed. I said yes, but I sat frozen. He quickly re-clothed, starting off almost immediately. He left me there on the bench, abandoned. I hated myself for idealizing his company, but it sounded better than sitting naked, abused at an empty school playground. I ceased my loathe and quickly redressed and grabbed my things. Nonplussed, all I could think to do was catch up to him to ask if he came. “I didn’t. I’ll text you tomorrow.” “What?” I thought to myself. This exchange of words was seriously confounding and left me to feel like he did not just rape me. “Well, did he know? Was I not clear enough? Did he enjoy that? Am I overreacting? Why does he think I want to hear from him again?” Trembling, I began my walk home with a flood of questions and concerns. I had no idea what to make of what happened, and I did not have time to think about it. I just knew I had to get home. “Ok! ,” I texted my mom back. On my way home I tried calling my friends out of state, but no one answered. Time zones made it too late. I decided I was not ready to decipher this alone, so I would block it from my mind. “It did not happen; that did not happen. It was not rape: it couldn’t be,” I convinced myself. I was on a mission: get to my condo on the second floor—may I add unrecognized—and prepare for my mom to get home. I unlocked the front door and blabbered nonsense to my dog as I rushed to the bathroom to pee, because my virgin research taught me to pee after sex to prevent UTIs. I was too afraid to inspect myself, but I cleaned the blood and discarded my clothes in a pile in the corner of my room. I went to the living room and sat on the couch, priming my stellar acting skills. I greeted my mom and put on a façade. She asked me what I did, and I lied. I asked her about her night in attempt to divert the attention to her. Luckily, it worked. For more than 24 hours, my mom thought I was entertaining myself with YouTube videos, when the truth was I was being raped. I woke the next morning after a restless night’s sleep in denial with an aching neck. I desperately needed some sort of closure, and the only way I could think to get that was through a friendly message from him. I thought it would reassure me that all was okay—that he was not a rapist and that I had not become a rape victim. But in reality, all was everything but ‘okay.’ I snap-chatted Simon twice, both opened but unanswered. I wanted to convince myself that that night had just been an ‘experience,’ not rape. So I blamed myself. “You cannot rape yourself,” I repeated. But the truth is, he raped me. But did he really? Yes, he did.
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