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Found 67 results

  1. It has been a long week of intrusive, random memories coming back to me that I for some reason never thought about 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 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... Random fragments: - I remember 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 too easy!" -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. 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. Random realizations: -I also remember a time I broke down and told my mom. It was a very stressful night and she and I were having a fight (like usual). She is a selfish narcissist. She always made me feel horrible about myself and choices I made; even though I honestly wasn't into anything too bad. She just has always not liked me, since I was a kid. So during one of these belittling fights, I broke down and it just blurted out of my mouth. To which she said "no, there's no way that happened. You didn't tell me until now? You're lying." My mom is a survivor of CSA and her own mother told her she didn't believe her which scarred her; so she did the same thing to me. She ended up randomly believing me, and since every once in a while she will ask me why I didn't tell her. Tell me she wants to kill him My mom knows who did it. It really bothers her because she met him a few times for parent teacher conference and whatnot. She said he couldn't look her in the eye for very long. -I also told my grandma. Well I remember not being able to tell her so my boyfriend at the time N had to tell her while I waited in the basement and cried. She came down and just hugged me. Asked me if it was why I didn't like being dropped off to school early when I was younger. Yep! I never wanted to have a chance of being alone with him. I don't know why I blocked out telling my grandma and mom. I actually feel really bizarre now knowing that they know who raped me. It makes me wonder if anyone would believe the rest of the things he did to me after the first rape. I mean looking back, there are many things that were done to try to reach out on my part, but nothing was ever actually done about it. Nobody believed me. And I will hold that scarring realization with me forever outside of After Silence.
  2. Thanks for taking advantage of me. All I ever wanted was a self deprecating identity. Thanks for using your authority against me. All I ever wanted was a distrust in community. Thanks for raping me. All I ever wanted was a distortion of my sexuality. "Baby, baby, baby," That's all I ever heard when you treated me like some novelty.
  3. My grandma (maternal grandmother) was diagnosed with cancer when I was about 10 years old. She lived with it for years. She lived with my mom and I when I was a kid to teenager. Watching her die was extremely depressing. I loved her. She loved me and made me feel like I mattered. She knew how mean my mom could be, unprovoked and for absolutely no reasons. So she gave me positive attention whenever she had the energy. We normally just sat together and watched tv. We also had other similarities that made it much easier to bond with each other (pagan religious ideals I have had since I was a small child. She never practiced in front of me but it just came naturally to me). She died when I was 14. I was so depressed after this. It is not easy to watch someone you love die slowly. I can't stop sobbing even now writing this. I guess when I was 15 I was very sad having lost her the previous year. I didn't have a ton of friends. I was quiet and shy. Maybe I looked enticing to someone with bad intentions. Easier to manipulate me. Easier to trust I had no support system. No confidence. I miss her so much. Wish I could talk to her again. 💔
  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 "I'm baaack." 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. 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). 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 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 melted my ties with a lighter and told me 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 this. 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 felt completely hopeless, trying to survive one moment to the next. For some reason my friend who was deployed 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 (D) 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 DJ told me he was being harassed by a fake account on facebook named "Andy Herchoo". 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 and told him to stop touching their "b*tch". DJ 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 (willingly) back then, but I could tell DJ was getting to that point of wanting to. 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. There was one instance at his house when he started kissing me. I kept telling him I didn't want to have sex. But he kept touching me, making me say "stop, not tonight. Don't." "Let me finger you at least!" as he was doing it...thanks for waiting for an answer. And like so many other women, I just eventually stopped saying anything and he took what he wanted. He fingered me until he was done and then moved on to sex. I just gave in and accepted it. I didn't care honestly after this. We started having regular, wild sex. Did I want to? Not really, ever. 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 things I didn't appreciate. He recorded me once without my permission. That was so triggering because it was oral sex. And I just didn't understand why this was all I was meant for. All I was good for. I don't know what I expected though...He would also act out a little controlling as well. 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 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 D (they were friends in HS) and I don't want to say he was jealous but he definitely seemed off about it. So I stopped talking to him. I didn't want to be controlled by another person.
  5. 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
  6. 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 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. 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." 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. He put the cold blade against my skin and 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. And it was all what he wanted. "Don't freak out, you will like it!" He ended up tying my hands with something before he started trying to put it in my bum. "I'm going to fucking rip you apart!" He was doing it, and it was very painful. I remember screaming and crying because it felt like he was using a knife. 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. 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. 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? Or just get on your knees?" 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 criminal. You look good for either one" 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. He choked me when I was done "I could squeeze the life out of you. No one would notice you're gone or care to fucking look for you!" "This is too much fun though" I was ripping at his hands. He let go of my throat. I was trying to breathe. 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. 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. I know people. 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 need to call the cops. But I look 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 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 wh**e; 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 break down 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 (D) 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. 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.
  7. After high school, I'd seen him several times in random places. I felt watched. I thought I was paranoid, so I started avoiding going out altogether. N got an apartment and I moved in. I never left the house. Took online college courses. I felt safe there because it was a basement apartment and I felt shut off and hidden from the world, which I liked (and still do sometimes!) I became very reclusive. I never left the house alone. Always looking behind me. So I couldn't bare leaving the house in general. I carried a mace everywhere. I didn't even work at first, I was so scared. Fast forward a little bit more, when N was dealing with some legal issues, things were brought back up. I remember this conversation like it just happened. I was at my moms house and N came there to tell me the news. He sat down on the couch and told me he had something to tell me about his case. He told me how there was a witness who came forward to speak negatively on his character. Mind you, it had been over a year since the rape. But when he said his name, I completely shut down. Feeling intimidated all over again... N told me he would agree to the plea for the other side just so it didn't have to go to trial and have the possibility of witnesses (so I/we didn't have to see him). He told me he knew he was only doing it to fuck personally with us. So I was thankful for that in my own way (that he at least understood that this guy WAS intending to torture us anyway he could); but I also felt responsible, yet again, for everything going to shit. It was so hard to deal with. Why was he doing this? To punish N too? To show me he was still there, always? That he would never let me/us seem reliable?? Either way, I was shattered. I don't know if N deep down blamed me back then, but he pulled away from me. He had a lot of anger issues after this. It felt like he hated me sometimes. All I could do was blame myself. Everything WAS my fault. I've ruined it all. There was nothing N could do to redeem the case because of this guy, and there was nothing we could do to fight him because of who he was and how many people supported him. And around this time is the first time I found After Silence. It saved my life I think. About six months after this botched case, N was working with a local paper to help with an article about our state's education system and how there was an issue with teachers resigning after inappropriate conduct and being hired easily back into neighboring districts who didn't know of any misconduct because the info is sealed while it was being investigated. Of course his main motivation for this was because of my rapist ruining his case months before. Also, with him mentioning he resigned from a school before for a locker room incident. I never read this article when it was released; I didn't want to. N just told me that the guy who raped me had a bad temper and had been told to resign another time for losing his shit on students and slamming a chair near a student. I remember being horrified. Feeling betrayed that he was allowed to work in our school and take his rage out on me. Resigned from schools multiple times and was then allowed to be hired again. I actually felt like I didn't matter. I was heartbroken. I struggled at first with wanting to provide these articles because they have his name. But this is MY story. He did what he did. He isn't the main focus of the article because there were a lot of teachers in this school district apparently that were taking advantage of students and they actually left paper trails like emails and things... but he is obviously the early college teacher they talk about halfway through the long cover story. https://www.cantonrep.com/article/20101213/NEWS/312139823 It ended up getting worse when people I knew from high school rallied together to release an article just days after this article about the man who raped me, saying how he was an amazing "teacher and mentor" and how the previous article "exaggerated his character in a negative light." It also said the situation with my ex best friend R was a "rumor" and that she exaggerated the relationship to her peers. Which was wrong; I saw the texts! People saw things...she didn't make any of it up. If it was just a fucking "rumor" then why did he end up resigning, AGAIN?? There had to have been solid evidence of him misbehaving somewhere and I know I didn't have anything on him but my word nobody believed. This was what completely shushed me. I didn't think I could ever fight an entire school full of people who loved a teacher who told us he had a huge penis or joked about his sex life or sex in general! Like that alone should have made these students realize "hmmm maybe he is a little inappropriate..." but NO, I'm the fucking liar apparently!! https://www.cantonrep.com/x2068974377/Story-portrayed-great-teacher-and-mentor-in-wrong-light Rereading this^ makes me physically ill. I don't know why I did, but I did. Anyways... N and I ended up parting ways after he got violent with me a few times. He had a lot of problems after I ruined his life. He began drinking more and abusing drugs, and he began to take his anger out on me. He told me he wanted to see other people and after leaving me for a short time, he said he wanted me back. I didn't want him back though. I didn't want anyone. So this was another violent episode that was extremely triggering. N knows it was and has since apologized (but I mean it was fucked up). In short, he came to my moms house and dragged me out by my throat to his car and made me sit in there with him while he was drunk and threatening to hurt me if I didn't take him back. At one point saying (after he just choked me mind you) "Stop looking so scared of me! I'm not him. I could take you to the backseat and rape you like him, but I wouldn't do that! So stop looking so scared of me!" I never really understood why he felt he needed to go there and say that. Maybe he was triggered that I looked horrified of him like he imagined I looked the day I was raped, which I know he thought about often. I tried to stay as strong as I could and speak reasonably to him. I really don't remember how I got back inside of my moms house. After all of this, I didn't feel like I could talk about my past ever again, so I vowed to try to act like it didn't happen. Which worked for a while. I ended up becoming a little promiscuous. I lost my virginity to N and never had sex with anyone else. So after N and I broke up, I guess for some reason I decided to act out sexually. I had sex with multiple guys in a short amount of time. One of them for a while though. 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 was a pilot 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
  8. 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 (my boyfriend at the time) 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 first college class later.. So part of me didn't want to go in there anyways. "Talk about what??" I said. 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. Then I heard the doors lock and saw he was right next to me. At this point I was terrified. His windows were tinted. 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 any kind of sexual thing. 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 from me??" 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 was ripping 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. 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. He leaned into me as he pulled my sweatpants, underwear and shoes off all at once, just tearing it all off me. 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. Before I knew it he put it inside, as rough as he could it seemed. "Ouch you're hurting me!" was all I could say. "Good" breathing hot breath all on 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. 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. This was terrifying. I thought he was going to start hitting me. So I guess I became more submissive at this 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) 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. All I remember was him pushing me more into the back of the front seat. "Turn around and ride me." I was mortified. I had no idea what I was doing. 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 grabbed my hips and squeezed "do you like that?" I was unresponsive but he made me tell him I did. I tried to keep my eyes closed because I couldn't stand looking at him. He told me I was too stiff "loosen up." I started to cry in a panic, 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 virgin? Did I just pop your cherry?" He didn't but I definitely wasn't experienced and I guess I was bleeding, 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. 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. I remember not finding my underwear. 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 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). 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...
  9. I've managed to muster up some courage to write my story some. I hate that it's going to be so long. It's taken a lot out of me to start thinking about it all; but I felt like I had to try to write some of it down. Especially after having seen him recently, I cannot stop thinking about it. It's invading most of my thoughts and my sleep. I just want some relief. Maybe this can give me a little. Or at least I can sleep without clawing my arms. I'm sorry that it's detailed. I need to get it out. I need to let it be known what he is capable of. Since everyone seems to think he was/is perfect and never did anything truly wrong, red flag after red flag! Anyways! I'll start at the beginning of it all: When I was 15, I was in this program where we could take college courses in high school. The professors would actually come from the college to our campus for our classes, and I thought that was pretty legit. We had our own small building on this corner section of the campus. We also had our own set of high school teachers who taught in our building. One of them was someone everyone seemed to mesh with right from the start. He was well liked and respected, but soon into this school year I noticed he was inappropriate. He would make sex jokes to make the teens laugh and even joke about his penis size. "Hung like a bull" was the joke. He also mentioned how he walked into the girls locker room by "accident" at a previous school he worked in. He literally told us he ended up resigning before they let him go. I guess he was so charming they gave him the courtesy to choose.. I have NO idea why he felt compelled to tell us this or thought it was okay to tell us this; or why everyone else was like "wow, those damn girls told on you!" Maybe it had something to do with the fact he thought he was invincible. And how he knew how to charm people into thinking he was something he was not...I always knew he was crossing the line (and he made me uncomfortable most of the time), but nobody else seemed to care or didn't act like they did. He really knew how to get into everyone's heads, especially the students. He knew exactly what to do and say to get people to trust him. Everyone I was surrounded by just adored him. It gives me chills as I type it 😠 In hindsight, there were many things I see now that were so obviously inappropriate it makes my blood boil to think people didn't make note of it or care; especially after I told them what he did. Like when he would record all of us students on his personal video camera for what he called "Ohio State Pride". So it went like this, he would play music and have the students in each class dance while he recorded it. I know this sounds fucking crazy now as I realize it all again. I was 15, uncomfortable, and everyone else was so happy and excited about it all! Nobody saw this as weird. Other teachers knew and didn't bat an eye! I don't get it!! It makes my skin crawl. Another thing I randomly remember is the inappropriate things he would allow us to watch in his class. He showed a standup of Dane Cook. Which was funny but I remember being extremely uncomfortable when one of his jokes was about female masturbation. I felt gross watching it because the joke was about masturbating for women being similar to being a music dj with the turntables, and we all knew he was a dj. He also would play songs before/in between classes each day, I guess like a dj would. But sometimes I would notice he would play a song I had on my myspace acount at the time; and I always felt dumb for thinking he was singling me out but I mean sometimes I would change it to things I didn't even care for just to see if he would copy me, and sure enough yes he did. It was like a conversation he was trying to have with me or something. I don't really fuckin know. It's like he got some sick thrill out of it all. I really feel so dirty looking back on all these things that I didn't realize was so insane until allowing myself to think about it all now. It's definitely bringing up memories and those shameful feelings all over again Anyways, he never gave me any extra attention that he didn't give to everyone else. He offered to help me with projects and things, but he offered that to others. He never groomed me by trying to get to know me or anything at all like that; I also never took his bait as far as wanting to stay after school with him or ask him for help with things. Looking back though, I can recall him grooming what was my best friend at the time (R). Like wanting to get together with her after school and "hang out" she told me. They would text and talk on the phone; she showed me messages so I know it was true (which comes up again later, that's why I emphasize it). I told her all that was weird and she should never do that. All that time, I thought he was going to try and have sex with her or something. From what she told me though the last time we spoke (a long, long time ago), they never did anything like that. She said he was never sexually inappropriate with her. Which makes me question whether she was honest with me or if he just saw me as weaker, easier prey. But I mean, wouldn't she have been easier prey since she was actually interested in him? I don't really get it. Well, fast forward to about the end of that school year, I remember getting off the bus in my neighborhood and seeing him in a car near my street and thinking that was strange... But I acted like I didn't see him and went home. I thought it must have been a coincidence. Later that same month, he tried to touch me when we had to be alone at school. I was asking a question about a project, and he touched my thigh. It was in the way he touched it though, it made me feel dirty. Grown men don't touch teenage girls bodies do they, especially their thighs? Closer to my privates than to my knee, and I knew that wasn't right. That was personal space I felt like. I never had any other teacher put their hands on me this way. All I did was ask a question. But now I felt dirty. He also MADE me stay after class to ask this question. Remained "busy" until about everyone but one person left the room. By the time I finished my question, we were alone. I just feel like, looking back, everything was so methodical it's driving me crazy!! Or he just had stupid fucking luck! Moving into the next school year, I remember how much he wanted to be our junior year history teacher. Fortunately, he didn't and we ended up having more classes in the main high school building. As I was visiting one of my freshman teachers in the college building on campus, he seized his opportunity to get me alone again. He asked this teacher if he could see me a minute, and this teacher told him to write me a pass to my next class. He wanted me to help him carry equipment from his car to his classroom. I didn't understand why he didn't just ask a male student who was stronger, or a group of students. Obviously he wanted to isolate me and I was easy prey I guess. Naive. Inexperienced. I helped him for some stupid reason. He had authority over me, and I was manipulated time and again by him because of this. I just never thought anything too uncomfortable could happen AT school. It seemed way too far fetched. There was only a moment, which I couldn't react quickly enough, where he leaned into my face and I froze. He kissed me, like a peck half on my lips and cheek. Mainly because I instinctively jerked away a little. "Thanks for the help" and he winked at me. I was in shock about this. I didn't understand how to tell anyone this. However, I knew I wanted to avoid being alone with him from now on. He made my stomach turn. It's like my being knew how sadistic he was deep down. His presence actually made my stomach churn. Now that I look back on it, this is when I started suffering chronic nausea. Probably my anxiety having to be around him. I remember him doing other small things during school. Like one time I was walking past his classroom to get to another class when I ignorantly made eye contact with him and he licked his lip and bit it. He looked me up and down and made me feel sick.. I didn't really know even back then how to word it tell anyone these things. I started skipping school a lot more. I had a close male friend this school year (N), and seeing that my female best friend was infatuated with this fuckin creep, I didn't feel like I could open up to her about how uncomfortable he made me feel. Plus, I tested the waters with her by mentioning something small before and she seemed to get really defensive for him. How he could never do anything inappropriate... I didn't really know what to do. I felt intimidated that even the girl he was so obviously trying to get close to didn't even see anything wrong with his actions. She seemed to actually get mad at ME for being weirded out about a sex game he told us he played in college. Am I fucking crazy for thinking he shouldn't have been going there?? I mean I don't get it...So I ended up hinting to N that this teacher was a little odd. Putting feelers out for his reaction. Instead of bringing up my own personal experiences, I flaked out of embarrassment and told him about the close relationship he was creating with my best friend. He told me that wasn't normal and I should tell her how I felt about it. So I did tell her I didn't like how he was trying to manipulate her, and our friendship fell completely apart. She of course was all about taking his side. N and I became closer after this and actually ended up dating senior year. I guess now that I think about it, I know R must have opened up to that teacher about what I did tell her about him; and that was that he was creepy, manipulative and putting feelers out for teenage girls. I am guessing he loathed my interpretation of him. Someone once mentioned he was intimidated by me not being manipulated by him back then and that made him want to silence me even more. Someone else also mentioned that he was offended I didn't respond to his sexual advances, and I didn't because I was more attracted to the beautiful girl in school rather than some teacher (which my confusing attraction to women was why I never dated anyone before N). Before N and I dated, he actually had a friendly relationship with this teacher. There was a school band that this teacher created and N was one of the lead singers.They even have a video on youtube, but I can't and won't look for it. At first I thought it was cool. R was in the group too and with N knowing a little inside of the relationship between her and the teacher, he noticed things others didn't about their relationship that made him uncomfortable outright. He was not one to keep quiet, so this is where the embarrassment for this teacher started. N would make puns and things to call the teacher out. When N told me about these things, I guess I started to feel like I could say some of the things that made me uncomfortable when it came to this guy; just telling him he made me uncomfortable at first. Then I told him about the way he touched my thigh and asked me to help him carry a bass guitar to his classroom and kissed my face. N flipped out. He was so pissed. Pissed enough to react personally to him. He also told a school administrator his family knew to look into this teacher and his misconduct. I think this was the deciding factor for this guy to torture me any way he could out of rage and retaliation. We had empty classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays since our college classes were Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We usually had teachers as monitors of those rooms. So I still had to see this guy sometimes even though he was a sophomore teacher. There was a specific instance where this teacher got his hair cut, and N asked him, in front of tons of other students, if it was his "state cut" which I guess is a slang term for the haircut you get when you first go to prison. He didn't like that at all. And from then on, they just went back and forth. One time I remember this teacher telling us all he was getting married to a woman who used to be his student. When he said it he looked right at N and said "in case anyone wanted to start a rumor, there, I was the one who told you all." I remember thinking, how is it a rumor if it's actually true? Also, another red flag for everyone, but instead everyone thought he was so cool and honest I almost want to talk to every student who witnessed these things and ask them NOW if they think he was inappropriate? Because today I feel like he would have been fired quick! Why did everyone fucking like him? Why, in the end, was I still the one who was looked at as making things up?? After all the suspicious things he did and said. Yet he was still golden. The last straw though between this teacher and my boyfriend was when N called him a b*tch after another argument and walked out of this class we had where he was the "monitor" of the room. It plays slow motion in my mind even now thinking about it. I watch him jump up after N and run out of the classroom, and my heart was pounding so loud it was all I could hear. I guess this turned out to be a huge fight in the office with a lot of name calling. N called him a pervert, pedophile attracted to teen girls. N was of course suspended, and I was on my own. This lead to me being cornered by him. "Are you obsessed with me? Why are you telling lies? I wouldn't do that. Anyone will just see a teen with a crush." That made me feel so dirty. Made me question if I had done anything to make anyone ever think I had any kind of crush on him, because I didn't. I was honestly crushing on women back then and still in denial about that. I felt really tiny, embarrassed and unseen. So alone and unsure what to do next. I wished our school had cameras because I could have had something to show them he cornered me; what other reason would he have to do that besides threatening me? To prevent another freak out from N though, I didn't tell him this. Within weeks, when N wasn't at school (I now know he was an alcoholic, he didn't come to school a lot of mornings) this teacher had tricked me and forced me to his car in the student parking lot and raped me. Totally broke my spirit. I had dreams before this. This crippled me with fear and shame, I was stuck. I don't know if this was his intention all along, to break my soul. Or if he decided this in his rage against me with telling N he was inappropriate and all the fallout afterwards. Maybe the humiliation he felt was what he wanted me to feel times ten after all this? I don't know. That's a thought I've gathered when I think about why he did all this to me. I question this all the time. I obsess over it, honestly. He had a mission and it was to fucking torment me. Maybe even eventually kill me if I tried more to turn him in, or if I didn't abruptly leave the state. Who even knows. I didn't ever think that was where all the awkward encounters would have led me. Never.
  10. For eight months total, the guy who was deployed (D) still kept talking to me here and there, never giving up. Asking again if he could see me when he came home for military leave. This stressed me out so much because as much as I liked him, I was too ashamed to meet him in person. I didn't want him to see me. Or know me, for real. I didn't want to be taken advantage of again. Or him regret meeting me. Worse, I didn't want him to like me still for some reason and I end up ruining his life in one of the millions of ways I thought possible already. He must have told his father about me (!!) because his dad ended up messaging me and telling me he wanted to do a surprise welcome home at the airport, and his son would really want me to be there. I struggled with this so much. I wanted to go. In my heart, I wanted to be there. I just didn't feel like I had the right to be there. I didn't feel worthy. My cousin ended up talking me into going and took me. I stood all the way in the back, behind everyone. When he spotted me, he came over, gave me the flowers he had in his hand and hugged me. I was so nervous. We spent our time together talking, eating comfort food and watching the food network together. I didn't want it to end. I felt so safe with him. He was a marine so I knew he had training in defense and I just felt so completely secure, which was a brand new feeling for me. He ended up asking me to be his date to his dads wedding, which was about a week into his trip home (they decided to do it while he was home so he could be a part of it). I accepted for some reason! I had a wonderful time. It didn't feel real to me. His family seemed so happy and full of a lot of nice, loving people. I didn't feel like I belonged at all. But he and I grew closer. It scared me. So after all this, it was time for him to go back to his base across the country. And I was really sad about it. I actually truly felt safe and secure with him. I never knew what that felt like before. I could let my guard down and feel like I didn't have to look over my shoulder when I was with him. I was beside myself when I was alone again. I also thought he would stop talking to me any day. But we remained talking, every day now-multiple times a day. I have no idea what he saw in me. At this point, when it came to the person who tormented me, I was basically cooperative. So in these situations, I would basically take myself to be used. Or "willingly" go with him. I didn't want to be terrorized anymore with being held against my will for however long. This way I could give him what he wanted, which at this point I just knew what to do to get him to be satisfied with it so he wouldn't like force me to do more. If I just played the part he wanted me to play, it could be painless, right? Or as painless as it can be in its own fucked up way. It never lasted for more than two days at this point. Probably because he had kids and couldn't get away with being absent as much. I knew he had kids because his car had car seats and toys. I remember a toddler shoe. That pierced my soul because it reminded me he was just a normal guy to everyone else. He was just a husband, a dad. But to me, he was a fucking monster. He threatened to hurt people I loved. Kill me or my "boy toy." Which I assumed was my friend (DJ) I always hung out with before who ended up taking sex from me also...or maybe even D, but I mean I know that wasn't likely because he lived in another state. How could he even do that? But I mean I didn't ever imagine he would be capable of doing the things he did to me, so a part of me was still nervous what he would be capable of if he was angry enough. So I was regularly giving him what he wanted from me. It was just the only option I felt I had back then. I didn't want anyone to be hurt because of me. I definitely didn't want anyone to know anything, I was so humiliated! I think he started using the "I will kill your brother/grandma/friends" threat more when he realized it didn't affect me as much when he threatened to kill me anymore. I just didn't care. I hoped he would sometimes. I even asked him to. I guess that was when he flipped the script. It was the same thing every time he used me though there in the end. Drugs, whatever sex he wanted or whatever he wanted to record or if he wanted me to do it with someone else. I was just a sex slave pretty much. I don't even know what this was or what it's considered. I truly felt like a sex slave though. I don't really know how else to describe it. He would make me do things on camera for "people". I don't know how it all worked back then. But he would make me do things alone while he recorded and told me what to do or record himself doing things to me. Sometimes in hotel rooms. That I drove myself to... I was so disconnected from everything at this time I didn't even react to sex except with pleasure. He Made me feel so much shame for that. Beat it into my head that no one would ever believe anything if I said I didn't want it. There was video proof I would be lying, he said. How could I argue that? I couldn't. Anytime I reflect on this I just hear him saying "nobody will ever want you" over and over. One of these times I was with him, after I returned home I noticed D had messaged me a few times. A few missed calls. I wasn't allowed to have my phone whenever I did these things with him (he would smash them if he saw it, so I just left them at home) so I didn't even know he was trying to get a hold of me until I returned home. The messages seemed worried (it had only been one evening) First, because he thought I was done speaking to him. Second, because he was actually having a bad gut feeling I was in danger (I guess he had that intuition). So I contacted him, telling him I was so sorry, I had to replace my phone... It broke my heart to have to lie to him and that alone made me want to run from him to save him, but he seemed to care about me and I don't know why!! He really truly cared about my well being and respected me. I didn't have the heart to stop talking to him. He told me this made him realize how deep his true feelings were for me. And that's when he started asking me to come to the state he was stationed in to be with him. I, of course, hesitated at first because that was just too much. But each time I had to have sex when I didn't want to, I would fantasize about moving away across the country. It seemed impossible to me. So out of this world. I was also doing what I was doing with this person who was threatening me, and I didn't feel right. I didn't feel faithful, so I didn't feel worthy. I never wanted to do these sexual things. Although I did orgasm, I didn't want to do these things with him or anyone else. But it still made me feel dirty, like I was unfaithful to someone who was committed to me somewhat. I hesitated for months. I didn't know what I would be expecting. I was so scared of so many things. D came back to visit for Christmas. He noticed I had an eating disorder this visit. I purged everything I ate the entire time he was home. I don't know why he didn't run from me. He also bought me a new phone because I was paranoid about using my other. He told me he wanted me to come back with him. I said I couldn't. I didn't understand what he possibly saw in me. The idea of leaving though became intoxicating. I was sick of being forced to do things I didn't want to do. Sick of being a joke, used for everyone to see every part of me. Violating my bodies trust with pleasure and pain. I was exhausted. Just a side note, I was always getting checked medically. Condoms were used that I remember, but I was out of it sometimes so I'm not sure about all the time...I wasn't completely ravaged but I did deal with one std...But this was way before I ever did anything with D. The first time happened to be this Christmas visit at his dads house (lol). He was so accommodating. Comforting and gentle. Which was my official first time "making love." He wanted me to go back with him but I just couldn't. Anyways, less than a month later, he left again for his base. D asked me yet again to move with him and stay for a while. I knew I was going to have to be humiliated again soon, and probably not too long after that. I decided I was going to go. Just that quick. Up and go. It was the best thing I ever did. I got my plane ticket, and flew out west! When I landed, he picked me up and took me back to this apartment that he just furnished. He had my favorite color lamp shades and kitchen towels. It's making me cry now thinking about it. I didn't understand how or why I deserved this treatment. He was/is seriously amazing to me. I probably tell him this every day, if not multiple times. I don't know why I was blessed with him but I was. He saved my life. I don't think he will ever truly know to the extent in which he saved me. I really don't think I would be alive today. Unfortunately, soon after moving there, I became really depressed. The weight of everything really fell on me and I fucking freaked out. I felt like I lied to D all this time, but there was just no way I would ever tell him anything. I was insanely paranoid my grandma would be killed or something. I just had no idea what to expect, but I knew I had to leave or I would be dead when he was done with me. Luckily D was working during the day because I was a mess around then. Picked myself up when he came home but he knew I was struggling. I started trying anything at all to try to get out of this funk and nothing was really working. One day he came home from work and we drove to this place in the middle of the desert; a small building with what looked like a warehouse size building beside it. It was the humane society and he brought me there to pick a pet to keep me company. That's when I adopted my first cat, who is laying with me right now as I type this. She still provides me comfort. I think he just always knew exactly what I needed when I needed it. He respected my space when it came to everything. He is so patient and loving. We ended up getting married eventually (going on 7 years). I fell head over heels for him. I feel safe with him. Secure. For the first time in my life. We ended up moving back to our home state before our first son was born so when he was born, our family could meet him; more so D's family. Although my home town brought a lot of painful memories to me, we moved back. I had paranoid thoughts at first and struggled with depression, but it faded some. I was here for years and started feeling normal, living my life. Being a mother and wife. Then everything came crashing into my life yet again in November of 2019. I was walking down the aisle at the grocery store as I naturally started looking at the person who was at the end of that aisle. As I stepped closer I thought "ew that looks like...oh my god that's him. He's here. What if he sees me?" And I had to walk past him because there was nowhere else for me to even go the way this store was laid out (unless I wanted to run out of the entrance I just walked into and I wasn't even sure the door would open that way for me!) It was all happening so fast. So many thoughts all at once. I don't know what compelled me to look at him. Just my own morbid curiosity I guess. He was stuck there and his eyes were wide and like bulging. He knew it was me. I kept going and went to the checkout and as I was leaving I noticed he was just now leaving the first aisle by the entrance. So weird. Almost like he was avoiding me as much as I was avoiding him. Now I'm scared to go places alone again. I have paranoid thoughts about leaving. Although it's winter and I usually am naturally a homebody, I have become reclusive and almost never leave the house unless I have to. I feel much safer at home. My husband makes me feel protected. We do have a weapon or two for protection, cameras, and a security system. So this is my safe haven and I want to stay here for now. Sometimes I feel like I should come forward to tell everyone who he truly is. What he's capable of. Because in the back of my mind, I've always had fears he would have killed me. If not me, then maybe someone. Or he could hurt someone else the way he did me. I don't know. I feel so much guilt. I know he lost his job and license to be a teacher anywhere. That may limit his easier access, but who knows what life he leads. He was obviously violent and had humiliating fantasies. I just don't know why after all he ruined of my life, why I have to feel responsible to dedicate even more of my life centered around him. It isn't fair. So I decided to fake my death and move on. It is hard. But everyone knowing the humiliation and him still not being able to be held legally accountable, I'm sure, would have crushed me beyond repair I think. I don't want him to completely annihilate me. I want to now live for ME. I also couldn't admit these things aloud. It's still too hard to admit this was all real. I can't even have social media accounts because I'm too paranoid. Even worse now that I'm a parent. I guess I can sleep nowadays without waking up freaking out like someone is standing there, but this is still looming over me way more than I would like. I'm horrified even writing it all out. I know I'll have to read this again and I'm terrified. I should be writing this out because it's a release from bottling it up for years. It's a way to get it out of me somewhat. But this also makes my thoughts so real it's really hard to come to terms with. If anyone I know were to read this I don't know how I would feel. The unknown scares me so much. I'm reverting to my severe symptoms of ptsd again. I find myself sitting and staring off for like an hour before I realize I'm even doing it. Just so consumed with thoughts. I really hope this can help me. I need help. I never felt like I could be believed with what all he did to me. I actually still don't and that's why I am terrified you're reading this. If you've somehow made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read my story. But a large part of me hopes you didn't read it this far I hope this helps and doesn't make me obsess over deleting it! sam
  11. Well, it’s Wednesday. I’m tired today. I was up late last night and early this morning and I’m ready to go back to my cozy bed and sleep away the rest of the week. Honestly, I haven’t blogged because there’s been nothing to blog about. Everything in my life is just heavy right now. There’s been little good and lots of bad and I just want to post something worth reading. That likely won’t happen today. I guess this blog will be a catch-up session. Since the last blog I posted was about my suicide attempt, I feel I owe everyone an update. I DID post a different blog after that one, but I decided to take it down. It was just…. too dark. I knew no one really wanted to read that. Even if someone DID want to read it, it wasn’t my best writing and I was ashamed that I even posted it. Although it wasn’t the best blog, it was pretty accurate in describing how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s hard to post about anything other than the big things that are right in front of my face. It’s like my feelings are in front of me jumping up and down, waving their arms, and screaming at me to acknowledge them. I’m not entirely sure how to get them to just shut up and leave me alone. So, I posted about it. It didn’t help and I felt bad about it, so I took it down. I’m sorry to anyone that read it. Today, though, will not be about my feelings. In a way, I suppose it will, but overall, I intend to just let you know what’s been going on. Maybe this will help ME in the process. We’ll see I’ve had 2 sessions since the session where I hugged The New Guy. The latter of those session involved The Wife, but the first one did not. This did upset me a little. I had told her a few days prior to the session about the suicide attempt and we talked about it. I also asked her if she would be at that session and she told me yes. So you can imagine my disappointment when I got there and found out she wouldn’t be joining us. That session was…hard. The New Guy started a new program with me that’s supposed to keep me from going to an inpatient facility. We started paperwork on that. I had to use a lot of scales and rate my feelings. On a scale of 1-10, how likely was I to kill myself or, on a scale from 1-5 how much did I hate myself. Then I had to write down my reasons for living and my reasons for dying. I had to tell him what I would do if I was trying to kill myself. Where I would go, what method I would use, what time I would do it. That was hard. This session took about an hour and a half to complete. It wasn’t the easiest session I’ve ever been in, but I was hoping it was productive. I started thinking about things after leaving and realized that I don’t think I was totally honest in some of the numbers I put down. I was terrified that if he knew how bad it was, he would still make me go inpatient. He said he wouldn’t, but…. I was still afraid. I didn’t trust him. He asked if I had a plan to kill myself. My first response was “I’m supposed to say no to that.” I don’t know why I said it – it just kind of came out. My other T has always told me that she wouldn’t make me go inpatient and she wouldn’t call the police as long as I didn’t have a plan. So, to me, plan = inpatient. I was trying to avoid that. After I blurted that sentence, I told him that I didn’t have a plan. He didn’t believe me. He kept saying I needed to be honest. I told him I didn’t have one. Then he seemed to get a little angry – he really didn’t believe me. After that is when he asked me to describe what it would look like if I DID have a plan. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing he put that I did and had me describe everything to him. I don’t know that for sure though. I told him the next day that I didn’t feel I was honest enough with my numbers and he said it was fine. I asked if I could change them and he said no. He said we would work with what we had and if I wasn’t going to commit to it, he would find me a hospital to go to. So, I said okay and left it at that. During the session, the paperwork had me create a stabilization plan. This plan was supposed to help keep me from cutting and also help me combat the suicidal thoughts/tendencies. It has worked for the most part. It’s just when I get super overwhelmed or when I don’t deal with the thoughts immediately, they add up and I end up hurting myself or getting close to another attempt. Which is what happened last night. I’ll get to that later. The next session I had with him was this past Saturday. I asked The Wife if she would be there and again, she said yes. And she actually was there this time. Things felt off from the very beginning. It may have partially been because I REALLY wasn’t wanting to go. I felt like The New Guy was upset with me about a conversation we had earlier in the week, and I felt like The Wife really just doesn’t like that she has to be there. I thought it would be much easier to not go. But, I went. The New Guy showed up almost 10 minutes late which made me feel MORE like a burden. Like he had other things he needed or wanted to be doing and I was just taking up too much of his time. I eventually went in and the room we usually have sessions in was filled with all kinds of boxes and things and wasn’t usable. So, we relocated to a different room. The new room we went to was one we had used for a session before, so I was okay with that. It felt comfortable enough. But for some reason, there was a smell. It wasn’t abhorrent, but it wasn’t pleasant. I kind of smelled like stale air and mildew, but it wasn’t too strong. It was bearable. Well, it was bearable for ME. The New Guy seemed okay with it too but The Wife… not so much. She wasn’t a fan. We decided to relocate again. At this point, we were running out of rooms that had the amount of privacy we needed. We ended up going upstairs to a cold room with dim lighting. There was no table, so we grabbed some chairs and sat in an awkward circle. My appointment was supposed to be at 3:00pm but the by the time The New Guy got there and we found somewhere to go, it was about 3:20pm. I only had 40 minutes and I knew he had someone scheduled at 4:00pm. Now I was feeling rushed because of how much time was wasted, I felt bad that The Wife was so uncomfortable with the other room because of the smell, I was uncomfortable because I thought The New Guy was upset with me or just flustered in general, I felt weird in the new environment and I was ready to go. I was set up for a bad session. I wrote a blog one time called Misconceptions of a Wandering Mind and in that blog, I talked about overthinking. I am an AVID overthinker. I read way too much into things, I try to find hidden meanings behind things that are said to me, I overthink assignments because the perfectionistic part of me doesn’t want to do anything wrong, and I always worry about what other people are thinking about me. You can imagine how this plays into my sessions and makes me more nervous. The New Guy has a way of asking questions that I don’t always know how to answer. The way he phrases things… I just never know what to say or how to answer him. I often times tell him that ‘I don’t know what kind of answer he’s looking for,’ and he will tell me that he’s not looking for anything specific, he just wants me to answer honestly. It’s just that I don’t always understand the questions. With my fear of being wrong, these questions often render me completely speechless and cause me to freeze. It makes for a lot of awkward time during sessions. So, we jumped right into the next part of the program we are doing. Session number 2. He starts asking about my attachments to other people. He asks me to describe what my relationship with my family looks like. I didn’t really know what he meant, and he asked me to start listing things I liked about my family and things I disliked. He had me grab a pen and paper and write this all down. I went on to write things about friendships, and other relationships in my life. This sounds like such a simple task when I write about it here, but my overthinking brain was on overdrive and I was struggling with this. The New Guy eventually says “this was meant to be easy. This isn’t a hard thing to do,” and I said I understood, I just didn’t know what to write. I could tell he was frustrated with me. I started shutting down. I was just trying to wait out the time until 4:00 so I could get out of there. The New Guy says we’ve hit a barrier and he doesn’t know what’s going on or where the resistance was coming from. I finally told him that I thought he was upset or mad at me and I didn’t know how to do the assignment and I was having hard time doing it right. He says he’s not upset, but his tone said otherwise. He said there was no evidence to show that he was mad and he didn’t know why I thought that because he clearly wasn’t. He just didn’t understand what was going on. The Wife chimes in and said there had to be evidence or I wouldn’t feel the way I was feeling. She asked if it was a tone or the way someone was sitting. I didn’t answer. I just looked down while I was crying. I didn’t know what to do. I was thankful she took my side though. The New Guy lets out a sigh, adjusts his sitting position, and says a bunch of things that I don’t hear. We start wrapping up and he asks me another question. I honestly don’t remember what the question even was, I just remember saying “I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know. I just don’t know.” The Wife kind of laughed but I wasn’t laughing. I said “I know you’re going to be mad because I’m just saying I don’t know, but I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t know what you want me to say. I just don’t know what you’re looking for.” I had hit my breaking point. My words were more forceful that I intended, but I was done. I couldn’t keep feeling that way. He went on to say a lot of things but I was so dissociated that I have no idea what he said. He finally said, “are you hearing me?” and I responded with a slight nod even though I really didn’t hear anything at all. He gave me homework and I agreed to do it. I was saying whatever I could say just to get out of there. I left the building, got in my car, and I broke. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I felt like such a disappointment and I felt so defeated. I never wanted to see either of them ever again. I stayed in the parking lot crying for a solid half hour. When I was finally able to catch my breath, I tried to calm myself down so I could move on. I had a couple of errands to run so I put my headphones in, blasted some music, and got my errands done. The rest of the day was hard. I cried a lot. I was inconsolable. I got home and laid down. I was so low. My heart was broken and I felt like I was letting everyone down. I drew a bath, grabbed a blade, and headed to the bathroom. I closed the doors and sat in the tub contemplating the very existence of my being. What was the point in trying anymore? Things just kept getting worse. Obviously, I didn’t die that night or I wouldn’t be here typing this out. I wanted to though. I wanted to say goodbye and wish this life away because I didn’t see the point and living with all of this pain any longer. I got out of the bath, toweled off, threw on a t-shirt and got in bed. I was drained. I took my meds and went to sleep. The days following have been fuzzy. It doesn’t seem like it’s only Wednesday. It feels like that was weeks ago and I’m just missing the time in between. Luckily, tomorrow is Thursday and I can see my other T and release all of this. Last night was another hard one. I really don’t want to get into the details of what happened last night because I am embarrassed and ashamed. I feel disgusting. I was so upset last night after it happened. I let it happen because I didn’t care about myself – I just wanted to feel SOMETHING. I was so numb. I felt worse afterwards. I felt like I had no one I could talk to and nothing would make me feel better so I did the only thing I knew how to do – the only thing I thought would make me feel better and make me feel less numb. I grabbed a blade and headed to the bathroom. I didn’t draw a bath this time. I simply lifted my shirt and the side of my underwear and started sliding that sharp, silver blade across my right hip – my favorite cutting spot. I suppose it was because I was cutting over old cuts, but the bleeding was the worst it’s ever been. Those that are cutters know that when you cut, the blood makes dots in a line across where you’ve made the incision. For me, it pools, but never too much no matter how deep I go. This time was different. It was bleeding profusely. It beaded in a line like normal, but it just started dripping down my leg so quickly. I could see the blood pouring out and it was trailing down my leg onto my foot. It was scary. I’ve never bled so bad before. The cuts didn’t even seem that deep, I barely felt them. I’m not sure if I was just THAT numb, or if it was because I was cutting over old cuts that made it bleed so much. I cleaned up the cuts and the rest of my leg. My paper towels were soaked with blood. I put a band aid on and disposed of the saturated towels. I put my blade back up in the safe place and went to bed. I was so alone, so tired, and just so broken. Everything in my life feels so dark right now. I can’t see the way out of this hole that I’m in. I keep saying I’ll try harder, but I don’t know HOW. I’m doing everything I know to do. I’m trying my best. I’m trying to put in the work but I’m just not getting better. It’s exhausting feeling this way. Being constantly trapped in your own mind with negative thoughts that won’t stop. I know this blog hasn’t been fun, but I owed you an update. This is why I’ve been so scarce lately and why no one has heard much from me. I’m just so far into my own stuff right now that I haven’t been able to offer much for support. I haven’t even really been able to reach out for support for myself. I hope you are all doing well. I hope that there’s light and sunshine in each of your lives and you’re making it through on this journey called life. I know I’ll be okay soon – I’m just going through a rough patch. I’ll be okay though. Wishing you all the light and sending as many hugs as you’d like. My best, Poppy
  12. Whether we're talking about hindsight or vision, it seemed right to title this blog with something that's coming for us all. I'm SO ready for 2019 to be over. How 'bout you? While there have been some redeeming moments that it'd be unfair to acknowledge, this year has been overall shitty. There has been more sadness than happiness, more frustration than there have been genuine smiles, and more tears than....well, you get the picture. I've gained weight, I'm experiencing pain and discomfort in two areas of my body that I'm having to get checked out by a doctor before school starts back up, and both my heart and soul have taken a beating many times over during 2019. Physically, my ticker is still pumping but it's been through the wringer. While things have improved, I have emotionally taken significant damage and this tear may take longer to repair. I haven't been 'myself,' lately, but have been trying to come back to who I was - and as a bonus, be BETTER than who I was last year. Steps have been taken and the path is paved; I've just got to keep going. In order to do so, I need to slam the door on 2019 and step into 2020 with a renewed outlook. I need to set my goals and stick to them, I need to not lose sight of what I want (and we ALL know how easy it is to do that) and I need to take care of myself. That's one major problem I had this year - I let myself go, physically, emotionally, mentally. I don't know how I managed to keep it together, but...SHIT, it wasn't easy! I know what I need to work on, and I know how to do it....now I've just gotta commit to it! The stage was kind of already set for the holidays to be, by default, crappy. My mother was starting her shit after Halloween was over with, on who was going where for Christmas Eve, my fiancee planned (last year) to be out of town for Christmas this year, and I was already dreading the idea of being alone this year. And again, there were a few rare moments where there was joy, but for the most part, each day leading up to Christmas has left me wanting to isolate - and I did. I didn't want to be near anyone, didn't want to talk, I didn't want my 'bah-humbug's' to affect those who actually enjoy the 'happiest time of the year.' (Whoever coined Christmas to be this - is deluded, I tell you - because 'happiest' doesn't quite fit!) Even after Christmas was over - it didn't feel like it was 'over.' The sourness and bitterness lingered on - and it might, until I effectively dismantle the tree, take down my garlands that I effortlessly threw across the mantle, pull down the lights from the one window I hung them in, and throw everything up into the attic until next year's Black Friday. I actually wanted to do all of this on the 26th, but as my mother decided to come visit for my birthday yesterday, I left them up so that she could enjoy the Christmas decor before I ripped it all down and tossed it all, along with the rest of 2019. I've literally had NO time to myself for the last week. For the beginning part, I did - I spent much of it alone. In a daze, kinda just...existing. "Is it over, yet?" played over and over in my head, while just going through the motions and not really investing in all of the festivities. It was more of like, a chore, than anything else. My wife spent Christmas with her family out-of-state, and I chose to stay behind so that I could be there with my kids. I was having guests on Christmas Eve, so I cleaned. I cooked. None of it was for me. It was all for my kids and my ex - because when he's happy, the kids are cooperative and generally, everything goes smoother. I know I spoke about our holiday arrangements in an earlier blog and it's the same, year after year...I sacrifice a LOT during the holidays so that my kids can have both their parents present. It is VERY rarely what I want it to be, and this year was no different - it was just MUCH harder, with my better half not even being present. Having everyone over for Christmas Eve was similar to setting a kitchen timer and counting down the minutes before everything was over with. I threw myself into an end-year pause; because I really didn't want to feel. I just watched everyone else enjoy, I fake-smiled my way through it. Inside, though, there was a huge, significant void. I was hurting, and I was sobbing, but I'd be damned if I let anyone see that. I just told myself that once it was over, I could just 'flush' it all and hope for the best next year. The holidays just weren't something I wanted to deal with this year, but alas, there's simply no choice where that's concerned - they show up every year, whether you're ready or not. I do hope, someday, some of that holiday spirit will return and I don't have to feel the need to scowl at the little Christmas displays at the store, despite the sheer prettiness of it all. It is just genuinely HARD to care, when those around you don't seem to care, either. If it wasn't for me, there would be no tree up in my house. There would be no presents under the tree. There would be NO decorations, no lights in the windows. I've always been the one to haul down all the decor on the day after Thanksgiving, and to 'Christmasize,' and the kids would all laugh at my OCD while placing the lights and trying to ensure all the little multi-colored bulbs were facing the right direction, and none would really even offer to help with the decorating or the preparing....I used to think that maybe it was because they all had things to do to keep them occupied - school, work, etc - and I was the one who was always home, so who better to do it all? They all knew that I had it handled, and that I could be relied on to do it all. But now, this year, I'm in school, too. I bust my ass every day to make sure I turn in my best work, my best efforts. I pulled a 3.8 last semester, so that puts me 15 credits closer to my bachelor's, which is one good thing having happened in 2019. The next year and a half will be a continuation of my education, and at some point, I may start working. What's going to happen, then? Who's gonna bring Christmas to my house, because this year, if nothing else, has been a real eye-opener on who it all falls on, who's the glue, who's the one who pulls it all off when it comes to the shopping, the wrapping, the stoking of holiday spirit, when there simply is none IN me to begin with. And, in the end, there's thank-you's, there's 'you did a great job,' and 'you cooked a delicious meal,' but there's still that lingering feeling that I'm truly the only one who gives a shit. My one and only love was not here with me. Neither one of my kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Of course, I would have told them, 'nothing at all,' because I don't ever want my children worrying about what material item they could give me - I'd know the thought was there and the sentiment alone would have been satisfying, but they didn't even ASK. Instead, there's lists of what they WANT on my desk, in my text messages....new XBOX controller, new sneakers, LED lights for their room, cosmetics, money, gift cards to whatever-the-fuck-it is, and that stings, too. Yet, I took their lists, threw everything on my credit cards, and pulled it off - because as always, others' happiness is more important than my own. Maybe I need to not give too much of a shit, anymore...something's got to give. As of right now, I've not said anything to my family about how much I didn't enjoy this year's Christmas, and I probably won't....because it's over with, it's done. What's the point? It will just make J feel guilty for not being here (but she wasn't here for a lot of the rest of this year's struggles, so it's probably best she spent Christmas with her family) and it will cause guilt in my children, something I never want to do. And so, I shall flush this emotional turd, and look forward to the brand new year, where MUCH will be changed up. Fewer fucks will be given (and not just pertaining to the holidays), and I'll bet things will be happier and will go a whole lot smoother. Originally, I wasn't going to blog, today, but, really, what kind of a blogger am I if I don't put out an end-year reflection of sorts? I know that my writing was yet another thing that I kind of 'slacked' on, but I'm hoping to get some of that, back, too. And now, to you all, my AS family: If you're struggling, I wish for you, lots of comfort. When times are dark, I wish you light. If you're in pain, I wish for you, relief. If you're feeling lost, I wish for you, clarity. For each moment of sadness, I wish for you a million small moments that make you smile. If you're lonely, I wish for you, friendship and companionship. If you're all of the above, I wish for 2020 to show you all that good things are possible, and that all of the work we do on ourselves, will pay off. I also send you strength, positivity and all of my love. Happy New Year, - Capulet
  13. This post contains very graphic references to sexual abuse. I ask that you would not read ahead if you are not in the mind to do so. Please proceed with caution. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Poppy, this isn’t a Friday! Speaking of Friday, where the heck were you this week?’ My apologies to everyone that keeps up with my blog entries weekly or those of you that were looking forward to a post from me. I was taking a small break from AS after some events that transpired and caused me quite a bit of emotional and mental pain. I don’t feel that I really have the liberty to go into much detail, but I was very hurt, and I needed some space to heal. I am back now and hoping to be as active as I was before my mini vacation. I’ve missed you all! Now, there isn’t much to update on as far as my dieting endeavor. I have lost more weight, though, so I am headed in the right direction! My glutes are also very sore right now and I’m tempted to stand up while I type, but… my laziness outweighs the pain so, seated I shall stay! Aside from that, I have no more lighthearted news to fill you in on. This weekend has been a lot for me to process and I’m hoping that by typing this blog, I can get some big chunks of this stuff processed and I can feel better. There have been some new realizations coming to light recently, and it’s been a lot for me to take in. I started seeing a second therapist this weekend. The reasoning for two is that my main therapist specializes in EMDR and my new therapist is really experienced with DBT – both are therapies I need right now. So, I am seeing the male therapist as a supplemental therapy along with my main therapy. I know – I’m all kinds of messed up. I was very nervous about meeting with The New Guy. I already knew him and his wife before I started seeing him for therapy, and I was already pretty close to his wife, but still – I was so nervous. Also, seeing a male kind of freaked me out. I have personal issues with most men, especially men that are in some sort of authoritative position, so I was very apprehensive to tell him about everything. I was so nervous, in fact, that when we first spoke about me doing counseling with him, he mentioned that his wife could be present if I wanted her to be and I immediately said yes. I found comfort in knowing that she was sitting right across the table from me. She already knew most of the information I gave, but not all of it. The conversation took an unexpected turn and I told him things I never thought I would tell anyone. I will get to that stuff in just a minute. I’m going to go ahead and insert a trigger warning here for references to sexual assault and CSA. Please don’t read ahead if you don’t feel like you are in the mind to do so. You can always come back when you feel you are in a better place. My appointment was set for 1:15pm. I arrived at the building and parked my car at 1:14pm. I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there, but I saw other vehicles and got nervous. I was texting The Wife and telling her I was nervous because of the other vehicles, but she didn’t respond. At 1:20pm, I finally worked up the courage to go inside. I got to the door and it was locked. I called The Wife and she came to let me inside, then proceeded to tell me what office The New Guy was in and that she had to use the bathroom. I mean, of course she did. My only source of comfort was leaving me so she could pee. I walked into the office, which was a conference room with a long table, and The New Guy told me to sit wherever I liked, so I sat across from him. A safe distance and The Wife could sit on the end to next to me. We started on preliminary paperwork and The New Guy says he can’t sit so far away from me and moves to the seat I had reserved, in my mind, for The Wife – my safety blanket. Had she not decided she had to pee, she could’ve already been sitting there. I inch a little further away because, well, a male presence so close to me made me more nervous than I already was. The Wife finally comes in from her potty break and sits across from me. Although I had named her my source of comfort, I was immediately MORE nervous. My legs wouldn’t stop bouncing, my hands would stop shaking, and my breath was shallow and rapid. I finish all the paperwork and The New Guy says to me, “So, what’s up?” I had no words to use to respond. I mean, what do I say? Do I just spit out all of my secrets, or do I say, ‘not much?’ What answer was he looking for? I responded with a “you have to ask something more specific than that,” and he did. He asked why I was there. Truth is, I was there because The Wife said she thought he could help me. I told him that and he asked why she felt that way. I darted back an “I don’t know, ask her,” and, well, he didn’t. Instead, I told him that the first 5 sessions with main T, I barely said 4 words to her, and he said he didn’t want that to happen here. He switched gears a little bit and opened up an actual conversation. I don’t remember exactly what he asked, but I remember it got us on the topic of self-harm. I told him that I am a cutter and have been since I was 10 or 11. He asked what happened to me that made me hurt myself for the first time and why I was doing it. We talked about that for a little bit and then landed on my eating disorder. After that, we moved to alcohol abuse. This is where things took a turn that I didn’t expect. He asked me about the rape. He already knew I was raped, but he knew no details of it – just that it happened. He asked if it was violent or if there were weapons involved. I said no, but that I was very intoxicated and possibly drugged and consciousness was drifting in and out. He asked if the monster that did this to me, also took my virginity – I told him no. I lost my virginity when I was 11 or 12. He seemed taken aback by my response. I guess because I was so young when it happened. He asked if the boy was my age and if the sex was something I had thought about before or if I had been exposed to any pornography or anything else like that prior to my sexual encounter with the boy when I was 12. I told him he was my age, but it wasn’t my first sexual experience. He asked me to describe my other sexual experiences to him. This is the part where it gets pretty graphic and uncomfortable and BELIEVE ME, I was BEYOND uncomfortable when I had to talk about this out loud. I was also really ashamed. This isn’t a part of my past I wanted to relive. I proceeded to tell him about the boy I knew in 4th or 5th grade. The boy that wanted me to sit with him in the back of the daycare van after school and give him handjobs. The boy that would convince me it was okay and knew I couldn’t say no. The boy that only talked to me to get his fix. The New Guy asks how I knew what to do. I say I don’t know. Then he asks if this is my first sexual encounter. I tell him no – but the other one was with a girl. He asked for details. I told him about the girl I knew when I was 7 that was mt best friend at daycare. I tell him that we were watching TV while the younger kids napped, and she leans over and asks me if I’m horny. I tell The New Guy that 7-year-old Poppy didn’t know what that meant, so that girl explained it to me. I told her I didn’t feel that way, but she said she did. We went over to lay down beside the vending machines in the corner. I tell The New Guy that we put coats over ourselves and touched each other. I don’t remember if I told him that this became a regular occurrence, or perhaps he knew from the way I spoke about it, but this became something we did every day at naptime. It was routine. Prior to this, I had told him that I didn’t remember anything from before age 6. I really don’t. My memories there are completely blank. He thinks I may have been sexually abused before then and I just don’t remember. There were more situations like this when I was young that I negated to tell him simply because it didn’t matter. He knew the base of what he needed to know. I didn’t tell The New Guy about my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter when I was 10. I didn’t tell him about how she was much older than me and when I shared a bed with her, she would give me candy to kiss her and let her touch me. I didn’t tell him about how no matter how many times I said I didn’t want to do it, she pleaded with me to say yes. I didn’t tell him about how we got caught, and she didn’t get punished. I didn’t tell The New Guy about the other guys that I obliged with handjobs and lap dances and sex. I kept to myself all the other girls that touched me because I touched them back and I knew that meant it was consensual and it didn’t matter. The New Guy tells me this was all sexual abuse. That I was abused and taken advantage of and that people have been using my body for my entire life and it makes him so angry. He said it infuriates him. I told him that I told my other therapist about this and she told me it was normal. It was normal for kids to explore like this. The New Guy says, “it is not normal for 7 and 8-year-olds to be doing things like this,” and I was confused because I was told that it WAS normal. The New Guy says even now, my body is being used as an object for other people’s enjoyment or pleasure. I’m hurting all over right now. The weight of his words sits so heavily on my shoulders that I can barely hold my body up. I didn’t know that any of this was wrong or that I was abused – I thought it was normal. I feel dirty. I feel disgusting. I feel broken. I feel so, so alone. I’m too afraid to try to uncover the memories before age 6. There must be a reason why my mind has blocked this out. I thought it was because I had a crappy memory but now.. I don’t know. I never thought much of this stuff until The New Guy asked me how I knew how to touch the boy on the daycare van. I can’t remember if he told me what to do, or if it was my idea, or if I just ‘knew.’ I don’t know where I learned it – I only remember doing it. I don’t remember if at 9 years old, that was the first penis I touched. I don’t remember if the boy was old enough to get hard, but I knew he wasn’t old enough to cum. He couldn’t ‘finish,’ so we would stop when we got close to being at the daycare. I had several memories come back to me while I was typing that out. I had to put the writing down for the rest of the day so I could process. I am here now, and I’m going to share the new memories I have. Funny how that happens, right? New memories just come flooding in. Anyway, here’s what I remember now. When I was typing about the boy on the daycare van and how he couldn’t ‘finish,’ I was thinking about how there was no ‘clean up’ to get done before arriving back at the daycare. That made me remember that there WAS clean up to be done, but it wasn’t cum – it was my saliva. At 9 years of age, I was giving a boy blowjobs on the daycare van. That thought didn’t sit well with me. In fact, it made me so uneasy that it brought back another memory almost immediately after. For a while, I couldn’t remember if this was something I wanted to do or if it was something he told me to do. I know I’ve already mentioned that, but now I remember. I remember that every day I would get on the daycare van and hope to God that the boy wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, I was free. On the days he WAS there, I remember my heart sinking to the bottom of my chest and holding back the tears because I didn’t want to touch him, but I felt like I had no choice. I HAD to do it, or he would be mad at me. I have always been a people-pleaser. My whole life has been about making other people happy. Aside from that, I HATED getting in trouble. I have always been a rule follower because I hated it when my parents were disappointed in me. This is another reason I KNOW that there’s no way I would have voluntarily put my hands on his organ in the back of a daycare van. It’s another reason I could never tell anyone and I lied about it when my parents asked me what was going on. I didn’t want them to be mad at me. I was talking about this with a dear friend of mine last night because I was trying to process everything. It seems the more I try to process, the more parts come back to me. It was hours after I decided to put the blog down, but there was another new memory. I remembered that not only did this boy want me to put my hands and mouth on him, but I remember that he put his hands down the front of my pants and into my panties. I can’t remember if I wanted this or if I asked him to do it. I don’t know if he thought he was being nice because of what I was doing for him. I don’t know if my 9-year-old blowjobs were too stale for him and he needed a little extra play to get himself going. I have no idea if I protested this. Perhaps that will come to me later along with more puzzle pieces that I can fit together to get a full picture. I don’t know if The New Guy was right. I don’t know if this was sexual abuse. I don’t know if I can claim that I am a survivor of CSA or not. Maybe this is something I’m rejecting because it hurts or maybe I still haven’t fully processed it. I DO know that I would not like any comments to reflect that it was NOT sexual abuse. I will gladly accept the support or your opinion on if you think this was, indeed, abuse, but I don’t need the invalidation right now. This is all still very new to me and I’m still processing things. My mind is too fragile to accept any negative feedback as it will impact my thoughts too heavily right now. I feel like I should go ahead and end this post because I could probably type all day. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every person that read this and is sitting here supporting me. Your kindness means the world to me. I’m happy to be back on AS and to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Thank you all for everything you do. Soon, Poppy
  14. 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
  15. Well, folks, I think I’m making progress! In some areas, it seems things are really regressing and I feel like a failure. In other areas, I can feel healing happening and trust blooming and progress being made. I took a HUGE step with The New Guy this weekend. I mean – huge. It may seem insignificant to some of you, but for me this was a really big deal. I was going to keep this private, but I’ve decided that I want to share. I haven’t updated you all since I posted my story and it’s long overdue for me to post. I’m going to start at the beginning of this weekend. No, actually, I’m going to go back to last Thursday. I don’t know if the events of Thursday REALLY influenced the activities of this weekend, but it may be important to include them anyway. As always, I’m going to submit a trigger warning early because this WILL get graphic. If you’re sensitive to self-harm, this may not be a good post to read. Take caution reading ahead. So, Thursday. For me, Thursday is Therapy Day. I see my trauma therapist every Thursday and this week was no different. After posting my story here, I decided to share it with my Thursday T. I shared this before Thanksgiving and had not seen her since she got to read it, so I was already a little on edge going into the session. She didn’t even really bring it up, but later she mentioned some details from the story and I felt okay about it. We decided that it would be a good day to do some EMDR processing. The last time we tried this, it was too much for me to handle and I freaked out so I was a bit nervous. I was able to push through 2 sets, but the last one we had to stop. She said she was proud of me for pushing as much as I did and then she helped me to center and re-focus before leaving. All in all, it was a good session. She even gave me a hug (which she rarely does) at the end of the session because she knew it was a hard thing for me to do. For the remainder of the day, I felt pretty okay emotionally. I had a lot of stuff to do so my brain was constantly busy and focused on something. It was later that night when things settled down that everything hit me. I started having impulses to hurt myself or do something very self-destructive. I don’t know if it was related to the EMDR but that was all I felt that I could tie it to. I messaged one of my friends to talk it out and she told me I should email my T. So, I did. I sent Thursday T an email and told her what I was experiencing and told her that I thought it was related to the EMDR processing and maybe I was just feeling too much after that session. She told me that she wasn’t sure if it was related to the EMDR, but gave me some guidance and told me some things to do to keep myself safe and cope with the thoughts. I felt better by the time I went to sleep that night and Friday I was feeling a lot better. Still a little drained, but better than I was feeling the day before. Friday night, though, things changed. I don’t really know why I made the choice that I made. I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t know what it was that made me want to do this. I decided to go out drinking with a friend Friday night. I made a promise to myself a little less than a month ago that I was not going to drink anymore. I use alcohol as a way to be self-destructive and put myself in danger. I’m not really supposed to be drinking anyway because of the medication I’m on. I was feeling reckless and decided I didn’t care – I wanted to go out. After making the plans to go, I almost cancelled. I had his sick feeling in my stomach and I knew it would be better to stay home and have a quiet evening to myself. I ignored my gut feeling and I went anyway. The night wasn’t fun. I didn’t have a good time. The whole night, I just kept thinking about how sad I was. My T has told me that I really shouldn’t be drinking because alcohol is a depressant. Mixed with my already lingering feelings of depression and my medication, alcohol is likely to push me over the edge. At some point through the night, I thought about cutting. It was a quick thought. It just popped in my head and I tried to dismiss it, but I couldn’t. It stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the night. I put on a happy face and acted like I was having fun. I danced, I smiled, I laughed. But once I went to the bathroom and I was alone, I just sat there in sadness thinking about how all I wanted to do was hurt myself. The more I drank, the worse I felt. There was no pulling myself out of the hole I had created for myself. I couldn’t wait to get home and just be done with this. Done with myself. I got home around 2am. Everything from here on was done without even thinking about it. It was like I was a robot doing what I was made to do. It all happened so fast and without a second thought. I made it inside and set my stuff down in my bedroom. I immediately turned around, grabbed the shed keys out of the drawer, and made my way to the backyard. I unlocked the shed, walked inside and found the toolbox that I knew was holding the boxcutter I had placed there less than a month ago. I grabbed the tool and went back inside. I walked into the bathroom and grabbed my roll of paper towels from the cabinet. I tore off 2 towels, ran one under the water and kept one dry. This was how I always prepped. I walked back into the room, took off my pants, pulled down the side of my underwear to reveal my right hip, and sat on the bed. I picked up the boxcutter, opened it, and removed the blade from inside. I knew this was a clean blade because I had put it in there not too long ago. In hindsight, there’s no way that blade was sterile. The inside of the boxcutter was filthy. The blade LOOKED clean, but that likely wasn’t the case. I proceeded to put the cold blade against my hip and slide it across. I was anticipating a rush of relief – to feel the weight and heaviness lifted from my shoulders as it has always done in the past. That didn’t happen. Instead, I started feeling worse. So, I repeated the process. It still wasn’t working. I tried again, and again, and again and at this point tears are flowing, I’ve lost control and I just can’t stop. I was feeling so much worse. There was blood running down my leg, soaking through my damp paper towel. The cold, wet cloth felt soothing over the stinging cuts that were now covering my hip. I continued to push the sharp blade into my skin and pull. At this moment, the thought crossed my mind. The thought of how EASY it would be to move the blade to my wrist and just be completely done. To end it all. The pain, the hurt, the shame. How easily I could forget about the rape and the sexual abuse in my childhood. How easy it would be for me to reach that sense of peace that I’ve been longing for. To end this race that has exhausted me in every way possible. I didn’t do it. I stopped. I set the blade down and I cried. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. There was blood everywhere, on my hip, my hand, my arm. The paper towel was no longer white, it was bright red and I was still bleeding. I cleaned up and tried to get the bleeding to stop because I didn’t have enough bandaids to cover what I had done. I pulled the side of my underwear up above the cuts so they could breathe while I cleaned up the mess I had just made. I returned the blade to the boxcutter and set it on my nightstand. I grabbed my paper towels and walked to the trashcan to toss them. Once I felt I could go to bed, I checked the cuts to make sure they weren’t bleeding too much. There was still some blood so I cleaned it up and then placed the side of my underwear back over the top of the cuts. It hurt. I grabbed some shorts off my bedroom floor and carefully put them on so they wouldn’t move my underwear that was protecting the fresh wounds. I hoped that with two layers of clothing covering them, if they opened in my sleep, the blood wouldn’t get on my sheets. I crawled into bed, laid my head on my pillow, and silently sobbed until I fell asleep. The night was restless. I barely slept at all. I had to work the next morning so I got up, got dressed, and headed out. It felt like there was a cloud of shame over me the entire day. I was a mess. While at work, I had to excuse myself because I couldn’t stop crying. I felt awful about what I had done and I was feeling so unsafe. I just wanted the nightmare to end. I made it home, slept for a couple of hours, and cried some more. It was like, no matter how much I cried, I was never out of tears. I had no energy to do anything. I talked with one of my friends for most of the day and that was helpful – she was the only person that I wanted to talk to that day. Aside from that, I just wanted to sleep and do nothing. I felt so broken. My heart was hurting, my hip was hurting, I couldn’t keep the tears from clouding my vision, and I was truly regretful of everything that happened the night before. I was wishing I would have taken my own advice and moved the blade to my wrist so I could be done feeling like this. There was no relief from the pain I was in – nothing was helping. I felt like I could barely breathe and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep my mind off of it. I was drowning. Sunday wasn’t much better. I was still in a lot of physical pain and I just felt like there was this weight on me. Everything felt heavy. The only motivation I had that day was knowing that I would be seeing The New Guy and I would be able to tell him what happened. I knew I would be seeing his wife and while I felt she would be disappointed in my actions, I needed comfort – especially from her. I needed to hear that I was okay and that I was safe and that the moment had passed. I wanted her to reassure me that I was loved and cared for. And above anything, I wanted someone to tell me that they were happy that I didn’t end my life that night. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. The New Guy had just gotten back to town from a trip and I KNEW he was exhausted. I could see it on his face, hear it in his voice, and I know that he only slept for a couple of hours the night before. I offered to let him cancel my session and move it to next week. As much as I did NOT want him to take me up on my offer, I insisted that he take the time to rest if he needed it. Luckily, he declined and I was able to have my session that day. The New Guy’s Wife was absent from the session. Part of me knew this would happen, but I asked about her anyway. The New Guy informed me that she had other things going on and would not be present. I was sad, but I knew I would still be able to talk to The New Guy so I was okay. This in itself is progress though. This is only the second time I’ve had a session alone with The New Guy and I wasn’t afraid. I felt comfortable being in the same room as him without The Wife being present. This was a first. He asked me how things were going like he usually does. Instead of my normal ‘everything is great’ line, I told him things weren’t very good. I wasn’t doing well. After he asked what was going on, I did some beating around the bush but eventually told him what I did. I barely got the words out before the rivers started flowing from my eyes. He talked. A lot. I listened and I cried. I was so overwhelmed, but I finally felt that safety I was longing for. Being there with him – it felt safe. Talking about what happened and knowing that I made it through that and it was over, it made me feel that rush of relief that I needed. I was finally feeling all of the things I was missing, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was like a breath of fresh air. At the same time, I was still feeling that brokenness. The need for him to wrap me in his arms and tell me I would be okay was strong. I knew it wouldn’t happen, I just wanted to feel that kindness and the compassion that is shown with a hug. It was nothing inappropriate that I desired, I just wanted to feel whole. During the session, he mentioned hospitalization. Yikes. That’s not something I ever wanted to do. Honestly, I never thought I was to the point of needing it. It seems that things may be worse than what I can really see right now. I spoke about this with a friend of mine last night and she agrees with The New Guy – she thinks it’s a viable option. That scares me. I told her that inpatient is for people with real issues. People that are truly at risk for killing themselves or are very depressed and I’m just not in that place. She told me that I WAS in that place. To me, it seemed like it was just one bad night where I got a little carried away and lost control. But I’m OKAY. I’m fine. Nothing happened. But, it would appear that I’m not as okay as I’d like to believe that I am. I suppose, from the outside, I’m doing a lot worse than I realize. Yeah…that’s terrifying. The bottom line is that I don’t want to go inpatient. That scares me. I just can’t see that I am to that point yet. I’m hoping to get control of this now so that doesn’t happen. I’m also very nervous to tell my Thursday T about what happened. I don’t know what she will say about it. But, I suppose that’s a story for a later date. I know I said in the beginning of this blog that I was making progress. Everything I’ve told you up to this point was the opposite of progress – I realize that. What I’m about to tell you is the part where I feel I’m making progress. At the end of the session, I tell The New Guy that I need to ask him a question. He tells me to go ahead. I preface my question with telling him things he already knows. I told him that I don’t trust men and I don’t like to be alone with men which is why I always have his wife present. I also told him that men make me nervous and I don’t like physical contact. I barely even hug my own father. Men scare me. Then I asked if he would give me a hug. He said yes. It was the most sincere, healing, safe hug I have felt in such a long time. He was so kind to me and he said he was so honored that I trusted him enough to ask for that. He said he knows my feelings towards men, and he was so grateful that I opened up to him like that. There was a time not too long ago that if we were talking and he took a step closer or inched towards me, I would back away. I never wanted to do therapy with him because he was a male. I’ve been so hurt by the men in my life, I didn’t trust that someone could be kind and gentle with me and be so sincere. I am so glad that I asked for that hug and I’m so glad that he was so receptive. It was safe. So, I guess in closing, I want to say that I’m proud of myself for trusting The New Guy the way I did. It has taken a lot of work for me to build this relationship. I’m just happy that he’s been so constant and didn’t leave when I was apprehensive or when I tried to shut him out. This feels...safe. I don’t know where I stand emotionally right now. This weekend was a roller coaster and I have tally marks on my hip as a constant reminder of the darkness that consumed me Friday night. I don’t know WHEN I’ll be over this. It’s still pretty fresh. I know this blog wasn’t very friendly and I apologize for my sad story saga. I will try to post something a little more lighthearted next time! I hope that you’re all doing well. Hugs to everyone! Love, Poppy
  16. 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
  17. Hi there 😊 I'm from the UK, and I just needed some place to feel safe to talk about my experiences. ❤️
  18. Thank goodness it doesn't affect me the way it use to!!! There use to be a lot of shame around sex/masturbation. A lot of the sex I had was for the other person, not for myself. Even if I wanted to be sexual as well, once we started, it was as if I removed myself from it and just went through the motions of whatever the other person wanted to do. And even though I've had many giving partners who were looking to take care of me, not just themselves, and I wanted it/them too, once, we were in the act, I would regress. When I was younger, I had a lot of sexual triggers. Waking up to someone touching me sexually was a big one for a long time. My partners learned that one real quick. Giving oral was definitely a trigger. Receiving oral would cause me to regress. And again, even though, I enjoyed it, there was always this underlined checkout/regression/timid side of me that would come out. For many years, I felt as if I were numb, sexually. My sexual body parts did not feel the sensations like it does today. I was unable to orgasm — I think when you train your body to not respond for so many years, it takes a lot of recovery to get it back. The sexual abuse caused me to be promiscuous for many years of my life. Having sex with someone I just met or didn't even like was not unusual for me. If someone was persistent enough, I'd go along with it. For many years, I would have to think of the abuse/my abusers to enjoy masturbation/sometimes even sex. I think this may have been a control thing for me. I am now at a place where I can enjoy pleasuring myself without all the negative tapes. I am also able to enjoy being sexual with my partner. I enjoy doing things, I don't just do them. I look forward to it. I think I have a pretty healthy view of sex and a healthy sex life today.
  19. Thank goodness it doesn't affect me the way it use to!!! There use to be a lot of shame around sex/masturbation. A lot of the sex I had was for the other person, not for myself. Even if I wanted to be sexual as well, once we started, it was as if I removed myself from it and just went through the motions of whatever the other person wanted to do. And even though I've had many giving partners who were looking to take care of me, not just themselves, and I wanted it/them too, once, we were in the act, I would regress. When I was younger, I had a lot of sexual triggers. Waking up to someone touching me sexually was a big one for a long time. My partners learned that one real quick. Giving oral was definitely a trigger. Receiving oral would cause me to regress. And again, even though, I enjoyed it, there was always this underlined checkout/regression/timid side of me that would come out. For many years, I felt as if I were numb, sexually. My sexual body parts did not feel the sensations like it does today. I was unable to orgasm — I think when you train your body to not respond for so many years, it takes a lot of recovery to get it back. The sexual abuse caused me to be promiscuous for many years of my life. Having sex with someone I just met or didn't even like was not unusual for me. If someone was persistent enough, I'd go along with it. For many years, I would have to think of the abuse/my abusers to enjoy masturbation/sometimes even sex. I think this may have been a control thing for me. I am now at a place where I can enjoy pleasuring myself without all the negative tapes. I am also able to enjoy being sexual with my partner. I enjoy doing things, I don't just do them. I look forward to it. I think I have a pretty healthy view of sex and a healthy sex life today.
  20. 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
  21. Step One — Question One: Did you keep your abuse a secret. Part II (Trigger Warning) After processing the first half of this question, I started to see the different levels of secrecy. Not only did I keep the abuse a secret from outsiders, but I also kept it a secret from my perpetrators. As a teenager, my brother's sexual abuse always happened in the middle of the night while I was asleep. I would wake up to him touching me, while touching himself and verbalizing his fantasy. I would pretend to stay asleep through the whole thing — as if I had no knowledge of what he did to me. My dad, a lot of his abuse happened while I was awake, but one of his MO's was to carry me out of my bed during the night and bring me to his where he would abuse me. During these instances, again, I would pretend to stay asleep and to be oblivious of what he had done to me. My uncle who abused me on several occasions when he got me alone, had other ways of using me in everyday situations and again, I would pretend to be oblivious to what he was doing. One example would be of a time I was at his house, standing in the middle of the living room holding and petting his cat. He walked up to me, started talking to the cat and then petting it. After petting the cat's head a couple of times, he began to pet the cat on it's side that was pressed against my chest. Sliding his hand between the cat and my chest and petting me more than the cat. He would always wear short shorts with no underwear and let himself hangout and watch me to see if I would look. He had a lot of odd ways of being openly sexual towards me. Again... I would pretend to be oblivious. By pretending to not be aware of these things, I kept the abuse a secret from the very people who were abusing. I protected them. I took all the guilt and shame that should have been theirs and made it mine. Part III will touch on two other layers of secrecy...
  22. This is something I've gone back and forth on over the years. Was this sexual abuse?? If not, what was it?? Any personal stories or feedback would be greatly appreciated. If you have not read my previous posts/blogs, I have an extensive history of abuse/sexual abuse leading up to the summer of age 14. I know the previous abuse was the fuel for what happened. There was a family that lived by us when I was about 7 or 8, they were good friends with my dads girlfriend, that is how he met her. The couple had a little girl who was 6 years younger than me. My dad and his girlfriend partied a lot and fought a lot. I started spending a lot of time with the family and when they moved about 20 minutes away, I would spend the weekends, and most of the summer at their house. When I was 14, they moved to Florida. That summer, they flew me out to spend the summer with them. At the time, the mom worked at a office, the dad worked from home, and the little girl continued to attend her daycare that she would attend while the parents were working. So during the week, it was just the dad and I at home. One day, when I was bored in the house, I went out to the garage where he had his wood shop set up. He was working and I was standing there talking to him. When he asked me to hand him one of the tools that was next to me, I took it and put it behind my back refusing to give it to him. He walked over to me, asking me to let him have it. I proceeded to tell him that he had to get it from me. Well, this turned into a whole game of grabbing, teasing, and the next thing I know we are making out and all over each other. Things progressed quickly. For the remainder of the summer, we did everything (but sex) every chance we got. To the point where he would come out at night, when his wife was asleep, and we would mess around. He never had sex with me because I was a virgin and he did not want to take my virginity. In my sick and twisted mind, the more he refused to have sex with me, the more I would do and carry on. At times, I have struggled with calling this sexual abuse. I was 14, I knew what I was doing, I instigated it, and continued it. At the same time, he was somewhere between 32-36 and should not have given in from the beginning. I don't think I would have done this if it wasn't for the previous abuse. This person was the only male in my life who had not abused me in anyway, sometimes I wonder if this is why I did what I did. Could I not allow a male in my life without him using my body?? Did I need him to be sexual with me in order for me to accept him as loving and caring for me as a person?? I think the moment he would have had sex with me, I would have been over the whole....I don't even know what to call it...affair...situation...seduction....???
  23. My ex and I called off our wedding nearly two years ago. Before I met her I truly believed that I would never be able to have an intimate relationship. With her help I moved forward and I had hopes and plans for my future instead of looking back on my past. I'd learned to manage my triggers. Then everything came crashing down. For once, it had nothing to do with my past trauma and I think that almost made it worse. My entire future was planned around one person. Believe me, I know that's not healthy but at the time it didn't matter because I'd convinced myself that's what you did when you got married. Since then, I have been drifting through my life. Deciding the abuse didn't happen as I'd convinced myself it had, that it truly was just two friends playing, was a coping mechanism. I couldn't afford to fall apart more than I already was. My health was deteriorating. I was depressed, anxious, and struggling with my job and the last thing I needed was to deal with my past trauma. I'd finally managed to get treatment that helped with my depression and anxiety. I quit the job that was dragging me. I'm still getting migraines every day but I think my psyche decided that I was ready to process the trauma again. One of the few enjoyments I've had in my life is reading and writing. Even when I have been at my lowest I have been able to find comfort in the escape of a fictional world. It seems, however, that when I began processing my trauma again that's been taken away from me. I can't read a sex scene without feeling sick. If there's any mention of abuse of any kind I can't get away fast enough. It frustrates me that I'm letting someone else control my happiness again. I just wish I knew how to get it back.
  24. I spent 10 years telling myself it didn't happen how I remembered it. I had a tendency to exaggerate the truth when I was young. I grew to become so convincing with my lies that to this day I still second guess whether a memory happened the way I think it did. I was in a behavioral health center for attempting to kill myself when I was sixteen. I was in a room with nine other adolescents eating an afternoon snack when a nurse began to recount the story of a neighbor and friend who molested her. As she was telling her story I had a memory shoved into the front of my mind. The trauma I told myself didn't happen. My story so closely resembled hers and I now had the knowledge that what N (my attacker) did was wrong. My ears began to ring and my vision began to black out at the edges. The next thing I know I am speaking with my social worker and sharing a story that had never left my lips before that moment. My SW was very kind but I could tell from her questions that she wasn't sure if she believed what had happened was abuse. My "friendship" with N didn't end until I told my mother she stole something from me. She asked me why little aemcee knew that stealing wasn't okay but didn't know that molesting wasn't. Of course, SW wasn't the first one to doubt that what occurred was abuse. I was in group therapy for my anxiety, depression, self harm, and suicidal tendencies and made the mistake of sharing with the group just the general story of my trauma. I remember so clearly one girl saying, "Well, it's not really assault. She was just a kid and didn't have a d***." I didn't share any details with anyone after that. I knew from my mother (who is a survivor) that telling my partners that I was a survivor before getting intimate was important. So they got a vague "I was molested when I was 5-6." Then I heard more and more stories about children who explored each other's bodies at a young and began to think maybe I had exaggerated the memory. Maybe it was just children's games. It wasn't until my sister took a psychology 101 class and talked about how some psychologists believe it's not possible to repress memories of abuse that I finally decided I'd imagined the whole thing. I was not a survivor of sexual abuse. It took two years before the repression finally caught up with me. Admittedly, I did have occasional flashbacks and nightmares but I forced myself to shove it into the back of my mind and that it wasn't real. Then one day I was watching a video. I'd had a migraine all day. I was exhausted. I was stressed about work and moving. And I just cracked. I began doubting everything I'd ever done. I found myself wondering if it all went back to N. Was I ruined for the rest of my life because of perceived abuse? All of the hard work that I'd had with controlling my anxiety and depression crumbled within a matter of hours. I began having flashback after flashback. Now I can't help but feel like I'm 16 again. Aching with pain and scared of my own shadow. The worst setback yet.
  25. 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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