In seventh grade, I became a cutter. My parents had a horrible relationship they blamed on me. I was the scapegoat for their tumultuous relationship because something my youth pastor reported brought child protective services brought them to our door.
I was bullied at school. I had no one to talk to. Eventually I lost all my friends. I always focused on academics so I graduated top of my class. That belied the truth. I may have been a star academically, I had 40 bracelets that I refused to take off that hid my cuts. I cut until twelfth grade.
My fitness teacher caught me with fresh cuts on my leg. I told her I was getting help and being who I am I didn't want to lie, so I confided in an elementary school teacher I was close to. I was unstable and talking slowly to a counselor. I was dealing with a lot - my dad was now a drug addict. My mom was suicidal and depressed.
My family was struggling. So was I
At the end of tenth grade, I unintentionally went to my very first party. I told my boyfriend where I'd be. I walked over to my friend's house under the assumption we were having a Girl's Night. Her brother was becoming a bartender and wanted to practice making us drinks. I hadn't touched alcohol before.
I thought I was safe. We had parental supervision. I trusted the girls I was with, I was close to home, people knew where I was. I took all the proper safety precautions.
I started drinking right after I arrived. I had two or three glasses and was starting to feel pretty tipsy when I learned they were inviting boys over. I thought, Okay cool, more people to join the party. Because I trusted my friends, I trusted they knew who they were inviting over. A little while later they said that she had met the guys online.
That should have been a red flag, but I was already too drunk to care.
They boys arrived and we began playing drinking games. I ran out of alcohol so this nice boy offered me a beer. I took it grateful for the refill. I started feeling really fuzzy and out of it.
This is here my memory becomes spotty. He had drugged my beer. We went outside to have a campfire. I remember her mom coming outside. She told the boy who'd given me the beer to take me upstairs because I was going to pass out.
My memory goes black until I was suddenly in the bedroom. He was over top of me kissing me. I pushed him off and muttered that I had a boyfriend. He continued and I started to get angry. Feeling my consciousness slipping away, I started to get anxious.
My drunk and drugged self picked up my cell phone and dialed the last number I had texted, the number of my good guy friends. Suddenly the guy above me took my phone, said he would take care of me and hung up.
My lifeline was gone and I knew what was happening next.
I started to thrash, fighting to stay conscious. He was holding me down, telling me to shut up. My eyes were closing and I was panicking. I could feel him removing my clothing but I could no longer move. And everything went black. I was still fighting the drug and I woke up a few times in between.
I remember the pain. I remember screaming for him to stop when I'd become conscious for a few moments.
The next time I woke up, I was in a bathtub. It took a second to realize I was in the wrong place and that everyone else was sleeping. I was in a lot of pain where I shouldn't have been. I noticed I was only wearing my shirt and shorts. No undergarments. I was still pretty out of it and stumbled to back to bed where I fell asleep until morning. Waking up when the sun broke through the curtain, I sat up. I was still in pain.
Moments later, what happened hit me. I just sat up staring at the wall until the other girls came upstairs.
I muttered "I was... raped."
"No you weren't," they claimed. "You asked for it. You lead him on. His buddies were only trying to get him a kill. He only had two"
"Did he use a condom?" I asked, my heart breaking. I couldn't believe they were denying it. At least ONE of them had to have heard my screams. He didn't use a condom but he told them he had told them he pulled out before he came.
I didn't care.
Tears streamed down my face as they denied I had been raped.
Still crying, I called my boyfriend and asked him to come and get me. When I got in his van, he knew something was wrong - I was withdrawn and quiet.
When we got to his house, we sat on his bed and he wanted to cuddle. I kept moving away. I didn't want him to touch me. I felt disgusting. I began to cry again and I realized I couldn't hide it.
I told him everything. He got up and took what looked like aspirin. I asked him if we could go to my house so I could shower. He said that he was afraid that I wouldn't want to have sex with him.
On the way home, he pulled over to a parking lot and made me have sex with him - so that some guy wouldn't be the last one inside of me.
I thought he loved me, and here he was forcing me to have sex with him.
I had given him my virginity only weeks before.
We finally got to my house. He kept swerving all over the road, freaking me out. When we got home, I immediately showered. I felt horrible and dirty. Thanks to him, I couldn't even get medical help.
When I got out, he was asleep on my bed. I didn't think anything of it. Over lunch, I told my best friend - who lived with me - a little bit of what happened. She hugged me and told me she was there for me.
Suddenly I realized my boyfriend still hadn't gotten up which was extremely unusual. When I remembered all the pills he took, I ran to my room. Frantically, I tried to shake him awake but he wouldn't get up. When he finally awoke, he couldn't talk. He was slurring his words so badly. He couldn't walk.
And I couldn't hide it from my mom. I told her he may have take a lot of a pills. I called my neighbour, a paramedic, who I thought could help. He determined that my boyfriend had overdosed on anti-anxiety drugs. He told me to let him sleep it off, make sure he didn't drive, as well as monitor his pulse and breathing.
He woke up six hours later and had to pee. He could walk a bit better. I was watching TV when I realized he'd been gone for a while. I decided to check on him. He said he was fine and would be out in two minutes. I sensed something was wrong. I knocked again. He asked for a sweater. I gave him one of my dad's old ones. He pulled me into the bathroom.
Everything was covered in blood. He had slit his wrists and hands open multiple times. I grabbed a first aid kit. I was trained in this. I treated his injuries and told my mom he reopened some cuts from work. I told my best friend to watch him and tell me if he went into the bathroom while I called the paramedic back.
As I was talking to him, my best friend came and told me he was looking for me. He was angry as hell because he couldn't find his keys, which I had hidden. He came outside looking for me. I hid, afraid he would hurt me. He finally went back inside and my best friend came out again. She reported that he'd locked himself in the bathroom and she could hear water running. I told the paramedic I had to go and called 911. The operator stayed on the line as he ran around outside looking for me with a razor blade before he retreated to the bathroom.
Police officers and an ambulance showed up. They went inside and dragged him out, covered in blood. I went with him to the hospital in the back of a police car. He was examined and his injuries treated. The next morning, the day before school was to start, he told my mom that he did it because of his crappy relationship with his parents.
She offered to let him stay with us.
Three months later he broke up with me. and then got back together with me, and then used me as a fuck buddy because he knew I was in love with him.
He'd always wanted was anal sex but I refused. One day at lunch, he said he wanted to hook up so we went to my house. No one was home. He wanted to do it doggy-style - and I said okay.
He went towards the wrong place. I yelled no so he covered my mouth. He shoved himself inside me and it was one of the worst pains I've ever experienced. I screamed under his hand, knowing no one could hear me. I cried and screamed and begged him to stop, but he wouldn't. I was silent as I cleaned myself up and went back to school, and sat in my philosophy class.
I didn't even realize he had anally raped me until months later.
I couldn't believe it had happened a second time. Some of my friends knew about the rapes, including the girls at the party. They went around the high school, telling anyone who would listen that I wasn't raped. I'd lied because I didn't want to be accused of cheating.
This betrayal hurt more than anything. I knew what had happened and it wasn't consensual. I talked to a school counselor once, but I didn't feel like talking much about it - I'd been trying to forget about it. I'd been working with for two years trying to help a suicidal friend, who had incidentally, ended up in jail for shooting threats. She'd seen me at my worst. But I made her promise she wouldn't ask me about the rape or talk about it unless I wanted to.
I promised that elementary school teacher that I would never cut again. He saved my life. He'f meet with me before I school when something had happened and just let me vent. He kept me alive. I will never have more gratitude for anyone.
All it takes is one person.
I eventually told him about the rapes and all of the shit I'd been through. He supported me through all of it. Despite the shitstorm, I graduated second in my high school class.
Now, I'm a year and almost five months clean. I'm in second year university. But the rapes still haunt me. I wake up crying. I have intense flashbacks and nightmares.
I don't know what to do.
Now, I'm in a healthy, successful relationship. We live together. He knows about my struggles, but I feel like I shouldn't put him through dealing with my emotions. I'm stuck. Every time I go to get counseling, I cancel last minute.
I don't know what to do.
I feel like no one understands.
In my own life, forgiving others was not something that I was taught to do. I was always taught that I had a lot of sins that needed to be forgiven, but I never saw forgiveness for others practiced until I had to start doing it myself.
Our hurts, our pains, our lives to this point have all been dictated by our emotional selves. This is understandable. I totally get it. It is fine that, for a little while, we are so mad at anyone else that we would love nothing else than to see them have to walk down the busiest street in town, wearing the most ridiculous attire, singing "I'm a little tea pot," loudly as though they were singing along to their favorite Metallica tune. I get it. I have been there.
Forgiving others was hard for me because I always figured if someone hurt me, it was on purpose.
We choose what we want to recall of our own memories. We choose the uglies because that is what we have been taught through being shown only a victim mentality. I know this one very well. It is not hard to learn a lesson of being someone else's victim if that is what everyone in a child's life believes themselves to be.
I love my mother, and I hate to use her as the example, but the truth is that I now know, that while she did not teach me outright to be someone else's victim, she showed me that by her example. I believed for a very long time, that in order for me to forgive, I had to make sure that everyone in my life knew that someone else had wronged me.
We humans do NOT want to forgive others. We want them to pay the fullest, heaviest price for the sins that they commit against us. In reality, it is not an actual sin against us, but is an indicator to us that they have not actually studied themselves and explored their own feelings of hurt. Even in church, too many people don't understand what "turn the other cheek" means. Turning the other cheek means to hear the other person out, to allow them, through your listening, to be able to see the sin in their own energy.
The act of forgiving is not as simple as too many pastors in our lives have made it seem. It is hard for people to admit that they are sorry for the hurts they have caused.
When we hang onto wrongs for too long, it is all we can see. You can choose not to hang on to the anger and pain from the past. The best way that I know to begin the healing process is to learn by first starting with our very selves. We have to let go of the past, because it is no longer there. We need to stop believing that people will love us more if we tell them that we are in pain.
It is great to wallow, for a little while, but eventually that shit gets old, and eventually we find out that it got us nowhere. It is only in that act of forgiveness for others who have hurt us that we will also find the strength to forgive ourselves.
This was meant to be a letter to my Mum, but I started rambling. I'm not ready yet.
This is really very hard for me to type, but I have needed to say this for a long time. I tried once to tell you, but I hate seeing people look sad for me or to think that people worry about me, so I tried to make it seem less bad. Since then, I have had a lot of counseling and have given myself a lot of time to get my head around it.
I hate saying this, so I’m only going to mention it once. When I tried to explain what had happened when I was eighteen, I down-played it a lot. What really happened was not a blurring of lines.
I was raped.
I was on a night out and ended up with nowhere to stay. A man saw me alone and started speaking to me. I did not know him well, but I had definitely seen him around before. We have the same circle of friends. He offered me a place to stay, and made it clear that he was just being friendly. I believed him.
We went back to his small studio flat and sat on the sofa talking for a while. I was quite drunk at this point. He kissed me, and I kissed him back. While I wouldn’t have initiated anything, I didn't indicate that I didn’t want it to happen. Kissing him back was maybe my first mistake. He seemed to take consent for kissing to mean much more. He took me over to his bed, and I let it get too far then. He had removed my clothes before I told him and showed him I wasn’t comfortable with what was happening. He carried on kissing me, and I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel I could speak up again.
I was scared and uncomfortable and eighteen years old. As he went to initiate intercourse, I made it very clear I was not interested, but he continued regardless. I was scared that he might become violent, and I was so out of my depth that I let him continue. After initially struggling hard, I stayed completely still underneath him, letting him rape me because I didn’t know what to do. He DID know I wasn’t okay with it, but I still sometimes feel like it was my fault I didn’t fight him off.
He fell asleep shortly afterwards, and I lay awake in his apartment, in shock. I don’t know why I didn’t leave. I didn’t feel I could. I had nowhere else to go, and I was genuinely completely frozen by what had just happened. I also don’t think the full reality had set in. I was sick multiple times through the night.
The next morning, he acted as though we had just had a one night stand, as if we were both consensual partners, when he knew we weren’t. The worst thing was just before I left, he said, ‘You bled last night, it’s fine don’t be embarrassed,’ as though it was embarrassment I was feeling right then. And then he added, ‘..but do I need to get checked for anything?’ I have never felt more disgusted with myself than I did right then.
I then had to walk home in the previous night's clothes, make up, and shoes. I felt like I was being silently judged by everyone I walked past. They had no idea how much I wanted to die.
I still hate myself. I still fear sex. I desperately want a relationship. I want to feel loved, but I know the sexual side is expected. I just don’t know how I can do that again.
When I was a little kid, my father would hit me. My mum didn't care and didn't want to listen when I tried talking to her about it. I was growing up, and around the age of 11, it became worse. He started touching me inappropriately, and it was terrifying. I couldn't tell anyone because I was scared that they would judge me. A year or 2 later, my parents seperated. I never wanted to see my dad again, I hated him so much. After a while, I told myself that I would go and see him when I would turn 18.
June 2014, I was 17 years old, and I was in the middle of my exams when I got a call. It was someone telling me about my real dad, who had been really sick for over a year and he was in hospital. I told myself I HAD to go, but I was so scared. I asked someone close to me to come with me and I went to see him. I spent hours in the hospital every day, sitting by his side and talking to him. I have no idea if he was able to hear me, but I still tried. It was so painful. That week, on June 20th, he passed away.
I have been telling myself that I should have visited him before, when he was still in good health. The only memories I have from him now are when he was sick, in a hospital bed.
I still think about him a lot and somehow I have forgiven him for what he did to me. I try to think about the good times with him, when I was very small. He inspired me to start playing music, to start singing, and he taught me that people should be forgiven, people deserve a second chance before it's too late.
This is her horrible, uplifting, beautiful story:
At age 35, I went with my father to a professional baseball team's Fantasy Camp. Our coaches were former professional baseball players and current minor league coaches. I played softball my whole life; I was a good ball player. I held my own with the guys. I was accepted. I had a great week.
Thursday night after the championship game, I was outside the complex where we were staying, talking on the phone to my husband. I was approached by one of the coaches, currently a minor league manager, who was roughly my age. We'd been friendly all week. He asked if he could buy me a beer in the lounge and I agreed. This wasn't the first beer I'd been offered that week. That's what you did - you bought people beers. I told him I'd meet him in a few minutes.
I went back to my room to grab some money and tell my dad where I was going. On my way back out, I saw him at the back door of the complex. He waved and asked if I would walk around with him. He handed me a can of beer and we walked out back. We talked about baseball mostly.
We stopped walking at one point and he asked how long I'd been married. I told him ten years. He said twelve years. We talked about kids and my work. We got in to a debate about one of my plays earlier in the week. Then he grabbed me and tried to kiss me. I said "Whoa, no, no, no, I think you've got the wrong idea about me." He pulled away immediately and apologized over and over. I told him I had to go and we quickly parted.
While this situation made me uncomfortable, I wasn't upset, angry, or scared. I was actually sort of flattered. The next day, we played a game in the morning and then our week was over. I went to the training room to get an injury taken care of and when I walked out, I ran straight in to him. He said hello and we talked about our games that morning. He asked what my plans were for the afternoon. I told him my dad had gone to my cousin's for the afternoon so I didn't have any plans. He asked what room I was in and I told him. He said he had some things to take care of and then he'd swing by. I thought nothing of it. I figured he wanted to hang out and apologize for the night before.
He came by ten minutes later and I let him in. I was completely at ease. He was extremely charismatic and very charming. I sat on my bed and he sat on my couch. He asked to put the television on. I told him sure. He put on the MLB channel and we continued to chat. Around three, asked when my dad was coming back. I thought my dad had said around 4:30.
He said, "Why don't you call and make sure?" I told him I didn't see a reason to. He persisted to the point where he finally said, "Make the call," pretty forcefully. Still, I wasn't alarmed. I ran outside and called my dad, who assured me he would be back around 4:30. I told him.
I had pretty seriously injured my finger earlier in the week and he asked how it was. I told him it was getting better but still pretty sore. He asked to see it, and I held it up. He asked to see it up close so I stood and walked over to him with my hand out.
He didn't look at my finger.
He grabbed my wrist and pulled me on top of him. He tried to kiss me. I kept turning my head from side to side and arched my back. I said, "I can't do this. I can't do this." "Yes you can," he replied. "I'm married, you're married. I can't do this." "Yes you can." "You don't understand, I love my husband. I don't want to do this," I started crying.
He caught my head with one hand while the other remained tight around my waist. He started kissing my mouth. After a few seconds of struggling, I started to kiss him back. I instantly became nauseated.
After only a few moments of kissing him, I pulled away and told him I needed to use the bathroom; it was an emergency. I ran to the bathroom. I was shaking so badly. I tried to calm down. My head was spinning. It felt almost as if I had been drugged or had too much alcohol, that's how foggy my brain was. My heart was pounding so hard and so fast.
I thought, "I'm just going to make him leave and if he won't, then I will. He stopped yesterday. He will stop today."
I opened the bathroom door and he was standing right in front of it. He grabbed me and half carried, half dragged me to the couch. He tried to pull me down on him but I managed to end up next to him. I had on a t-shirt and shorts along with a bra and panties. He had his left arm tightly around my waist, like a vise. That arm never left my waist.
I again said, "I can't do this. I can't do this."
I was ignored.
That was when my body and mind shut down. I was no longer able to control my body. My senses were gone. I knew his hands and mouth were on me but I couldn't feel them. I couldn't smell, I couldn't see. I felt like I was in a dream. And my body was frozen. When I tried to move, it felt like I was stuck in thick mud. I could hardly move at all. And I knew. I knew what was going to happen. It was inevitable.
He grabbed my hand and put it on his penis that he had pulled out of his pants at some point. He held my hand there and began stroking himself with my hand. I thought, "If that's all it's going to be, I may be able to live with this." But it wasn't.
He pulled me on top of him and pushed my shorts and panties aside. He asked me if I could get pregnant. I told him no. I asked if he had any diseases and he told me no.
One arm around my waist and the other on my thigh, I had bruises for weeks from his hands. It was rough and it was fast. But I never felt it. I never felt anything. Like all my senses were gone.
He finished and got up. Told me not to tell anyone and that he "hoped I would be back at camp next year." And then he left.
I jumped in the shower. I was on day three of my period. There was blood everywhere. I thought maybe this was a dream. This has to be a dream. I got out and got myself ready for our closing dinner that night. I know my dad knew something happened. I was quiet and withdrawn. I hardly said a word all night. He wasn't at the dinner. I never saw him again. The next day we flew home with me saying less than fifty words to my dad all day.
As soon as we pulled up at my house and I saw my husband, I burst in to tears. I told him I had missed him so much. We had been dating since we were in eighth grade and married for almost ten years. We have three beautiful daughters. We are as close as it gets. After the girls were in bed, he asked me what was wrong; what happened? He could tell there was something definitely wrong.
I told him.
I told him the whole story. I felt like I had cheated on him and he deserved to know every detail. He listened patiently. I told the story sobbing. I felt sickened and guilty and ashamed. I hadn't fought him. I didn't hit him or punch him or kick him. I didn't scream. I had, in fact, kissed him back at one point. I'd also asked him if he had any diseases.
Didn't all these things mean that I was okay with what was happening? Hadn't my lack of resistance when my body went numb told him it was okay to proceed?
My husband asked if I ever had any intentions of being intimate with him. I told him that I had no intentions whatsoever. I never even wanted to kiss him, let alone have sex with him. I thought we could be friends. We had a good rapport through the whole week. I thought it was cool to be friends with a professional baseball manager. My intentions were purely innocent.
My husband said, "If you had no intentions of being intimate with him, and you told him "I can't do this" repeatedly, then you were raped." The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. How could I have been raped? He didn't have a gun or hold a knife to my throat. I didn't fight him. And my husband said that none of that mattered. What he did was against my will and I'd told him as much.
My husband is the most supportive person I've ever met. He never once doubted me, even when I doubted myself. He encouraged me to tell my best friend who also agreed that I was raped. I made an appointment to see a counselor the next week. I'd done a lot of reading about rape between the assault and the first meeting with my counselor. I was really beginning to understand the concept of being raped.
Being raped was never something I thought could happen to me. I'm smart, I'm strong, I'm athletic, I'm a professional in my community, I'm a good wife, and a mother of three. How could I be raped?
The first meeting with my counselor was an eye opener. He explained to me the physiology behind our "fight or flight" response. It's not really just fight or flight, but that it's "fight, flight, or freeze." An overwhelming number of rape victims freeze instead of fighting. He gave me the analogy of someone coming up to him on the street and asking for his wallet with no weapon. What does law enforcement tell us to do? Give the perpetrator what he wants. Because if we don't, we may very well get hurt. We are conditioned this way.
My body and mind shut down to preserve themselves. If I'd fought, he could have easily hurt me. This man was conditioned as a professional athlete. From the bruises on my body, one could see how strong he was. But why had I asked him if he had diseases? Was that the green light for him? One author on this website absolutely nailed it when she said "it wasn't consent, it was resignation," (I wish I could find her particular story and give her proper credit) after she asked her rapist if he had a condom. What an epiphany that one line gave me. Finally I had some answers to the questions I'd been asking.
And finally, I came to accept that I was raped.
It's been 2 months. And it still hurts. A lot. I called my rapist three days ago at the encouragement of my counselor and husband. I always hold people accountable for their actions, so they both thought the best way to get closure was to talk to him.
So I did.
I told him he hurt me. That I cry every day. That what happened in that room was never okay with me. He told me that yes, he probably pushed me too hard, he lost control, and he couldn't stop. I asked if he heard me say, "I can't do this." He told me that yes, he heard me but didn't think I meant it. He apologized over and over again. He said he felt like shit. I told him I'd been feeling that way for weeks.
He said that he hoped we could be friends; that's all he wanted from me anyway. That he never had the intention of having sex with me either. I told him he was full of bullshit and that we would not be friends and I wouldn't be calling him again.
That call was very liberating. I felt like all the chains that were wrapped around me were gone. But I still have bad days and good days. Bad moments and good ones. I've been plagued with panic attacks since the assault. Now I don't have them as frequently or as badly, but they are still there. This is still pretty fresh and new and I know that I still need to heal. I don't trust men in general. This man was Venezuelan and any time I see a man of Latin descent, I want to stab them. Hopefully, in time, that feeling will dissipate.
I'm writing this in part as therapy for me and in part so that other people that have had the same sort of experience can feel a little bit reassured. That they aren't crazy. That there are other people out there that have been through it, and are still going through it. But that there is hope that it can get better.
With the right support, you can heal from rape.
That's how I felt after reading all the stories on The Band. I felt like these people all helped me understand what happened to me and now it's my turn to help others. The guilt, the shame, the blame, the disgust and the anger can all be healed.
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