This week I was going to write about my trip to Disney World with my family. I planned on giving tips for taking a kid to Orlando and detailing how special it was to bring our little IVF baby to the spot where we got engaged 7 years earlier. Instead, I feel compelled to tell you about my rape 12 years ago.
I read an open letter to Dr. Ford from Connie Chung where she detailed her sexual assault at the hands of her long time family doctor. She said she didn’t want to tell her story, she HAD to tell her story. I feel like we are at this place, as women, where we have all hidden our secrets and shame for so long but now our voices can be heard thanks to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. She bravely came forward and told her story. Unfortunately, she was called a whore, a liar, and other names. She was threatened. She was told to sit down and shut up. She didn’t sit down and shut up. Instead, she stood up and spoke out. Now I feel like I need to do the same. This is going to be hard to read so please do not continue unless you are willing to offer support and love.
As a disclaimer to my family and friends, who are mostly hearing this story for the first time: I don’t owe you anything and I’m not sorry for not telling my story earlier or in private. I kept it top myself because I was afraid of being shamed and judged. I am nearly 31 years old, I no longer fear shame and judgment. This is MY story. This happened to ME. I did not go to the cops and I don’t want to and I don’t feel like explaining to you why I’m not going to. Please just listen to my story and know that it is not your fault, it is not my fault, it is his fault. This is my way of healing and my way of helping another woman who has gone through this.
12 years ago I went to a party. I do not remember exactly what day this happened. I do not remember exactly what I wore. I do not remember many things from that day. What I do remember is I went to this party with a guy named RC (real name withheld). He was a good friend but there was some flirtation. I drove a couple of my new girlfriends to this guy’s apartment. He was about 21-22 and bought everyone the alcohol. Let’s call the party thrower John because, frankly, I don’t know his name. I thought he was cute but was hanging out with my friends and gave John little notice.
I remember I was wearing a tight white shirt. I think I was wearing tight capris or tight pants, I can’t remember. I do remember I was wearing my baby blue and white DC’s. I had procured a bottle of cherry vodka that night and brought it to the party. I remember I had 2 drinks. I remember standing on the balcony and feeling off. This wasn’t my first party. This wasn’t the first time I had been drinking. This wasn’t a normal feeling I was having. I felty fuzzy but not tipsy or even drunk. The next thing I remember is his face in mine. I remember him over me. I remember looking around and not being able to discern what was going on. I tried to move but he was on top of me. I remember the bed was against a wall and the door was open. I remember I didn’t have any clothes on. I remember looking at the open door and seeing RC stop in front of the door and call me a slut. Then RC left after shutting the door. I remember trying to say no but I couldn’t. I remember the pain. At some point I passed out again and I remember waking up wrapped in a blanket with John trying to put something in my mouth. I opened my mouth to speak and tasted paper or something. John and 3 other guys started laughing and I remember them telling me I am supposed to smoke the joint not eat it.
The next thing I remember is waking up in a strange bed in a strange room with John naked next to me. I was scared and in so much pain all over my body. I grabbed the clothes I could find (which didn’t include my socks and underwear) and ran to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I just started crying. My hair was a rat’s nest, my make up smeared, my neck was covered in bruises as was my body. I looked like I had been beat. I quickly threw on my clothes and ran out. As I was leaving John yelled out, “Bye! I had fun last night.” I somehow managed to sneak into my house and shower without anyone noticing me. I covered up my hickeys and bruises and cried then went to work. I never heard from RC again.
I spent the next year just coasting through life. I can’t remember much of my 18th year of life. I can’t remember how I survived that time. I just remember I went to a party, I had some drinks, and I had sex that I don’t remember, except, I didn’t have sex. I was raped. I was drunk or drugged, I don’t know, but I was passed out and raped. I didn’t report it because I was ashamed. I was so ashamed for having put myself in that position. I hid and repressed how disgusted I was with myself. For years I blamed myself.
It was not my fault I was raped.
It is still not my fault for keeping it quiet all these years.
NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO TOUCH YOUR BODY WITHOUT CONSENT.
A person could be totally naked and you do not get to assault them. A person can be completely wasted and you do not get to rape them! A person can keep their assault a secret for years and years and years and you do not get to tell them they are at fault or wrong.
I have struggled with depression since before this incident but it got much worse following. I felt dirty and unworthy. I felt like I had let my parents down. I felt like I had let my friends and myself down. I couldn’t commit to school and could barely concentrate at work. I felt so ashamed but not anymore.
I do not remember John’s name. I am positive it was said to me but I don’t remember it. I remember he was tall, had blond hair, blue eyes, and wore a white shirt two sizes too big fo this muscular build. I remember. being afraid of him because of his muscular build. I avoided the intersection of Wadsworth and Belleview because those apartments is where I was raped and I was scared I would run into him. I never saw him again. I never saw anyone who went to that party again.
Rape and assault is not textbook. Sometimes people remember things, sometimes they don’t but what often happens is women are afraid to come forward because they aren’t believed. Men are often believed but they are told that they should have more control in such a situation and are shamed into not coming forward. Girls are taught to take self defense classes, carry their keys between their fingers, protect their drinks, and to basically fear any situation where a man isn’t there to help them because a man might hurt them. Boys are taught that they have no control over their urges. This needs to change! We do not owe our bodies to men. Men do not have ownership over our bodies. We, as women and girls, are not possessions of men and, therefor, not an object to be thrown away then called a liar.
I spent many years in a black hole of hate and shame. Today, I am okay. Today, I have a wonderful partner who has listened to me and learned how to help me. Today, I am an angry woman who will not be silenced.
12 years ago, I was raped, so before you go on social media and say, “girls shouldn’t go to parties and drink,” or “she was flirting/acting like a whore/asking for it,” before you defend an accuser, just remember that the things you say are seen by us. Your daughters, your mothers, your sisters, your FRIENDS, we see what you say. Before you choose to question what the girl did wrong, just remember that 12 years ago I was raped.
This was not an easy post for me to make so if you’re reading this and you know me I hope you know that I will talk to you about it but I will not explain myself. If you have been sexually assaulted, I hope you know that I am here to listen and help you in whatever way you need without judgement and without pushing. I got lucky in that I didn’t get pregnant from the rape and I did not end up with an STD, STI, or HIV/AIDS. I got lucky that my assault only left emotional scars and not physical. Because of that, I am okay today. Today, I speak out and tell my story for my daughter and for any other children I have. I want them to know that they can live in a better world. Today, I speak out not because I want to but because I have to. My heart is screaming my story inside and now my fingers will type it out and my throat will shout about it so I can no longer be a secret victim.