So last week I wrote about my personal experience with emotional abuse and how it affected me. Today I am going to write about possibly the most impactful thing that has ever happened to me. It’s not going to be easy, but I feel like this is something that I have to do to heal.
When I was 19, I was raped. It was a blind date. A friend of a friend. His name was Mike. The plan was he was going to cook dinner for me (which no man had ever done before) then we were to go to see The Nutcracker performed live in Houston.
Since he was a friend of a friend, I wasn’t all that worried. He looked a little dorky and acted the part too so again, never crossed my mind that this would be the worst night of my life. Dinner was great, he was an absolute gentleman. We made it through dinner without a hitch then headed off to the show. No red flags there either. He made me wait in the car for him to come around and open the door for me. He didn’t make any sudden moves during the show, he kept out of my personal space and made sure I was comfortable and had anything I needed during the play.
I was not used to this kind of behavior. A real live gentleman. He was a couple years older so I figured that’s where I had gone wrong. I was dating boys not real men. When we left the play, he gently held my hand and I didn’t mind at all. The date couldn’t have gone more perfect…until we got back to his house. As we got out of his car, I should have just got in my truck and left as originally planned, but I needed to pee. I had been too nervous to go all night and as we pulled up to his house I realized I was about to bust. Having a 40 minute drive home, I figured I had better go ahead and bite the bullet and go before I hit the road.
I asked him if I could use his restroom before I left and he was happy to oblige. I went inside, used the restroom, washed my hands and as I opened the door, he was there. He grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the bathroom slamming me into the wall so hard that I picture fell and hit my shoulder then the ground. I was stunned and in shock. He started kissing me hard. I tried to turn my head away from him, but he grabbed my chin and stared into my eyes with this blank stare. I swore his eyes changed to black and I knew what was about to happen. Before I could really even grasp what was happening, my wrists were tied to his bed and he was raping me. I couldn’t even scream. It was if I was paralyzed and couldn’t even defend myself anymore.
He didn’t say a word to me after I walked out of the bathroom other than to throw a pair of his sweat pants to telling me to put them on and leave once he was done. He had torn my pants somehow during the incident. I put his pants on in absolute disgust and grabbed my things and slowly walked out of the house not being able to truly believe what had just happened. I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it out of the house. I thought maybe this was a trick. I thought, how could he let me just walk out after what he had done.
My drive home was a blur. I honestly don’t even remember how I made it home.
The next day I was numb. I tried to figure out what I had done to encourage him. We didn’t do anything more than hold hands on the way out of theater. Our conversations were never on the topic of sex. We talked about normal stuff. Then I came to believe that it had to have been my fault. I had asked to use his restroom. He must have thought that was a sign that I wanted it. Even though I remember telling him no and crying until I was out of tears, I still believed that I had to have made him think I wanted it.
So I never reported him. I kept this secret for years. I blamed myself. It had to be my fault.
When I was about 26 I volunteered with a group that supported rape victims. I met a girl who was exactly like me. We became close. Eventually I told her what had happened to me. She was the only one I ever confided in for almost 20 years. I don’t know why exactly I chose to tell her. I knew that I had to tell someone because it was killing me inside. I had gotten married and had a very difficult time wanting to have sex with my husband. The idea of sex was so different for me than for most others. I couldn’t explain to him why it was so hard for me. That marriage ended after just 5 years.
So for years, this girl was the only one I had shared my deepest secret with. About 4 years ago, I received a phone call while at work. The one person I shared my secret with was raped and murdered. This absolutely killed me. She had been raped at 19 like me, now it happened to her again and it cost her her life. I didn’t know what to do. I lost it, right there at work. I went in to ask my boss to let me go for the day and I could not hold back the tears. She shut the door and asked me what happened. It all came flying out of my mouth like vomit. We both cried in that office. I left the office in a fog. All these feelings that I had suppressed for so many years had come flowing out like a busted dam. I couldn’t stop it.
I drove around for hours not knowing what to do or where to go. Not knowing how to explain what I was going through to my family, my friends. I couldn’t find the words to tell them what I had gone through all those years ago that was now flooding in as if it had just happened. I was about as broken down as a person could be.
Since then I have shared my story without details. I still have the nightmares. I wake my husband slinging my fists and fighting in my sleep. The details I have shared in this blog are all that I have ever shared with anyone. There are more specific details trapped in my thoughts and there are a lot of missing blanks that I can’t recall, but I am better now. I still have my hang-ups with sex, but at least my new husband knows what I’ve been through and he is very patient with me.
I don’t regret not reporting the rape, but I do regret holding it in for so long. It killed a part of me that I think might have been saved if I had just reached out for help.
I share these personal details of horror in my life for one reason…to show others that it is better to let the demons out, don’t hide them. There is a lot of help out there and when people say they are there for you and want to help, they mean it. I mean it.