When I was 18 I lived with a handful of girls and worked at a company where I was directly under a handsome slightly older man. It was the height of my rebellion as a young adult. Curiosity was a tangible state for me. I felt free, wild, and like I could take on the world. It wasn't long before I was head over heels for this tall powerful supervisor. He began to notice me, seek me out. Compliment me, make me laugh and feel safe around him. My 18 year old eyes were full of hearts and I trusted him completely. He made me feel loved and wanted, something I had previously struggled with. I was happy, or I thought I was. I had brought him back to the home I lived with my roommates. It was late and so he only met my very good friend. After he left, my friend said she didn't like him. She felt weird around him.
I dismissed her opinion and continued to see this man. One rainy night we were alone in a car, waiting for other friends to meet us. The downpour was our excuse to cuddle and kiss. He expected more. He expected me to please him. He fed the usual lines like 'if you really care for me you would want this as much as I do.' and 'I thought we had something.' My stomach dropped as I now understood that he didn't care about me. My mind was spinning with so much sadness and confusion. Why would anyone expect something like this?
My naïve self couldn't comprehend what was happening and what was about to happen. I had a very clear warning in my head to get out of the car and seek my friends. Why would I do that, though? I cared about this guy. "We can figure this out." "I've never done this before" are just a few of the things I tried to bargain with. Then, I saw the look in his eyes. He wasn't going to bargain with me.
He came closer and said he was just going to kiss me and everything was ok, he was sorry... I took a deep breath and relaxed against him, giving up my trust once again. Several minutes later he aggressively pulled my head back by my hair.
He looked at me and said he was done with me acting like a little girl, and I needed to start acting like a woman. I was frozen in fear. He still held my hair with a savage grip. He pushed my head down towards his exposed genitals. My arms flew into action and I pushed off his thigh to stop what was happening.
He was strong. Stronger than me.
"Open your mouth and be nice." He says. I can't begin to describe the fear that I felt at that moment. The moment you understand that you are not strong enough, that at this moment I was stripped of my control. I was pushed down so hard, that I began gagging and gasping for breath when abruptly I was flung back. Relief was what I felt first. Then I saw our friends and that was my first, and not the last moment I felt a deep shame. The fear came back as he pulled me back to him and apologized over and over and said he didn't know what he was thinking and he was glad our friends were coming closer because he never intended for it to go this far.
I began to rationalize why this happened. I tried to convince myself that it didn't happen the way I thought it did. I tried to lessen the blow. tell myself it was me not being fully invested in this new relationship. I was smarter than to believe the lies I told myself. We were joined by 3 others. Since we were in the back seat one friend sat by the man who had hurt me. He possessively tightened his arm around me and softly pet my hair. His brow to mine, said "I love you."
I nodded. I was blank. He didn't wait for a response. Joining the chatter in the car he held me tight and ignored any protests. No one noticed that I wasn't ok. We went back to work to get his car. He got out of the car and pulled me with him. The numbness wouldn't go away. Finally I said " I'll just hitch a ride with them. Liz lives closer to me."
"No. I want to take you home." Laughter skidded away with the car with a lasting comment..."of course, they need their ALONE time." Alone, that is what I was. Alone with this man who now terrified me. instead of going to his car, he unlocked the door at work and motioned me inside. I can't tell you why I didn't run. I can't tell you why I didn't scream. I just followed and hoped that I'd be ok. I wasn't, that's when he raped me. In the entry way on the hard floor of our work building.
Stole my virginity. Clouded my innocent mind. Jaded the idea I had of the world.
When I got home everyone was asleep. No one heard me come in. I showered in the tiny uncomfortable shower and went to bed. I didn't sleep, how could I? I decided I just had to move on and pretend like it didn't happen. So, I dressed and went to work. Arriving a little late, so I'm not alone with anyone. later that day at work I hear my name mentioned and hear him bragging about my f&%$@#! tight p****.
I left, and promptly quit. I look back 12 years ago at my 18 year old self and grieve for the things I lost. I lost my self respect, my positive outlook, my will to succeed. I still don't understand how one terrifying experience can change you permanently. However, it did. It does... change you.
As a result of the previous assault, I began partying. Drinking and eating to excess. Ultimately, falling deeper into a pit of depression. Suicide was the only real thought I had many days. Once a responsible and determined person, I grew outraged at the world, at God, at my parents and siblings for not knowing I needed them. I couldn't handle to be touched. I struggled with peoples touch, not out of disgust for them, but because I hated who I was. I hated that when someone touched me I was scared, terrified. He broke me.
To this day, I get teases mercilessly when someone touches me and I 'wipe it off.' It sends me into a panic. I know I wouldn't have been teased had I told someone the truth of my pain. I remember the day I was forced to succumb to a man and his selfish desires.
Two years later
This one is short, I didn't have any sort of relationship with him, I knew only his first name, which I learned after the fact. Evan.
I drank that night. Not just a few shots, 13 shots of cheap vodka. I drank so much that I flew right past belligerent and settled into passing out. My friends brought me to a room and laid me on a bed. I don't know how long I was passed out. I woke up feeling cold, a breeze brushed my bare skin... bare skin? I was bared from the hips down, and watching a guy have sex with me. I couldn't lift my head or move my body, I was overwhelmed my the dizziness the alcohol caused. He finished what he was doing and left me there, naked and drunk.
After what had to have been an hour or so I was able to stand. I pulled my clothes up and quit the room. My friends thought I had just imagined it because I was so drunk. I know the truth of it. I went to a friends and slept off most of my drunkenness. Upon waking, I decided I couldn't let this happen ever again. I had fallen so far because of shame. I tried to drown myself in drink to forget the past. However, I promised myself I would never be in a situation again that could lead to me not having any control over my mind and body.
Why have I told you all this? Because we are entering a new phase in this country. We are faced with making a decision that will set the tone for our future. I'm not telling you who to vote for, however, I told you this to get an idea of what kind of character a man has to have to do and say disgusting things to a woman. We have a choice.
Know this, I don't want women's rights to revert back because a man incapable of acting decent gets to hold power. Power not just over woman, but the entire nation. My shame is gone, but my anger at this election is not.
Don't feel sorry for me. Don't be shocked. I'm one person out of SO MANY. Vote.