The day began as a very emotional day for me dealing with family issues. I was in a relationship with this guy, so we were watching a movie like any other ordinary evening. I had been talking with him about the situations going on. We had kissed a few times, not really doing any serious making out. I was laying on the couch with my head on his knee. I was honestly to the point I was falling asleep…drained from the day. I felt him rub my arms, as I started to drift off. The next moment, I felt his hand going down the front of my shirt. I immediately grabbed his arm and told him to stop. I wasn’t in the mood to make out or fool around. I was exhausted. I just wanted a nice quiet evening with him watching a movie. I laid there figuring that the situation had been dealt with and started to drift off again. I came back to reality a few moments later when he decided to put his hand under my skirt. Again, I grabbed his arm and told him “no”, more forcefully than the first time. The next thing I knew, he had picked me up and moved me to the floor. I told him I was tired, and I really didn’t want to do anything at all. He didn’t listen. He began to take off my underwear, push up my skirt and raped me.
I closed my eyes and tried to put myself in another place. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I started to cry because he was holding me down and hurting me. I can remember tilting my head back and looking at the movie (which I cannot watch to this day without shaking) and praying for this nightmare to be over. Once he finished, he finally noticed I was crying. I told him to take me home right away. He drove me home and I was totally silent on the ride in disbelief. He tried to talk to me outside of my house. I could only look out the passenger window and cry. He kept asking me to look at him. I refused. This kept going, back and forth, for about 5 minutes. In a moment of extreme anger, he grabbed me by the head and jerked my head around to look at him. He did this with such force that I could feel everything in my neck and jaw pop. He just kept telling me that the night wasn’t what I thought it was. By the time I walked in the house, I was a victim of rape and physical abuse. I became terrified of him from that moment forward.
The fear that gripped my soul remained with me for years. I still dated him for another few months. I was terrified of what he would do to me next and even more terrified of what he would do if I broke things off with him. I finally had the courage to break it off with him once I was out of town for a trip. I knew that he couldn’t come find me and try to convince me otherwise.
I have hidden my story for years and years. I have kept that secret locked tight in the back of mind, never wanting to think about those days again. I was kind, sweet, and way, way too naive. There are, probably, only a handful of people who know my story. It happened well over 25 years ago. I told my husband and a few close friends. I never told my parents, my family, or anyone else. Why? Because I was ashamed…because I thought it was my fault…because I considered myself “damaged goods” …because I was afraid that no one would believe me. I am not telling my story to shame anyone, not even the person responsible. I am sharing my story, after all this time, to empower others who have a story to share their journey. I share my story so that my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and any future granddaughters I will possibly have, will never have to have a sexual violence story.
As I mentioned, my story began over 25 years ago. I was (and still am) independent, carefree, and loved life. Other than being involved in high school activities and friends, I had not a care in the world. Then, that world came crashing down. This person emotionally abused me, mentally abused me, raped me, and physically abused me. I didn’t see the emotional or mental abuse. It was disguised under the idea of “love”. He was not in a great place in life and I was under the impression that I could “fix” him, if I loved him enough. Sound familiar? It is, honestly, how most abusive relationships begin. We were both young and bad decisions were made on all sides. Does that excuse my story? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
As I look back, with hindsight always being 20/20, I should have screamed, yelled, hit, kicked…. done something other than been silent. There were other people in the house where this happened and yet, I was quiet…not wanting to make a scene. I should have told someone…anyone. But, I was silent. I lived with this silent pain for so many, many years. I had nightmares…I was afraid to see him out and about…I was afraid that he would hurt me again.
After years of shoving this horrible event into the deepest and darkest places of my mind and soul, I lived life as if it never happened. I didn’t think about the rape, the abuse or that horrible night. In my mind, it was as if nothing ever happened. Hiding this pain hurt me in ways that I have a hard time grasping. I began to convince myself that things didn’t happen the way that I remembered them. I truly convinced myself that it didn’t happen at all and it was all a bad dream.
There comes a point that things are always going to be unacceptable. There is nothing that can explain it away. Rape is unacceptable. Physical abuse is unacceptable. Mental abuse is unacceptable. Emotional abuse is unacceptable. It may seem like I am contradicting myself here. I am not. While I have forgiven this person, these acts will always be unacceptable to me. I never “deserved” what happened. I didn’t dress in a fashion to “attract” this. I didn’t “say” anything that caused him to put his hands on me. This was not my fault. It will NEVER be my fault.
Why don’t I call him out and expose this secret that he is hiding? I don’t need to expose him. He has to live with what he did to me until he takes his last breath. I have become stronger, more caring, and the person I am today because of the events that shaped me. I have been able to move forward and not be stuck in the past reliving this situation. He will have to face the brutal reality of these events in every relationship that he has for the rest of his life. I honestly think that these events impact every relationship he has and will ever have. Do I think that he has moved forward? Probably…but to ever have a deep relationship with someone, there cannot be any secrets. At some point, the truth will come tumbling out.
If I had anything to say to him now, over 25 years later, I would say that I forgive him. I would also say that he tried to shatter my world, break me down, and make me worthless and he DID NOT succeed. Now that my story is out here, I would hope it could help someone else with a similar story to tell someone, anyone, and not hide any longer. The more you hide this, the more it will destroy you. You can come out on the other side of abuse/rape and become the most amazing version of you this world has ever witnessed.
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