Monday, June 19, 2006

The hardest thing I've ever had to be honest about

So, I hadn’t really planned for this to be today’s post. I wasn’t sure if it was anything I would ever write about here on my blog. I thought maybe it might be pertinent, but I wasn’t sure if it was anything I really wanted to dive into. Actually, dive isn’t the right word. Well, maybe it is. I have to dive into my past and I’m not one who likes to look back. I like to reflect and analyze the past, see why I did what I’ve done. See why something happened, but to live in the past? Ick, no, thanks.
However, after the bravery of ePixie’s comment I decided there was no way I couldn’t share my story.

If one in six women have been raped, think of any random women you encounter on a daily basis and chances are one, if not all, have been raped, or have had a boundary crossed or been violated in some way shape or form. A boundary they had been set up for themselves that has been crossed.
Think of six random blogs by women that you read on a daily basis. Think of six women relatives. Six women co-workers. Six women you see on the TV everyday. Your nieces, sisters, aunts, mom, friends. One in six, if not all, have had a boundary crossed and been violated in some way.

I will step up and say, I am one of those six. I have been raped twice. Wow. I’ve never seen it in print before. Raped, twice. (Breathe)

The first time I was 17. It was August, 1991 and right before my senior year in high school. I was out with my girlfriend and two other girls I didn’t know. We went out to a festival, and the night started out with a lot of alcohol.
I was separated from my friend. When I ran into one of the other girls, she said she couldn’t find the other girls (my friend included.) She offered to drive me back to my girlfriend’s apartment (she was older than I was and lived with her boyfriend.) She was supposed to wait for me while I ran inside to see if my friend was home and then I was going to come back out and tell her to either stay and wait with me or that she could go home.
She didn’t wait.
When I came back outside to tell her my friend wasn’t home, she was long gone.
I sat on the front step of the building waiting for my friend to come home and to give her a piece of my mind.
Before she showed, a carload of men showed up telling me they were looking for my friend to invite back to their apartment for a party. When I angrily told them she wasn’t there, they invited me into their car and invited me back to their place.
In my frustrated and angry state I got into their car. I believe there were five men and me in the car.
When I arrived back at their apartment I discovered no party, just me.
I tried to call my friend to come and get me, but alas, there was no answer.
Eventually two other girls showed up. They were the girlfriends of one of the men and one other was looking for a hook-up. Eventually more men showed up.
I hovered in a corner and tried to reason and think, but I had no idea where I was and I couldn’t reach my friend.
Leave and risk the elements of a neighborhood that I had no idea where I was and walk to my friend’s apartment when I didn’t even have any idea in which direction to head out? Stay and hold out the night?
I chose to stay.
I was raped when everyone went to sleep and I was lying on the living room floor. There were men “asleep,” at my feet, yet they all chose to ignore my screams, cries and reasoning. I believe one was very much awake and even laughed.
The next morning when I got up (I didn’t fall asleep. I waited for the sun to come up and called my friend once everyone passed out.) I called my friend and she came to get me. She knew on the phone that something happened. She tried to talk me into going to the police, but I realized the facts were stacked against me and choose not to.
I went about my life as if everything was normal.
I didn’t tell anyone for a week. I told my best friend, but I didn’t tell my boyfriend for another month or so and we broke-up very shortly there after.
I was to blame. I got into the car. I went back to the party. It was my fault. I knew, I knew this wasn't true, but I couldn't help but think it.

I contracted an STD which led into PID which lead into pre-cancerous tissue on my cervix, which lead to several years of tests, exams, and painful, painful lasting results.
I was raped when I was 17, yet the exams and tests lasted until I was 21. How could I ‘get over and move on’ when I was dealing with a constant reminder due to continuing doctor appointments and exams.
My best friend turned against me, and so did my boyfriend.
It ate at me. It changed me. I was extremely depressed and I was sleeping around in a very reckless manner because I simply didn’t care enough to care. I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t respect myself. I simply did-not-care.

I told my mom about what happened a little over a year after the fact. She tried to help me, but ultimately and it’s stupid to say it this way, but it was bad timing on my part when I told her. She was dealing with her own stuff and I was trying to deal with my stuff. Support, in the way I needed it, wasn’t there.

By the time I was 21 I had, ‘moved on.’ As much as someone can, I had. Self-esteem was back; attitude of conquering the world was back. The little party girl (healthy, smart, always aware of her surroundings, only has positive people around me, no glove no love, party girl) was back.
I was out living my life to the fullest and having a great, wonderful, and amazing time.

Then, when I was 23 I was raped in my apartment, in my bed.
I had met someone that night. We had chatted for several hours. He came up to my apartment. I made it perfectly clear, several times, that we would not be having sex. Under no circumstance would we be sleeping together.
He said he understood.
After several hours of talking in my living room, on my couch, he then pinned me on my bed and raped me. I don’t recall how this happened exactly. I know the bathroom was through the bedroom so I don’t know if I got up and he followed me, or if when I left the bathroom he was in my bedroom. I don’t remember. I don’t want to.
I do know I kicked, I hit, I screamed, I cried.
(…and breathe….)
I was on my period and was using a tampon when he raped me. Needless to say this lead to a lot of pain for several days afterward.

I knew I needed to go to the hospital.
I knew I shouldn’t be in the shower.
I knew I had to get out of the curled up ball I was in my tub and stop the water washing everything way.
I knew I shouldn’t go swimming at the lake the next day with my girlfriend and act like nothing was wrong.
I knew I shouldn’t clean my fingernails endlessly and unconsciously.
I knew I needed to tell someone.

I was raped on a Saturday night/Sunday morning. I went to the hospital late Monday night.

I went to work Monday morning. It was when I was on my way to my part-time job later that night that I could feel it eating at my brain and I knew I had to tell. I couldn’t go though this again. I wasn't going to let it run me or my life again. Not again.
My mom and older brother drove me to the hospital that night.

I sat and I sat and I sat and I sat in the ER exam room. Hour upon hour upon hour. Along with a doctor and nurse, a rape counselor also needs to be present.
There was a backlog in the ER that night.
Even though I called before hand and told them I wasn’t going to wait; I waited and I waited and I waited.

I’ve debated about this next part. How honest to be? I don’t want to discourage others, but I want to be honest. I need to tell the whole story. But, I don’t want to discourage others.


The rape exam is one of the most intrusive, invasive, heart wrenching, horrible, cruelest, victimizing things I have ever been through. That's all I can say. I really can't go into it. It's something I have spoken very little about and it's not that I am retreating here, I honestly don't see the point in telling it. I don't think it would serve a point and I believe it would only be pornographic and voyeristic.
I am sure there is a point behind everything they had me do, but I am at a loss as to the reason for it.
At one point, with the doctor, nurse, rape counselor in the room with me, I started to cry. The doctor, clearly aggravated, asked if I wanted him to leave the room. When I told him yes, he didn’t seem happy about this. The nurse and rape counselor concurred this my feeling about his reaction and apologized for him.

After that ordeal was over, the police came, two men. I had to explain everything. I use humor to diffuse situations and to keep my sanity. I told them this, but I was still afraid they would read it wrong.

I had all the info about the rapist, he was easy to find.
He was taken into the police and questioned. He told them he wasn’t surprised he was there. He confessed to being an asshole, but not to raping me.
When I went in to tell them my story, the police told me his. The above sentence is a direct quote.
I contracted an STD from him as well. This lead to more problems and I don’t believe I will be able to have children due to the damage from both.
I told my family. I told my friends. I told my boyfriend. I told my employer and took a leave from work. My parent’s took my bed away and I bought a new one. I was going to move, but I refused to let one person control my life that way. I wasn’t going to move. I wasn’t going to let him win. I told the police, I was ready to be torn apart by whoever chose to tear me apart for standing up.

There wasn’t enough evidence. It never went to court. I was devastated. I shouldn’t have taken a shower. I should have gone to the hospital right away. I shouldn’t have waited. Again, somehow it came back to me and my fault. Even though I knew better. It somehow became my fault.

I don’t normally talk about being raped.
This is the most I’ve ever written or talked about it at one time.
Not because I am ashamed.
Not because I want to hide.
Not because I believe I am victim.

But because I don’t want to be looked at any differently.
I don’t want to be over-analyzed.
I don’t want people to go, ‘ah-ha! Now all the pieces make sense. That is why she does what she does.’
I am not a mystery unto myself. I know why I am the way I am and why I do what I do. It really doesn’t have a lot to do with being raped. I was a little party girl before I was 17 and 23 and I have been since.
I have issues about a few things and boundaries when it comes to others. I draw lines and I don’t recommend that a person cross it without permission. If it is crossed, I don’t suggest crossing it again.
However, unless you are a very close person in my life, you wouldn’t have any idea about these lines or boundaries. There isn't a reason to know unless I feel there is.

I am perpetually perky always optimistic and slightly cynical (unless you ask Nick. Then he’ll tell you I am more than slightly cynical.) Happy, healthy, incredibly out-going 32-year-old woman who has been raped, twice. It does not rule my world. It does not define me, nor will I let it. I don’t think about it every second of everyday. It does still enter my mind. I am always aware of my surroundings. I am careful about those who I let into my life and who I choose to be close in my life and who I let in. However, don’t a lot of people do that?

Even now as I write this, I’m wondering if you all will look and think of me differently. Don’t. Please, don’t.

People say they don’t know what to say when someone tells them something like I just shared. Don’t say anything. Listen. Be quiet and listen. Don’t start to tell me your story before I am finished with mine. Maybe don’t even share yours. It’s not that I don’t want to hear it, but let me tell mine. Let me say what I need to say.
But, please, please, don’t look at me differently. Don’t analyze why I am the way I am. I am the person I am supposed to be and I am so awesome with that person. She and I kick-ass and I love her. I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a heart-wrenching, depressing, introspective, why did that happen, when will I be able to ‘move on,’ thing. It has all made me the person I am today, and I kick ass. She and I totally kick ass.
I am so happy with who I am.
Don't look at me or treat me differently than you did before you heard my story.
I am not a victim. Don’t you dare call me a victim.
I am not a survivor. What have I survived? Two nights. Sadly, nothing more than almost every woman I encounter has gone through. We all have a story. Take the time to listen to it.
It was two nights. Two nights have not defined my whole life.
I love sex. It took a long time for me to get there, but I do. I love sex.
I own my sexuality.
I own my body.
I own my mind.
I own myself.
I respect myself.
I am awesome.
I kick ass.


TrappedInColorado said...

PG - can you sense me standing behind you, feel my hand on your shoulder, and know I listened with empathy and total admiration to what you said?

Now, to prove I do not think of you any differently - cocktail, dinner, teasing bantering conversation, and Broadway musical? Checkbook is open and ready for business! ;)

puerileuwaite said...

Hi PG, I am so sorry that you had to go through this. No one should.

It certainly didn't defeat you. You are an awesome woman.

And yes, to echo your previous post, reported statistics are ridiculously low and insulting.

Just based on the experiences of women that I've known, it is obvious that this is an epidemic. And has been for a long time, if not since man's inception.

I won't go into detail with my thoughts on how rapists should be dealt with (it would be very graphic), I'm sure I don't have to.


ptg said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It seems almost belittling to write that, but it takes guts to write about something so intense and so close. You are based off of your experiences, good, bad, and the ugly. I share your pain, your emotions at dealing with something like this, and all I can say is thanks for giving us all a voice.

Bre said...

Your voice is, as always, so clear I can feel it. Which makes reading things like this harder, I suppose. I'm proud of you, even though I don't know you to save my life, for having the courage to say these things (and I thought I was brave talking about getting my tits cut off!) and I'm terribly terribly sorry that you had to endure any of it... all of it. I don't think I could not look at you differently, but it's a change for the better, that I can assure.

Joefish said...

You know what? You do kick ass.

wavslidn said...

Wow, I have a new found respect for you. I dont know how I could deal with something that tramatic and then kick ass like you. I must second the motion - you rock!

Mark said...

brave post and I think it's unfair that you had to endure this. It makes me wonder how many women choose to not report rape or incest for similar reasons.
MEN: NO means NO. That's it. Somehow, our society has turned no into "maybe". If I keep at her, she'll consent. If I go ahead and force her. she'll enjoy it. For those guys that think that, let's turn the tables. You are at a party with a bunch of guys. They hold you down and fuck your ass. Do you think you changed your mind when they went ahead?
Maybe that's what they should start doing in high school health classes. Put the guy into the mind set of what it's like to be forced.

Rape is not really a sex thing. It's a powerful, devastating way of attacking someone. No still means no.

Thanks for posting this. You are amazing.

sonia said...

I admire your courage. I was never able to talk about this. I probably never will.

It's a devastating story. Incredible. You are strong. I really admire you.

GirlGoyle said...

I think of myself as being pretty good spirited but I have to admit that rape is an act that unleashes a visceral rage within me. It an act of cowardice with the ability of stripping someone of their essence. Only cowards resort to rape and abuse. Just makes me angry. As it makes me angry that people who do see said acts being comitted don't do anything about it. How can these people live with themselves?

People like you PG who have the ability to find strength from tragedy and evil are who we should all take example from. You do rock girl! Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Shon Richards said...

Thanks for sharing the story. I think by talking about it more and showing your side, you do a lot of good.

and you are kick ass.

Dirty Bunny said...

I think it's important that you shared this, from a therapeutic standpoint, and also it will be in the back of the mind of anyone who may go through the same thing. It's in the past for you, but it may just change somone elses future for the better.

THE DUKE said...

Ughh!!Sometimes the lessons we learn in life come the (really) hard way. Great post - thanks for sharing! Your already-really-high "cool points" level just increased even more!

Party Girl said...
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Egan said...

I've never sat more motionless while reading someone's blog entry. Thank you kindly for sharing such a personal story. I'm very impressed with how you handle this and how you haven't let it ruin your life. Thanks.

the bare frame said...

well done, PG... it can't be an easy story to tell. sorry that so many men are capable of that.

thanks for so openly sharing that pain, so that we might learn something, and thanks for always standing up.

Askinstoo said...
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