Anonymous Story: I’m afraid people won’t believe me.

Anonymous Story: I’m afraid people won’t believe me.

When I was 19, I was raped. The following are pieces from my broken memory of the experience that has taken me almost four years to write out. Luckily, the perpetrator is in jail for almost the entire duration of his life. I did not put him there, but I wish I would have.

It started off with a conversation. Sitting on the bed. A foot apart. Talking about life and cancer diagnoses. I should have noticed the signs. I should have recognized the shakiness in his voice. Where was my fight or flight? Where were my instincts telling me to leave. How did a hug of friendship and solitude end with my face buried in a pillow, trying to soften the quivers of my breath, burying my tears deep in my soul as I stare at that gun. The gun that you so conveniently had on your nightstand. Was that there to intimidate me? Was that there to paralyze me? Did you plan to rape me? For me, when it happened, the world moved so fast but it also stopped. Every touch was painful and unasked for. Every reaction was stiff and unwilling. Was that good for you? Did that make you hot for me? Taking power over me… did that help you gain power in your life? Did it make you feel like you had control?

Let’s start from the beginning. Did it feel good to push me down when I backed away from that kiss? Was your ego hurt when I said no and turned my head? I guess it would have been easier if I just let you have your way with me. I mean you kept saying how much you needed it. Me. I guess. But that wasn’t up to discussion for you. People have been telling you no for a while. Me telling you no was the last straw. At first I attempted to push back on you, telling you no. Telling you to stop. You’re grabbing at my Nike shorts. Pulling them off of me as you fight to keep me still. You glanced from my body to the gun sitting on your nightstand and I got the picture. My protests turned to mumbles and I tried to hold back the silent tears running down my face. I wouldn’t give you that satisfaction. Your knees on the back of my legs, your one hand holding down my hands and arms as your other hand touches my body wherever you please. My body meeting every touch with a stiff recoil. Your fingers shoving up my vagina like it was your wallet, holding all the answers to your shitty life. All the while telling me to shush and saying that you’re just going to keep touching me until I’m wet because you know what a dirty slut I can be and you asked if my boyfriend does it for me like this and I can’t hold back the tears anymore. I close my eyes, biting the pillow as your fingers rip me open like a present. Your knees dig harder into my thighs, my sobs muffling into the pillow as I feel you lowering your gym pants. No. I say again. Please stop. I say again. I feel my heart jumping from my chest. I feel it up in my throat. I feel my heartbeat choking me as I try to find more words. At this point I can’t even remember when I stopped saying this out loud. It blurs over from the feeling of you entering me. Hearing your grunts of satisfaction. I keep my eyes closed. The crying subsides. I shut down. The only thing I can hear now are your grunts as you push in and out of me and the creaking of the bed. The rhythm is unfamiliar. It feels disconnected. Squeak. Squeak. It’s not consistent. I couldn’t even focus on the squeaks of the bed to take my mind off of what was happening. The only consistency were the grunts with every thrust I could expect. You compliment my ass in my ear as you thrust really hard into me and an unwanted grunt leaves my mouth. You take this as pleasure. It was pain. You tell me that you knew I’d enjoy it. That it was just what we needed to get a fresh start. You grab a handful of my hair and push my face more into the pillow. Thrust. Thrust. I know I slowed this down in my mind. I know this all happened faster than I’m saying. But every touch, every invasion, every unwanted reentry, felt like a 100 lifetimes. When it was over, I silently cried as I put my Nike shorts back on. You try to make plans with me later and I glare at you as I grab my purse and storm out the door, still feeling the pain of you inside me.

Less than 2 months later, he commits the same crime, except worse. He entered his ex girlfriend’s apartment with a knife and a gun and threatened her as he nearly choked her to death and raped her. His ex fought back and although alive, was seriously injured in the process.

When I found this out, I had an even further downward spiral. Late September of that year, I was failing half my classes, sleeping only 2-3 or so hours per night due to nightmares, and ended up in the hospital after nearly overdosing from taking anti-anxiety medication that was not prescribed to me. I was then forced to stay a little over a week in a mental health hospital, which added to the anxiety and depression I was facing. It still wasn’t for another 2 months that I’d even mention to my therapist that I was raped.

I’ve never written this out before. I’ve played it over in my head time after time. Thinking what I could’ve done differently. Thinking it was my fault. Wondering if I would’ve taken bigger risks if I still would be here today. Wondering if the gun was loaded. Wondering if when I walked out of that apartment, if I had gone straight to the police, if his ex would’ve been okay. See, she fought you. She risked her life. I applaud her for her strength and character and when I used to look at myself, I would see the opposite of that. Weak. Characterless. It was my fault. And now I couldn’t tell anyone because then they’d know. They know how I didn’t have the courage to say what happened. They would know that my silence lead to someone else’s pain.

The nightmares still happen. It’s not as frequent, but sometimes I still wake up to the unrhythmic thumps of the bed and the feeling of unwanted fingers between my thighs. Imagining myself with your hands around my neck instead of hers. Sometimes the nightmares are even just about what people might think of me.

I’ve come a long way after what has happened. But I still struggle with blaming myself. Not for the rape. For not preventing someone else’s. That’s on me. It’s a secret I keep that I think about frequently. And I know… in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t my fault. But it’s a real emotion I feel very deeply that adds on to the guilt of the whole thing. People don’t always talk about the shame that comes with rape, but it’s a very real and very strong emotion. You want to believe you could’ve done something differently. You feel like word vomit comes out of your mouth when you talk about it and it feels too horrible to be real… but it is. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real and you have this guilt of making it seem like it was some cookie cutter story—but it WASN’T. And then there’s the fear that comes with sharing your story.. having other people judge your experience and saying what you could have done. That’s my biggest fear. I’m always petrified when I think of the questions people could ask. “Why didn’t you fight back?” “Why didn’t you go to the police?” “Why were you over there in the first place?” “You should’ve left as soon as you saw his gun out.” “Did you know he was mentally unstable?” “You could’ve stopped him from doing it again.”
That is why I don’t share my story. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the judgment that I already put on myself. I’m afraid of his ex finding out I didn’t report him. I’m afraid of being seen as weak, stupid, and spineless. I’m afraid people won’t believe me.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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