Janine’s Story: Time to Heal

Janine’s Story: Time to Heal

You have to connect to the ground,
and open your heart,
to create space,
and stand in integrity,
to speak your truth.

This is a story about healing….my ongoing journey to heal from what was an unspeakable trauma. My hope is that I may be able to help someone else to seek out help….long before I did. 20 years is too long to lose your voice, your truth and your integrity.

I want to be clear that I am not looking for vengeance, I have omitted names knowing that there will be people who know people involved in this story, but the names do not matter. It is in the telling of this story that I hope to heal and help others to heal.

I have forgiven those that knew and in knowing were complicit and did nothing, I often asked the question what if this was your daughter? What would you have hoped someone else would have done to help her.
If someone is unable to give consent..no one should be having sex with them….maybe you thought I gave consent…
“Forgive them father for they know not what they do…”

I have forgiven those who asked those questions that you never ask someone who has been raped. “Why did you not report this?” thank you When You’re Ready for creating a community where survivors may share their stories and help themselves and others to heal…so much gratitude.

I have forgiven those who asked “what is wrong with you?” instead of “what happened to you?”

I have forgiven my assaulter.

And most importantly I am learning to forgive myself for not coming forward sooner, for allowing fear to rule my life, for choosing substances to numb, for not being able to ask for help for fear of being seen, all the poor choices and consequences I have faced or am facing, and lastly of dimming my own light.

I lost my integrity…It did not happen all at once…I can even say I noticed it slipping away. Bit by bit…I kept losing myself…my foundation slipping under me…all of the bad decisions, all the consequences piling up…so overwhelming that eventually the choices I made really did not matter much at all. I was making those choices and not completely sure why. My intuition was gone. I was stuck, immobile, unable to do the things I needed desperately to do. Barely hanging on to my business and relationships. I have made some really bad choices. I have done some really stupid things. I have done some really bad things, things that hurt other people, people I love.

All these actions have consequences….

Some people may not believe this to be true or act as if theirs do not…for those who do not believe in karma…only time will tell…

The Masters the Official start of the Golf Season…Spring…Promise…New Beginnings…
For most of the world, even the avid golfers, except for maybe Patrick Reed and those that were rooting against him, the Masters is already a vague memory.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend The Masters Tournament on several occasions, for a lover of golf, it is a spiritual experience. And over the years, the weeks leading up to and after have been an unsettling time of the year for me…and it took me until the last 6 months to really understand why.

I did not consider what happened to me trauma…no one else seemed to, especially those that knew about it when it happened. I thought PTSD was something soldiers came back from war with….I really did not even think I was depressed…I had been through a lot of loss in the last several years, and I just felt like some of my poor decisions, my grief and the unfulfilled expectations were the root of the heaviness I seemed to be carrying around. I had never been challenged with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, I was a relatively “positive” person…I thought.

It was 20 years ago — April 1998, I was slipped a drug(not sure what it was…maybe ecstasy?) during a corporate outing hosted by a large international corporation at the Masters in Augusta, GA and then raped in the back of a limousine.

I was there to support several of the golfers playing in the Masters, who I was training while working with a new golf fitness training company and to be a involved in golf fitness instruction for customers of client who was an executive for a large international company who were invited to attend the Masters.

The week’s events included golf each day, transportation, big parties each day and night, which in 1998 involved the star studded cast to include a couple well known sports figures, an sports psychologist and author, and a Hollywood actor. I remembering being at the party Friday night and sitting at a table to grab a bite to eat and talking to a couple guys from a relatively new fast growing restaurant concept. These guys evidently were the catalyst. The party started to wind up before 10 p.m. and one of the guys said a group were headed out to go to some bars and listen to some music and asked if I would like to join them. I was headed back to Kansas City the next morning so I did not have to work. I was acquainted with several of the people going so I felt comfortable in going along, it sounded fun. I never imagined I would not be safe. I had bartended and waitressed my way through college and beyond during the 80’s in the suburbs of Chicago and and I can honestly say I do not ever recall hearing about one of my friends, colleagues or customers ever slipping something in or being slipped something in their drink…not saying it did not happen, but I cannot say that I was ever aware of this being the norm in some very high volume nightclubs and upscale restaurants.

What I did not know was that we were not going to a nightclub, I was told while we were on the way by my “new friend”, we were headed to a Strip Club. Although it made me a little uncomfortable, that I was a bit misled, I did not want to rock the boat, I did not want anyone to think I could not “play along” in the Boy’s Club of the Golf Industry in which I was making my living and blazing a trail in Golf Fitness, so I went along. It was not my first time in a strip club, so it did not phase me. I was a little uneasy with the “guilt by association” affecting my new life and new career, another reason I hid what happened to me after I was at that club. I questioned Who was going to believe me…I should not have been there in the first place…nice girls would not do that….

I have already been judged for being there, not coming forward to report what happened, and there are people who will still judge me today after reading this story for “putting myself in that position”. Those are the people that do not understand you never get to judge someone who has been raped. I may have made the choice to be in that bar but I did not choose to be drugged and raped.

I had been with my husband, for almost 10 years, when this happened, we had been married for almost 5. I would have never dreamed of cheating on him. I remember calling him from the house I was staying in when I was dropped off by the limo, I also remember he commented about how late/early it was, I am not sure what my response was, but I remember thinking that it was odd that it was so late, because it did not seem like we had left the host house to go to the “club” that long ago…I had no concept of time at this point, I was still drugged. I also knew I was getting picked up to go to the airport to go back to KC and I had to get packed up. I was exhausted, felt disgusting, wanted a shower and was not sure why.

I was not aware of the details of what happened to me until I was questioned about the incident a year later at the Masters in 1999. The incident was replayed to me by X, who was an Executive with the host corporation and one of the hosts of the event in 1998. The story was that I sat at the bar at the Strip Club and had a drink, I do not remember drinking at all at the bar and had not had but a glass of wine at the “host house party” before we left. X was told I “seemed drunk” (can you say “not able to give consent?!!”), and that I was “helped” to the limousine by my assaulter at the Strip Club. The driver was in the car during the incident and after I was raped, one of X’s colleagues and one of the “Celebrities” stopped by the car. I was dropped off at the house I was staying in sometime very early Saturday morning.

In 1999, I was attending as X’s “guest” and again to support my clients playing in the tournament. We had recently started a romantic relationship. He had been in conversation and asked about the incident by several other people who had also been there the year before. The Limo driver, the owner of the limo company, one of my colleagues, as well as several of X’s customers and fellow executives….they all seemed to know. They all seemed more concerned about X dating me, his reputation and position, than what had happened to me. Not that I ever spoke to any of them about it. I was horrified, ashamed. I wanted it to go away. I was just starting an amazing new relationship. My life was very different than what I had ever experienced and I was not interested doing anything to jeopardize it. I had worked very hard to get where I was in my career as well and after all it was definitely a Boy’s Club. So that is what I did, I stuffed it so far into the shadows of my being that I thought I would never ever remember it again. The problem with the shadows is they will eventually come out to be seen…

I never did tell my husband. After the 1998 Masters our lives slowly moved in different directions. I was moving forward in my career and he was struggling to find his way. I was getting tired of working as hard as I had been to support both of us. Looking back on it now, not knowing what happened to me that night, began the gradual shift into my shadow self. Among various reasons, I started to pull away from him and put up a wall to protect myself. I instinctively knew something was not right but I did not remember any details.

Only after my husband and I separated, and ironically very early on in my relationship with X was I ever made aware of what really happened that night. Over the years I have had what is like flashbacks to fill in the blanks of more of what happened that evening. The blanks that had not been provide to me by X and what he heard secondhand.

I did make contact with MOSCA after returning from Augusta in 1999. I met with a counselor, and did not go back. My memory was so vague, so distorted. I had very little support from X–I am sure he was worried about the implications to his career if I did come forward. I do not blame him. The rape was not his fault. When the assault happened, I did not know most all of the people I was around very well, so I imagined that they thought the worst of me. I assumed that is why all of those who were aware of what happened and were complicit either chose not to speak up or they thought I was just “a slut” who would just hook up and have sex in the back of a limo with some random guy I just met while representing my own company and an international company at the Masters….sounds like a brilliant career move…

I continued to build a solid business in the Golf Performance Industry, but I never felt completely able to step into the light, go big, take advantage of many opportunities to be a driving force like I knew I could. I also felt something holding back, as if people really knew my shadow, I would be judged, unworthy of their business and lose everything I had.

My relationship with X endured almost 16 more years. Like most relationships, it was not without its challenges, but overall it was a very happy time in my life. I did a really good job of stuffing the events of that night down as deep in the depths of my soul as I could. As I look back on it, the dysfunction was there from the before the beginning of relationship ever had a chance…without being addressed.

Not sharing this story has been a very large part of “writing” the story of my life. The secrets and shadows have consumed me. My silence has affected how I have shown up in the world and ultimately took me to a place I would not wish on anyone. I felt stuck, worthless, hopeless, and after several other losses, I got to a point that I did not really care about anything. I completely disconnected from myself, my family and my friends. I have made poor decisions which have altered the course of my life and am now paying the consequences. My anger and actions have hurt others and I for that I am deeply sorry.

I am grateful that I have been giving the opportunity to help others and make a living doing something I am passionate about. I am blessed that I was welcomed into the male dominated industries of Fitness and Golf. I have been blessed with meeting with, learning from and helping men, women, young and old. I have been the first female in many circumstances to have been offered an opportunity. I have been treated with the utmost respect in most every situation I have been involved in. I do not blame the Masters, the Golf Industry, anyone involved in the events that evening with the exception of the man that drugged and raped me.

I am grateful to all the women that have come before me to share their stories. Your courage has lifted me up to find my voice. I am grateful for all of my friends, the ones that shamed me when I told my story, you showed your true colors, I wish you peace. I hope as the light continues to bring more women out of the shadows to tell their story, you would choose to hold space for anyone who was vulnerable enough to share with you. “In a world where you can be anything…be kind.”

And the ones that held and continue to hold space for me and told me to listen to that quiet inner voice and I would be guided–I am and I am and I have abundant gratitude–YOU ARE MY TRIBE. I am eternally grateful for all of my friends and family that have held me up, knowing I was in pain but not knowing why. I am also forever grateful to a very special friend, who no longer is here physically, but continues to guide me and protect me. I speak for you too…I understand now why it was so important to you that I find my voice.

I am also forever grateful for the universe gifting me with the opportunity to care for and be unconditionally loved by the most amazing DOG ever. If not for him, I am not sure I would have found my ground. Being the gift to another soul, caring for, being responsible for and sharing your love is a great place to start healing…when you feel like you have nothing left to give.

I have lived inauthentically for far too long. I believe that in telling our stories we have the ability to help others in pain to heal and find joy. I am sharing my experience so that I may heal and help others. I have been blessed with the strength and the opportunity to hold space, and if asked, guide others to the life changing healing practices and tools I have experienced and learned.

I did not choose to be drugged and raped. I did not choose to have PTSD. And now I choose a different way. A way that includes love and light, mindfulness, meditation and prayer, movement and joy, fueling my mind, body and spirit in order to share all of these gifts with the world.

They say that those with the biggest bravado and the largest shadow create the biggest chaos. I also questioned sharing my story because of my life now is a complete joy and a utter chaos. I am so grateful for the universal guidance I am now open to receive. Without being led to uncover the root of my pain and suffering, I may not ever been broken enough to let the light fully shine deep inside to awaken me to my soul’s purpose and the greater good of the universe. I have given up control and am working on listening to guidance from God.

I am doing my best to heal and make better choices so that I may continue to be helped and help myself dig out of the hole I have created. My hope is that those that I have wronged will forgive me too.

I am a victim no longer. This story is not who I am. I am resilient. I am compassionate. I am forgiven and For Giving. I have integrity. I share intuition. I have shied away from playing big and being me. I will not any longer…this is my story…and I am ready to tell it in the hopes to help others and myself heal.

Author

WYR

WYR

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

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