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Oct 24

Monica’s Story: 8th grade hotel hell

I grew up in Alaska where my father was teaching. We moved there when I was 5 & had to leave when I was 13 (the summer before starting my 8th grade year) due to budget cuts. He didn’t have a job lined up. We just drove all over the U.S. & stopped in little towns & asked if they needed a teacher. Finally, in July, a small town in Colorado said they had an opening. We couldn’t afford to buy a home anywhere so we had to settle into the town’s only hotel-a shabby run down but cozy hotel on a corner by a pizza place. Our neighbor, (we’ll call him Mister), lived next door & also paid by the month. He was younger than my dad but that wasn’t saying much (my dad was old enough to be my grandpa). Mister was 42, fun, friendly & not an old stick in the mud like my dad. My mom lived in another state & they split when I was 2 & my dad hadn’t remarried. It was just my dad & me my entire life. My 1st day of 8th grade was awful. In fact, so were the months following that. Mister was always outside smoking when I got home everyday & would say “hey, kiddo! how was 8th grade? I bet all the girls are jealous & boys have crushes!” I always felt awkward when anyone gave me a compliment. One day some girls spit on me & threatened to beat me up so I was visibly upset & he invited me in to hang out, listen to music & talk. We had gone into his place before, which looked like a small apartment. Mister had become a good family friend & my only friend (at that point). My dad didn’t connect with him like I did. My dad said Mister was “too much of a hippie” (which just meant Mister enjoyed playing the guitar & blues music). But Mister was harmless enough and a former Vietnam vet too. All 3 of us would frequently have pizza at the place by the hotel & he eventually became like one of the family. He’d lived there for years & knew everyone so it was nice to have our own little tour guide & he knew all the town gossip. I thought it was weird he was single & never had kids. He wasn’t hot but he was fun & had a warm smile. He was talented on the guitar too. My dad left for a couple weeks for a conference & Mister said I could stay with him if I wanted. I thought that sounded great & my dad agreed. We had a blast! He let me have his bed while he had the couch, helped me with homework & some of my new friends knew him as “the cool guy” & he let them come over. From then on out, Mister became a regular babysitter when my dad had to be gone. The summer going into my freshman year, I was with him for a couple days & I felt someone slide in bed with me. He said the couch was hurting his back. I thought it was weird but I wasn’t going to kick him out of his own bed. As I drifted back into sleep, I felt his arm over me. I rolled over to face him to see if he was asleep & not aware he was holding me or if it was intentional. After a long silence, I decided he was asleep until I heard him say “You’re like a woman my age trapped in a little girl’s body”. I didn’t know if that was a weird compliment or how to respond. Before I could say anything more, he was on top of me. I froze & didn’t speak. He said “I love you. I always have. God you’re so beautiful” & started aggressively kissing me. I could feel alarms going off in my head. The fear made me unable to move while he slipped my pajama’s off. I was like a rag doll-not fighting him & too terrified to make a sound. I could feel him take his clothes off & he remained naked on me. When he made his way inside me, I suddenly felt sick to my stomach & the pain was awful. I started sobbing & realized I had been holding my breath. He stopped & held me & said he felt bad. He looked down at me and said “I’m sorry, Monica. I just couldn’t help myself”. He rolled over & went to sleep. I was wide awake until morning. He showed me affection the next day by holding my hand, patting my butt & caressing my hair. We didn’t leave his room for those 2-3 days my dad was gone & we had sex about 4-5 times per day. He said he needed to stretch me out so it wouldn’t hurt. It was so painful I could barely walk. He started performing oral sex on me to get my body to orgasm. When I realized I enjoyed that part, I felt confused as to whether or not it was rape. He would have me wear some of his clothes during foreplay, which I thought was weird but since I was new to sex, I didn’t comment on it. I was scared my dad would know somehow when he got home-like I had it written on my face. I didn’t tell anyone. Mister would ask me over & buy me concert tickets & cd’s (this was 1994). I was so confused-I knew he was sick but I believed him when he said it was ok since we’d get married when I turned 18 & it wasn’t rape since he was making sure I had an orgasm. In 10th grade I was interested in boys my age & not Mister, but he wouldn’t leave me alone-even after we moved to a house 30 miles from the hotel. I threatened to tell my dad so he stopped. That summer I was at my mom’s & she took me to a gynecologist. I came back positive for HPV. My mom wanted to know who I had sex with. I cried & told her. When I got to my dad’s, he confronted me. He was mad, called me a liar, called me a whore for having HPV & drove me 30 miles to the hotel & demanded I apologize to Mister but his car wasn’t there & oddly my dad never mentioned it again…until last year! Sadly it wasn’t an apology-he said I must have seduced him & enjoyed it since I never cried for help. He said true victims don’t feel shame. I no longer speak to my dad. My mom committed suicide 7 months ago.

 

** Update **

The abuse happened roughly from ages 13-15 and as I stated in my story, I never saw “Mister” again after moving 30 miles outside of town. When I was married and had kids of my own, I decided to give my life to Christ around age 21. A few years after that, the incidences with Mister really tugged at my heart. I needed to forgive him so I finally attempt to have a normal life and let go of the emotional damage Mister had caused. I found him via the internet almost immediately (his true identity is an uncommon name). I called him. He answered. I hung up. I called again. He answered. I hung up. Finally, after mustering the courage through prayer, I said “hello, Mister” after he answered. He knew my voice right away without my having to tell him who I was. He was delighted to hear from me, as though he was in touch with a dear old friend. We had small talk about what we had been up to over the last decade or so. Finally I said, “Mister, I didn’t call to have small talk. I called because what you did to me when I was only a kid really traumatized me and has interfered with my relationships that followed. You stole my virginity, innocence, my trust in men, and my ability to have a normal relationship without carrying horrific baggage.” He said “oh my God, Monica. I am so sorry. I truly loved and adored you and I know what I did was wrong and over the last 10 yrs I have thought of you everyday and wondered if I ruined your life.” I said, “Mister, you did ruin it for awhile, but only because I allowed it to overpower me. I gave my life to God and I want you to know that I forgive you. I forgive you for everything. I pray that you also find God and can forgive yourself and to never touch a young girl again.” He sobbed-just as I had sobbed that night in his bed many years ago. I asked for his address and sent him some Christian literature on forgiveness and a Bible. I then called my dad to tell him I also forgave him for not protecting me, calling me names, and making me feel more shame than I had already carried on my shoulders. Unfortunately, my father still thinks I am a whore. I seduced him and that if the story was true, I would have cried for help and that true rape victims do not feel shame. I do forgive my dad, however, for my own sanity and self worth, I have still chosen to distance myself from my father. Hopefully someday he will give me the apology he owes me.

 

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WYR

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

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