Cassie’s Story: I Am All of These Things Always

LINGERING

What breaks me is the fact that I know. I know everything that happened. Every last detail. I replay every detail every day in every moment. Everything reminds me of what happened, everything reminds me of him. What kills me is that I know now and I knew then…but I didn’t tell anyone. I told the police, I did what I was supposed to…but I lied. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t move. I didn’t know how to explain that I let him do what he did to me. I was scared of what it meant about me that I let him do it. I didn’t want him to and in my head I was fighting him…but how do you explain that you know every detail of what happened but just had no control of yourself to fight it. I am disappointed in myself and blame myself because when I had the opportunity to tell the truth, I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t acknowledge what happened, but I didn’t tell them what I knew. I was afraid of what I looked like. I was afraid of seeming like an idiot for getting so fucked up. It kills me that I know everything but can’t admit it. If I admit it…I am admitting my lack of control of myself. I was afraid that if I admitted that…that I was admitting that it was my own fault…that I was admitting that I didn’t fight him. If I admit that I didn’t fight it, then I am admitting that I knew what he was doing and still didn’t fight it…and that means I was willing. I wasn’t. I know I wasn’t…but how could I explain anything that happened and my awareness of the entire thing and yet a lack of response without that meaning that I agreed to it. I wasn’t just afraid to admit it to anyone else, I have been afraid to admit it to myself…because what could that mean about myself except that I can’t trust myself…can’t protect myself…that I was easy.

That night I remember I was playing cornhole outside the bar with everyone from work. Ben offered to go get my beer for me since I couldn’t get any myself. I didn’t give second thought to it…almost enjoyed the attention of a guy buying my drinks no matter who it was. I was stuck in the ego of free beer and being a part of the group. But it was like all of a sudden I went from tipsy to wasted. I blacked out. I’ve never been that careless, I have never blacked out before. Ever. I woke up on a mattress in the middle of a living room. It was a disgusting trailer with trash everywhere, there was a cooking pot beside me on the mattress and I remember seeing piles of clothes everywhere. I remember asking him where I was and he said it was fine, that I was just really drunk and the pot was in case I needed to get sick. I didn’t even question it. I just passed out again. What was weird was that I was passed out, my body entirely shut down, but my mind was still going. I was on my stomach and I remember being pulled over onto my back. I remember him unbuttoning my jeans, and I thought I waved my arm for him to stop. I flipped back over on my stomach. I was so far gone, so fucked up but still aware. It felt like I was dreaming. Next thing I know, I could feel my shirt being cut in half. I could feel it lifted from my back and becoming looser until it was like I wasn’t wearing anything. I remember feeling my pants be pulled down. I wasn’t moving, I wasn’t fighting it. I knew what was happening but I couldn’t respond. I was cold, and I could feel that I had nothing on. I knew I had nothing on. I felt him touching me. He was rubbing my legs and stuck his hand in between them. I could feel him inside me touching me and felt him push my legs apart. I still wasn’t moving. In my head I was screaming. I was screaming to myself to wake up. I felt like I was responding in my head but my body wasn’t moving. I had absolutely no control of my body. I felt him on top of me. I felt him spreading my legs open. I felt him go in and still did not respond. I was feeling this all happen to me and just laid there. He flipped me over and just continued. I felt him breathing on me, his whole body touching mine. The worst part was feeling him kissing my body and just forcing his way in and out of me. I could feel him struggling, he kept moving my legs…but I still wasn’t responding. I could feel every touch every move everything he was doing to me, but I couldn’t stop it from happening. He kept going until eventually he stopped, and was just laying on top of me. I cringe just thinking about his skin touching mine. At some point I felt that he wasn’t on top of me I was just laying there. I still was not able to move and I don’t know how long I laid there. I remember starting to come to, starting to wake up and realize what was happening. I saw that he was beside me…he was naked and I started to panic. I was freaking out, but I wasn’t screaming or really moving. It is like my eyes were open and I was panicked but I was still unconscious. He put his hand on my mouth and told me to calm down. I still wasn’t fully moving, I was still out of it but more a part of it than I was before. He jumped on top of me and pushed my legs apart. It’s like he was waiting for me to see him, like he wanted me to be a part of it. In hindsight, it feels like he wanted more because the first time was easy. This time I was responding more. My eyes were open, I knew what was happening, but ultimately it was not enough to do anything. He had his hand over my mouth and the most I could do to fight was try to keep moving my body out from under him. It wasn’t enough effort though…it was still easy for him to just keep going. He had one hand on my mouth and one hand holding my arm above me. I remember trying to push him off of me with my other arm but it was like jello. I wasn’t achieving anything. The worst part of all of this was that now I could see him. I watched his face as he didn’t look at me he just looked down, like he was focused and he was breathing so heavy. I was freaking out in my head, I remember thinking how could I let this happen…let alone again. He was doing it again and forcing me to realize it. I remember him flipping me over. His hand wasn’t on my mouth anymore but he was holding my head down. I don’t ever want to admit this out loud, and haven’t to anyone, but he started to go in a different place. I remember it hurt so bad, but I was still mush. I couldn’t respond but I knew it was happening to me. The most I could move was my arm but I was helpless with him pushing me down and I didn’t even have the strength to flip over. I am so disgusted with myself because I remember a moment where I just let it happen. I had been the whole time, but at one point it was like I stopped fighting it even in my head. I was the worst excuse of a woman. I let a man do this to me and did nothing. I remember he started to get rougher and rougher and eventually just stopped and held himself inside me. He did what he did before where he just laid there and I could feel every fiber of his skin on me and in me. He laid there and then I could feel him pull out of me and he got up. I just laid there. I don’t know how much time passed but I eventually I was able to move. I was laying there completely naked. I looked around and I didn’t see him. I started reaching for my clothes. He came in the room and I just screamed at him, asking what he did asking him where my stuff was. He just said I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t know what you’re looking for. I screamed at him and told him he raped me and he said he didn’t know what I was talking about but gave me some of his clothes to put on. I was still naked and panicking. I searched everywhere for my stuff and all I could find were my shoes. I remember screaming and screaming, not even sure what I was screaming about. I was looking for my phone and he went into the kitchen and pulled it out of a drawer. He had hidden my phone in a drawer. I didn’t even think to ask why it was there, I just freaked out. I didn’t want to put on his clothes but I didn’t have a choice. I just threw them on and ran outside. I had no service and couldn’t call anyone. I was trying to figure out where to go but I was so fucked up, I had no idea what to do or where I was going. I remember him chasing me outside telling me he’d help me find what I was looking for trying to tell me to calm down. He grabbed me to pull me back in but I started screaming and he let go of me and ran back. I just remember calling everyone I knew from the side of the road. I called and no one picked up. It was almost 5 o’clock in the morning and I was just on the side of the road walking in the direction of campus because it’s all I knew to do. I called my friend Kayla and she answered. She was tripping and with a bunch of people. I don’t know how I got her there, but she told me that all she heard was crying and that I told her trailer park behind campus and she just drove until she saw me. When she got there, she said I was hysterical and just kept telling her to get my clothes. She said she ran inside and was fighting with him for my stuff. I remember her coming back to the car and she was just screaming and told me she couldn’t find anything. She drove me to the house of the people that dropped me off there. I was so out of it, everyone there was freaking out and didn’t know what to do. I just remember locking myself in the bathroom. I remember sitting in the shower and everyone telling me not to. But I felt so disgusting. I could still feel his skin on mine and I could still feel him inside me. It sounds so cliché…it sounds dumb to shower when you know you need to wait, but in that moment I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I just wanted to stop feeling him. I couldn’t get rid of him.

I hate admitting this, but I was I was foolish. I knew everything that was happening, but couldn’t do anything about it. From the very get go, it didn’t matter what happened that night; I am the one who made the bad decision of drinking. I am the one who let someone I didn’t know get me drinks. It is my fault that I was even in the position I was. I will never ever say that I wanted it or asked for it, but I can’t deny that I didn’t protect myself from it. That is where I am disappointed in myself. I am disgusted. I still feel him all the time. I still think about that night and go through every moment, every touch…everything. But I am the fool that couldn’t prevent it. I’ve been convincing myself and deceiving myself for over a year. I’ve really tried to accept that I am not defined by what happened that it is behind me. But I am engulfed in it, have been since it happened. I try to deny that I have encountered the other, but the other has become me. It’s easy to convince myself I never encountered the other when I don’t see the other…and the only reason I don’t see it is because I am it. I have been stuck in a battle within my own being for so long now…and I never saw that it was happening because I was in such denial that the other had any control what so ever. I am the other, I am all that the other is that is disgusting and dark and terrifying. I hate the other, and I hate me, yet I am both.

I don’t like where I am at because I can’t grasp anything. I feel like I have nothing to hold on to, nothing to consider a foundation or a focal point. I am just spinning out of control, completely foreign to everything all of the time. I am both burdened by myself and completely outside of myself. I am afraid all of the time. I am afraid of everything, everyone. I don’t even know how I keep going when I am honest with myself. I am terrified and anxious. Everything I do reminds me of him, everything I do reminds me of that night. Whether I am with people or alone, it is always in my mind. I think about it every moment of every day. I function, but I don’t know how. I am so afraid all of the time because I am always feeling like I am in the moment it happened. I relive it so often. There are times that I cannot remember where I was or what I was doing…like I blacked out because I was reliving what happened and completely disconnected from reality. I’ve lost all connection I have felt to anyone around me and just feel emotionless to it all, to everyone. I can’t focus, ever. I can’t even write. I can’t think, I can’t sleep. I never sleep and when I do sleep it is only long enough to relive it. It is literally every moment of my being. Nothing takes me away from it.

Even my relationship with Clarke, he feels like him. I don’t see him when I sleep with Clarke, but when we sleep together, I feel like I can’t wait for it to be over. It hurts and it feels like I can’t move and like I can’t say anything. I feel like I am motionless. In my mind he is doing everything and I can’t escape. When we sleep together I don’t want it, it is always very rough and always when he wants it and how he wants it. I’ll never forget the first time we slept together because I kept pushing him back from me. He thought it was a part of it…like I was just participating…but I honestly wasn’t. Everything hurt, everything was miserable. I just didn’t want him to know that. If I’m being honest, I felt like I needed to replace the feeling that Ben had left in me. For a while, Clarke did replace that feeling in me…but then I got pregnant last November. He got mad at me when I told him and scheduled an abortion that day. It’s not that I didn’t want to get rid of it, it just all happened so fast. We went to Asheville within 3 days of finding out. I would have chosen the same thing, it’s just that…I realized then how he controls me. It has felt like the same lack of control I had that night, but every day. He acted like it was my fault, said he never wanted to sleep with me again. Every now and then he will get really drunk and decide he wants to. It’s awful. I never want it this way. It feels like Ben all over again. Not only that, but he says I need to get over what happened to me and stop being so weak. One time I went to take a shower and he came in, opened the curtain and watched me. I told him to stop but he was trying to tell me not to be so embarrassed. He was pointing out parts of my body and telling me he never saw the stretch marks. He was telling me I needed to start losing weight. I have never felt so exposed except when Ben raped me. This is my whole relationship with Clarke, feeling horrible and weak. I am scared to leave him because we have to work together. I have seen how angry he gets and I am afraid of it. He has never hit me, and I don’t think he would…but he spends every moment were together telling me how I am bringing him down and terrible to be around. He tells me all the time that I am weak and need to stop being such a target. He’s right, I am weak. Everything I have started to feel recently has come to light at the same time I am finally seeing my relationship as that night over and over again for a year. He’s not forcing me to be with him, but my being with him is pure weakness. It is knowing what is happening to me and not doing anything about it. I don’t want to admit the truth about Clarke, because I really have felt love for him and connected to him, but I realize that my staying with him is the same as letting what happened to me continue to happen to me without fighting it. Its that night over and over and over again.

I have started to get angry at everything, I cry at everything. I can’t control my emotions even though I feel completely emotionless. I just want to scream at everyone and everything. I can’t trust myself. I can’t trust anyone. I just feel so disappointed in myself and disgusted. Every moment I am still a part of what happened and it consumes me. I constantly feel weak and out of control. I feel like I am just passive and disconnected. Every face looks like him, every person that touches me feels like him. I don’t want anything to do with anyone, I just want to be alone. Yet being alone I am still not alone enough. It is like I can’t escape myself, which is really what I need to do. I can’t get away from it. I am it. It is me. Sometimes I can’t eat for days, other times all I do is eat. Sometimes I take showers three times a day, other times I will go days without even thinking about showering. There are days where I feel like everything is fine, like I totally have things under control…and then there are days where all I can do is think about what happened and want to tell everyone. These days are less often, but sometimes it just overwhelms my mind and I want nothing more than to just get it out of my head in any way possible.

I just feel so disconnected. I am not myself. I am not who I used to be or who I am. I just feel so disassociated with reality. I always feel vulnerable and exposed, I always feel terrified and anxious. I never feel safe or sure of anything. I can try and have tried to pretend that I don’t feel or think any of these things…but this is constant. I am all of these things always. I have no control of myself. I don’t even know what it means to be in control of oneself anymore. I am in such a dark place that I don’t recognize or know how to be a part of. Sometimes I just get sick. It’s like I reach a moment where I am so overwhelmed with reality that I just throw up. I get so anxious and restless. Not even just in my head but physically. I can’t sit still, I can’t focus myself at all. I can’t bring myself to do anything and can’t even find the motivation or the desire to. I just feel completely at a loss and exhausted of effort. I am just so ashamed of myself, I am so disgusted at myself having not been able to protect myself from the situation. I can’t trust myself to do anything anymore. I can’t trust myself to think anymore. I just feel completely dead to myself.

I used to have so much inspiration, so much drive to do things and learn things. Now, the only drive I have is to stop my mind. The only inspiration I have is to end all of this fear and anxiety. I feel like in every moment I am back underneath him, back in a position of an inability to control my own life. He has completely controlled me and defined everything about who I am. I can’t be with other people, I can’t even be with myself alone without feeling him there. Where my mind is now, is the same place it was that night. Foggy, aware, but without control or ability to function. I am clueless. I feel like there is no point to anything. I have no direction, no certainty. I feel like I have denied my reality for so long that now that I am being forced to recognize it, I don’t know how to be a part of it. I feel external to everything…I am foreign to everything and I just don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to deal with what happened. Even having all of this come back to me…I feel it all again. I feel him on me, in me…I remember not being able to do anything. I don’t want to die…but I don’t want to live this way either. I feel lost. I feel like I don’t know how to be me because I’m not sure who I am. I remember who I was prior to everything that happened, but have no clue how I’ve become who I am now. I hate people that accept that they are victims. I am not one. I don’t want to be one. If I admit that I am one I am admitting that I let someone control me. I know that he did, but I don’t want to admit that my entire being, my entire life, my entire everything about who I am is all under the control of someone else. I had no part in who I am now and to accept that means that I failed myself.

I am so broken when I realize that everything that has been going on lately for me is all directly connected to that night. Everything that has happened since then, has happened under the scope of that night. I feel like there is no point in trying to confront this, or face this…because that is what I have been doing every day and every moment since it happened. What is the point? I feel like I have obviously found something in me that wants to address it, but I have yet to find anything in me that wants to deal with it. I think the part of me wanting to address it is really just something in me wanting to admit to someone that I don’t know who I am, I don’t want to know I am, and I want it to be known that I’m just done. I don’t have it in me anymore. Even in conversation with people, even in trying to be what little bit of the cassie I think I have in me, I am reaching for effort. I can’t do that anymore. If I am honest with myself and everyone around me…the person I am doesn’t want to conversate, doesn’t want to work, and doesn’t want to be a part of anything or anyone…I just want to forget. I just want to have nothing to do with reality anymore. If I’m being honest, my reaching out is my only effort to make it known that I recognize that I am not myself…not who I used to be…and any attempt I have made at continuing whatever path the old me was on has been forced and useless. I am not on that path and am tired of pretending I am. If I am honest, the path I am on is dark and hopeless and without direction or inspiration. The reality that I actually live in is one that is just accepting of the fact that he changed my life.

He ruined me. He tainted me. He took away every bit of purpose I felt and replaced it with disgust and embarrassment. He completely ruined me. I hate victims because they are everything that I am right now. They are changed and accepting of what someone did to them. I hate them because I am them. I hate myself because everything about me can’t let go of what he did and can’t get past it. All I see in every other person is someone else that can do something like that so easily. I used to care about people and really think it was possible to contribute to people…but if I am honest, what he did to me, who he is, all it has done is deny me any faith in people, in hope in people, all he did was place disgust in my eyes for people.

This is where I am at. I am reaching. I am so low and so dark that I don’t know what to do anymore. Everything about what happened consumes me. I hate that, I don’t want it to be that…and I don’t want it to seem so simple…but it is that. That night, that person…it is all connected to everything. Something in me is keeping me going, and something in me is trying to figure out what that is and keep myself going…but me, overall, if I’m being honest…I can’t get past him. I can’t get past what happened. I feel abandoned by myself, left in the moment of helplessness. I feel so far disconnected that it seems the only way to keep living is to keep living in that moment. I wish, in my being honest, I could realize something more than how crucial what happened was…but I can’t. there is nothing more…that is it. That moment killed me. I am the only reason I am stuck here, I am the only reason it became what it did. I lie every day when I deny how heavy this is in my life. I feel like a fraud, I feel like I am disgusted by what he did…but more disgusted by myself and every effort I have made to deny it since then. I am disturbed by how I have no clue who I am anymore because I let someone change 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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