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There is power in telling others your story. A thousand candles can be lit from a single flame

This is her horrible, uplifting, beautiful story:

At age 35, I went with my father to a professional baseball team’s Fantasy Camp. Our coaches were former professional baseball players and current minor league coaches. I played softball my whole life; I was a good ball player. I held my own with the guys. I was accepted. I had a great week.

Thursday night after the championship game, I was outside the complex where we were staying, talking on the phone to my husband. I was approached by one of the coaches, currently a minor league manager, who was roughly my age. We’d been friendly all week. He asked if he could buy me a beer in the lounge and I agreed. This wasn’t the first beer I’d been offered that week. That’s what you did – you bought people beers. I told him I’d meet him in a few minutes.

I went back to my room to grab some money and tell my dad where I was going. On my way back out, I saw him at the back door of the complex. He waved and asked if I would walk around with him. He handed me a can of beer and we walked out back. We talked about baseball mostly.

We stopped walking at one point and he asked how long I’d been married. I told him ten years. He said twelve years. We talked about kids and my work. We got in to a debate about one of my plays earlier in the week. Then he grabbed me and tried to kiss me. I said “Whoa, no, no, no, I think you’ve got the wrong idea about me.” He pulled away immediately and apologized over and over. I told him I had to go and we quickly parted.

While this situation made me uncomfortable, I wasn’t upset, angry, or scared. I was actually sort of flattered. The next day, we played a game in the morning and then our week was over. I went to the training room to get an injury taken care of and when I walked out, I ran straight in to him. He said hello and we talked about our games that morning. He asked what my plans were for the afternoon. I told him my dad had gone to my cousin’s for the afternoon so I didn’t have any plans. He asked what room I was in and I told him. He said he had some things to take care of and then he’d swing by. I thought nothing of it. I figured he wanted to hang out and apologize for the night before.

He came by ten minutes later and I let him in. I was completely at ease. He was extremely charismatic and very charming. I sat on my bed and he sat on my couch. He asked to put the television on. I told him sure. He put on the MLB channel and we continued to chat. Around three, asked when my dad was coming back. I thought my dad had said around 4:30.

He said, “Why don’t you call and make sure?” I told him I didn’t see a reason to. He persisted to the point where he finally said, “Make the call,” pretty forcefully. Still, I wasn’t alarmed. I ran outside and called my dad, who assured me he would be back around 4:30. I told him.

I had pretty seriously injured my finger earlier in the week and he asked how it was. I told him it was getting better but still pretty sore. He asked to see it, and I held it up. He asked to see it up close so I stood and walked over to him with my hand out.

He didn’t look at my finger.

He grabbed my wrist and pulled me on top of him. He tried to kiss me. I kept turning my head from side to side and arched my back. I said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” “Yes you can,” he replied. “I’m married, you’re married. I can’t do this.” “Yes you can.” “You don’t understand, I love my husband. I don’t want to do this,” I started crying.

He caught my head with one hand while the other remained tight around my waist. He started kissing my mouth. After a few seconds of struggling, I started to kiss him back. I instantly became nauseated.

After only a few moments of kissing him, I pulled away and told him I needed to use the bathroom; it was an emergency. I ran to the bathroom. I was shaking so badly. I tried to calm down. My head was spinning. It felt almost as if I had been drugged or had too much alcohol, that’s how foggy my brain was. My heart was pounding so hard and so fast.

I thought, “I’m just going to make him leave and if he won’t, then I will. He stopped yesterday. He will stop today.”

I opened the bathroom door and he was standing right in front of it. He grabbed me and half carried, half dragged me to the couch. He tried to pull me down on him but I managed to end up next to him. I had on a t-shirt and shorts along with a bra and panties. He had his left arm tightly around my waist, like a vise. That arm never left my waist.

I again said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”

I was ignored.

That was when my body and mind shut down. I was no longer able to control my body. My senses were gone. I knew his hands and mouth were on me but I couldn’t feel them. I couldn’t smell, I couldn’t see. I felt like I was in a dream. And my body was frozen. When I tried to move, it felt like I was stuck in thick mud. I could hardly move at all. And I knew. I knew what was going to happen. It was inevitable.

He grabbed my hand and put it on his penis that he had pulled out of his pants at some point. He held my hand there and began stroking himself with my hand. I thought, “If that’s all it’s going to be, I may be able to live with this.” But it wasn’t.

He pulled me on top of him and pushed my shorts and panties aside. He asked me if I could get pregnant. I told him no. I asked if he had any diseases and he told me no.

And then he raped me.

One arm around my waist and the other on my thigh, I had bruises for weeks from his hands. It was rough and it was fast. But I never felt it. I never felt anything. Like all my senses were gone.

He finished and got up. Told me not to tell anyone and that he “hoped I would be back at camp next year.” And then he left.

I jumped in the shower. I was on day three of my period. There was blood everywhere. I thought maybe this was a dreamThis has to be a dream. I got out and got myself ready for our closing dinner that night. I know my dad knew something happened. I was quiet and withdrawn. I hardly said a word all night. He wasn’t at the dinner. I never saw him again. The next day we flew home with me saying less than fifty words to my dad all day.

As soon as we pulled up at my house and I saw my husband, I burst in to tears. I told him I had missed him so much. We had been dating since we were in eighth grade and married for almost ten years. We have three beautiful daughters. We are as close as it gets. After the girls were in bed, he asked me what was wrong; what happened? He could tell there was something definitely wrong.

I told him.

I told him the whole story. I felt like I had cheated on him and he deserved to know every detail. He listened patiently. I told the story sobbing. I felt sickened and guilty and ashamed. I hadn’t fought him. I didn’t hit him or punch him or kick him. I didn’t scream. I had, in fact, kissed him back at one point. I’d also asked him if he had any diseases.

Didn’t all these things mean that I was okay with what was happening? Hadn’t my lack of resistance when my body went numb told him it was okay to proceed?

My husband asked if I ever had any intentions of being intimate with him. I told him that I had no intentions whatsoever. I never even wanted to kiss him, let alone have sex with him. I thought we could be friends. We had a good rapport through the whole week. I thought it was cool to be friends with a professional baseball manager. My intentions were purely innocent.

My husband said, “If you had no intentions of being intimate with him, and you told him “I can’t do this” repeatedly, then you were raped.” The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. How could I have been raped? He didn’t have a gun or hold a knife to my throat. I didn’t fight him. And my husband said that none of that mattered. What he did was against my will and I’d told him as much.

My husband is the most supportive person I’ve ever met. He never once doubted me, even when I doubted myself. He encouraged me to tell my best friend who also agreed that I was raped. I made an appointment to see a counselor the next week. I’d done a lot of reading about rape between the assault and the first meeting with my counselor. I was really beginning to understand the concept of being raped.

Being raped was never something I thought could happen to me. I’m smart, I’m strong, I’m athletic, I’m a professional in my community, I’m a good wife, and a mother of three. How could I be raped?

The first meeting with my counselor was an eye opener. He explained to me the physiology behind our “fight or flight” response. It’s not really just fight or flight, but that it’s “fight, flight, or freeze.” An overwhelming number of rape victims freeze instead of fighting. He gave me the analogy of someone coming up to him on the street and asking for his wallet with no weapon. What does law enforcement tell us to do? Give the perpetrator what he wants. Because if we don’t, we may very well get hurt. We are conditioned this way.

My body and mind shut down to preserve themselves. If I’d fought, he could have easily hurt me. This man was conditioned as a professional athlete. From the bruises on my body, one could see how strong he was. But why had I asked him if he had diseases? Was that the green light for him? One author on this website absolutely nailed it when she said “it wasn’t consent, it was resignation,” (I wish I could find her particular story and give her proper credit) after she asked her rapist if he had a condom. What an epiphany that one line gave me. Finally I had some answers to the questions I’d been asking.

And finally, I came to accept that I was raped.

It’s been 2 months. And it still hurts. A lot. I called my rapist three days ago at the encouragement of my counselor and husband. I always hold people accountable for their actions, so they both thought the best way to get closure was to talk to him.

So I did.

I told him he hurt me. That I cry every day. That what happened in that room was never okay with me. He told me that yes, he probably pushed me too hard, he lost control, and he couldn’t stop. I asked if he heard me say, “I can’t do this.” He told me that yes, he heard me but didn’t think I meant it. He apologized over and over again. He said he felt like shit. I told him I’d been feeling that way for weeks.

He said that he hoped we could be friends; that’s all he wanted from me anyway. That he never had the intention of having sex with me either. I told him he was full of bullshit and that we would not be friends and I wouldn’t be calling him again.

That call was very liberating. I felt like all the chains that were wrapped around me were gone. But I still have bad days and good days. Bad moments and good ones. I’ve been plagued with panic attacks since the assault. Now I don’t have them as frequently or as badly, but they are still there. This is still pretty fresh and new and I know that I still need to heal. I don’t trust men in general. This man was Venezuelan and any time I see a man of Latin descent, I want to stab them. Hopefully, in time, that feeling will dissipate.

I’m writing this in part as therapy for me and in part so that other people that have had the same sort of experience can feel a little bit reassured. That they aren’t crazy. That there are other people out there that have been through it, and are still going through it. But that there is hope that it can get better.

With the right support, you can heal from rape.

That’s how I felt after reading all the stories on The Band. I felt like these people all helped me understand what happened to me and now it’s my turn to help others. The guilt, the shame, the blame, the disgust and the anger can all be healed.