The word rolled off my tongue and entered the heavy air in slow motion, “no.”
He was unbuttoning my shirt, and I put my hands up in resistance. He ignored them, pushing them away. There was a wickedly evil smile painted across his face, and he mumbled something under his breath.
I said it again, “No, please.”
He was determined; he shed my protective layer, and I felt even more uneasy. My hands were on his chest, pushing. I moved my legs so they would spill over the side of the couch. I was ready to get up, ready to leave, to pick up my clothes and turn my back on him. He grabbed at my thigh and placed his hand over my pelvis. A bolt of lightning ran through my body from the tip of my toes to the top of my skull. God, it hurt so damn bad.
No. Please no. No.
I squirmed, and he took that as a silent “yes.”
I shook my head, and I felt my mouth open. The words were foreign; they tasted bitter. I tried to spit them out. I had never begged in my life. Especially for something like the right to my own body.
My heart rate increased, and I felt like my lungs couldn’t get enough air. He forced me to touch him, stroke him, pleasure him.
There were tears running down my face as he stuck his hand down my pants.
“No,” I choked out.
He told me to shut up, and my chest constricted. I was trapped underneath his body. His thigh buried in my hip, hands working all over me, violating me as I hoped he’d stop.
After a while, I gave up. I stopped pushing away, stopped kicking, stopped fighting back. I only pleaded quietly, asking until my voice went hoarse. My body limp and that was the first time I truly felt like a corpse. In shock, my functioning ceased altogether.
He told me to be quiet once again; he slapped me, and I went red hot. My cheek burned. He yanked my leggings down; I heard the seams ripping and straining.
He set his face between my legs. His breath made me gasp, and he thought that was a good sign. I was shaking my head vigorously, convulsing. Broken sobs fell past my lips. Stop. Please stop. No.
He didn’t notice. Or he ignored it.
My body was trembling like an earthquake, and I was crying, pushing my fingers through his hair; I shoved his head away from me.
He was getting angry; I could see it in his face.
He grabbed my wrists, gripped them as if I was being taken into custody. In a way, I guess I was. Taken prisoner in my own body. I could feel the scream bubble up in my chest and throat, but no matter what I did, it wouldn’t come out.
He grinned, and I still despise that smile to this day. Going back to work, his tongue performed sins I couldn’t even think to voice.
“No,” I said. “Stop, please.”
I felt helpless and hopeless. I was stripped down, both literally and figuratively, and I was humiliated. I lost all respect for him.
I felt something pierce through my skin, into my veins. It traveled through my blood and made a home in my heart, rooting itself there. It spread into my muscles and tissues. It crawled into my bones and infected the marrow.
I was hollowed out, emptied. Stripped down until I was nothing but pieces of myself, just so he could put me back together how he wanted.
That was the first time. But it certainly wasn’t the last.
At the age of 3, my father began sexually molesting me.
At the age of 5, the sexual abuse was replaced by physical abuse from my father and my mother.
At the age of 9, both my mother and father went to rehab for alcoholism.
At the age of 10, I finally knew what it was like to have a home after living in over 200 houses, more than 100 cities, fifteen states, and two countries.
At the age of 14, I was raped by a classmate my freshman year of high school.
At the age of 15, I started working two full-time jobs and single-handedly supporting my family because my parents flat-out refused to work.
At the age of 16, my parents decided to start drinking again. I took on a third job to support their alcoholism.
At the age of 18 I graduated high school at nearly the top of my class.
After my first year of college, I was told that I was not allowed to continue even though I had scholarships because “I wasn’t raised to think I was better than anyone else.”
At the age of 21, I was raped again … by the man who had betrayed me seven years before. My parents told me I deserved it, and was lucky that a man had paid that much attention to me since I was worth nothing. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My birth certificate says that I was born on April 2nd, 1987 at 1:25 p.m.
I was born on March 30th, 2009 at roughly 9:45 p.m. when, at nearly 22 years old, I decided I had been through enough.
I am the adult daughter of two alcoholics who have been diagnosed by multiple mental health professionals as suffering from a variety of mental disorders.
My father suffers from Bipolar Disorder and severe Anxiety. My mother is a Paranoid Schizophrenic. Neither one has any sense of reality beyond their immediate perception of the world, and both are Compulsive Liars.
The man who raped me intimidated and frightened me into a silence I would not break for almost ten years. When I ran into him again, he introduced me to his wife and child as if we were old high school friends.
He contacted me after getting my information through old mutual friends and asked if we could meet to reconcile and so that he could apologize for what he had done. He never had any intention of doing so and in my own foolishness, I met with him and he forced me into the back of a car and raped me … again.
My parents told me I had to be lying, and that if I had been raped then I should consider myself lucky because that was more than I deserved from anyone. When I insisted that I was not lying and needed their help, my father smacked me across the face and broke a chair over my back.
I was almost twenty-two years old at the time and the only thing I remember after that was my youngest sister’s face. She was staring in horror and fear trying to figure out what to do.
I was the only one who stood up to the two of them. I defended everyone. I fought everyone’s battles and kept everyone safe. The thoughts in her mind were clear on her face: Who was supposed to protect me? How could they help me?
I had stayed for years thinking that I was protecting them. In that moment, I realized that if I showed them that all you could do was take the abuse and not actually do anything about it … then one day my little sister was going to be in my position … and no one would be around to help her either.
I didn’t have anywhere to go. I had nowhere to stay that night. I called up a friend and grabbed a ride, and crashed on a couch while struggling to find somewhere to live.
I went through months of endless torture and doubt while going through the trail that put my rapist in jail for what will be a very long time. I changed my address, my phone number, and all of my information so that I could cut ties with the life I didn’t deserve and start living a life that was not filled with fear, or doubt, or regret, or abuse.
Today, I am 23 years old.
I have a home of my own for the very first time.
I have sought counseling for the traumas I have been through in my life.
I have struggled with body image, self-esteem, guilt, and an intense lack of trust in people I care about.
I have cut all ties with my family, stopped supporting them financially, and moved on to start a life of my own.
I have found love in a man who is the best thing to ever happen to me. A man who would never raise a hand to me, who loves me in spite of my demons, and who has already supported and seen me at my absolute worst.
I have found peace.
I am not sharing my story to shock, horrify, or scare people. I am not sharing my story seeking sympathy although it is graciously received.
I am sharing my story because somewhere out there is a man, woman, or child who has faced demons that linger in shadows all around them. They may not feel that they are able to overcome them and they are utterly alone.
I am telling you my story to tell you this:
You are not alone. Ever.
No one is ever alone. There were moments when I wanted to give up and give in. Just tune out and wait for the worst to come so that nothing else as bad could happen. I figured there was nothing that could help or save me. I have been there.
I made it out and I am waiting for you with open arms on the other side. There’s plenty of room here.
It happened in 2008.
I was an ocean away from home, an exchange student in a small Southern college town.
I felt lonely and isolated, met a guy who started doing nice things for me – driving me places (I didn’t have a car, and it was a driving town), inviting me to lunches, and other entertainment activities.
He was short, and out of shape. I was a tall, athletic blonde. I felt pity for him. We went jogging. I told him I would help him get in shape, so he could get a girlfriend.
We became friends, he joked around that one day he would marry me. I said, no way.
On Christmas break, I felt lonely, everybody else I knew was out of town, so I agreed to go on a road trip with him to an entertainment park. And then, to a remote state park to spend a night camping.
My instincts were against it, but alas, there I was, in the middle of nowhere, without any way of getting away, and drinking an excessive amount of vodka that he had brought from home.
We were sitting on a bench on the camping ground, talking about boyfriends and girlfriends. I told him there’s somebody I have a crush on, back home.
He said, I want you to be mine, but if you have somebody, and that can’t happen, then I still get something good – I get you as a friend. I felt so relieved when I heard those words! I thought, “Great; so he appreciates me as a friend, so he’s not going to make unwanted sexual advances, I’m safe.”
I remember stumbling to the tent, not being able to walk straight, laying down.
Next thing I remember is him on me, and in my body, going in and out, in and out. With a kind of a look of a happy surprise on his face.
My body just didn’t do anything. It didn’t protest. It didn’t scream. It was unreal.
God knows, I have hated and blamed myself for seven years for not fighting him. For giving up so easily. But back then, in that moment, I was SCARED. Scared to run away, scared to make a fuss, scared I wouldn’t be able to get back home without a car. Scared of having to confront him. Scared of being accused of leading him on, and being told that it’s all my fault.
I was already thinking, this is all my fault. What was I thinking, getting into a situation like this? I could hear my mom’s voice in my head, telling me, “What did you expect? Now, get over it, and move on.”
In the morning, feeling dirty, vulnerable, and pissed, I told him that I was angry that he took advantage of me while I was drunk. He shrugged his shoulders, and said something like, hey, it is what it is.
He drove me back home.
The thing I still don’t understand is why I accepted him as my temporary boyfriend after this. I continued dating him, like a child coming back to a parent who beats him. As if I was saying, you broke me, now you owe me – you have to heal me.
And he treated me nice. Complimented me all the time, and didn’t push me to have sex. It wasn’t about sex after all. Like he said, he wanted ME. All of me, for himself.
The worst part is, I found it flattering. I thought his desire to own me was love.
I thought my temporary status and leaving the country would provide a natural end to this relationship.
In my heart, I longed for that moment to come. Longed for being away from him, and close to my family and friends.
As you can expect from the title of this post, the story doesn’t end here.
I need to take baby steps to learn how to talk about this. Feeling nauseous from going back to this place and time in my memory.
But I know, step by step, I will tell my story, as if I’m vomiting out what has been poisoning me. I hope somebody benefits from this.
In the United States, every 107 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. Four of every five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 68% of all sexual assaults go unreported to the proper authorities.
Why do so many sexual assaults go unreported?
Shame. Self blame. Embarrassment. Fear that no one would believe their story. Fear that they may have caused it. Not wanting to be the victim. Wanting to move past the sexual assault. There are a multitude of reasons why sexual assaults go unreported.
Just as there are a number of types of rape (gang rape, date/acquaintance rape, intimate partner rape, statutory rape, sexual assault), there are a multitude of responses to sexual assault. Each of which is completely normal.
This year, The Band Back Together Project is shining a light into the darkness of sexual assault. Please share your story of sexual assault so that we can Light the Darkness.
All are welcome.
Can a male adult be abused and raped?
A gay male friend of mine has a female friend who has been bothering him, abusing him, stalking him. He has low self-esteem and a difficult time standing up for himself. His father has rejected him because of his sexual orientation, and he has had a difficult time coming to grips with that.
She started showing up where he was when he would travel for work or on personal vacation.
Then she isolated him.
She asked him to have sexual intercourse. He refused.
She offered herself as an experiment to see if maybe he was straight and didn’t realize it. She continued asking despite the fact that he repeatedly said no.
Many of those times he said no, she just forced herself on him.
He said he does not remember how he felt during or after, but remembers that he avoided being alone with her many times so that he wasn’t put in the same position. He felt like there was no way to say no that she would listen to as she would do what she wanted to anyway.
She manipulated the situation to the point of saying they can have children together and to continue traveling together as friends. He wanted to do it as a sperm donation with no more physical contact, she refused and threatened with no baby.
He was forced again and now she is pregnant.
Once she got pregnant she threatened him with abortion if he refused to live with her as a couple and have more babies.
He wants the baby and he feels like he is trapped.
The first time I was molested, I was 6 years old. My step-dad was a controlling, abusive asshole and had been grooming me over the few years he’d been married to my mom. It started as tickling, then moved to a touch here, me touching him there, and everything you can imagine in between.
At 6, I had no idea this wasn’t normal interaction. He was the only dad I knew.
At 8, I knew how to give a blow job, at 10 he was attempting penetration (poorly), at 12 when I got my period, I got worried. A substitute teacher covered a chapter on sexual abuse in health class and I realized that this wasn’t normal at all. I told my mom that afternoon, he moved out that night, I got lots and lots of counseling.
At 14, I was raped by a 21 year old that was my “boyfriend.” We met through a mutual friend, he got me drunk on Everclear and told me if I didn’t let him put it in one hole he was gonna put it in the other, whether I liked it or not.
I thought it was a compelling argument.
I remember he had big speakers under his mattress and he put on something with a shit ton of bass and it made me so nauseous that I spent 20 minutes puking on his back porch. I didn’t tell anyone. In fact, I continued to date him for an additional 6 months.
During that time he fantasized about moving to Alabama (where 14 is the age of consent) getting married and having babies with me. At the end of those 6 months he nearly got arrested for threatening a secretary with bodily harm for not allowing him to bring me flowers to my class… in middle school.
My mom found out and then I spent 4 weeks as an inpatient at a juvenile psychiatric facility. I started my long journey of anti-depressants and self-medicating.
At 15, I walked over to a boy’s house that I had a crush on to “hang out.” We were making out and he got my pants off. I let him know I wasn’t interested in having sex so he decided that putting his belt inside me was a better option? I was known as “belt girl” (probably still am, honestly) for a number of years after that, to our group of mutual friends.
At 31, I got locked into a hotel room with a smooth talker (stalker) who had me convinced we were in love. The next 8 hours were filled with things I never want to remember and that my brain won’t recall. I left sore and mentally broken, but I never told a soul (until now).
These are of course only the major offenses. I’m not including the literal hundreds of unsolicited dick pics, “accidental” gropings, catcalling, and unwanted sexual advances that occur from randoms quite often.
Why didn’t I report it at the time?
Well it depends on the occurrence. The first time I didn’t know any better, the second time I was in love, the third I was embarrassed and ashamed, the fourth I was terrified of ever seeing him again. I definitely didn’t want a court case. I never filed charges on any of them. Even the long-term ones.
I remember vividly talking to a counselor who warned me of the long court process to press charges against my dad, how it was my decision (AT 12), and whether they should file charges with the DA. Seems like something an adult should’ve decided, no? That stayed with me through all of my assaults. I felt powerless and guilty. I blamed myself for my poor decisions. Surely, I mean, it was my fault, right?
So now PTSD is a real thing I live with every day as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. The triggers are never expected or convenient. Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand with that. Once, a psychologist mentioned her surprise that I didn’t have a personality disorder, so there’s that, I suppose?
This is why the #MeToo movement is so vitally important.
The shame, the bureaucracy, the headaches, the guilt, it’s not worth reporting. This is what I’ve been told time and again as a victim. Maybe not in those words, but certainly with that intent. Someone didn’t want the paperwork and i didn’t want the trauma of retelling my story time and time again.
I was date raped by two men eighteen years ago, while visiting a friend at college. I never thought of it as rape since I was drunk. I didn’t say no or resist. I was in and out of consciousness, until I finally passed out. I finally woke up to it still going on. I was very sexual after that and slept with anyone who wanted it, even if I didn’t.
A few years after that I was coerced into sex by a friend of a friend. I was alone with him at my apartment. I think he had driven me home from my friend’s house, but I don’t remember. I wasn’t drinking, and it was the afternoon. He was pressuring me to have sex and would not take no for an answer. I was afraid he would be violent if I kept resisting, so I eventually asked him if he would leave if I had sex with him. He said yes. I just laid there like I was dead, while he had sex with me.
I never considered myself a victim, or thought of either of these events as rape.
I always blamed myself and thought of them as my own fault for being stupid and easy. I am married and much older now, and in the past few weeks these incidents came back in my memory. I am now thinking of them as rape and starting to be very upset. How can this be affecting me eighteen years later?