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.
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 would just like to start off by saying I am majorly, supremely, unbelievably fucked up. Now that that’s understood, I always got what I wanted. Since the time I could walk, I could manipulate people. I’ve always understood thought processes and emotions, and I guess that paired with the fact that I had a natural talent for bribery and puppy dog faces resulted in a little girl who didn’t know the meaning of the word “no”. I did know pain, though.
My parents divorced when I was two, and I grew up spending 50% of the time with an extremely abusive (emotionally and verbally but NOT physically) mother, until I was 12 and realized I’d had enough. I cut her out of my life and have seen her very few times since. You see, I did what I wanted. I got what I wanted. I didn’t mean for the lie to become so huge. It started one day in science class, my friend and I were comparing problems and fighting over who had it worst, as preteen girls tend to do. Well, the problem with emotional abuse is that even though it hurts, it doesn’t hold a lot of punch on paper. My friend didn’t believe that I had it bad (but believe me, I DID), so I did what many girls would have done: I lied. I said that she hit me, my mom, and my stepdad too. I justified it to myself in that it wasn’t far from the truth, the things they did to me hurt as much as punches, after all. And after that, my friend comforted me, pitied me, and never questioned my pain again. I got what I wanted.
After I realized that all I had to do to get affection was stretch the truth, I did it with everyone. I never saw it as a problem, justifying it as I explained before, until one day I met a girl and I took it way too far. The Sister, as I’ll call her, was someone I met who soon became the most important person in my life for two years. Unfortunately, she was one of the people to whom I told the lie. In later years, I often wished I could take it back, and wondered if anything would have been different if I had. Would I have gotten what I wanted? The Sister came in to my life when I was in the deepest pit of my self-inflicted depression from the situation with my mother. You see, I had become addicted to the affection I was receiving, and had spiraled out of control creating more reasons for people to pity me. The Sister came and “fixed” me, helped me to stop cutting myself (a habit I had taken up), and even mostly out of my depression (at the time I didn’t realize that’s what it was).
In the next few years we became inseparable, talking every day. She was ten years older and I saw her as a mother, a sister, and a best friend. I considered her opinion fact on everything, and consulted her on every event that took place in my life, not once stopping to think that maybe a 23 year old wasn’t on a place to mother a preteen/teenage girl, because hey, I got what I wanted. That’s all that mattered. And now the story gets interesting… I’m not at liberty to share her secrets, but The Sister had a lot of “problems” of her own she was dealing with, and as I grew up I started becoming a moody teenager, and took it out on the parent I depended on most: her. Needless to say, the combination of both of these factors and the fact that we were both drama queens, led to a very unhealthy relationship. Not just unhealthy. Toxic. I won’t go into the details because it still hurts too much, but I’m sure you can imagine the fights, the codependency, the stalking.
I didn’t know what to do, I was losing the person that mattered most to me on the whole world, and I tried every kind of abuse to force her to stay with me. I had to get what I wanted. And then, one day, after years of getting everything my heart desired, I didn’t. She found out that I had lied to her, and she gave up. Obviously, that wasn’t the only reason, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like now if our relationship hadnt been formed on a lie.
Of course, it left me all kinds of broken when she ended our friendship (I phrase it as “one day” but really it was quite a messy process), but in the end I’m thankful. Because that’s when my story begins. For a few months, everything was black. For those of you who have read the Twilight Saga, it was like the part in New Moon where every page was a month. Time flew and I felt nothing; there goes November, December, January. I did a lot of stupid things to try to make myself feel, things like drinking, drugs, and stealing. Needless to say, the only results this gave me were being grounded more often than not. But then, in about February, or March (it’s kind of a blur…), I started to heal. With the help of my friends, and family (both amazing, wonderful people whom I am blessed to have in my life), I started to build my own person. The Sister had made up my character, choices, and opinions before, and now I was left with nothing.
It’s still an ongoing process, reforming my whole person, but I’m proud of myself so far (especially my kickass style). I haven’t talked to her yet, The Sister. I hear bits and pieces about her sometimes. Usually those days aren’t very good. But luckily I’m now at the point where I can wish her the best. I don’t know what life holds for us, in terms of a relationship. I know it’s not just up to her, or me, it’s up to God. I know there’s a lot of things we’re going to have to talk about one day, but I know that day won’t come for years (if not just because we’re not ready, but also that I’m not allowed to talk to her until I’m 18). In a perfect world, after that day, when we’re both older and independent, we’ll be able to begin some sort of….civility, and maybe eventually a friendship. But if not, she’ll always be My Sister. I’m not sure why I wrote this. Maybe in hopes that she’ll read it (she introduced me to this site), maybe in hopes that it’ll help me move on. Maybe so that someone out there can relate to the loss I went through. Just kidding. That’s a total lie. I’m just hoping she’ll read it. I love you, Sister. I really do.
I am sharing my story in hopes that if someone has dealt with something similar they would be able to help me put my life back together. I’m sorry, it’s a novel to read.
My freshman year of college, I immediately pledged a sorority. Where I go to school, you actually have to pledge, you aren’t automatically admitted. One of the guys in a fraternity took interest in me and helped me out during pledging. Once pledging was over, he began to take interest in me that went past friendship.
About two weeks into the relationship, I knew that I needed to get out, but didn’t know how. He would say things to me such as, “I’m like a boy in a toy store and you’re taking away all my toys” when I did not want to engage in sexual things. Although in my head I knew I needed out, he was charming and manipulative and got me to stay in the relationship.
A month into the relationship is when the actual date rape started. It occurred at a formal with his fraternity out of state. I was under 21, so I could not go out to the bars with his friends, therefore, no one could hear me fighting back or yelling for help. This is how I lost my virginity.
This happened four other times over a three month period. He would manipulate his way back into my life. The last time it happened, he not only raped me but also became physically violent. I then got the courage to end the relationship, but he wasn’t done.
He began stalking me. Everyday. Everywhere I went …there he was. He walked behind me to class and was there when I would get out. He would have my RA leave things in my dorm room for me, and have my friends leave things in my bags and car. After multiple times of asking for him to leave me alone, he told me I was going to receive a text one night from a friend of his. This friend ended up to be the underboss of the chicago mob, or at least that is what I was told. He, his wife, and two daughters texted me everyday, all the time. They would threaten me and those I love. I was told I was being followed by those who worked for him. I was told I constantly had a hit man who would kill me if I ever tried to talk to the cops or tell anyone. I was always being watched.
During this period of time, he used this harassment and coercion to continue to rape me. For five months, this happened every day. They would text me, and threaten me, and he would use it to sexually abuse me. One night while he was asleep, I went through his phone because I was suspicious of all of these messages. I found the texting app he was using. It was all fake. He had created an entire family and hit man to stalk, harass, coerce, and rape me. He would actually borrow cars of his friends and follow me when I wasn’t with him. He had pet names for me. He would get other people to call me and act like these people. He would drop off letters and gifts even after my roommates told him we knew it was him and he needed to leave me alone or we would call the cops.
I recently turned him into the school. I had enough evidence, and he was expelled. YAY! But now I am left to deal with the horror of the past year. The stalking is okay for me to talk about. It’s so insane its almost laughable, but the fear was real. The adrenaline was flowing through my veins at every point during the day.
I still do not sleep at night, in order to protect myself. He broke into my house several times and stole some shirts. His roommate found them in his room and gave them back to me. I can’t eat during the day because I am so anxious. I can drink all day. I don’t have trouble keeping that down. I can eat at night, so I try and take vitamins and eat as much as possible at night time.
Even though I know it was fake (and he admitted to it and the rapes), I still constantly look over my shoulder to make sure I am not being watched or followed. I just feel very disassociated and don’t know how to deal with everything that happened. I am talking to a counselor, but its difficult because she hasn’t been through what I have.
I try to be as non-dramatic as possible, I just feel like I’m losing my brain – not like I’m having a mental breakdown, I just can’t concentrate on anything. When people talk to me, it takes a lot of focus and time for me to comprehend what they are saying. My short term memory is shot, and I am having flashbacks of things my brain has blocked until now. If any of you have advice or have been through this please let me know.
I have not had an easy road. My mom had a lot of mental health issues that she didn’t deal with properly, so I, as an only child, was usually the target of her screaming, anger, and hatred. My father was there mostly as disciplinarian, but at least I felt like he loved me.
As I got into my teens I searched for attention. I was always looking for male companionship to boost my self-esteem. At age 15 I met, dated, and lost my virginity to a jerk that was a year older than I. He was my first boyfriend.
After we broke up, I started being pursued by a guy friend from school. I’d always thought he was fun to be around and he seemed the warm, friendly, protective type. One day he showed up at my house and asked to take me out, but his idea of “taking me out” was to take me to his house where he had been drinking with some friends who were a couple. I guess he was just looking for someone to be his drinking/sex partner for the night. I’m guessing that my ex-boyfriend had done a good job letting others know that I had willingly slept with him.
Sex with this guy was disgusting. He really just wanted oral sex and plied me with beer until I consented. That was my first experience with it, and I was so disgusted. I felt really used when I realized that he didn’t really “like” me like I had naively thought. I don’t really remember him taking me home. That bad experience got worse when he started spreading rumors around school, claiming I had done more things with him than I actually did.
There was another guy I worked with at a local fast food place, and things were just as bad there. He would alternately flirt with me, and yet urge on a co-worker who was treating me badly. This other guy would grab my chest or shove me around. He seemed really angry, and I was scared of him. I was also afraid to tell my manager, because he was a favorite of hers.
Not long after all of this, I also dated a guy that was 23. I thought an older man would be more mature, instead he was controlling. I ended up breaking it off with him on New Years Eve. I promptly started dating a guy that I’d had a crush on at work. He was 21. And he was a little weird. We dated on and off for a few months. When I broke up with him for good, he started stalking me and mailed me this crazy letter along with all the drawings I had done cut up into little pieces. My mom had to change our phone number because he wouldn’t stop calling.
About a month before I turned 17, I was invited by a friend to stay the night at her house. Our plan was to sneak out the window, after her parents were asleep, to go to a party at her boyfriend’s uncle’s house. This was a small, ramshackle house in a very, very small town out in the country where no cops would interfere with the underage drinking.
I remember sitting by the fire listening to Zeppelin (that probably shows my age), drinking beer and smoking weed. Somewhere along the line the guy that had spread rumors about me showed up. He immediately sought me out. Maybe I sought him out. I’m really not sure. My self-esteem was so low that if anyone was friendly to me I loved the attention in spite of past offenses.
He had brought a bottle of whiskey and I remember adding this to six or seven beers I’d already had. I went into another room and started talking with the older brother of another friend. He was a very nice guy. I’d always wanted to hang out with him, but again, my low self-esteem told me he wouldn’t like me. The alcohol told me he did.
Some time later the uncle barged in and accused us of having sex in his house. We weren’t, ironically. The guy was always a real sweetheart. I can’t blame him for what happened next.
We all went outside. One of my friends was sitting in a chair by the fire. He talked me into sitting in his lap, and I remember drinking some more. I remember kissing him. I also remember him trying to put his hands down my pants and me telling him to stop. I remember trying to pull away his hands.
After that, all I remember is waking up on the wooden floor of the dining room wearing nothing but my t-shirt and some shorts that were too small. I smelled like vomit, so I stumbled to the bathroom and washed my hair.
I had no idea what had happened. I think I was still drunk. I laid down by my friend’s boyfriend because I couldn’t figure out where anyone else went, and he was like an older brother figure. When he woke up, he asked me if I remembered what had happened. I said, no.
My friend showed up and told me what had happened. Apparently, when she came in the house, she saw me laying there with just a shirt on, so she took her shorts off and put them on me. I kind of put two and two together and so had she. After she found me she freaked out and told her mom that I had been raped and her mom called my parents. My dad was on his way.
To make matters worse, she had also called my crazy ex-boyfriend and he showed up and demanded that I get into his car. It got a little intense, so I decided to just go, because we were making a scene. We drove about a quarter mile away where we fought for a few minutes. When I demanded he take me back to the house, he refused to let me out of the car. My dad pulled up just as I punched the guy as hard as I could.
The ride home in my dad’s truck was the longest drive of my life. Total silence. When I got home, my mom left me to take a bath and actually let me go to bed in piece. Any other time she would have delt out punishment in the form of chores, criticism, and lack of sleep. I guess maybe she felt sorry for me. But said something I’ll never forget, “Well, that’s what happens to girls who sneak out to go to parties.” It was just a done deal after that. Life went on. I never forgave her for that.
I had a nightmare of a boyfriend after that who got me pregnant. At age 18, I had my first child. Six months later, I met my husband. It’s been a series of ups and downs with him. Fifteen years of drug addiction, two more children, and some domestic violence. I turned to dancing at topless clubs when I was 23 to feed my drug addiction. Working in the bars made me think that I was in control of the men, but it was just a farce. It made me feel more degraded and used. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to overcome that feeling.
In 2000 we moved to a different state. I halfway tried to get my life together, but I couldn’t fight the addiction. In 2006, I lost my mom in March, and my dad in May. It was somewhat expected, yet unexpected at the same time. I have always struggled with depression, had attempted suicide once seriously and one half-heartedly, but losing my parents sent me into a downward spiral. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to pull out of that one, but I did.
In November 2007 I got on my knees and asked God to forgive me and to help me get clean. As of today, I’ve been clean six and a half years. I still take anti-depressants off and on, and I struggle with depression and anxiety.
Last year I was diagnosed with Rapid-Cycling Bipolar, Type 2. Fun. Good times man. I’d like to be doing better than ok, but I’m working on it. That is what led me to The Band. I saw an article on Rosa Parks which mentioned a rape trial that she helped defend. In the process of reading about the trial, I realized, not for the first time, that I really need to deal with my past. A Google search for help dealing with date rape brought up this website.
One of the first things I saw mentioned was agoraphobia. Yeah …I haven’t been able to go outside or leave a door unlocked when nobody is home in a very, very long time. At 40 years old, I depend way too much on my kids to do things like call people or go in the store with me. It really sucks, and I’m tired of being a prisoner in my own home. A prisoner of my own making. If I get really depressed I have a space between my bed and the wall that I can lay down in that’s nice and dark and secure. My past is affecting me to the point that I’m not enjoying my life anymore.
I’ve decided to go back to counseling, and I am determined to work on this. It can’t get any worse. It has to get better. It has to.