Of Pain and Pressing On…

 

 

**{ For those that are survivors of sexual assault/abuse please be aware that the following  may bring up the trauma of your past/present. This post is not for the eyes or minds of children. Thank you. }**

 

 

There is a deep, throbbing, hypothermic kind of loneliness that gnaws at my soul. The kind of chosen exile a victim seeks and though no fault of their own, feels guilty for wanting as they grow older. Though the moments of such pain are fleeting with the change of each season…the off putting desire for isolation rears its ugly head from time to time.

I have sat on my bed, many many many nights trying to write a ‘story’ about being a sexual assault victim, but it’s just not going to happen. Unlike the things I usually write about, even after all these years, it’s just so hard. It’s more than just a small moment in time. It’s the smells I fear. It’s the music that haunts me. It’s the man that took a part of who I was, and not just my body. It’s the things I will never get back, that he still takes from me. The people who still blame me, who use it as a means to bleed me emotionally.

Writing as if I was old enough to understand the intense trauma that was happening to me is impossible. I was thirteen, just a child. To say that the man who raped me was just some guy is not realistic. He is a predator, a man who worked for my father, and, looking back groomed me, gained my trust for several months. My father too busy, my rapist would offer to pick me up if I missed the bus, wanted a ride into town. He was 29, had short brown hair, clean shaved. Light eyes and tall. Unassuming.

I was told it was my doing, as I went there with his promise to buy my friends alcohol for a party. It was New Year’s Eve. He lived in the building my father owned. The Chaplin lived below him. I was told I deserved it, that I got exactly what I should have. By adults, by people that should have loved me, by people that say ‘I love you’ even now.

He made me a screwdriver, in a big gulp cup. He turned on The Cranberries song so popular for the time, and told me to relax. He walked out of the room. It smelled of overly ripe fruit…and Palmolive dish soap. A man I didn’t know left, closing the door quietly behind him. After a few drinks I started to feel sick, not drunk, but foggy, things became blurred. I remember trying to smile as he walked toward me, but I couldn’t move my mouth. I remember trying to talk…nothing. My arms were heavy like they had been weighed down or tied.

As he raped me, I could see out the window across the street. My friends were on the porch celebrating the holiday, drinking, laughing. I prayed one of them would look up and see me. Praying for help. Silent.

My mind was screaming for them. I tried but could not fight. My body was worthless, and he made it so. Like molten glass against my womb I screamed and screamed. Nothing. I felt my eyes bulge as I tried to move. The strain of my muscles searing in pain to escape. I could not move. Silent. Petrified.

I don’t know how long it lasted, or how often I faded in and out. I know I don’t remember everything. I remember the pain. I remember the smell of sweat, fear. Life altering pain. All consuming fear.

My friends were suppose to pick me up 15 minutes after I got there. I don’t know when they showed. In my younger years I would’ve said an hour, if you asked me now I would say hours, a lifetime, eternity.

They began pounding on his door. One friend found me on the couch. The other confronted him. Two more blocked the door. I was picked up, pants down, and brought to the bathroom. Cleaned my face. Held me up and carried me down the stairs while someone called someone and then I was whisked away to a home I lived in briefly, while I came to. The sun should have been up by now, but the world was dark. The police were called, I was taken to the hospital, a rape kit was used. I was stripped. I was photographed, swabbed, nails were dug in to. Prescriptions were given to prevent pregnancy, and to protect from std’s. Statements were given by the friends who showed too late. Blood was never drawn.

The man that raped me ran. He drove far away, stealing my fathers police scanner from the funeral home, and ran like a coward. He told someone a few weeks prior to raping me that he ‘liked them young’. I was young enough that I looked like a little girl. I was maybe 5 feet tall, blonde hair, 90 lbs, and I was wearing Levi Silvertab jeans, faded light blue, and an oversized Columbia ski vest over my white t-shirt. I was a child. I shutter to think that perhaps I wasn’t his first. God I can’t think about it.

I was told my father tried to find him, he wanted him dead. The police interviewed the Chaplin. Devastated when he realized it was his friends daughter, he later told me he cried. Beside himself he said if only he had known. He was a good man, a military Chaplin. Covered in tattoos from a life far gone but always given away with his sad, loving eyes. Detectives tracked down the roommate, who never looked at me, and he said nothing. Nothing. My rapist turned himself in some time later, hours away, and was brought back to be formally charged.

I remember walking into the prosecutors office. It smelled like copy paper, and freshly printed paperwork. Terrified. Told it was my fault I said nothing. Only that I wouldn’t testify. My mother looked at me with contempt…disgust. I was a child.

My friends refused to be totally honest about why and how we all ended up there, surely because they feared being arrested.

My mother went to the hospital, and the police station to retrieve my belongings from that night. I told her I didn’t want them. A few years ago she was still wearing my ski vest. It’s tan, with an aged black and brown zipper. It’s soft and comfortable. She wears it without a care. It makes me ill.

The man who raped me pled guilty to statutory rape, was sentenced to 3-5 years. I don’t know when he was released, but I remember seeing a man that I thought could have been him years later, and suddenly I remembered the smell of his apartment. His walk. His breath. Terrified I left the store.

A young man with the same first name as my rapist touched my belly when I was pregnant with my first child and I had my first panic attack. I was beside myself. Frozen in time. The young man wasn’t a bad person. He was mortified at my response. I hit him so hard that my hand was bruised. I had hurt someone because I was so very wounded, after all that time.

About five, maybe six years ago I received a check in the mail for just over $800. It was from my states victims compensation fund. The man who raped me had been arrested, and in order to be released he had to pay his bail…and restitution. My mind, my heart, my body, was worth $800 and a note in the checks memo…my case number I think. That child remained terrified. After all those years, I could see his face.

I remember after I was raped that I would constantly walk out of my bedroom to make sure I wasn’t alone. I remember how conflicting that was with the need to escape myself. I began cutting my wrists, the inside of my thighs, never too deep. Enough to feel a mental release of my emotional torture. To wound my sickening body. It was euphoric, yet I cried. I was afraid of myself. He took everything from me, and I hadn’t even begun to live. I showered constantly and scrubbed myself until I was raw, until hives would appear. I needed to feel clean. I wanted to die. I wanted to find him and cut off his dick. I wanted to torture him. I wanted him to die so that I wouldn’t have to in order to survive.

It’s been many many years since I was forced to carry the title of rape victim. My life has changed. I was given a family of my own. I was baptized, and found Gods Grace. Rarely do I think of my sexual assault. It’s been a hard and painful road. Climbing up a steep and burning slope before I could see the light of day, of God, of a future I wanted to be a part of. I have little value in myself, and to be honest I’m not worthy of love in my heart, my mind. But in my soul…deep within where only God can touch, I’m beautiful. I’m whole. I’m loved. In that small place, I’m not a victim but a survivor. It is with that still small voice, and my faith, that I’m able to let that small light shine bright. I made it. I’m here. And for those who suffer alone…I won’t be silent.

 

 

**{ You are not alone. You are loved. You are beautiful as you are. Time, as it is, will pass on and can become part of your healing rather than  the still burning embers of your loss. }**

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15 thoughts on “Of Pain and Pressing On…

  1. Bits, I have no words that matter enough to match what you’ve shared. Every word you write shows another shade of bravery, beauty, inspiration. You have no idea how impactful and amazing you are. I hope someday you can see what a change you’ve made in your readers’ lives, my own included. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my dear. I’m learning to accept myself, and sharing this story and receiving words of acceptance and love from you and others has been more healing than I could possibly have imagined. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is nothing you could have done to prevent a predator. Nothing. When I was that same age – I (and a friend) got drunk while babysitting (the kids were asleep for the night). We drank and drank and drank. Must be the age. That was normal to want to try, kids are curious and just want to have fun and experiment with their friends. I was so sick the next day, I was still drunk. It’s lucky I didn’t die of alcohol poisoning. Teenagers will be teenagers but that in no way makes it your fault! I’m so sorry that it’s raw for you again now. I will pray and pray for you that you find some peace – and that you realize that this was NOT your fault in any way, shape, or form. I know your story will reach people – and it will help. People need to also be aware to have talks with their teens about alcohol and the temptation but what it can do to them or what someone can do to them while under the influence. People don’t think their teens will try something like this but I guarantee they will. I know from experience. I’m thinking of you and wishing the best for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was very brave of you to post. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I cannot imagine anyone thinking this was your fault or that you deserve it, or someone wearing the same vest to this day- the one you were attacked in. Makes me sick to my stomach. This was such a personal share, I’m so proud of you. I shared a personal story recently and then quickly made it “private” because after all these years- I still feel the shame. It’s good that you shared because people can learn from this. Maybe a mom is reading this and decides to have a talk with her teenage (or even younger) daughter(s) to warn them about predators. You are wonderful, thank you for sharing your story and I hope it brings you even more healing peace.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve been avoiding your comment…not because it’s a hard one to answer but because I’m just overwhelmed. This post was something I’d sat on, and unfortunately read over and over to make sure it wasn’t too graphic but to help others understand, and perhaps even myself. You’re very kind.
      I feel like there’s so much that could have been done to prevent it all. The people that still blame me or make negative comments are people I love dearly, and because I’m not strong enough I let it continue. Even now. The shame I have felt over the last few weeks as a result was more than I could ‘bare’ alone. So, I chose to speak out. It’s hard, it has been in a very long time since I felt like this, and now it’s so raw…all over again. I lay awake at night and wonder how I got here. Why I’m not enough and why another human being would ever say such things, let alone do them to another.
      I pray that by sharing my story it can reach someone. Maybe it will open the eyes of a parent, or maybe give another survivor hope, even though I don’t always feel it.
      Today is a new day, and I am thankful to have it, no matter what.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Thanks for sharing such a personal bit of yourself. Honestly, this is part of why I try to be as anonymous as possible…so maybe someday I’ll have the courage to share my own stories.
    You are a warrior. You are strong. You are one step ahead of many, acknowledging what happened.
    Anyone who blamed you was an asshole.
    Again, thanks for allowing us into this personal space.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 💜 its been an unusual place to find acceptance like this. I am anxious, very…but still don’t regret posting it. If you ever decide to share your own story, I’ll be here to support you.💜

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  5. I feel such anger after reading this. Anger at the man who raped you, anger at your father for not realizing what kind of man he was letting be alone with his daughter, anger at all the people who condemned you, anger at your friends who didn’t have the courage to put you before them and anger at your mother’s lack of sensitivity. I am grateful to the friends who found you and took care of you even if it was too little, too late. I know this was hard for you to write but you did good. I am not sure if repressing the memories is a good thing or not. I have fleeting feelings of sadness and body memories that keep me from feeling completely free sexually and make me search for explanations I can’t find. My niece was 12 when her aunt’s boyfriend molested her and she too was blamed. Her grandmother allowed her 19 year old daughter’s boyfriend to live with them, sleeping in the same bed and my niece was sleeping on the couch. So her blaming my niece seems like a symptom of guilt on her part. She said my niece probably asked for it. If my niece came on to him, there was a reason. I have a feeling this was not the first person who touched her inappropriately. Sexual abuse ran rampant in our family’s lives and her father, my brother was not left untouched.

    Embrace that 13 year old girl who is still crying out to be protected, believed and loved. We are survivors and there is hope.🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may be me, but 13 was very different then. I still had my barbies, played jump-rope, tag. I still had that innocence. I wasn’t away from home out of spite because I didn’t get my way…my home life was not healthy. I wasn’t running away because my phone was taken for bad grades.
      My father was drinking heavily by this time, though we didn’t know it was so bad. His guilt was obvious. Now that I am a parent I never let my kids go anywhere without knowing who they are with, their family. It is my moms indifference that was a terrible blow. It still hurts, as she is still that way outwardly.
      You are so right Patricia…I long to be protected, to feel it beyond measure and not just when it is convenient to others. I don’t know if I will ever have that, and haven’t felt it since I was a very little girl.
      I’m heart broken to hear that you and those you love have been stricken with the blows of sexual abuse/assault. It’s a long and winding road to recovery. I’m still on it, but the hills are fewer, the tears less often. It does heal, and we can choose to live and try and get back what was stolen.
      Thank you for your kindness, your story. 💜

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