Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tough Stuff

Recently I had a pretty tough incident that reminded me of another really tough incident.

I'm not sure how to start this. I forget if I've ever told you about it, but I doubt that I have. Its something I'd rather not talk about, though I'm not ashamed. Its the hardest story I'll ever have to share, but some times the tough ones need to be told the most. For freedom. To teach a lesson, or maybe just to release some pain. So here it is. The night that haunts my dreams.

It was a Saturday night in late August of 2005. Newly graduated, a freshmen in college, I thought I was invincible. I set out for a night of partying, clubbing, and drinking. My nights those days were mostly filled with that. I studied during the day, and partied until morning. I was a mess and I loved every minute of it. I loved the attention from boys, I loved feeling free, and in charge. I could dance all night. I'm sure I looked more stupid that I thought, but I thought I was having the time of my life. That night wasn't supposed to be any different.

I met "Bill" out at a club with a few friends in late July. We hung out Platonic several times and he had given me a weird vibe. He had hinted towards a relationship, but when I told him I just wanted to be friends, he had taken it well. A week later, he had called to invite me to a party. He told me he had started seeing a girl, and he was excited for me to meet her. After agreeing to go, and finding a "wing-woman" I was on my way. The plan was to stay for a couple of drinks, and then make an excuse to leave and go to a club. I had invited my new friend Britney to come along with me for the night, and we were ready to party. Once we got inside I was instantly drinking. Since we didn't know anyone we used alcohol to make us more comfortable. Soon I was the "life" of the party. More or less the drunken entertainment. To my memory I made out with three guys. At one point I ended up in a bedroom with one of Bills best friends. Before anything could happen Bill barged into the room, and yelled at us. He screamed for us to get out, so we did. After coming out, I met Bills girlfriend for the first time. To this day I dont remember anything about her. Her name, her face, nothing. She left a short time afterwards, although at this point things get foggy. After she left Bill tried to make a move on me, and I told him to get away. I told him he had a girlfriend and started to get up. I remember making it halfway to where his friend was sitting in the chair before I black out, and I dont remember anything.

I feel pressure. I feel pain. I feel the motions of sex. A brief panic. Who am I sleeping with? Wait! Did I agree to this? Where am I? My vision clears. I see him. I see this man on top of me. I scream. I push at his chest. He doesn't look at me. He finishes, or at least I think he does. He gets off me. He dresses, and then walks out the door. I'm still crying although I don't realize it. I'm panicked. I try to find my pants. My shirt is hanging off me, torn. Where are my underwear? I find them in another room. Everyone is awake now. I dont know how long i've been out. I hurt so bad. He says he's sorry. Bill says he's sorry.


I sit in the corner of the kitchen with my hands wrapped around my knees. I rock back and fourth, humming. I dont want to hear them talking about me. Soon I can't take it anymore. I scream, and run to the bathroom. I slam the door. I pee, and wipe myself. There is lots of blood. I know I dont have my period. I start to cry harder. I realized what happened. Britney walks in. Then I admit it out loud.

"Raped" is all I could say.

She nods. Tears come now, but I cant feel them.

Bills friend comes to the door holding a button up shirt. He puts it on me, and hugs me. We walk into the living room, and Bill is still there. They tell him to leave. He says he's sorry again. How can he be sorry?! After he leaves he calls two more times. I ignore them. He leaves a voicemail. I turn my phone off. All I can think about is getting a "morning after pill", because the bastard didn't even use a condom.

Britney and I leave and drive to the hospital. I start to ask for the pill when I break down. The man at the counter is rude, but brings me back to a room. A doctor comes quickly. From there its a blur.

The next thing I know is a whirl of doctors and policemen. At one point a young women enters the room. She introduces herself. She tells me that she is a Rape victim advocate. I ask her if she's ever been raped. She says "no". I tell her to leave. I feel even more violated from all the questioning. Britney has been trying to get ahold of my family. I don't want her back there either. It feels like hours, and then the door opens. Its been less then a half hour. There she is. My sister. Tears started again. She had gotten there faster then she should have. She hugged me so hard. She held my hand. They put my legs in stir ups. They swabbed me with big q-tips. It was almost as worse as being raped, but this time my sister was there. She helped me stay strong. The police women came in and recorded me. I wonder how scared I sounded? They take my clothes, and give me my belt. They'll be used for evidence now. They give me a huge pair of sweat pants, a tooth brush, shampoo, and other hospital like necessities. I throw it away in the waiting room. My family is all there. They all hug me. They love me. I feel numb.

My sister and uncle drove me to my apartment. I threw up on the way. I told my roommate what happened and grabbed some clothes, and my charger. We drove to my uncles house. He was the chief of police of the town next to the town the rape occurred. He had connections, and got answers faster. We found out a lot in the coming hours.

His friends had gone to the police to give statements against him, supporting me. They had arrested him, and he was going to jail, and court would take place Monday or Tuesday. It gave me no relief.

My Mom and Dad come in shortly afterwards. My mom is crying. I don't think I can deal with it. I go upstairs, because all I want to do is shower. Everyone says that, but its true. I stand in that shower, and pray that it cleans me to my soul. I feel dirty. Used. Broken. I wish I could slide down the drain. I wished he would have killed me. I feel like someone sucker punched me in the stomach. Even now a smell, sound, or trigger will set that feeling off in my stomach.

After I felt like I had the strength to walk back down stairs I went to see my parents. My mom was hysterical. It brought her past incidents to life, and hurt her with the realization that I now knew her pain. My dad simply said "We'll get through this baby." I melted into them. They were the strength that I didn't have.

After turning on my phone, I received two voicemails. Both from Bill admitting and apologizing for what he had done. Both were then swiftly recorded by police officers. VERY strong evidence! It was also in those hours, that I began to notice a lot of things. I had large bruise marks on my arms, and legs. As well as hickeys on my neck. None of which happened prior to passing out. I found out that after I had passed out someone covered me up on the floor, and everyone had gone to bed. That's the last thing anyone (except bill) knows about that night.

After that night, I tried to maintain a normal life. I tried to go to school and go out with my friends, but it wasn't the same. Bill was released on bail the next week. He had never been to my apartment or school, he didn't even know where I lived, but once we had a restraining order, he now knew the location of my school, apartment, and work. The police said, they couldn't keep him away from somewhere that he didn't know where to stay away from. I suddenly felt scared everywhere I was. I carried a restraining order everywhere I went. The security at my school, work, and apartment had his picture.... but it wasn't enough. I eventually quit school and moved home.

My life was completely 100% different.

I was a mad, and angry person for a long long time afterwards.

BUT Life changed a lot. I did go back to school.... things got better. I "forgave" myself, God, and Bill. I went through MANY court procedures, and stuck it out. While I was pregnant with my son, I finally was able to see him sentenced. I was able to read him a letter telling him how he made me feel and what he'd done to me. Since he plead guilty to a lesser plea he was sentenced to jail for (only) three months, with school release. (sick!) BUT he is on strict probation for the next ten years. (Thank God!) I pray he never repeats his actions.

Now four years later (almost to the day) I relive this night again. A few weeks ago, I was violated again. Not as bad, but enough to remind me of the still fresh wounds in my heart. I passed out at a co-workers house, by a man slapping me in the face. He proceeded to try and do unthinkable things. Luckily this time, I was able to get myself out of the situation. I also tried to laugh it off. I tried to make excuses for this man. Only there isn't any excuses. I just didn't want to be a victim again. I didn't want to have to feel this pain again.

I also realized that even though I thought I was over it. Even though I thought I was strong, and I had forgiven, that this is a life time of pain. This kind of thing is something you can deal with, manage, but never fully recover. When someone CHOOSES to rape someone, they have chosen to disrespect them in a way that takes something from them. I still have my dignity, because I refused to give him that, but he took a small piece of the girl I was... and I don't think I'll ever get that back.

buy It was replaced by strength. Even though I still hurt. Even though I cried the ENTIRE time I wrote this, I have strength. Strength to move on. To love. To stand up for myself... and most of all strength to tell this story, and not to hide. This kind of stuff has to stop being swept under the rug. It needs to stop being something a victim is ashamed of! It is not our fault. Even now some say I shouldn't talk about it? But why not?! I tell you almost everything about my day to day life?! Why shouldn't you know about the tough stuff? The tough stuff is REALITY. It was my reality. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can't. Maybe you read the whole thing. Maybe you couldn't. Maybe this whole thing was a ramble of thoughts, that I don't know how to finish. But maybe... just maybe, tonight four years later...

I just wanted to be heard, not pitied, just heard.


Busy Bee Suz said...

WOW. You have been through a lot for such a young person. I am happy that you went through all the prosecution of this guy...hopefully he will never victimize someone else because of your strength.
Take care my friend...thank you for sharing your past. Our past makes us who we are today and you are a strong person.

Riahli said...

...and you absolutly should be heard. I was sexually abused from my earliest memories until I was 12 years old, it's hard to even type that. Anyone who has had to suffer though their body being violated has a right to be heard when they feel like talking about it, with out worry of judgement. Letting it out is a whole lot better then holding it in. Thank you for sharing the tough stuff, it brought tears to my eyes and I felt that old pain that never really goes away, but I love the strength in your story.

Lori said...

Oh honey, I am so sorry still for this pain that you have had to endure in your short life. Oh how I wish I could hug you right now and remind you of all that you are...all that you are becoming every day because of the attitude you choose about these past experiences.

Regardless of how strong you are and how proud I am of you for the brave courage you have shown through out it all, what hurts the most for me is knowing that you now know what it's like to be violated in this way. It's every mothers worse nightmare...even more so if that mother was once a victim of such a thing herself.
Yes, these things hit far too close to my heart. I am sorry you know this pain.

I love you honey!

More Than Words said...

Oh, Brittany..you are so brave and courageous to post this. What a blessing that you have a huge support system. God bless you, my friend!