You just got out of work, it's late. You have to walk a mile and a half back home because the last bus left 10 minutes earlier, and you got of work 10 minutes too late. You dread the thought of having to trek it over a mile home, especially having been on your feet all day. But, tired or not, you begin the journey. Your mind is ruminating on other things: did I finish the load of wash? Did I remember to grab a gallon of milk? What time is my doctor's appointment next week? As your mind is wandering to numb the fatigue of having to expend even more energy after a long day, a man suddenly grabs your throat from behind, making sure to cover your mouth as to not let out a shriek. You're dragged behind a commercial dumpster in a pass-through alley, thrown to the ground, being threatened to keep your eyes shut, as your pants are taken off. And when it's all over, you're left in a state of confusion, dismay, DISGUST, and fear. You were just raped. Why me? How? Is this real? Did this just happen?
My story is different, yet the same. I was sound asleep in my bed, having a great time the night before, sleeping off the inevitable hangover that followed from WAY too many drinks at the bar. I was sound asleep, dreaming of God knows what, when I was jolted awake with a pillow case being shoved over my head. As the grip of the cloth tightened, I still had no idea, in that moment, what in the hell was going on. Being pushed face down in my comfy, safe bed, I heard his voice: "Where's the dope, bitch?" Still not fully awake and knowing if this was just THE most horrendous nightmare, ever, or if it was real, it did finally dawn on me: Oh my God, he's going to rape me. The details are sickening, and some of the "conversation" between myself and my assailant will be taken to my grave. But he did. He raped me. Disgustingly. Nightmarishly. And was going to kill me, too. But I was able to talk him out of that second infinitely horrible decision, through the grace of God. He wanted drugs, money, neither of which I had. I told him there was $27 in my purse on the floor, all the while my head still covered with a pillow case and other pillows placed on top of my head, face buried downward in my bed. My safe space. My comfort. Yep, that security was gone (I've slept on the couch, wherever I have lived, since). He finishes his "act", as apparently the situation to do what he did presented itself and he just couldn't resist. He found my money, finished tying me up with electrical he had brought, and then left. FINALLY. It was over. In all, it was about 15 minutes. 15 minutes to ruin a life. 15 minutes to take away any since of security I had. 15 minutes to destroy me. 15 minutes that left me a drug addict for years after. 15 minutes. Poof -- my life was gone, for a long time.
And the question I asked: why me? Why God? What did I do to deserve this hell? Why am I being punished? For what? What did I do? And the answer didn't come for awhile.... but the answer, to me, is: so I can help others who have lived through the same unimaginable hell. And to tell you: you too, can survive. Call it cathartic, in the most disturbing way, but I look back now and I survived, and I am grateful. I am stronger. I am wiser. I am more vigilant (though hypervigilant actions are extremely common post-rape). I am a different person now, and not necessarily for the worse. What happened is NOT your fault. Whether a date rape, an incident such as mine, or anything in between, it is NOT your fault. Get rid of that guilt. And once you do, the fear will subside, eventually, with it. You WILL be stronger. And you are NOT alone. There is no shame in being a victim, but pride in being a survivor. Tell the police, talk with the sexual crimes advocates, get a therapist, and take medication (if necessary as directed by a psychiatrist, as I did), to get you through to the next level. The OTHER side. Because believe me, I know, brighter days are coming, And you deserve it. You survived.