First, I am very proud to say that while initially, I wasn’t brave enough-I have done very hard work on myself and I am now stronger and braver than ever. I applaud Linor in sharing and encouraging victims to speak out, report and take these steps to heal and help others to heal as well.
I have been raped 3 times in my teen years. I didn’t report any incident and it took me years to talk about it at all. HOW does this happen 3 separate times? It can, and does. Secrecy, shame and low self esteem put me at risk. While it’s NEVER a victim’s fault, my surroundings and history led me to make decisions that put me in a few precarious situations. I was not raised in a positive or supportive environment, not only in my home, but in a very shame-based, misogynist culture (Utah Mormon in the 90’s). I was constantly put down, and not encouraged to aspire for anything beyond being a good, Mormon housewife. Not all LDS people are like this, but my mom was especially cruel and abusive toward me. I had no self worth or esteemed I was rebelling, hard.
At 16, I was raped at a house party. I didn’t know this guy, but I had so much to drink that I was incapacitated, practically passing out. I had gone into a bedroom, alone to lay down. He saw an opportunity and went in to take it. I couldn’t physically fight him off, but did repeatedly say “no.” I finally stopped fighting and waited for that eternity for him to stop. He finished, dressed, left the room and I heard him bragging and high-five his friend. I was in shock. I got myself together as quick as possible and got out of that room and to my cousin whom I came with to beg her to take me home. I was so ashamed. I felt I deserved it. She was so annoyed that I wanted to leave so I finally told her what happened. Her response was, “whatever! You’re so drunk, I’m sure you let him f*** you. I’m not ready to go.” I didn’t know anyone else there. I had to wait an everlasting hour, curled as tight as possible in the most populated room, while that guy was still in the house. My cousin dumped me at home, after telling me things like “what did you expect?” I believed her and didn’t report.
The 2nd time was on a blind date with a football player from our state university. We were going to meet up at a convenience store, then go to dinner. He was charming at first, and despite having a brief “bad instinct,” let him talk me into going to a club instead. He of course offered to drive. He was taking surface streets and I started getting nervous. He pulled into an empty church parking lot and told me that I was really hot and he just wanted to kiss me. I had such low self esteem, and even lower after my previous rape, that I was actually flattered. We started kissing, then in the fastest, had to be practiced move. He had laid my seat back and gotten over to my side and was on top of me. I told him that I didn’t want to go further. He kept saying things like, “c’mon, yes you do. You want this. You wouldn’t have turned me on like that.” I still said no and asked him to take me back to my car. He just said, “no way. C’mon, I know you’re (a gross phrase meaning I’m ready).” Then hiked up my skirt and held me down and raped me. I was so scared because he was very strong. Again, I shut down and waited for this to be over. He finished and saw that I was had tears in my eyes. He was furious. “Whatever bitch, I’ll be nice and take you back to your car. You’re lucky I don’t kick you out here. I’ll find another slut at the club.” Luckily, we weren’t far from my car and he did drop me off instead of doing anything worse to me. I got out fast, with a barrage of insults from him following me. I drove down the road a bit and had to pull over to vomit. I was shaking so hard. He didn’t use protection and I had to get an HIV test. I couldn’t tell my mom. She had told me that I’d get raped if I met guys online.
The third time was two years later, but very similar to the second time. I was set up with another cousin’s acquaintance. We just went to her boyfriend’s house, because it was his roommate. We had just all watched a movie together on the couch, then this guy must’ve given his boy a signal because he made an excuse for them to go to the store. I gave my cousin a “hell no” look, but she said they’d be back quick. As soon as they left, this guy was instantly all over me. I had a bad, bad feeling with him. I told him that I didn’t want to do more than kiss. Much like the 2nd guy, he had done this before. He didn’t give me a chance to protest, he held me down and forcibly raped me. As soon as he was done, he kissed me, like he thought this was consensual. I was stunned. He got up to go to the bathroom, and I ran out to my car and left without saying anything to anyone. My cousin called me that night, mad about me just leaving. I told her what happened and she didn’t believe me either. By this time, I was just broken. So numb and not caring about myself or anything else. I was so angry.
I knew that something was very wrong, and I needed help, so I sought out a counselor that really helped me overcome my feelings of responsibility in being raped. I’ve had so many hurdles in my life and I’ve jumped every one of them. I’m strong, successful and in an incredible marriage with an amazing man. No matter where you are in your process, seek help and be brave. You’re worth it and no one deserves to be raped. Ever. One of my biggest regrets has been not reporting these perpetrators. They could have raped again. It may be too late for me, but rape laws are getting stronger for victims. Even if justice isn’t served, light will be shed on your perpetrator and other potential victims may avoid them.
— Survivor, age 36