I haven’t spoken about this since my trial 22 years ago. My husband doesn’t know the details and after watching Brave Miss World today, I knew by the tears streaming down my face that it was time.
I was with my friend one night at a bar, we met a nice guy who was buying me drinks and very sweet. He told me that he was with some friends from work and I made notice of them but not much. After a fun night, this guy asked if I wanted to go to his place to continue to party and hang out. So i did. At his home, we drank and made out but were too intoxicated to take it much past that so we fell asleep.
The next thing I remember was waking up in the morning with a pillow over my face and a man on top of me raping me. He pushed the pillow so hard into my face that I couldn’t breathe. I felt helpless, like I was going to die. I remember, just as I felt my body slipping and getting weaker, feeling a sense of panic and it gave me a strength. I lifted my legs and somehow got them hooked on to the man who was raping me. I kicked him so hard he flew off the bed.
I opened my eyes and saw that he was a stranger. I laid motionless, in pain and shock and just watched him. He grabbed his clothes and ran off. I couldn’t tell where he left to, as I was still feeling paralyzed and out of breath, but later saw an open window in the bedroom.
The man who I had been with the night before came down after I started screaming and I told him what had happened. He gave me a ride home and the entire time I remember trying to pretend that I was okay. I didn’t want him to think I was weak. My vagina was hurting and bleeding and my neck felt like it had been strangled.
It took me days to call the police, I was so confused. I felt ashamed that I had gone home with a strange man from the bar.
The rape kit was the worst experience of my life for reasons that are too traumatic to speak to this day, I was violated by the doctor who performed it. I don’t know if it was intentional or not.
When I finally called the police it didn’t take them long to find the man, as it was one of the co-workers who was with my “new friend” at the bar that night. He was watching me at the bar and knew I had gone home with him. He lived in the neighborhood and broke in to the basement of the home where I was sleeping. He was arrested and charged.
The very next time I saw him was standing in line at a lunch counter in the courthouse. And being taken away in the courthouse where I sat alone. The sentence was minimal. The prosecutor later told me that she would have pushed for a longer sentence, but thought by my demeanor that I really wasn’t that effected because I never cried or seemed to not care. I know now that I was very afraid of looking or feeling weak. It is only now as an adult, with a young daughter that I am starting to grasp how much that man took from me that day. How much he changed my life, and changed how I felt about myself and my body. I never allowed myself a moment of weakness, and now I feel prisoner to the effects it has had on me.
I am now a public figure. A social media star. I have millions of younger people who watch me and think that my life is perfect, that I am perfect. I don’t know why, but today was the first time that I have actually felt like I want to share my story. I don’t know where to start or how to…it feels like so long ago. I am very afraid.