6 years ago I was raped. It took me 3 years to admit to myself that it was rape, and another year to admit that it happened to anyone else. I was 15, nearing the end of my freshman year of High School. I was a straight A AP/IB student, Varsity Cheerleader, had a leadership role in several clubs on campus, and knew exactly where I wanted to go in life. I was mature, could handle any situation life could throw at me- or so I thought. I had never really dated much, so when I was asked out by (we’ll call him Marcus here), I was ecstatic. He was 19, about to graduate, seemed like such a nice guy. He liked me for me, the age difference didn’t matter because I had always been mature for my age- right? That’s what I had convinced myself to believe, anyway. He was friends with many of my friends, and I never imagined it could go so wrong. About a month after we started dating, he started getting a little pushy. We would go on a date and he would kiss me, try to initiate more and get upset when I would stop him. He would constantly tell me that I was being selfish, getting him turned on and then leaving him to “deal with the problem himself”. I had never initiated contact with him, he was always the one to kiss me, or grab my hand to hold. We talked frequently about the fact that I was a virgin and planned to stay a virgin for some time. I certainly wasn’t planning on waiting until marriage, but I wanted to be old enough to make an educated decision on how to be safe. I wasn’t ready and probably wouldn’t be for a couple of years (I figured graduating High School was a good sign I was mature enough to make the decision to have sex). He knew that I wanted to wait and told me that he completely understood and supported my decision. Yet, every time I would ask him to stop, he would get upset.
Over the summer, one of our mutual friends was throwing a party while her parents were out of town. She asked my mom if I could stay with her so she wouldn’t be alone all weekend, and just like that, I was going to the party. My parents never would have let me go to a party where drinking was involved (I was 15 after all). She had done this at Marcus’ request. I wasn’t big into parties and would have preferred staying home anyway, but she and Marcus convinced me to come. I had never drank any alcohol before, unless you count a sip of wine at Church every Sunday. However, I stupidly let Marcus talk me into drinking. I trusted him to make my drinks that night. I only had a few- I hadn’t planned on getting drunk, but the drinks must have been strong and I didn’t know my tolerance yet, because the next thing I remember after Marcus handed me my second drink and held it to my lips himself, encouraging me to chug it is waking up in the bed in the morning wi th Marcus. I remember waking up, groggy, realizing that I was lying in bed naked and that Marcus was also naked next to me. I felt a distinct, aching pain between my legs and when I looked down I saw a smear of blood on my thigh. That’s when I knew, without a doubt, that I wasn’t a virgin anymore. I jumped out of bed, saw my clothes on the floor, grabbed them and ran to the bathroom. I closed the door and collapsed onto the ground, no longer able to hold back the tears. I was devastated. How could he do this to me? I thought he cared about me? I hadn’t even had a few minutes to process my thoughts when he was knocking on the door asking what was going on. “How dare you?” I screamed at him. “You knew I wasn’t ready”. “Oh that?” he said. “You wanted it. You were begging me to fuck you last night.” The problem was, I couldn’t remember anything. Maybe he was right? Perhaps I was overreacting? Had I said it was okay that night? Did I give him permission to take my virginity while I was black out drunk? Does it matter if I did, because clearly I was not in a state where I could make any reasonable decision and I had told him many times that I wanted to wait? Was I right to be mad at him or did I only have myself to blame for getting drunk and letting him do this to me? It would take a few years for me to be able to answer most of those questions with any confidence.
I went home and stayed in bed for several days. I didn’t know what to do. I felt so violated, but he said I had wanted it, that I gave him permission, so it was my own fault. I believed him. When my mom asked me what was wrong, I told her I wasn’t feeling well, that I must have caught the flu or something. She believed me.
I had bruises. Several on my hips that looked eerily like handprints and a few around my wrists and on my forearms. I also had some bruises on my thighs and ribs. He told me I was a clumsy drunk, that I had given my self the bruises by running into things and falling over. I never really believed that, but it was easier to pretend than to deal with the fact that I had been raped by someone I trusted. Several weeks went by. I hadn’t spoken to Marcus in person since it happened, and I had been ignoring his texts and calls since a few days after.
Then, one day I was at cheerleading practice. The summer was almost over and I thought I had put this behind me. I was going to officially break up with Marcus and start my sophomore year off right. I was a flyer (the girl who gets thrown in the air). During on of the stunts I was performing in practice, my stunting partner dropped me and I was caught with a hard shoulder right to the stomach. It hurt like hell and I had the wind knocked out of me, but I didn’t think much of it. Things like that happen all the time at practice. A friend drove me home and I was quite sore. I figured my stomach was just bruised from the fall and cramping from practice. I never would have imagined the real reason, and for that I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself. The cramping just seemed to get worse and I noticed quite a bit of blood in my underwear. Something was wrong, there’s no way this was just my period. I won’t go into detail here- I can’t, but long story short, I was pregnant. I had never even thought of the possibility (I know- how could I not have thought of that). I called a good friend, someone I could trust to keep a secret, and she took me to get checked out, make sure everything was okay and see if I had actually miscarried. I had. I was only 15, a child myself, there’s no way I was ready to bring a child into the world, but it didn’t matter. I felt the loss of my child in a way that words can never describe and I knew, without a doubt, that it was my fault. I should have realized the possibility that I was pregnant. I never should have gone to practice, I should have told someone, done something, and maybe- just maybe, my child would have had a chance at life. Marcus found out I had miscarried. He was furious, blaming me for murdering his unborn child. I know now that I was raped, that it wasn’t my fault, it was his. But regardless, I will never stop blaming myself for not realizing I was pregnant, I wi ll never stop asking myself what my child would be like today, if I had only given him/her a chance to live.
Thank you for reading. It took me 3 years to admit to myself that I was raped and another year to tell anyone. To this day, only a few people know. I’ve only told my closest friends. I don’t know if I will ever tell anyone else, but for now, this is the best I can do.
— Survivor, age 21