I had thought that if I ignored it, it would go away. Here and there throughout the past eight years, this proved true. Like all things, some days were betters than others. Like all things, this would have to come to an end. This past week, that end was now.
I had been having an internal struggle for those past eight years. I had let it periodically effect relationships, my physical being, but most of all, my mental struggles. Enough was enough, it is time to take control of something I had no control of and move past it towards a better, happier me.
I had been a senior in college, one of the best years in my life. I had great friends, an apartment, a job and a family that was so tight that the week this happened, my mom was giving her kidney to her brother. I began “dating” (I say this loosely and for good reason), a man I`d met at the Laundromat, who coincidentally was also my neighbor. We had a few amazing dates, like ones you`d hear and see in movies, they were that good. They were not super sexualized, but romantic and full of quality time getting to know each other. I felt like I was on top of the world, about to graduate, with a great life and now a great guy. Win for me!
I went over to his apartment to go for another date and he yelled over to me to just come in. Thinking nothing of it, I walked in. This was met with him in the bathtub. “Interesting, but he`s from Romania,” I said in my inner dialogue and let it go. I sat and spoke to him through the door making sure I wasn’t invading his personal space, for his and my benefit. He got up and went into this room, continuing the conversation we were having. He called me into his room, where I found him laying in his bed with the covers on. I hadn’t a clue if he was wearing anything, it honestly never came to mind, I honestly figured he had been in there long enough that he had been changing. I sat next to him in bed, showing him photos from an event I had been at earlier in the day. We spoke some more and then started to mess around a bit.
The next thing I knew, he started tugging at my pants, I told him to stop nicely, then nicely, became yelling. He wasn’t listening, he didn’t care what I had to say. He was determined and I could see it in his face. I yelled and kicked and before I knew it, my bottoms were gone. I tried to knee, kick, hit and nothing got him off. He climbed on top of me and pinned my arms above my head and forced himself inside of me. There was nothing I could do, I was completely frozen. I gave up fighting and closed my eyes. It felt like hours, but it was a mere few minutes. As he got off me, I got up immediately, grabbed my pants and ran out of his apartment, not even bothering to put them on. I ran over to my apartment (two next door), and immediately started crying.
My favorite show in the entire world is Law and Order: SVU and I had just been raped. I say this because, I immediately thought of the pros and cons to showering versus not, reporting it versus staying quite. I knew I made my case less reliable if I showered, washed my clothes, and went to bed, but part of me didn’t care. I needed to wash it off of me. So, I showered, threw away my clothes, because to me they would never be clean again, drank a bottle of wine and passed out.
The next day, I realized that it hadn’t been a nightmare, it was a reality. I knew I had a slim chance in hell, proving anything and I didn’t want to struggle through a case. I knew then people at school would know, my family already through a trying time would be concerned and it seemed best to close it out and wish it away. As I said earlier, it worked when it did, but most of the time, it didn’t.
I ended up learning how to coast through life, not putting too much effort into anything. I had very few friends that knew and the ones that did, didn’t address it unless I brought it up. I became heavily willing to experiment in anything self destructive. If I had access, I tried it, I did anything to distract from my day to day life. For a few months here and there, I didn’t think about it. (Those were good months), then other`s, I went through periods of depression and I couldn’t stand being in my own skin.
I went on to marry, have children and live a fairly successful life over the next few years. It wasn’t until recently that sleeping and functioning became a daily challenge. I spoke to one of my very best girlfriends, who knew the situation at the time (actually dragged me to the doctor…thanks for that) and she suggested that since I was always an emotional writer, to put it on paper and share it to those who it may help. I am grateful to her and grateful for the suggestion. I am getting it out and hopefully you can too. Take it out of your mind and the power away from it, in order to move past and move on. It sounds cliché, but it`s true.
— LM, age 32