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Lightening Does Strike Twice

I’ve been raped twice. One left left me bruised, one didn’t leave a mark. Both hurt the same.

When I was 16 I got a boyfriend. He was older, and cool, and in a band. He took me to parties, and gave me weed, and made me feel cool, too.

I’d only had sex once before him, but I liked it. I should have realized we only have sex after he’d given me something. I should have realized after that day I managed to stop him from forcing it into my ass, the day I hadn’t smoked like he thought I had.

But I liked him.

I did realize one day after smoking a bowl when I felt something very very wrong. My heart was beating out of my chest, I couldn’t move, I wanted to scratch everywhere, and I felt faint at the same time. I asked him what was going on. He laughed and said I would like it, that it was expensive. That it, “wasn’t that shitty crystal from Chucho.”

I lay there, and waited for it to wear off while he smoked out of a glass pipe. He made to get on top of me. I got up, walked out the door, and deleted his number.

I got pregnant.

I told three people. I’d been doing drugs and drinking, so I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t do it. I lost the baby; nature knew best. I thought I killed it, so I didn’t take any pain medication. I thought I killed it, so I drank more. Smoked more. Popped more.

He found out.

I got drunk at a party. He showed up. I went to pass out in a spare room. I woke up with him beside me on the hard bed. I pushed his hands away. And again. And again.

I tried to think straight. He pinned me down. I fought. He choked me. I fought. He hit me. I fought. He hurt me. I fought. He liked it more. I cried. He liked it more. I screamed. He liked it more.

He knew what my body liked. I will never forgive myself. He finished. I asked him why. “Because you’re keeping this one.”

He thought I had an abortion. He thought I killed it on purpose. He didn’t know I couldn’t get pregnant two weeks after losing a baby. I did.

I talked to a lawyer. I’m an unreliable witness. I’d previously had sex with him. I’d been seen to associate with him romantically. I had tears down there. I had bruises in the shape of his fingers on my thighs. I couldn’t speak properly after he choked me. It didn’t matter. I didn’t matter. I thought it was my punishment.

He moved to my school. He hung out with my friends. He threatened my friend who slept in my bed one night saying, “she’s mine,” with a knife to his stomach.

One of the three went to beat him up. She ended up dating him until he broke into her house and beat her and her sister while tweaking on meth; he ended up with a felony and is on the sex offenders list for that.

I couldn’t sleep. I slept too much. I never went home. I dreamed of a happy little boy. I woke up crying. I dreamed of a hard bed. I woke up screaming.

I went to boarding school. I didn’t see him any more. I met new people. I felt better. I got better.

I think of him sometimes. I think of how his eyes were brown and warm. How his words were easy and nice. Except for when they weren’t. I think of how his smile was quick and wide. I think of how he was thoughtful and sweet. And how you really can’t tell at all who the bad ones are. I think of how he only showed snapshots of the callousness and cruelty one on one, no witnesses.

I was better when I started university; I was happy. I thought I had it figured out. It’s the cold ones, the cool ones, the bad ones. The ones Mom warned me about. The ones who only have sex with me when they’ve given me something. The ones who like it just a little too rough.

I was wrong.

It’s a story that’s almost its own cliché by now. I was a college freshman, and he was the star of the lacrosse team. He was a popular upperclassman worshipped by the faculty and students. Classes hadn’t even started yet. I went to a party.

I thought he just didn’t want to share the alcohol, but he wanted to get me into his room. I thought he was nice. I thought he liked me. I was wrong.

There is nothing ‘in the eyes’ of a rapist, no way to tell. I’d been raped before, and it still happened again. The first time I’d been hurt badly. The first time, the more I struggled, the more he liked it. So this time I didn’t fight back as hard, I didn’t want to be beaten again. But I screamed. And yelled for help.

His housemate and co-captain walked in; he hadn’t even locked the door. I yelled to him for help from underneath him his teammate. He made eye contact with me, took the bottle, shut the door, and the music volume went up. I stopped screaming.

I asked him why. He said, “Because you’re hot and I wanted you.” I lay there and didn’t move until morning. I didn’t sleep, but I heard his steady breathing all night as he slept.

I talked to a lawyer. He told me I was an, “unreliable witness.” He told me it would get thrown out. He told me I should have fought back more to get visible bruises. He told me I should have known better after the first time.

I never went to the library, because he worked there. I never went to a campus party, but everybody knew I’d been in his room all night. They liked to remind me of it. He tried to talk to me alone numerous times after that. I heard he’d done it to other girls. I avoided school events where he could be. I started avoiding all events. I started losing friends. I stopped going to class in case I saw him on the way there. I left school.

It’s been four years, and I’m happy. I’ve been happy for a while. But I’m not happy with how our legal systems deal with rape. It’s not working. I know of multiple other girls both of my rapists did it to as well.

I see the tattoo of the date of my miscarriage on my arm and remember my baby. There is no mark on me now from either rape. It is right to me that the one permanent scar on my body and mind is of that life. It is right I be reminded of that. The rest is piss and wind.

— Survivor, age 22

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