I was raped when I was 17. It has been 23 years and I am still effected every single day. I was set up with this man by a very close friend of mine. She said she didn’t really like him, but maybe I would. I agreed to meet him at his house which was about a mile away from mine. It was early (about noon) and I took the bus to his house. I rang the bell and he answered (I recently remembered that I felt fear at the moment he answered the door and something told me not to go in, but I did anyway). After about 2 minutes he said he wanted to show me his trophys. I followed him back to the room and we stepped inside. He closed the door and then stood in front of me. He started to kiss me and I was very surprised at this, but I didn’t fight him. I just stood there arms by my side and didn’t kiss him back. I never remebered that detail until just this very moment. Even now I feel sick and even ashamed that I didn’t stop him there. He pushed me onto the bed and I said “no” very quietly. Then it was as though I was hovering over myself watching this all happen. I remember saying “no” quietly over and over and crying, but not fighting. I could still feel the tears rolling down my face. He raped me, choked me and after he climaxed on me he pointed at me and laughed hysterically at me to humiliate me. I don’t know how long I was in his house or how many times he raped me because I don’t remember anything until I remember bursting out his door to leave running down the street crying. It was dark outside now. I don’t remember anything after that until I came out of shock down the block from my apartment with my parents. It was raining and I was sitting on the ground soaking wet. I went home and my parents were very worried. I made up a story about being robbed in the church parking lot down the block and said “don’t worry I think he only wanted money because all my clothes were on”. It’s strange because I don’t remember “trying” to make up a story. It just happened. I didn’t remember what happened, but I obviously knew something happened and I must have been ashamed not to tell. I didnt tell anyone for years and years. I saw him when I was out with my friend a few nights later and I didnt know why I needed to get away from him and I kept saying I hate him and I have to go now! I would lay in bed for years and remember saying no but I would push it away saying there is no way that happened. I became anorexic and controlled every bite of food I ate. I had horrible dreams about it but never really believed it happened. I used to want to cut my skin and I didn’t know why. Sometimes I wanted to die from the body memories I would have. If I watched a movie and there was a scene about rape I would have to leave the theater or the room and I would get these feelings of rage towards my genitals and wanting to rip them out. I came to realization many times that I was raped, but I would always push it down. I would never use the word rape. The first time I actually said I was raped was last year. I always called it the thing that happened or the “R” word. I became a part of the speakers bureau for RAINN and spoke at a Sayso event and then spoke at the Baruch’s first ever sexual violence dinner. I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Being asked to be a part of Linor’s documentary is an incredibly bitterweet honor. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help women end their shame and silence, honored to help Linor in her brave quest. This is an incredible thing Linor is doing. How do you put it into words? Stopping the silence and shame is how! I want women to know that it is never your fault no matter what. If you knew the person, didn’t know the person, if you were related, if you fought, if you didn’t fight, if you wore a mini skirt (like I did), if you were old enough to supposedly “know better” if you were too young. If it was your father, uncle, brother, coach or your taxi driver. If you didn’t report it and if you did. It’s never your fault. Know that! Speak out even if people say the wrong thing, which they will. Be strong, fight because it does get better and maybe you can be brave enough to speak (even if its anonymously at first). Every time we speak, a piece of the suit of armor of shame we wear is chipped away.
Love and admiration to all,