I was just 12 and my family had just moved into a new house in Beverly Hills. I didn’t like it there at first because I didn’t know anyone and my friends were from our old neighborhood, so I rarely saw them anymore. I made a new group of friends quite quickly but unfortunately, they were people who were not exactly the right type of people to be around. It was the early 1970s and the kids I was meeting were doing drugs, going to a lot of parties and generally hanging out with unsavory people. I did make one good friend who was a genuine find, because she and I shared so much in common. She wasn’t into anything bad and also came from a very nice family. I spent a lot of time with her after school and we became very close. Then, one fateful weekend, I was invited to a party by some people who I didn’t know well. I ended up getting a ride there with my friend and we met a lot of older teens. They were doing lots of drugs and drinking a lot. It was completely out of character with how I was raised, but I went along anyway. Lots of kids tried to get me to drink and do drugs, but I held my ground and refused. I met a boy that night who I was attracted to and he seemed to be a nice guy who was interested in me. He was around 18 yrs old. I knew that was awkward, but I had many friends who were older, so it wasn’t that strange. My friend and I went home and all we could talk about was who we met at the party and how exciting it was. The following week, my friend and I rode our bikes to a nearby recreation center where we played games and hung out with others our age. The supervisor didn’t always have an eye on us, but tried to maintain a safe and comfortable place. A van pulled up in the parking lot and some older kids got out and came into the center. It turned out that one of them was the guy I met at the party the week before. He invited a few of us to go to his place in Hollywood to “chill” for awhile. My friend and I knew we weren’t supposed to leave the center, but since it was Friday night, we agreed to go there with them for just an hour or so. Little did we know what was in store for us. Once we arrived at the apartment, the boy I met offered us some wine. A few people were sitting in the living room. They looked stoned or very drugged out. They seemed oblivious to the fact that anyone had even entered the room. My friend and I took a bit of wine. After that, I don’t remember much except the world spinning around. The apartment turned into a rainbow of color and bright flashing lights. I knew that some drug had been put into the liquor, but had no idea what it was. The same happened to my friend. We were completely out of our minds and hallucinating. We had no control of our bodily functions, emotions or will. We were both taken into separate bedrooms disrobed and raped. I was a virgin, so all I really remember (I’m 58 now, so it was over 40 years ago) is how my body felt like an explosion inside of me. I now recall that was my ‘deflowering’ moment. I hadn’t even celebrated my 13th birthday yet! Afterwards, I remember the guy saying something like “There’s police outside, they can’t stay here- someone needs to take them home.” ( Much later, I found out that some neighbors had complained about the noise in the apartment next door and had called the police. When they came, the guys freaked out and didn’t want to be caught with all the drugs and liquor with minors present.) So one of his friends and a buddy decided to takes us back to the center. They put us in the back seat of a very large car. The streets looked like ribbons of light through the windows. I couldn’t see straight or think coherently. Every word out of my mouth was gibberish or laughter. I think I even cried. My friend and I held hands in the back seat of the car. We were hugging. I think we each knew what the other had been through. Instead of going home, the 2 guys took us to another house high in the hills above Beverly Hills. We were led into a small house into 2 separate bedrooms and it happened all over again. I remember my friend saying “No, No!” I doubt that she could do anything else, given the state we were in.
After the horrible time was over, they coaxed us back into the car and proceeded to take us back to my parent’s home where my friend was spending the night. We hugged each other again but this time, we wouldn’t let go. By this time, it was 3:00 a.m. Neither or us were in our clothing, but dressed in bath robes. I don’t know what happened to the clothes we were wearing. Our bikes were still locked up at the center. We came through the back gate and my parent’s dog began barking loudly. She then recognized me and stopped. It was enough to wake my mother. I remember that we couldn’t stop laughing. Our behavior was completely involuntary and my friend actually urinated when we were outside because she couldn’t hold it in. We quickly slipped into my bedroom and pretended to be asleep, but my mother came in and was angry. She asked where we had been. She told us that she had called the police when we hadn’t come back from the center by 11:00 as we’d agreed earlier on. Then she looked at us and asked if we were drunk. I told her that we were, thinking that it was certainly better than telling her that we were actually high on psychedelic drugs. She would almost certainly have blamed us for what happened wouldn’t have understood. I have kept quiet about this incident for 30 years. Even when I finally had courage enough to let her know, I left out the part about rape. I didn’t want to burden her with it. My friend eventually left Los Angeles and moved to Israel and married. She has a family now and has only seen me once since the year of the incident. We had been best friends. After the rape, we barely spoke. We were horrified, confused and secretive about it. In those days, there was no such thing as rape counseling/kits, etc. We were just lucky that neither of us became pregnant. Neither of us wanted to talk about what happened or even acknowledge it. It has affected my relationships with boys and men to this day. Throughout high school, college and later in life, my relationships with boys/men were short lived. Ironically, sex was frequent and meaningless. During my 20s, I had sexual relationships that meant absolutely nothing. I was afraid to connect to men. I couldn’t trust any of them. I was numb, emotionally. I eventually started on the path to healing somewhat when I married and had my daughter. I told my husband the story of what had happened. All this time, I ‘d blamed myself for ever getting into that van willingly. He helped me understand that it wasn’t my fault, and what happened to me was not because of anything I had done. It has taken many years of therapy and talking to people to help me gain my confidence back. Consequently, nothing ever happened to the people who raped us. There were people at my high school who knew of him and heard that he had drugged us. They tried to hunt him down, but never caught up with him. I actually saw him on a bus a few years later and quickly got off the bus before I was seen. I wanted to kill him. I’m still cautious about relationships with men today (I’m divorced) and don’t easily connect intimately. It is truly amazing what you are doing to help people connect, share their stories and take action against this truly heinous barbaric behavior of rape. I’ll never forget that night and I believe it’s so important to keep sharing stories and bringing the conversation to the public eye. Thank you so much.