I was abducted when I was nineteen by an acquaintance who stalked me. I tried to report it to the campus police, but they just humiliated me. Also, It was an ordeal that I don’t really remember because he drugged me. But many years later, I moved to a new town, and then he appeared a few months later. He was in that town. He was a respected member of the leaders of that town. He called my name. When I pretended I didn’t know who he was, he said the date that he raped me. After that, I spent a few years feeling terribly afraid. I got physically ill with cancer.
I had many flashbacks and realized that he had taken me to a gardening shed, that he had drugged me, that he invited others to come watch what he did to me and took video and photographs. I have had terrible dreams and so much fear in my life because of this. We lived very close to him, and his business was even next door to my daughter’s school. It was so hard for me to feel that I was okay when we lived so closely in proximity to him. Everything about him was a lie. People think he is this wonderful guy.
Then, we finally were able to leave and moved to a big city. But every day I remain in a struggle with feelings of loss and fear. I’m not really happy at all. I have a daughter who is a teenager now, and I fear that something terrible will happen to her. It never goes away. I saw your film a few years ago, and I was so moved. You inspire me especially your religious life. Yesterday, I went to Seder with my Jewish friends (I am Christian) and it gave me hope, to think about a world without violence. I do not have much to give and I am still really, after over thirty years, not myself, but it gives me hope that you are sharing your story. Thank you so much.
To be honest, I think about you all the time. You inspire me. I am married to a religious leader, a pastor, and we have spent a lifetime helping others. It gives me some focus, but many times I struggle with understanding why my stalker and rapist did those evil things to me. It is hard to keep going. But I don’t have much choice. I get up each day and shower and eat. Then, I try to make myself useful to my daughter and the world about me especially my local community. I play music at the Saturday Community free meal for homeless people.
Professionally, I teach college now. It’s a struggle to feel that I am worth something as a professor, but I survived that rape and had moved on. Recently, I have a new therapist who works with people who have been tortured. She is really understanding of my rape story because I was help hostage for a few days. In my life today, I get support where I can. I am sure you understand how it can be… you move on, but something has been lost — a piece of yourself. And it is strange to keep living without it, but there’s no alternative.
With everything happening in the world now, especially because I am in America where the small minded are taking over — I think I am brave, but it’s hard to know how to proceed. Where can I make a difference?
Thank you so much for what you’ve done. It means everything to me to know that my feelings are not unique, that the struggle for God’s love and acceptance is part of being a rape survivor. Thank you so much, and I think of your mom too. I hope I can be a good mom like that who loves and supports her daughter without any blame or shame. May you continue to heal and to inspire others like me.
— Survivor, age 51