In my high school, it was a tradition to rent a beachhouse for “senior week” before officially graduating from high school. Many of the high schools in the area did the same thing, which meant the whole small beach town was filled with seniors. One evening, my girlfriends and I went to a party at a beach house belonging to some guy friends of ours. Two of our guy friends, who I had known all of high school, asked if I wanted to walk to get beer from their other house, which was a block away. It was a nice night, and I walked with them as we talked and joked around. When we got to the house, they asked if I wanted to go inside. I said I would wait as they got the case of beer and then we could walk back. They became very insistent, putting their arms around me. One of them pulled my hand as he kept saying “come on, we could have a really fun time together.” After calmly saying no a few times, I became more firm, and finally pulled away and started walking back to the party. I could hear them say “whatever, let her go” as they stayed behind.
It was a dark night, and as I was walking back to the party, still pissed off and upset about what just happened, a car pulled up behind me in the street, and someone got out. He said “hey” as if I knew him, and as I turned around to reply, he hit me in the head with a tire iron. He hit me a few more times in the arms and chest, and the passenger got out and they both tried to help pull me into their car. Adrenaline must have kicked in, because although I felt like I wasn’t saying or doing anything, my girl friends at the party heard me scream and came running. The guys in the car quickly got back in their car and sped off.
The police came, and asked if I had been drinking. I had been, and I could tell that the answer immediately changed their outlook on my story. I described the vehicle, and the men, and they wrote it down and said they would contact me.
The next few hours, all I did was cry.
We got a call that they found the vehicle and men. But for some reason, they let them go.
The next day I took pictures of my bruises and went to the police station. I filled out a report and was told that I would be getting a call. I never got a call.
The story started spreading, and people started talking. “She was drunk so who knows what happened.” “She just wants attention.” “I doubt that really happened.” “She shouldn’t have walked by herself.” The one sentence that I heard the most was “you’re lucky that you got away.” I know it could have been worse. What would have happened if they had gotten me into that car and had driven away with me? I think about that all the time. But lucky? No. I am not lucky.
I never followed up with the police, because I went from being angry to being shameful. I had a tremendous feeling of guilt. So I wanted the story to go away. I have since put that night in the back of my mind, trying to make it feel like a nightmare rather than reality. But every now and then, it creeps up and knocks me down. The same feelings surface, and I feel disgusted. I replay the night in mind, and think about all I would do differently.
Now that I have a daughter, I think about it even more and wish I could go back and make my voice be heard.
— Survivor, age 25