I was something of a “wild child” in my teenage years. I grew up in the Los Angeles area and fell in love with live music at a very young age. My mom wouldn’t allow me to go out to any concerts, and we had a venue with lots of bands locally, so I started sneaking out of my house to go and see bands play. I should also mention that my body began to develop much earlier than many of my friends. I looked like I was about 17 or 18 at the age of 13 or 14. Men looked at me and treated me differently because of it. I was looked at as a woman when I was still very much a little girl.
One night I had done my usual sneak out and headed to that local venue for some bands. Afterward I ended up at an after party with some friends from my high school after the show. Someone had given me a beer at that party, and I drank it, and I remember feeling very weird and more than drunk from that single beer. I don’t remember much but flashes after that, three of the guys from that party had me in the back of a big Chevy Blazer, and I remember crying and begging them to stop alternating with feeling like I wanted to pass out. The 3 of them took turns sexually assaulting me, in ways it’s too difficult for me to even type out. I had actually been a virgin up until that night. I don’t remember how I got home and I never told my parents what happened, nor did I tell anyone else because I felt terribly ashamed. I feel like I could have or should have been able to stop it all happening, or that I must have deserved it, simply because I was a dumb teenager and was out when I wasn’t supposed to be.
I continued to go out to see concerts at that same venue, and encountered those guys more than once and they leered at me and taunted me which compounded the shame I carried with me. The taunting only stopped when a couple of years later I had a boyfriend who nearly got into a fight defending me from some guy who nearly knocked me over when I was on crutches at another concert. I clearly overheard one of the guys saying after that show “we better not mess with her anymore, her boyfriend is crazy.”
Now I am 41 years old, a mother, happily married for the second time, but I still carry the memory of that shame and horror, and on some level I suppose I still feel like I must have done something to deserve it, even though logically, the grown woman in me knows that isn’t so.
A side note, about 10 years ago I was at a concert with a friend. I went downstairs to use the restrooms, and I nearly ran smack into one of the men who assaulted me. He was standing outside the restroom I guess waiting for someone inside. I froze and felt immediately sick to my stomach, dizzy as it all came flooding back to me, all that had happened, it sort of blindsided me. He did not recognize me, as my appearance has changed quite a bit from how I looked as a 14 year old girl. I stood there and fought the conflicting urge to either flee, or to run up and kick him as hard as I could in the delicate bits. I opted to sort of flee, and went back upstairs and my friend asked me if I was ok, he said I had gone completely pale and looked as though I had seen a ghost. I told him I sort of had and left it at that.