August 14th, 2017
August 14th started off as an ordinary evening filled with friends and laughter, then ended with fear, pain, and loneliness. I never had guessed it would be a day that I would never forget.
The 14th started off as an ordinary evening filled with laughter and friends, then ended with fear, pain, and loneliness. I met up with friends on a beach to enjoy the delightful evening Florida weather. A few hours later illegal drugs, and underage intoxication started. I am not one to get involved in such actions, so I decided it would be best to go home. Little did I know that walk to the car would change my life forever.
I had just finished walking over the wooden pathway from the beach to the parking lot when I felt something metal go tightly around my neck. It was so tight that I could not speak, let alone barely breath. I was then thrown to the ground and dragged across the parking lot, by a man, to an unlit corner. I was trying my hardest to scream and fight, but was unsuccessful due to the lack of oxygen and strength. There in that corner is I was helplessly smashed into the ground.
I was raped that night. I heard his voice but did not dare look at his face hoping he would spare my life if I could not recognize him. His voice was unsettling calm as he whispered compliments into my ear for the duration of the assault. Once he was finished he told me close my eyes and not to move for two minutes. I did as I was told and listened to his footsteps as he ran off. Once I knew I was alone again I got up, gathered my things and painfully walked to my car. The entire event took place in less than ten minutes, even though it left like hours. My entire life changed in those few, unforgettable minutes.
I was stunned by the horrific event and could only think, “I want to go home” and “I was doing the responsible thing. I was leaving the bad situation…… why me?” I drove home and arrived at my house an hour and thirty minutes later. It was about three-thirty in the morning so I walked quietly to my room to not wake my family. I stood by my closed door for about fifteen minutes just starring at my bed with a completely empty mind. I was home, now what?
I laid in bed for several hours trying to comprehend what had happened. I felt trapped and alone. I finally cleared my head enough to allow my thoughts to sink in. I showered, got ready for a normal day to look like nothing had happened. I then drove myself to the hospital without my family being aware.
I checked myself in and wrote, “STD” check for the reason of the visit. I sat in the waiting room trying to look as normal as possible, even though I felt like everyone somehow knew my story. Moments past and I was called back to an examination room. The nurse came in and did all the normal exams, like my blood pressure and temperature, then left. Minutes later the doctor and nurse came into the room to discover it was much more than their regular STD exam.
He started by taking a glance at my wounds. My hands, arms, legs, feet and neck were wounded from the struggle. The worst wound was on my neck. It was on the front of my neck that extended from ear to ear. Then asked why I needed the STD test. I replied, “Due to recent unwanted sexual intercourse.” They turned to each other, whispered, then excused themselves from the room. Five minutes later the nurse returned and said, “I’m sorry but I need to clarify something. Were you raped?” In that moment I finally grasped what had happened to me and said, “Yes… I was,” She then exited the room again. Neither of them returned. I was never tested or thoroughly examined.
Twenty minutes later there was a knock at my door and a new lady entered my room. She told me that she was my case worker and by law had to call the police and should be arriving shortly. I didn’t say anything. Without looking at her I knew she was very unsettled. We sat in silence for about three minutes, then she exited the room and left the door slightly open.
I sat there in silence while listening to the doctors and nurses gossip to each other about my situation. I became embarrassed because now all the employees knew my story. I was also embarrassed because they were talking loud enough for me to hear. I wonder how many other open doors could hear my story. I felt like I was on display.
The next knock at my door was Officer J. We went over the entire event in detail. He questioned if I was telling the truth about being sober that night. I was not upset that he questioned me. I understood he probably got lied to a lot. He then helped me write my official statement. He had a nurturing presence and let me take as much time as I needed. After the statement was completed he left to contact the deputies in the city where the rape occurred.
Once he left I let my family know I was in the hospital. I did not explain what had happened. I didn’t have enough courage to let my loved ones know what I went through. I knew they would be worried and think differently about me once they knew. Shortly after, they showed up at the hospital. I did not let them into my room.
I was in the hospital for several hours and never truly received medical care. I waited for quite a bit more time alone in my room. Finally, I decided to walk up to the nurse’s station and tell them to discharge me. All I wanted to do was go home.
My family was waiting outside of the hospital for me. They were very worried, and scared. I don’t blame them. I would have been as well if I were in their shoes. My mother drove me home. I didn’t want my mother to suffer, from not knowing what had happened to one of her children, so I told her the story during the drive. As I expected she was upset and angry that I was hurt. When we got home the rest of the family was informed of what happened and reacted the same way. They were all very sympathetic and supportive but saw me differently.
I started spiraling so a week later I decided to go to a rape clinic. I meet with a rape counselor to talk about the situation and get STD tested. She gave me some good advice, but sadly I wasn’t quite in the mindset to truly listen and learn. A few days past and all the tests came back negative, which gave me some relief.
For several weeks everyone important in my life would look at me like a wounded animal. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I pushed them away. I went down a bad path for several months. I let people treat me horribly because I no longer had self-worth. I felt trapped still, and worthless. I hit rock bottom and did not think I would be able to move past the event. Thankfully I was wrong.
I worked my absolute hardest to turn my life around. I let my family and friends back into my life. I gained self-worth, confidence, and a sense of safety back. I have figured out what I would like to do with my life. I enrolled back into college. I am now studying to be in the medical field to be able to help others. I want to make sure people get the help they need right away. I don’t want them to know what if feels like to sit in an empty hospital room and hear the medical professionals outside gossiping about their situation.
There are several lessons to learn from this. You have probably heard them all before like I had. One lesson is bad things will happen in your life time. It is okay that they bring you down for a bit, but you must pick yourself back up. Second lesson is your past does not determine who you are. The third is for the loved ones of the people going through a tough time. They might not accept your help now, but stick around. They will need your help eventually. Fourth, medical staff needs to learn how to better handle situations like this. Fifth, don’t let bad experiences stand in the way of truly living life. There are many other lessons to learn from my situation, but it is up to you if you want to learn from them. I have turned my life around, you can as well. It will difficult, be very satisfying in the end.
Why am I writing this now? It is because I am confident enough in myself now to tell my story to hopefully help at least one person. If this does help someone then letting everyone know my story will be worth it.
— Kali, age 20