Trigger warnings: This story contains graphic and detailed descriptions of rape, physical abuse and the physical results of the abuse.
I was raped when I was 15 years old. I knew the person. He went to the same high school that I did. I wasn't the only one he assaulted. I am very good friends with one of the survivors and recently found out that there are several more.
My website is called Informed Momma. It's all about my life experiences and how I know that being informed can and will change your life. I'm incorporating this specific blog into my website because I believe it is an important subject that needs to be heard not only through my voice but every survivors voice. It is not intended to be negative or make you feel uncomfortable even though the subject is.
This is real life, sexual assault will continue to happen every single day around the world whether we like it or not and I'm about to detail it exactly as it happened to me. One in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18. This is a sick and sad reality and I am hoping my story will encourage more survivors to speak out and allow their voice to be heard so they may discover their own strength within.
As a mother of 2, I am speaking out and breaking the silence to encourage all parents to talk to your children at an early age about touch and boundaries and your preteen kids about sex, safety, violence and the meaning of consent. I'm sure that you have an amazing relationship with your children but this is a subject that MUST be understood. It's so important for you to be a safe zone for your kids so that they will feel one hundred percent comfortable coming to you with anything they might question, know is wrong or doesn't feel right. Make it an ongoing conversation and continue to reassure them that they will not get in trouble and you will NOT be mad if they do happen to come to you or the authorities with an issue they feel might be wrong. Talk openly about sex and teach them that it doesn't have to be a "secret." Let them know how proud of them you will be when they come to you for any issue and you will do everything in your power to help them through any situation. It's so important your child feels your love radiate through them at all times. It's all about trust and feeling safe. They have to trust you to feel safe.
As a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, we ALWAYS ask the baby first if they would like a massage before starting. This helps the infant to know that they are allowed to say yes or no to touch. Even though that may seem strange to some and you may think "babies don't talk" but they do in their own way - through actions. We as therapist, respect the infants body and watch for their cues to know if they want to be touched or not. It is the same thing with our children, we need to teach them that it is not ok to just go around touching others and that they have to respect a persons body including themselves at all times.
I was very close with my parents before the sexual assault happened but just because I considered them my best friends doesn't mean that I felt safe telling them that I was raped. We never talked about sex or what to do immediately after if I was ever assaulted and it was never taught in school. While I'm not sure if my parents talked to me it would have changed the actual rape itself, I do believe that if I was fully informed, I would have felt more comfortable about the subject and wouldn't have waited so long to tell them about it. It would have allowed me to feel safe and strong enough to report it right away.
Through my voice, I want those who have been through what I have know that you are not a victim. You are a survivor and you can rise above just by understanding it was NEVER your fault. There is hope. While each survivor is unique and will process sexual assault in different ways, please understand that you are not alone on your journey. I know your struggle and the pain you endured. I believe in you. I support you. Forgive yourself, love yourself, nurture your soul and allow yourself to grieve because you are beautiful, you are a WARRIOR and you are so much stronger than you know. So much love and strength goes out from me to you!
Here is my Survival Story:
I was 15 when I moved to a new school. I had only been going to that school for 5 months before I was raped by HIM. The year was 1987. It was January, the middle of my 10th grade year and although we just moved a city over and I was already familiar with the area, it wasn't easy fitting in. I was a Cheerleader at my previous school so it was tough saying goodbye to that and starting over especially to all my friends there. I developed some really special friendships with an amazing group of girls. We vowed to always keep in touch and see each other often but it was different, I wasn't seeing them everyday like I would when I lived there. I didn't have my license yet so driving wasn't an option. I did reconnect with some of them via Facebook years later and I thank God for that but I was really sad for a long time.
I was angry at my parents for moving and making me start school in the middle of the year but I realized that I had to let go and accept this is going to be my life now. It had been a few weeks and although I was shy, I was very eager to meet new friends. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to meet a sweet group of girls who took me in and nurtured my once sad heart. The girls filled me in on all the cliques. I even met a boy. He was popular and on the football team. I remember thinking "This isn't going to be so bad after all" I was introduced to his friends and I thought I was off to a great start. We began talking but it never went anywhere. It was more of a crush and my secret infatuation with him. I was more of the shy reserved prude type. I never let any guy get to 2nd base which was very frustrating to the boyfriend I had for 2 years at my previous school. I had a vision that I was going to wait for the perfect time, perfect place with the perfect man. I wanted my first time to be special - magical - romantic and beautiful.
Flash forward 5 months. School was out. It was summer, June 1987. The cool kid hang out was the parking lot at the local McDonalds or behind the local middle school. One night, I had plans to meet up with one of my girlfriends. We were going to meet at a building which was a strip of stores very close to the McDonalds everyone would hang out at. Across the street from that building was a church. It wasn't going to be a crazy night. I Just wanted to get out of the house and possibly hang out at the parking lot later if people were going to be there.
I remember wearing my dads plaid button up shirt, my palmetto jeans and my kangaroos tennis shoes. I was walking so I wanted to be comfortable. It took me about 15 minutes to get where I needed to go. I
remember yelling out when I saw her. "Hey Girl" We gave each other a hug and sat in a doorway of one of the stores which was facing the church and its parking lot across the street. We talked and laughed. It was fun. A short time later, I recognized two guys walking on the other side of the street so I started yelling for them to come over. I don't even know why I started calling them over. I didn't want anyone with us. I was enjoying our time. I guess I was just trying to be the outgoing and friendly new girl.
One of the guys was Jeff. He and the guy he was with were really good friends with the guy that I liked. They both were also on the football team. They saw us and ran over. I believe they were headed over to the McDonalds parking lot since it was in the same direction but I can't be certain.
I remember we were all talking and laughing. It was great getting to know them outside of school. Then my girlfriend had to go to the bathroom. I remember that I didn't feel like getting up at the time or going anywhere and she didn't want to go by herself so HIS friend volunteered to walk with her. I felt safe although a little shy being left alone with Jeff. I mean, we were all suppose to be friends so why should I have questioned it? We were just laughing and having fun so - I didn't.... Plus, I really liked one of his really good friends and he knew it. I definitely did not find him attractive AT ALL. In fact, I always thought he was odd and awkward and I will never forget his eyes. At the time, I couldn't pinpoint what it was about them but now I know they were malicious and evil.
I watched as my girlfriend walked away with his friend. I started fidgeting and biting the skin around my nails. I would do that whenever I got nervous. I still do that. Bad habit. I could feel him staring at me as I watched my girlfriend and his friend walk around the corner. All of a sudden, as soon as they couldn't be seen anymore he grabbed my face with both of his hands and began kissing me but it wasn't passionate or romantic, no this was different, it was hard and forceful. I pulled away shocked and confused. I tried laughing it off asking him what he was doing but he didn't answer me. With an intense
look, he leaned in and tried to kiss me again. I pulled away laughing again. He stood up and with a sick smirk said "let's go for a walk." I just looked at him and said that I was good and that I just wanted to wait for my friend. He wasn't taking no for an answer and grabbed my right wrist forcing me to stand up.
Then things got weird. He kept staring at me with his black glazed over eyes. I had a bad feeling. I just kept telling him to chill out but the next thing I knew I was being dragged across the street into the church parking lot. He was pulling forcefully as I resisted, tripping and stumbling over my shoes. I remember thinking this was a joke and he would stop but he didn't. We ended up under one of the tall lights in the parking lot. I remember it was flickering. I was so confused then I realized this was not a joke. He was on a mission and he wasn't going to stop until he got what he wanted.
He had a hold of my belt buckle with one hand so I couldn't get away and shoving his other hand down my pants - jamming his fingers into my vagina. I try forcefully pushing my way out of his grip but every time I did he would dig deeper and scrape my vagina with his nails. I can't remember what I say but do remember I was getting loud and he didn't like that so he head butted my mouth. I feel my lip instantly get fat. I taste blood. I am surprised my teeth didn't break. He put his hand over my mouth and whispers
aggressively "Shhhhhhhhhh" I can see spit flying out of his mouth and feel it stick to my cheek. It smells.
I remember his breath was stale and foul. I look around assessing the situation trying to find a way to escape.
I was so scared but I try another tactic and casually try to get away by not making it too big of a deal but more like "I've had enough now so I'm going to go find my friend" sort of thing but he's fast. He grabs my arm trying to forcefully convince me that I'm going to like what is about to happen. I'm terrified and not cooperating. He's a big guy. I am 5'4 and at the time was about 90lbs.
The next thing I know I'm being dragged again. This time we are behind the church. He throws me down and my head hits the ground pretty hard. I remember telling him that he is hurting me and at the same time trying with all my might to push him off of me but he was to heavy. He grabs both arms and puts them to my side and straddles me with his legs applying pressure to my hands and wrist with his knees
He rips open my dads plaid button up shirt and buttons go flying. His eyes are black and the more and more I wiggle from his grip the more turned on he gets. I wanted to claw his eyes out. I wanted to punch
his throat and kick him in the balls but I was weak, I was scared and I had no strength. I felt helpless and stuck.
He is licking my neck tying to be playful - biting at it. He thinks I like it and its really turning him on. "How can he not acknowledge my tears, my pleas?" " Who is this guy?" "Where am I?" I'm trying to comprehend what was actually happening but I'm dizzy and can't think straight. He has all of his weight on top of me. I can't scream. He is so heavy. Its hard for me to breathe and I'm having trouble catching my breath.
He slaps his hand on my mouth leaning on my face using it as a balance. Now I really can't breathe. I try to bite his hand but I can't get a good grip. His hand is salty. I thought at that moment "This is it. This is the way I'm going to die." Tears stream down my face. He didn't care. He looks at me with a smirk as he grabs his penis and tries to shove it in my vagina. He can't. Its dry. It hurts. He is getting getting really frustrated and starts kicking down my pants which are now inside out and over my shoes. I'm trapped. He grabs my knees and forcefully spreads my legs wide open. I feel the muscle in my right leg pull. Ugh, the pain. There is nothing I can do. "Do I lay there?"
I try to wiggle my way out but he continues to try again and again. It doesn't work. He sits up and I remember saying to myself "Thank God its over" I let out a quick sigh of relief thinking that he is just going to give up and leave but instead he bends over and spits directly onto my vagina then he takes his fingers and rubs all around it hard and violent. "Does that feel good?" I look around for a rock or
something to hit him with. I feel like I'm in a horror movie. He keeps looking up at me as if I might enjoy a single second of this horrific act of violence he is committing.
He tries again. This time I feel myself rip/tear and then liquid dripping down my anus. At that moment, I was frozen but the world around me was spinning and although at the time it seemed like an eternity, he finished with only a couple quick hard forceful thrusts. I kept saying to please stop that it hurts. He just said staring at me with his dead black eyes "don't tell anyone or I'll kill you." Then he says as he continues to thrust his penis deep and hard into my vagina. "I'm going to cum." All of a sudden, my life flashed before me. I envisioned myself pregnant. I kept saying to him "Please don't do it inside me." "Please don't" Looking back, I don't even know why I said that - I wouldn't have gotten pregnant anyway because I didn't even start my period yet. It was just an - in the moment - flash forward panic attack and I didn't want anymore of his disgusting DNA inside my body.
I can't look at him. I want to vomit. I just hear him let out a loud grunt and then feel him pull out his penis and shoot it all over my vagina as if to mark his territory. I just lay there crying. I'm disgusted. I wanted to immediately scrub my entire body inside and out.
He sits there a minute proud of what he has accomplished and pulls up his pants. I feel sick as I try to unravel my pants back over my shoes. I'm weak and my throat hurts. Everything hurts. He sits next to me while I struggle to cover myself and bends in close staring at me with those creepy evil eyes and with a smirk he says.....
"WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU?"
Then he spits in my direction as he walks away... like nothing ever happened.
I just sat there sobbing. Once he was gone, I gathered myself together and got dressed. I'm not sure what happened in between but the next thing I remember, I'm with my girlfriend. I told her that Jeff just raped me and I remember her being shocked that it happened but don't remember what was said after I told her. Unfortunately, she also was just a kid and not informed in what to do so it was just swept under the rug. I didn't know about rape kits and I don't know if she did either. I just know I felt ashamed and embarrassed I said anything after that. So I kept quiet.
I do not remember getting home or even how I got home. I just remember being in my bathroom trying to pee and push out anything that might be in there but it burned so bad. My underwear was soaked with blood and my shirt had only two buttons. I grab the garbage can and throw up. Even though I have Puke-A-Phobia (Emetophobia) - I remember that vomiting helped me feel clean from the inside so this continued for several years. My lip felt swollen and I had blood and dirt on my face and body. I hear my sister on the other side of the door ask if I was ok. I said I was fine and for her to go back to bed. I don't even remember my parents being up. I start the shower and scrub my body. Everything hurts but I spent what seemed to be hours in the shower washing in and around my vagina to get him out of me.
I suffered many injuries after that night. A fat lip, vomiting, scratches and tear inside of my vagina, bleeding and spotting for a few days, a knot on the back of my head, pulled muscle on the inside of my right leg, bruising - swelling - inflammation - burning in and around my vagina for weeks and lacerations around my labia. I also suffered emotional and physical trauma for many many years.
That summer was blur. I started to hear HE was telling people that we had sex. That he was my first and was so proud of it. I was disgusted with him yet I was petrified at what he would do to me if I didn't go
along with it. Once school started back up the rumors didn't stop. I would see him in the hallway and he would give me that look with those creepy sick evil black eyes. I felt like I had no other choice so I went along with it hoping and praying it would just pass and people would forget about it.
Meanwhile, he would go on to assault other woman as the years went on.
I developed Rape Traumatic Syndrome and just wanted to be numb to all of the pain I was feeling so for the first time, I started experimenting with drugs, smoking cigarettes, lying to my parents and was out partying most weekend nights. I acted out and became an expert at hiding the trauma signs from all my friends and family. My parents never knew I was sexually assaulted they just thought I was an unruly
"Tweenager" I skipped school a lot and when I did go, I tried my hardest not to see HIM and would do everything in my power to avoid him while out or at a party but every once in awhile he would be in the distance with those creepy evil eyes just looking at me with that look.
I had to go through two years of school with him. I was trapped. I felt like a prisoner. There was a select group of friends that knew exactly what happened and they were supportive and always had my back if he was ever around but the trauma was still there and it wouldn't go away.
I didn't tell my parents until after I graduated two years later because I wasn't sure how they would react to it. I had became rebellious and destructive. My grades were dropping and I barely graduated with my class. I never wanted to go to school and they didn't understand why. I still thought that it was my fault - that I would get into trouble if I said anything so I was acting out because in my mind that was my only way of reaching out to them without actually saying anything. I wanted them to see how badly I was hurting but the more acted out the more they disciplined and fought against me. I started resenting them for not noticing the signs. It was a vicious cycle. I was afraid. I still felt so ashamed and embarrassed but I wanted to tell them. They needed to know- they deserved to know why I had been so rebellious.
I remember asking my sister what she would do. That day was also the first time I ever told her. She was only 14 at the time. She didn't understand and it wouldn't matter what she said anyway. I think I just finally needed to just tell someone that I loved and trusted with my whole heart.
My parents had friends over from out of town the day I told them. Memorial Day or something like that. In my mind, telling them then would be best so I wouldn't have to explain or go into detail and thought the distraction would be an easy way for me to just tell them to forget about it. I remember pacing back and forth finally I just said "Fuck It" I pulled them aside and told them straight out that I was raped by a guy from my high school the summer of my 10th grade year and that I was a virgin. They were very
upset. We talked, we cried but it definitely was not the right time to discuss it. I felt selfish and angry with myself for doing it then and then the guilt came back. I insisted that too much time had passed and there was nothing that could be done so they should just forget about it. All I needed from them was all their love and support and that is what they did. They showered me with love and gave me all of their support from there on.
Even though my relationship with my parents flourished, I continued feeling the blame, the guilt, the disgust daily. I had to get out of there, move away. A short time later, I just picked up and moved out of state with a girl that I just met a few month earlier. It was impulsive yet exciting. We didn't even know where we were going to live. We just packed up my car and drove. We both wanted to live in New York but couldn't afford it so we moved as close to the city as we could. After awhile, we eventually branched away from each other and I ended up meeting a fun group of friends. We hung out in New York several times a week and I instantly got sucked into the drug and club scene. It was the year of raves and club kids. We would party at the Limelight or the Tunnel. It was the best time of my life while in party mode and the the most depressing and suicidal while sober. This went on for several years. By this time, I was so far deep into the rabbit hole that I developed an eating disorder and my panic attacks grew more frequent. I was lost and in a constant state of turmoil. I remember thinking my life didn't matter anyway. I had hit rock bottom and had a death wish. I would continually ask God in my prayers to take my life, that I was ready for him to take me away but he had other plans for me.
A short time passed and a friend and I went to New York. We were at Patricia Fields. We were just about to leave when these two guys approached us. They were brothers our age. We recognized the one - he is a very well known actor. They also lived in California, a place that I have always envisioned myself living at. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be an actor. I ended up casually seeing the brother for a short time who happened to be in A.A. I had no idea what that was at the time but I agreed to go with him to a meeting anyway. I was motivated by his story and remember feeling really good after leaving the meeting. Although I didn't know it then, being around people who had a will to survive was just what I needed at that time.
I had one more hard night out partying and I remember that night, while I was sleeping, a strong force out of nowhere woke me up and made me get out of bed. I can not explain this force but I am so grateful for it. It made me turn on the lights, walk over to my mirror and look at myself, my whole self. I just stood there naked staring at my body in the mirror. I was bones. My eyes were sunken in and I looked sick. I felt sick - I stared at my fat lip (Yes, it is still fat to this day.) I examined it, touched it, lightly squeezed it. It was a part of me and at that moment, a flash back happened of that horrific night and it never became more clear. I realized that the root cause wasn't that I was a lost and disturbed drug addict
who was rebellious, had nightmares, an eating disorder and panic attacks. My behavior all stemmed
back to the sexual assault that happened in 1987. I allowed HIM to ruin my life to the point of almost ending it. My relationships and intimacy with boyfriends suffered and I spent so many years imagining about the woman I would have been had I not been raped.
I was done imagining. I was done being a victim. I was ready to surrender.
I fell to my knees and cried. I thanked God for sending me the force that woke me out of bed. I then prayed with my whole heart asking him to help get me back onto my feet - a prayer that would change my life forever. Without hesitation, I got up, put my clothes on and grabbed all of my drugs, all of my paraphernalia and destroyed it all.
And just like that, the events in my life started to fall into place piece by piece and from negative to positive practically overnight.
This was the beginning of my healing journey:
It had been 10 years since the rape, It was time for me to heal. I was ready. I knew I had to leave the state. I wanted to move. I wanted to follow my dreams to be on TV and I wanted to get help. A month later, I packed up my car and moved to California. I never looked back. I just kept moving forward. When I arrived, a beautiful family friend took me in and let me stay with her until I found my own apartment - I took some headshots, got an agent and to support myself, I was fortunate enough to become a working actress in TV commercials.
The shift was exhilarating. I felt alive again. I felt at peace. I reconnected with the guy who took me to A.A. in New York and he introduced me to meetings in California. I started talking about my rape
openly to those I trust and connecting with other survivors. I began to finally realize how important touch really is to humans and once I understood that I received weekly massages and then shortly after, I became a Holistic Massage Therapist myself. I worked with many abused and brought relief to their anxiety teaching them that touch doesn't have to be sexual and how we need it to thrive as humans. I began making choices to insure my safety by putting up boundaries and not tolerating any sort of abuse. I began to treat my body with respect by stopping my addiction to drugs and alcohol and changing my diet. I eliminated toxic people out of my life who were sucking my energy with their negativity and I began Mindfulness Meditation and yoga which allowed me to be present and aware in my daily life.
Writing was my favorite therapy. I wrote a full length feature screenplay about my rape. It's real, It's raw and writing about it helped me heal more than ever. Come to think about it, it was the best therapy I ever got. I never did anything with the script but it's ready to be made into a movie - I definitely plan to get it out there one day and welcome anyone who would like to help me make that happen.
I would be lying if I sat here and told you that I am fully recovered because I am not or I that never think back to that horrific night back in June 1987 because I do. In fact, I'm reminded of it every time I look in the mirror and see my fat lip and I will forever be triggered by the words "WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU" I will never forget that night. He raped me behind a church. A church that he belonged to. I just pray to the lord above that he gets help for his sickness.
I do not forgive him for what he did to me and I never will. I didn't have to forgive him for me to heal.
The only person I had to forgive was myself for what I did to my mind, body and soul all these years. I was so cruel to my whole self. I treated it like he did. No respect. Forgiving myself allowed me to see the light. A light so bright that it surrounds and protects me everywhere I go. It's about me now and I know in my heart it was not my fault. I am not a victim. I never was. I am a survivor of a sexual assault made by an extremely sick and twisted individual. It took a lot of self healing for me to understand that.
For the record, I did take the advice of others and went to therapy throughout the years but none of the therapist I met with ever made me feel like the Warrior that I am and always was. They just wanted to medicate me but I was stronger than that and finally had the tools to pull myself together not only for my mind but for my health and wellbeing. I'm not poo poo'ing all therapist. I just happened to get a few bad seeds.
What I am saying is that it is possible for you to heal on your own.
I'm extremely lucky to be alive today with all that I have been through. It has been 30 years since I was raped and I'm indebted to the friends, family, other survivors and even strangers who stood up for me, believed in me and kept me motivated and breathing with all of their love and support. I just want to take this time to thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for being there for me when I was at my lowest and all I wanted to do was die! My voice is finally being heard and it feels so good!
With All My Love, Gratitude and Light!