Warning: The following piece contains graphic details of sexual assault and contains strong language. This is a true personal story.
I sit here in my car at 1 am on a Saturday night in October 2018, having finished this piece in the parking lot of a Waffle House. It’s not uncommon for me to not be able to sleep, have to grab my notebook, and down a cup of coffee. This time was different though because I couldn’t stand one more minute in the house alone. Alone with my own thoughts, left to boil, and scream like a forgotten tea kettle. By the time I’d swung my feet over the edge of the bed, the words and thoughts were swarming like a cluster of Southern gnats in my face on a humid day.
So I got up.
Then I pulled on my yoga pants, slid a t-shirt over my head, put my Nike baseball cap on, and put my feet into my flip flops.
After that I got in the car, and left with no direction in mind. Eventually I wound up at Waffle House. It was simply the only place I could think of where I wouldn’t be alone and yet not surrounded by drunks on a Saturday night.
I was determined to tell the story of both my rape and the day I lost my virginity. It is a story I have buried inside my core for nearly three decades. A story I have avoided telling in all it’s exact detail for exactly twenty seven years.
You might wonder why.
Initially it was because I wasn’t able to fully process it nor verbalize adequately that it had actually happened to me. Add in a veil of shame from the way I was treated, and I had quickly been programmed that it was all my fault. After all I was a slut, it was my own fault, I was stupid for being over there alone with a boy, I must have led him on, it was my fault. It was my fault because I must have said yes then no. I felt I needed to stuff it all down and suck it up. Pretending I was strong so nobody would fully know what happened. I know now that it wasn’t my fault but for a good fifteen years after my rape, it’s what I believed.
I’ve eluded to it many times. Told the Cliff Notes version.
I’ve even written about it in scant detail as part of my story telling and in my character development. Of course I’ve told my boyfriend, and my girlfriends that I’ve been raped. I’ve even told my son. It has been my hope that as a young man he would be conscious of how wide spread the abuse of women is and that it has touched his life in some way. Never though have I shared the events of the day, nor the specific details of the sexual assault with anyone.
(This was me a month after my assault.)
I was thirteen years old and in my last year of junior high. At the time I was dating a boy who was a sophomore in high school. He was sixteen, soon to be seventeen. At the instruction of this boy I’d lied to my dad, and told him that he was fifteen and a freshman.
It started out like any other Saturday. I got up, grabbed my clothes, and went to the bathroom to get ready. Not that it matters what I was wearing on this particular day, but I’d pulled the following from my closet,
Acid wash jeans with the cuffs rolled up
A black I.O.U. sweatshirt with a logo in the middle
The logo was pink and purple
Had the words “Authentic American Tradition” across it
Matching black cotton bra and panties
Black socks and black Converse
I had a routine.
So when I went into the bathroom I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and started with my hair. At that time of my life time I went through a can of Rave hairspray a week. My bangs took at least twenty minutes each time I did them. They were high, flipped, and teased to the heavens. I did my makeup, which at the time wasn’t too much. Cream foundation, mascara, and eyeshadow. The eye shadow I remember because my father had only just recently given the ok to start wearing make up daily. Back then it was a four color eyeshadow kit by Covergirl, and they called it Pure Romance. I don’t know if the colors still exist today. Even if they did, it’s not something I could look at without crying.
When I was done I asked my dad if I could use the phone to call my boyfriend. So I grabbed the phone and went into the pantry closet for privacy, and sat in there talking to him. For visual this was a large pantry closet in a farmhouse built in 1912. For a while we talked about going to Tinley Park to see a movie at Bremen Mall. Then the conversation turned to sex. Admittedly I tried to play along even though I had no idea what I was talking about. Finally I told him I really wasn’t ready to do anything like that, and an argument started. I wouldn’t even call it an argument, but more of a berating.
He told me my mom was right, that I was fat
He told me that no guy in high school wants a girl that doesn’t know how to suck dick
That I should want to have sex with the only guy that would ever probably love me
Those are the three things that I remember most vividly because they became a mantra I would replay in my head for many years after this day. Starting to cry, my dad heard me and opened the door. I told him we just had a fight, and asked him if he could drive me over there so that we could talk in person. My father, bless his heart, said yes and so we got in his 1979 Lincoln Mark V and drove over there. Everyone at school called his car the Bat Mobile.
When we finally got to Kostner Ave, my dad looked at me. I never liked lying to my dad but when he asked me if his parents were home I said yes. He accepted it and told me to call him when I was ready to come home.
As my dad pulled off I knocked on the door, and my boyfriend called out telling me to come in and come downstairs. I opened the door. The house was lower middle class distinct. I remember how dark the house was. From the doorway to the left were stairs to the first floor. On the first floor were two bedrooms to the left of the landing and a bathroom. To the right was the living room and behind that the dining area and kitchen with a sliding glass door that led to a back porch.
To the right of the doorway were the stairs that led down to the basement where his sister slept when she was home. I took my shoes and socks off and proceeded to walk down the stairs which were covered in a red and brown shag carpeting. At the bottom of the stairs to the right was the laundry room and a bedroom that his sister used. To the left another sitting area and television. To the right of that a small bathroom. That horrid shag carpeting carried throughout. I hated how it felt on my feet.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs I started hearing what I interpreted as sex noises from the TV. As I rounded the corner there was my boyfriend on the couch. He patted the spot next to him when he saw me. In that moment I contemplated running right back up the stairs to a friends house, but I stayed and sat next to him.
After all, he said on the phone he understood I wasn’t ready. So all this was going to be was making out. When I sat down, he was immediately aggressive with his kisses. It scared me a little so I put my hands up to his chest. That’s when he said,
“Look at the movie. That’s how people do it. ”
It was a horrific pile of people fucking in all kinds of ways. Clearly a movie from the 1970’s that he must have swiped from his fathers VHS collection. There was no grooming like there is in the porn we have 2018. There were big dicks, sprouting from these massive piles of pubic hair. I felt nauseous watching it so I tried not to look.
We continued making out
He slipped his hands under my sweatshirt
Then further under my bra
Whispering to me how pretty I was
How he loved me
How great my “tits” were
I looked at him not knowing what the word “tits” meant.
“What does that mean?”
He rolled his eyes and pulled my sweatshirt over my head and put his mouth on my nipples.
“These are tits.”
I panicked and pushed him off me. Telling him I needed to use the bathroom really badly. He was clearly very angry and told me,
“Fucking go then.”
As I shut the bathroom door behind me he let out a disgusted sigh of exasperation. I looked at myself naked from the waist up in the mirror, and noticed the movie had been turned off when the sounds stopped. That brought me some relief because I was sure he was going to stop and that he really understood now I wasn’t ready.
I studied my breasts and my stomach
Tried to smooth my hair
Adjusted my headband
Turned my back to the mirror and looked at my behind
I wasn’t fat
I felt indignant
Faced the mirror again
Noticing my mascara was smudged
I tried to psyche myself up to go back out there and talk to him. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, I just wasn’t ready. Flushing the toilet to give the impression that I’d actually gone. Running the water to make it sound like I was washing my hands. Then, finally I’d mustered the courage to open the door. All the lights were off except for light coming through dirty ground level basement windows.
There were two of them.
I looked down and noticed a sleeping bag on the floor in front of the door. It was an army green silky material with a Boy Scouts logo on it – his father was a group leader. As I stepped out I felt the slick material of the bag rub my feet. Still I heard nothing.
Did he leave? I called out his name and as I turned he rushed me. He wrapped his arms around me in a bear hug, and put me on my back on the floor. The kisses came first once I was down, and I pushed at him. I was laughing because I thought we were playing fighting like we sometimes did.
Then he started to fumble with the zipper of my jeans. I told him to stop, and push at his shoulders. Then he put his forearm on my neck and the other hand tugging at the zipper.
“You just need a little coaching. If you weren’t fat it would be easier to get these off.”
I was 5’3, 138 lbs. at the time.
Pushing at his chest
Pleading, trying to reason with him
Kicking at him
He finally got my jeans off and pulled his penis out of his boxers as he kicked my legs open. I tried to roll over, kept telling him no, and he pinched my arm as hard as he could. A purple bruise in the shape of his thumb started to rise (and stayed on my body for two weeks)
“Look at you, you’re not even fourteen yet. You know you want it. Everyone has to lose their virginity some time.”
I told him no.
Over and over and over again I told him to stop, that he was hurting me. When he wouldn’t stop, I started to scream.
His dog become aware that something bad must be happening and started barking at the patio door. I could hear it scratching the glass. I continued to scream till my voice went hoarse. I kept pushing at him, pleading through the hoarseness which only seemed to encourage him and excite him.
I looked past him when he finally was laying on top of me with his full bodyweight, and saw that the digital clock read 3:32 pm. It took him roughly 30 min to fight me into exhaustion. He grabbed my chin,
“Look at me, I need you to look at me. Don’t worry one of my friends gave me a condom so I won’t cum inside you.” At that point he pulled out a condom from under the sleeping bag. It was in a gray wrapper with a white stripe down the side, Trojan Ultra Thin.
Then he slid himself inside me
His forearm still on my neck
Told me how good I felt
Then I felt a weird sensation almost like a pop
And then there was a metallic smell in the air
I knew I was bleeding
I tuned my head away from him to stare out the window and he grabbed my chin again.
He thrusted in and out more than a dozen times before asking me,
“What’s it feel like? Tell me it feels good. ”
I kept staring out the window
My voice so hoarse it was a whisper by that point
Continuing to tell him to stop
Half a dozen thrusts more, a grunt, and he kissed my cheek. He was done. Pulling out of me while I lay there on his filthy basement floor, blood now running like a faucet between my legs. When he had composed himself, he stood up and went into the bathroom. I saw him wrap the condom in toilet paper, and flush it.
I held my legs together tight
Turning on my side
Curling up into the fetal position
He dropped my clothes next to me on the floor
My purse too
“My parents are going to be home soon. Get up. No thank you? No that was good? ”
When I stood he picked up the sleeping bag and put it in the washer near by with bleach and tide. I stayed there holding my clothes against my stomach . Once the washer started he turned and told me to give him a call tomorrow. The he went upstairs and took a shower.
I scrambled to get dressed as fast as I could.
Up the stairs
Out the door
Down Kostner Ave.
To the police
By the time I got there it felt like I had a river running between my legs. My underwear was bloody and squishy. The desk officer looked at me when I told him what happened and that I was bleeding. He didn’t even come from behind the desk, instead asked me a series of questions.
What were you doing over there?
What were you wearing?
Did you lead him on?
Are you sure you didn’t agree and then change your mind?
The first time can be confusing.
I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way.
You shouldn’t have been over there alone with a boy anyway.
Just go home with a lesson learned.
I never spoke of it again.
Words cannot express how badly I wanted to tell my daddy, but I didn’t because I know he would have killed him. For a full eight days after that I bled like I had my period. In the months after that, I began to change.
School became an afterthought and I did just enough to pass. I tried marijuana for the first time, and by the time 8th grade graduation rolled around I’d been bullied relentlessly by a girl at school who played basketball, and who had found out I’d “had sex”. She’d tag team bully me with a friend of hers, a guy who was rather short with dark hair. Calling me a slut and tossing that word back and forth like it was a volleyball. I didn’t understand because we had been friends since we were 8 yrs old.
The summer after 8th grade came and went.
I dyed my hair, shaved part of my head. Gotten a tattoo in the basement of a known gang member. Then when high school started, there were already boys in his circle of friends that knew. I was fortunate enough to know not to fall into it, but I went after boys relentlessly.
I’d use them, lead them on, and discard them. They all deserved it, and I didn’t feel bad about it. I felt that it was necessary to get what you can out of them, and leave them high and dry. Up through the summer of my Sophomore Year in high school I’d managed to conceal all the issues I’d developed until I started hanging out with a group of boys that had drug connections. I had good friends that did what they could to keep my head above water, shaking me awake from the coma I’d put all my emotions into.
There’s more after that, but that’s as much as I can stomach getting out right now.
I’ll tell you the story of when I first told a group of guys that had become good friends what he did to me a little later. I can only do this in short bursts.