I think it’s time to talk about my rape.
I always hated owning it like that “my rape”, “my rapist”…like “my sweater” or “my dentist”.
I feel kinda like I am jumping on the bandwagon here, but my heart goes out to this girl.
Rape trials are almost as bad as the act itself and now hers is beyond public. I cannot imagine.
I have gotten to the point where mine is just a story, but for her that time is postponed indefinitely due to the overwhelming support of the internet. It’s a catch 22 really. Yes we believe you, yes you must keep reliving it over and over or go live under a rock.
I hope she finds a nice rock, and soon.
I also hope his changes the way our society deals with sexual assault.
I was having a hard time remembering exactly what year it was then it occurred to me, September 11th I was in the blue house. I remember now.
I am not here to compare pain. I cannot begin to imagine what she is going through. Yes, I have been raped so I can wrap my head around it a bit. Yes, I have had traumatic memory loss due to a different accident so I know what it is to wake up in a hospital and not know what happened to my body. But I am not her.
I didn’t write my victim impact statement, even with a big fat paycheque waiting at the end of it like a dangling carrot. In Canada we have a Victim Compensation Fund, I was eligible but I had to write the whole thing down again in triplicate and I just couldn’t.
There are only 2 similarities between mine and hers. One is a jury trial, the second is a lenient judge.
But we will get there.
Wait, 3…we were both forced to have sex against our will, commonly known as rape.
I was a stripper, pin-balling between bars back then. My ex (who later became my rapist) had beaten me very badly late July or early August. I had moved to the blue house and was picking where I worked dependent on which bouncers were working what night of the week. Did I feel safe? Would someone make sure I got home. I got real spoiled for a while there, one bouncer at bar “A” would drive me home, open my door and check the house for me before wishing my wobbly self “good night”, reminding me to take out my contacts and locking the door behind him.
My ex didn’t know where I lived.
Until I told him where I lived.
He had fled after the beating, to avoid jail, to the other side of the country.
He called and I hung up maybe a hundred times, always different numbers.
Until one day I answered. He apologized. Said he didn’t remember what happened and he was so sorry.
I believed him.
He said he wanted to come home and I said okay.
I am not a stupid girl. I did not grow up in an environment where anything close to a beating ever happened. And yet…he wasn’t the first one to hit me and he wasn’t the last.
I know what happened. Why I ended up in that situation. I spent a lot of time exploring why I walked into an abusive relationship and why I stayed until he held me hostage in my own house and raped me repeatedly and could have very well have made good on his promise to kill me had I not escaped.
I had been dancing for 2-3 years at that point. It took me a little longer than most strippers to hit the ‘going crazy’ point. Drunk on both liquor and money and the easiness of it all. I had avoided any liquor/hard drugs for the first 18 months then I had a little bump of cocaine with the cool kids and 6 months later I woke up and thought ‘what the fuck am I doing?’
I had a lot of guilt about my job, it was too easy, I had more money nightly than I had ever seen in a week of working doubles in kitchens. I got intoxicated by the power of it all and became what everyone thinks is a typical stripper.
I didn’t like myself at all. I didn’t like myself going into it in the first place, this just made it worse.
I needed to calm down, get some focus. I needed an adult.
So I became the stripper who dated the DJ. Not really a step up there but things get a little convoluted at rock bottom. This was a slide sideways, then down.
He was focused, had a plan, was rebuilding his own life and kept me in line. He smoked pot, no hard drugs that I knew of. We went on picnics, read books before bed and I sobered up.
Things went to shit when he got drunk and high (on ecstasy) and beat me severely in his apartment one night. Trapping me under a weight bench, throwing lit matches in my hair and attempting to rape me but the weigh bench was in the way and he couldn’t get hard due to his blood alcohol level.
While he was grappling for better leverage I got out the door. He caught up with me at the top of the stairs and planted his foot in the small of my back. I went down the first flight ass over tea kettle. He caught up with me as I scrambled to my feet. Pushed me again, down the second flight I went. One of his neighbors thought an elderly resident had taken a tumble and opened her door. She saw what was happening pulled me in, locked the door and called the police.
I was in shock. At the police station there were regular cameras and video cameras. I never mentioned the part where he tried to pull my pants down after undoing his. I fought hard in the police station to keep my pants on, just as hard as I had fought in the apartment hours earlier. And I won.
I tried going back to work a week later because I had to. Rent was due. I wore a fishnet body stocking to cover my bruises, told the girls I had been in a car wreck and they blindly believed me, except one girl who said ‘huh, I didn’t know they made cars with fists’.
I went to work at another bar. I found a new place to live.
I started rebuilding my life.
Then he came back.
Then he raped me.
I didn’t report it right away. I didn’t really report it at all. I had been in therapy for 9 months, which started out as couple’s therapy oddly enough. My ex had stopped attending and I kept going. I knew there was something wrong with me and I was desperate to fix it.
I skipped a session the week after the rape. My shrink called and asked why I wasn’t there, and I told him. I had barricaded myself in the house and had no intentions of leaving.
He came and got me.
He cancelled his appointments for the day, let me shake and cry in the brown chair and insisted that I let him call the police.
I let him.
They found my ex at work 4 days later and put him in jail. I slept for the first time in 10 days.
I began the slow process of rebuilding my life. Just to have it torn down and apart 8 months later when we went to trial.
I had shunned all my old friends, left my job. Had started dating someone that knew very little of what had happened before. And I went to trial alone.
I was cross examined for 13 hours by his vicious and slightly insane lawyer.
Accused of doing heroin, which I had never done.
Accused of using him for money, but I paid for everything.
Accused of being a stupid stripper, couldn’t argue that one.
And we won.
Against all the insurmountable odds stacked against me. No physical evidence, “he said she said rape case with a stripper as a defendant at a jury trial no less, and we won. There were 12 charges against him and he was found guilty on all counts.
I was told to prepare for a separate trial about the beating from before. None of that was admissible during the rape case. But he plead guilty.
I went home.
I got a call from the lead detective the next day. He got 6 months after the time already served, which was at a ratio of 3:1 due to a sewage problem at the jail he had awaited trial at. So one month equaled 3. He was going to be out by the spring.
The detective was livid. The judge was new to the bench and felt ‘uncomfortable giving him more time’.
My rapist stated he was so intoxicated he didn’t remember what happened, but I did. I wasn’t drunk. I had consumed half a bottle of champagne 3 hours before I got home and found him in my house.
He was unaware of his actions.
I was aware.
A few times I had lost consciousness from being hit in the head and choked-out. But every time I came to, he was still there.
He passed out once and I tried to leave but he caught me at the door and dragged me back.
I screamed, no one came.
Last October, 14 years after it happened, I finally had my breakthrough ‘a-ha’ moment and really felt like I was over it. I was having sex with a wonderful man who playfully pinned my arms over my head and whispered “you’re trapped” in my ear. Something that should have sent me off the rails, but I realized I was safe, there, with him and I relaxed.
My son is now the same age as Emily Doe’s rapist. From a young age I have taught him, “even if you are already having sex with a girl and she says stop, you stop. Cover her with a blanket, put your pants on and wait. She will either tell you why or ask you to leave. Listen to her.” It’s not an easy conversation to have, but when that DID happen to him, he was grateful that he knew what to do and we talked about it. His girlfriend at the time had been raped before.
A lot of women have been raped before. Too many.
Scrolling through Facebook this last week has been hard. I don’t have PTSD, I see it as an isolated incident. But I hurt for women everywhere who are going through this. I know triggers exist and social media, all media right now is a minefield.
I hurt for this girl and I hope against hope something good comes of this.
I pray that all of this support she is receiving has the desired effect and she feels less alone.
I hope she heals physically and mentally.
And I hope she knows this isn’t her fault.
Half a bottle of champagne or three times the legal limit.
Student or stripper.
Doesn’t matter, rape is rape.