My story

These last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I am unsure of what specifically sparked this change in myself, but I will forever be grateful for this ever-changing awakening journey to my true self again.
I am here to talk to everyone about something very raw for me. An incident which took away my self worth, my concept of intimacy, my confidence, my energy, my friendships, my voice-until today.
This week, two years ago, I went to the city for a night out at a concert with a few friends. One of these “friends” is a long-time family friend, in fact I use to refer to him as my brother. So, it was pretty clear I felt very comfortable and safe being where I was. So much so that I intended to stay the night with this “brother” at his and his roommates house. Before I even arrive, he went into great detail to tell me there was a couch that I could sleep on, or a spare bed, but regardless, he made it clear I had my own sleeping quarters.
On this night after I had arrived at his house, I was drugged. I recall sitting down in a big group with these “friends”, chit chatting before the concert was about to start. We were having a few drinks with one another (pre-gaming, as they say) before we were going to phone a cab to head to the event. Unfortunately, this is where my memory begins to fade.
Now, momma didn’t raise no fool, okay? I knew all the tips and tricks about not accepting drinks from random folks, male or female, or how when you leave a drink (even for a moment) that it is no longer consumable. Honestly, I knew any of the standard protocols taught to young girls to avoid what was about to happen. So what happened? I let my guard down… I allowed myself to trust a man I was raised to believe was my protector. Side by side for years, he was my amigo. He took care of me and kept watch over me for numerous years. This was a man I could rely I for anything. I would always tell him my secrets, but more importantly, I could be me and he could be himself and we felt safe that way. Roughly twenty years of love, admiration and respect for this guy came to a screeching halt in one instance.
I truly wish I could give you a play-by-play as to how this night played out for me, but two years later and I am still putting pieces together myself. As mentioned earlier, during the “pregame” drinks my memory already fades. I had one drink and a couple shots, nothing major. I have never been a party girl and have always been a bit of a lightweight when it come to alcohol. Even with that considered, one drink and two or three shots would not warrant a black out. The crazy part though, I wasn't blacked out. It was as if I was a zombie. My mind was not functioning but, according to others around me, I looked pretty functional. However, there are two specific moments of the night which I remember, one of which gives you an obvious indication of what level I was on, so to speak.
The first recollection I have, I remember feeling really good, super excited in fact, but frustrated we were still at the house. I asked them when we would be going to the concert, patience has never been my strong suit, even in an intoxicated state apparently. I remember standing in the middle of the living room and looking at my “friends” confused and frustrated. One of the friends looked equally as confused as me, and responded telling me that when had just returned from the concert because “I no longer wanted to be there”. He thought I was messing with them. He even went as far as reassuring me we had been based on the stamp on the back my right hand and the corresponding admission bracelet which we both had on our wrists. That was proof enough for me, and at that point I just became overly embarrassed because I thought that meant I must have been heavily intoxicated. I had asked him how many drinks I had at the concert, one “girly drink” he told me. So now I have had two mixed drinks and two maybe three shots…still not enough to cause me to have memory lapses like this. I never puked, I didn’t wakeup hungover, I didn’t have a headache etc. because I wasn’t blacking out from being too drunk, regardless of how hard I once tried to convince myself that. That was as far as my thought process got before my memory goes blank again.
The second memory I have is slightly more explicit, feel free to stop reading here, I understand. Otherwise, I will elaborate. I remember “coming to” or “waking up”, however you wish to phrase it, staring at an unrecognizable ceiling. I felt so confused and disoriented I began looking around the room, all of it was unrecognizable. I had never been here before and my body was numb. I felt paralyzed to be honest. I could only move my head to look around the room and even that felt like a struggle. My collarbone/ neck area was a little stiff as well, but I genuinely could not feel the rest of my body. So much so, that I did not even realize there was someone at the foot of the bed forcibly assaulting me. One of my other “friends” then enters the room. No knock at the door, just walks in very casually as if I wasn’t lying there naked, being assaulted by his best friend right in front of him. He makes a few jokes about how it is too loud, and the other roommates are getting mad. I remember feeling so embarrassed about this even though I couldn’t even move my body, and promptly blacked out after that.
That morning I woke up in an entirely different room on an entirely different floor of the house with nothing on. I woke up in the bed of my “friend” that, just a few nights prior had reassured me there was a couch or spare bed “just for me”. I had a few articles of clothes scattered around this room but not all my clothes. The room I remember waking up in but totally immobilized in, had a few other bits of clothing including my underwear and earrings which had been pulled out. My wallet was gone, my I.D’s, my gift cards, business cards, my cash, everything was gone. Nearly $400 of value and a coach bag to top it off. My gut almost twisted realizing it was nowhere to be found, but I am forgetful, so I shrugged it off and planned to find it later. I wanted to clean myself up a bit but my gut was telling me to get the heck out of there, but lets be clear it was not my head telling to get out like you think logically it would, it was just one of those “gut feelings”. It wasn’t until I saw my body in a mirror that I realized how badly I need to get out. At first glance I thought I was covered in hickeys, and frankly was embarrassed because I honestly think they are trashy to look at. After some thorough visual inspection as well lightly touching of the area it became quite apparent that these were not hickeys at all. My hips and inner thighs had green and purple bruising, my chest were sore had bruises as well, but my neck had a perfect imprint of a hand which formed into a very dark and very painful series of bruises. One round bruise on the left side, and four rounded bruises on the right. When one of my girlfriends from school saw these bruises while we were changing into our scrubs that day, she immediately placed her hand overtop of these marks which almost perfectly aligned with her fingertips. It wasn’t until that moment, I realized the bruises were from being choked. Weeks, probably even months later I received a phone call from the one “friend” who had walked in and done nothing while I was being assault by his best friend. My heart felt like it was pounding so hard that it on the verge of spontaneous combustion. For some reason I feel like I NEEDED to answer, as if I had no choice. A little small talk occurred before I burst out saying “I was drugged!”. I didn’t even make reference to that night, he already knew. His response was that I was so intoxicated that night, I wasn’t drugged…but he did admit I seemed “off”. Immediately he tried explaining how it was likely due to his best friend over feeding me shots. He promptly asked if I remembered hooking up with him though. I lied and said yes, but I absolutely did not! That was the moment I knew it was both of them and I knew what had happened to me that night. I mean REALLY knew! All those gut instincts began resurfacing with a vengeance.
The time leading up to that moment I had fictionalized the events that occurred. “I was drunk so… I couldn’t have REALLY known what had happened, therefore I couldn’t REALLY be upset”. That was the mindset at the time. I lived with a false sense of reality for a long time after the night of the incident. I tried to maintain a friendship with my abuser even after abuse, because heaven forbid, our family ever question why I no longer wanted to spend time with him. I felt disgusted with myself every time I responded to one of his texts and yet I forced myself to do it. The crazy thing is, I still didn’t believe he had done anything wrong. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right, but I was in a denial that kept me distanced from my reality. I could agree with my own self that what he had done wasn’t right, but it wasn’t really bad enough to ruin his life over it. So, for those wondering, no I didn’t report it. Which probably seems stupid to so many but did you know that 78% of sexual assault cases go unreported? Even when I was willing to accept that wrongdoing had occurred, I still justified it. “I put myself in a bad situation”, “I shouldn’t have trusted someone else with my own safety”, “maybe I shouldn’t have flirted with the one guy when I got there”. I could go on, but bottom line is, I did not deserve to be treated this way in any conceivable way. I can drink and be around guys, I can expect to be safe around someone I have grown up with and call my brother. These are not variables in determining whether I deserved this, because simply put, nobody does. Even after coming to terms with all of this, the shame I had felt was so overwhelming I didn’t want to talk to people about it. What would people think of me for what happened? I was so scarred of being judged, and just worried about the unknown in general, that I just kept to myself. I shortly after became a depressed introvert that smoked cigarettes too often and used weed to burry all of my emotions. Now I don’t smoke at all, I can socialize with the friends I have left than I once had. Am I “cured”? No because this is a process, not a cure or fix, but you damn well better bet I am 1000% feeling better. However, growing from the shame and releasing the shame, was a much slow-moving process.
It has taken me a long time to reach this point, mentally and emotionally. The PTSD-feeling is a double punishment. My body was violated, then my mind became violated by the thoughts of what had happened to me. I then became my own abuser. Mentally destroying myself in any way possible. I was out to sabotage my own life it seemed.
Healing takes time.Sometimes during awful experiences our body reacts as if what has happened is normal. You need to identify the abuse in the first place, now you have to identify how it is affecting you everyday. Is the abuse still present or is it the scars causing the daily struggle? And then as I mentioned, there is the shame following. This feeling is the type to eat you up inside, where you feel like you’re trapped in this life of a victim, even though I know it does not define your character. It’s a feeling that so far from “YOU” that you don’t know if you will ever make it back to your true self and that maybe they (the abuser) are the reason for that. Then it dawned on me, that carrying this shame obviously isn’t healthy, but it prolongs the effect my abuser had on me. It prolonged the power he had over me, my life, my relationships, my emotions. It was only when I began feeling angry towards him, ironically for other poor life choices unrelated to this, that things all changed for me. I saw him in a different light suddenly. He wasn’t powerful, he was a weak boy. My anger began to fester when I saw how much this “poor life choice” was negatively affecting the rest of his family. My anger was the fuel and the motivation I needed to allow myself the acceptance I needed and deserved. Reassuring that none of this was my fault, in any way at all. I remember driving with my now, boyfriend, and discussing the incident again, as we had many times (he basically was my therapist though this all). For some reason, this time while discussing it I told myself and my boyfriend, the next time I ever see him I will confront him, and I wasn’t scarred. That was the moment was a life changer.
I really do not think I would have made this much progress in healing had I not had my boyfriend in my life, for that I could never repay him. It might sound cliché, but its honestly true, because picking up the pieces isn’t an easy job. An exceedingly small number of friends know about this incident, besides my boyfriend. I am not even sure if my family knows, to be honest! The very few that knew, were the key to me preserving through all my negative thoughts and emotions. I do believe the true freedom from the abuse however, comes from this moment right now. Where I shamelessly open myself up, along with my past, to the potential criticism of complete strangers. Where I prove not only to others but to myself, that I am not a victim for sharing my story. I am not even sure how I feel about the term “survivor” yet, but I can tell you one thing, I am excited. I feel empowered enough to share my real story with everyone. To set the world on fire with my truth. I am excited, I am me.

Empowered Women, Empower Women

It’s time to give back!

External link