You stole from me.
You full of hate and anger looked at me and saw something you can never have.
So you stole from me.
You stole from me.
YOU TOOK MY INNOCENCE!
How can I ever get that back?
For years I walked around with a chip on my heart.
Darkness surrounded me.
I can never let anyone close.
You stole from me.
There’s a part of me that will always be silent when I meet someone new.
You stole that part from me!
I can never look at another person the same again.
No matter how much I want to – there will always be that thought. That nagging evil thought:
“But what if they hurt me too?”
You stole my innocence.
You stole from me.
How can I get over that?
Finally I’ve realized you don’t.
You get through it.
And by God’s grace I am working through.
Yes, it’s been 15 long years, but I swear you ain’t gonna win.
I will be a ninja and fight, cause there is NO way you will win.
Jessica Tweets as @imperfectmomma.
I was raped when I was 22. It was fast and stunning. I knew the guy, a friend of a friend of a friend, and it happened in a car after a concert. He just kept repeating the same thing "you know you want this." I did not. I did not. I fought and pulled away, but then something sort of broke inside of me and I froze. I think I froze. I still can't explain to myself why I didn't get out of that car. I used to say if it happened again I would kill him in order to get away. I would do it all differently.
No hospital, no police, no counseling. I mostly tried to pretend it didn't happen. It felt like it happened in a movie to someone else, or I told myself to think that way. It's just this horrid thing in the back of my mind, this place where I don't understand the world, men, myself.
Over 15 years later, it's still there. You would think it wouldn't be. For all those years this thing haunts me but not in a big way. I used to tried to tell boyfriends about it. When that question "who have you been with comes up." Or when I'd be not in the mood for sex. (I can get overwhelmed when faces are too close to mine.) But I always regretted telling them. It made it present in our lives too much. In our faces. They always said "why didn't you just run?" And then they saw me differently.
So I stopped telling people. I've since had friends tell me stories of rape or talk about it in general and I give them sympathy or say I can't imagine. I didn't tell my boyfriend, the one, the one who is now my husband of almost 8 years. He doesn't know and never will. I almost told him when I was pregnant, because childbirth and breastfeeding put me in this weird space about it all again. That overwhelming feeling from breath in my face was there and I hated it.
I feel horrible that I hated it, but I did. It was a depressing time, I feel like it was a lost time and I was not at my best. I can't even imagine having another baby, and I think this is the reason.
I wish I didn't have so many regrets but I don't regret keeping my secret. It feels good to say these things, but I don't like being defined by them. My only question is whether some day I will tell my daughter. The thought of her not being safe makes me sick. I want her to know how to fight back. I want her to never have to worry about any of this.
It may not seem original
Do not ascribe that to my lack of creativity
Or free thought
It is attributable only to the fact
That I am not the only woman to live through this
Far from it
Blame this lack of originality
On our society
And its teachings
And its lack of unlearning
The need for control
I am merely one in four
On college campuses
That has been
Can that even be considered
A minority group
In our society anymore
Can that even be
Like I did.
I had no choice but to.
I had no choice in any of this.
On that word.
A defining factor of yourself
Shoved onto you
Penetrating your self-perception
A black mark
Unwanted and unasked for
Forced onto you by another
And their selfish desires or lack of self control
Somehow it now defines you
Ask yourself.. How fair.
where is our justice.
Being burdened with this word
Let alone the memory.
Breathe it in
Exhale deeply through it.
Center it within your body and feel it’s presence
Weight on mind
Heavy on heart.
Feel the disgust spreading through your extremities
This word is somehow an ugly composition of lines
Or is it tainted with the meaning.
Focus it until you corse with the colors that I did
Mainly the darkness of self-loathing
I want you to feel what that word is
To one in four women on college campuses
Do not look away.
stare at it
It is an ugly word
Only because it is the one of the most despicable acts
One human being can use to inflict on another
While most can barely read the word
Keep looking back at it
Just to make sure its real
I wrote it there
So you couldn't ignore it.
Deal with it for the 3 moments it takes to read this.
As I live with the memory of it
For my entire life.
Do not shy from the connotation that bites painfully into you
You want to
To shelter yourself
To pretend it does not exist
It doesn’t happen
Not to me
Not to my girl friends
No man I surround myself would do that to
My body- that I respect and honor
My soul’s sacred temple
Whose walls could never be graffitied
by such a perverse act.
It just doesn’t happen to me
It doesn’t happen to anyone
Now repeat that
A million times to yourself
And your friends
And your colleagues
Then look up the statistics
Then please contact me
Write to me
Talk to me
Yell at me
Did ignorance change the prevalence of it?
the vile truth
stop it from happening
To another woman
Unwanted physical contact.
over another’s body.
Being the one out of control...
Powerless is not a word descriptive enough to tell you
What I felt that morning
It was the first day of a new year.
that was the first thought I had upon waking.
The first day of a year of days yet to be filled.
hopeful and fresh.
Still naive to the retrospective happenings
That happened right where I was laying as these thoughts came to me.
I woke up in your bed.
Tired after a full night's sleep?
I had thought I had slept in your bed alone.
Residual drag could be blamed on my drunken stupor the night before.
How did I get here?
Last thing I remember was..
Whats the last thing I can remember?
Ball dropping in times square
Countdown… palpable pulsing excitement
Screaming 3.. 2..1..
Happy new year!
that following time period is a sensory deprivation chamber
One I have been in before
One I have come safely out of
In the morning
After empty sleep
Later laughing with friends
Over silly things that I did
I could not remember
But thats what friends are for.
To keep you safe
To remind you of your late night
Innocent in their nature
I went down creaky stairs to find you.
To find out what laughable things I had done.
I had spent new years eve
Out. enjoying time with my friends.
Friend. I was still blind. So you were still this to me.
I find you. I sense…… Nothing wrong
I return to your room. To clothe my body. In something of mine thats appropriate. For the first day of the new year.
I see it. All too suddenly it is laid before me. Shoved into my view.
It has been called the glass slipper of our generation
And it is all the evidence I need. Repulsive. Mind suddenly racing. Thoughts
slurred together, as if the alcohol I’d ingested the night before had suddenly
come back. And ruined my ability to think clearly.
Any contents it held had long ago leaked onto the wood of your bedroom like a
It drowns me
But no memory
Of the previous nights happenings
See I thought we had an understanding
Maybe you were hopeful, we had made out a few times but 2 weeks prior
I explicitly stated
We are just friends
Sorry if this disappoints you I just don’t feel that way for
Is that not my right?
I have to know
Because it couldn't have happened
There is no way in hell.
This really does not happen to people
At least it doesn’t happen to me..
But in a few questions
you confirm my worst fear
And I resist throwing up on your bedroom floor.
Has to be given to someone
What other target
I was the one who got me drunk
So drunk I fell down at the party
So drunk you had to carry me home
Like the good friend I thought you were
You laid me in your bed.
And then apparently laid down beside me
And proceeded to have sex with me.
To then believe my drunken agreement that
I want it
Give it to me.
My drunken consent
Its no consent at all
How can you justify that it was agreed upon by us both
When you remember ever ongoing
And I was told of it by the used condom still laying on you floor
Would you even had told me if I hand’t asked?
What gave you the idea
That you could get away with this
it was okay
I was clear thinking enough to give you permission
Even tho you carried me home
my drunken state had no effect on my ability to consent
Even though I couldn't even stand at the party
That I wanted it even though I had told you I had no interest
When I was sober
Well tell me
Which bullshit excuse to validate your actions was it?
You gave me $40
To pay for a pill
Composed of chemicals
Which I do not agree with putting into my body
Under normal circumstances
But had to
Because I cannot have a child now
So you paid me off
I felt used
Even more worthless, as if this money was to be a compensation, a fix-it, an eraser of what happened, of what you’ve burdened me with.
As if a fertilized egg was the only burden.
I was not, in that moment
Even worth that $40.
But it was my fault
Because I got drunk
And trusted him
Sitting in my car, Repulsed to still be next to you
But hiding it , Because I would not be unkind to you
When this was my fault.
One in four women
May have believed At some point afterwards
That they asked for it
In the way they dressed, in the way they acted, in the way they flirted
Because thats what you are taught.
I want you to scream NO.
Whisper it at first.
Then scream it at the top of your fucking lungs
And put some heart into it.
Because it is time that every single person
Not just one in four women
Not just women
You did not ask to be raped
The only blame to attribute is to whomever defiled your sacred temple
Without your permission.
One in four
is no longer a minority.
One hundred percent of this
Can no longer be ignored.
And do not let that word distract you.
It is not how I perceive this
It is no minor event
No part of this is minor
One in four is too many
One is too many
So read it again
As many times as necessary
To see how ugly it is
I pray that you
You won’t do it
Because every woman
Deserves to wake up
To a fresh day
Or a new year’s first morning
Without having to live every day on
With the memory
that she has been
Once upon a time there was an idealistic little girl. Her parents had separated when she was 6 years old and her mother moved on with a new man. This man did everything he could to ruin the idealisms of this little girl and her two brothers for many years. He used his words, his fists, his strength & his authority to try to tear them down. This little girl was me and this is one piece to my story.
Years passed and I started to change into an idealistic young lady. One fateful day when I was 12 years old, I came home to find that the house was empty for my stepfather and me.
I had been in the house alone with him many times before, but lately I was growing more and more uncomfortable. It had started a few months prior, innocently enough. He would ask me to sit on the couch and watch TV with him.
He gradually began to ask me to lie down and cuddle with him. Caught somewhere between a little girl wanting to feel close to a father figure and a young women terrified to anger an abusive man, I obliged.
However on this particular day, our cuddling took a turn that I would never be able to erase or brush off.
“Come lay with me,” he said. I began to walk over, quietly saying “okay.”
As I started to lie down in my usual spot beside him, he grabbed hold of my hips and lifted me onto his body. He held his arms tightly around my wrists with his hands resting on my lower back. My legs were left to dangle between his legs and my belly rested on his.
I could feel his arousal hard against my leg, although I barely registered what that meant at the time. He began rubbing my back and stared at me.
“Do you love me?” he asked. “Yes, of course,” I said. As mean, abusive and hurtful as he could be, he had been a father figure in my life for nearly 6 years and we had shared some happy memories as a family. He seemed pleased with my answer and rested for a moment.
Taking a deep breath and looking noticeably nervous, he looked up at me again and said, “Kiss me.” I leaned down and gave him a quick kiss, no different than I had done many nights at bedtime for many years.
He laughed lightly and said, “no, kiss me like you kiss your boyfriends.”
Not fully understanding, I leaned down and kissed him exactly as I had before and said, ‘that is how I kiss my boyfriends.’
This was true, since I had only had one or two boyfriends at this point and had only made it to holding hands and chicken peck kisses.
When he realized that I wouldn’t or couldn’t give him the kiss he wanted, he looked upset. Sensing and fearing a shift in his gentle approach, I quickly told him I had a lot of homework to finish and that I needed to get started.
He hugged me to him again, then pulled back and asked, “Do you still love me?” I said yes again. I didn’t want to anger him.
This level of confused intimacy, with gentle kisses and caressing, carried on for 3 years before I had him arrested for physical abuse. I never told the police at the time about the sexual assault. It would take me 2 more years before I ever shared it with a few close friends and I was nearly 20 years old before sharing the details with my mother and father, at the suggestion of a therapist.
Although the acts never escalated too much more than his arousal and some physical movement with clothes on, his kissed became more determined and he would hold me tighter against him. As I grew older, I became more aware of the inappropriate nature of these moments. I grew increasingly distant while it would take place, abandoning my body to fend for itself as my soul went to somewhere better.
Looking back, I often wonder what he was taking from me saying that I still loved him. I still wonder if he would have pushed the sexual acts further if I had fought him off with more force and aggression. The fear of what could have happened & the memories of what did, cast a small shadow in my resilient idealistic nature.
I haven’t spoken more than a dozen words to him since he was arrested. I wish I were brave enough to confront him. To tell him that he didn't ruin my life. He overshadowed many good memories for nearly 10 years of my childhood, but I get the rest. I have a wonderful life and he is just a mean old bastard living in the same small town. I win.
I am happy. I am loved. I am endlessly idealistic.
More of Crys's writing can be found online on her blog Ideally Speaking
and on Twitter
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