I am One of Those Women
With all the reports swirling about surrounding the exposing of people in places of power, I suspect many women will have a secret story or two to share. These stories are likely ones they have held onto for years. And some may have held onto them for a lifetime. I am one of those women.
When I was in high school I was raped. I don’t think I ever told anyone until I was an adult. In fact, I am pretty sure the first person I told was my husband. Even then I did not admit it was rape. I always referred to it as “being taken advantage of.” I always made it “my fault.” I was the one responsible for being in the position I found myself that weekend. Because if I admitted it to myself, I would have to deal with it.
It has only been in the past few years that I have fully begun to grapple with the reality and call it what it was, which was rape. I had distorted the truth in my mind to survive. In those days, I was adept at accessing survival mode. I had to. I learned early on to place things that were painful in a box and lock them up. Problem is, they always find a way to spill out until you unpack them and offer them up to God for healing.
So, as I sit here today at my computer typing this out, this is my way of finally opening the box completely. My story must be told. Not to destroy a man and his current life, but to heal my own heart and spirit. I will not name names. But my story will be told. It MUST be told. Why? Because, if it helps just one of you start the healing process it is worth it.
My Secret Story
My details will be blurry. When you spend a lifetime pretending something never happened it can muddy the waters of specifics. In high school, I had a guy friend who I trusted very much. He invited me to go camping on an island at a lake in my hometown. So, I told my mom I was camping with friends. He picked me up in his truck and we drove to the dock where he had left his boat. I had a couple of alcoholic drinks, not long after arriving. I don’t remember who all was there except that I was the only girl. Right now you are probably thinking “dumb move.” And yes, it was. But, I trusted this friend completely.
Everything after a couple of drinks is a complete haze. At some point, we retired to his tent. I remember his hands on me and trying to talk me into fooling around with him. I was drifting in and out of consciousness. I know I said no a couple of times to his advances. And I remember him on top of me at some point. Then, nothing. I have no other memories of the entire evening after I got my drinks.
The next morning I woke to find myself naked and sore. I was still in a state of confusion and was having trouble processing why I woke up that way. I felt uncomfortable and wary. That surprised me because it didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand what had happened or why I felt like crawling inside myself to hide.
It occurred to me to ask, “did we have sex?” To which he answered yes. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know how to respond because I was confused. I KNOW I remember saying no, but I don’t remember anything else. How could that be? I had never gotten that drunk off of a couple drinks. Nothing made sense.
I told him I wanted to go home, and I somewhat remember feeling like that agitated him. The ride home was uncomfortable. I began questioning him about that night. He became uncomfortable with my questions. At one point he said I was a lousy lay because I just laid there. Now angry, I said that maybe the reason was that I was passed out.
Why Did I Hide It?
I kept it a secret because of who he was. He had power over me because of his status in the school and community. Not to mention, he covered his butt. Soon after, rumors began and circulated the football team. He had bragged about having sex with me to the guys. He made it impossible for me to say that it was anything but consensual since he was well known and a highly respected athlete. Plus, his family was well-respected and they owned a lucrative business in town. I was the girl from the other side of the tracks with a dad in jail for drugs. Who would have believed me? I would have been crucified.
I began digging the hole and placed that secret inside and the process of scoping the dirt over it. With each declaration that it was my fault, I placed another scoop of dirt over the secret.
Looking back, I realize I was drugged that night.
The Snowball Effect
His rumors set in motion the snowball effect. I had popular guys and football players suddenly show interest in me. They would ask me to come hang out and then they would be VERY insistent on being physical. Thankfully, after many, “no’s” they gave up. Although, some of them spread rumors that I slept with them, or fooled around with them too. I didn’t. They lied.
Another symptom of the rape was that I spiraled out of control for many years to follow. I stopped caring about my life, which led to other bad situations and a long, hard path. He stole so much from me on that evening on a little island, in a tent.
I admit I want to tell him so bad. I want him to KNOW what he did in case he convinced himself that it was consensual. I don’t know if he was the one who drugged me, or if it was someone else. I will never know. BUT, he knows that I was not coherent, and he knows I said no. That is enough.
A Story Too Long to Tell
I could write a book on all the ways it impacted me over the last 24 years. Even in as recent as the past couple of years I have had freak-out moments being intimate with my amazing husband who would never hurt me. I don’t always tell him because I don’t want him to worry. And sometimes I can’t help but burst into tears.
I know there are more of us out there that have kept secrets and blamed ourselves for sins against us. Rape, or sexual assault, is a grievous sin against a person. It rips open a part of our spirit that allows demons to hide. They love the secret areas of our heart. They feed and thrive there. I did a bit of deliverance in 2010, but I did not get it all taken care of. Residual pieces still lingered to a degree. But, today marks the day that I evict all of them that still remain there.
At 41, I am finally beginning to unpack it and offer it up to God for complete healing. The best part about that is, I know He will. He can for you too.