What happened to me one night in August 2002 has left me confused and hurt ever since.
I was 18 years old and I was working at a clothing store with this seemingly wonderful 22 year old last summer. He was funny, charming and made my work day fly by. It was the week before I was to leave to go away to college and he suggested that we should get together. I had a huge crush on him and my friends hinted that he felt the same way. So, one Friday night I followed him to his apartment. We sat on the sofa for about an hour drinking a beer and watching TV and then he, out of nowhere, started kissing me aggressively. Although I was surprised by his aggression I continued kissing him.
Eventually the kissing led to oral sex. When he was going down on me I was draped over the sofa so my head was dangling off the side. I couldn't see him doing what he was doing. The next thing I know, he shoves his penis into me, almost taking my breath away. I was so shocked that he just did that, it took me at least ten seconds to tell him to stop. He was not wearing a condom and he purposely ejaculated in me. He made me drive home at 3:00 in the morning because he was afraid of what his father might think of a girl staying with his son. I remember driving home shaking and dripping semen. I got lost a few times. I called my mother on my cell phone and asked her how to get home. She asked me if I was "ok" and if I had a "good time". I wanted to tell her everything but my voice was being strangled by shock.
When I got home, I spent hours in the bathroom trying to wash him out of me but the filth would not wash away. I felt like a human trash can. I dismissed the night as being one of miscommunication until one night when I finally broke down in the bathroom after bottling up all of my shame and hurt feelings. What happened to me was confusing and I felt hurt, ashamed and violated.
After Adam, I fooled around with several men rather quickly, hoping to make some kind of emotional connection with them. All they did was use my body for their pleasure. My quirky personality, my dancing talent, my love of art did not matter. I began to accept that I was just a body and nothing more, that no guy would want anything more than my body.
I have changed my mind. I am much more than what I see in the mirror. Last night I cried my pain out of me. I cried out the child who lay screaming inside me for almost a year. I am depth. I am human. I can weep. I can scream. I can love. I can be loved. My body deserves respect. My mind deserves credit. My female voice deserves to be heard. My life deserves to be lived. I am mine not in parts but in whole. I have decided to live.
Dr. Patti responds:
Thank you for sharing your story with us. By writing down your words of survival you will be helping many other girls who can now draw from your strength.
It sounds as if you have been suffering through so many different emotions and this is quite normal for a girl who has been raped. Yes Emma, you were date raped. You try to call it 'miscommunication', but you did not 'miscommunicate' anything. You clearly expressed your discomfort when you asked Adam to stop and he clearly refused to respect your wishes.
The scary thing to keep in mind is that you could have easily gotten pregnant. Even scarier is the thought that Adam's behavior made you vulnerable to a sexually transmitted disease. I am happy this nightmare did not befall you.
I have a few questions I hope you will think about. I am wondering if you have talked about this rape with anyone? Are you now able to connect with young men on your own terms? Did you ever tell your mother about this experience? Do you now know that "no" means "no", and that this rape is not your fault?
I am so glad that you see yourself as a talented dancer and artist and that you cherish your quirky personality! You have so much to give---never settle for a guy who does not appreciate your many gifts.
................................warmly, Dr. Patti.