Aside from the occasional neglect and bruises from getting spanked with a spoon, I was raped. I was raped three times by three different men. The first time it happened, I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school, and it was a boyfriend who raped me. It happened in my own home, on my own bed and I froze. I couldn’t even get out the word no due the shock of what was happening. I reported it to my principal, the police were called and I was told that I did not have a case. The principal told my friends I was a liar and the guy told the whole school I had falsely accused him of rape. Everyone preferred to believe I had lied rather than believe he was a rapist. I was stuck going to school with him for three years and he made sure to make those three years hell.
I was 17 years old. The guy, my 24 year old ex boyfriend. I was told as a young child that I struggled to make friends because I was mature for my age. I grew up having older friends because I got along with them better. I met the guy at a convention and we just clicked. We didn’t even know how old each other were before catching feelings. I assumed that because he was older, he was more mature. Unfortunately, I learned that sometimes adults are the most immature people you will meet. We dated for a few months, but he got clingy and I became uncomfortable so I ended this. He guilt-ed me and emotionally blackmailed me into continuing the relationship for longer then I had wanted. We agreed to stay friends and even hung out quite a bit, but soon I felt unsafe in his company. He became obsessed with me. He began to stalk me. He showed up at my house in the middle of the night several times because I stopped responding to his text messages. One night, I was feeling extremely stressed and depressed. I hadn’t been drunk before, but I asked him to bring over some alcohol when I was home alone. I wasn’t sure how much alcohol it took to get someone drunk. We played a drinking game and after a few shots he said he didn’t want to drink anymore, but that we could keep playing the game and I could keep drinking. He watched me take 12 shots of Vodka in half an hour and because of how quickly I was drinking I didn’t feel the effects right away. The last thing I remember was him trying to kiss me. I pushed him away, but he continued. Then, I blacked out. I woke up in my bed the next morning with a faint memory of my mother tucking me into bed. I called her, the guy, and my sister in law (who had shown up that night) to figure out what had happened. He admitted to everything. He told me about how he proceeded to have sex with me knowing I was unaware of what was happening as I spoke nonsense to him. He said I threw up so he put my unconscious naked body in my bathtub full of cold water. My sister in law found us in the bathroom and called my mother. My brother came into the house and kicked the guy out. My mother said that for awhile they thought I might.That I was unresponsive and continued to repeat how cold I was. After bathing me, she put me to bed and that was the end of it. A part of me always knew that what he did to me was rape, but I had convinced myself that it was my fault and I would get in trouble for drinking. I never spoke about it again until I moved into my dorm at UW-Oshkosh and found out that the guy was moving to Oshkosh to be closer to me. One day someone confided in me about the time they were raped and I finally opened up about that night. They convinced me to open up to our CA at our dorms who had to call the housing director and she was forced to call the police as I had only been a minor at the time of the incident. I decided to press charges, but my assistant DA claimed I would never get him for rape and reassured me that going after him for sex with a minor was best. I didn’t believe her as a police had me call the guy on a recorded call and have him admit to that night. I had evidence of him admitting it and she still didn’t believe we could prove it. She ended up making a deal with him behind my back that if he pleaded guilty we would offer only 6 months in jail. She also left my case one week before sentencing. My new DA convinced me to make a statement and in my statement I revealed that I wanted no part of the deal that had been made behind my back. The judge honored my wishes and took the deal off the table. He got the max which unfortunately was only 9 months minus the time he spent in jail awaiting trial which was 4 months. He only received 5 months in jail. The judge made a statement at the end of the trial that he would have charged him with rape had my DA made those charges. I was furious. I felt like I had been failed by the DA’s office. But, what that judge said gave me a bit of relief to know that someone believed me and was on my side. The guy was supposed to receive 15 more months for breaking parole. His parole officer disappeared to somewhere else and he never received those extra 15 months.
Not too many know about this one. I never even bothered to report it as I had felt so let down and exhausted from the previous cases. I also blamed myself for awhile. I was 18 years old and dating. I met a guy who lived off campus and invited me to come over to get to know each other better. He picked me up and I met his roommate when we got to his apartment. Knowing that someone else was home actually made me feel safe for a moment. He said he wanted to chill in his room, but he wouldn’t let me turn the lights on. That’s when things got scary. He ushered me over to his bed and proceeded to try to caress my body. I told him I wasn’t interested. He continued to keep touching me. I tried to get off the bed, begging to turn on the lights. He was a lot bigger then me. He kept saying he just wanted to go a little further. I kept trying to pull away and tell him I didn’t want to, but he used his weight to overpower me and next thing I knew he was inside of me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream, but nothing came out. When he was finished with me he told me back to my dorms. I ran upstairs and cried my eyes out away from all my friends. The guy messaged me asking to go out again. I was furious and proceeded to tell him what he had done to me. He simply apologized and asked if we could start over. That reaction sometimes makes me regret not going to the police because I knew he was dangerous thinking he could just apologize for what he had done to me. He continued to try to contact me for months until he finally gave up and left me alone. Sometimes I still consider reporting it, but at this point, it’s my word against his and the exhaustion and intense feelings from the last case never went away.
It took me years to seek help for the trauma I went through. I spent those years blaming myself and trying to pretend they never happened. Finally, my grandmother, the woman who raised me, told me she could see my suffering and insisted I talk to someone. I’m glad I took her advice because all I needed was for someone to help me see that even though I had put myself in risky situations, those men chose to rape me and that part was not my fault. I never used to understand why women didn’t come forward after being assaulted whether it was physical or sexual until I myself I was that position. The court cases take months and by the time they’re over you’re emotionally and physically exhausted.
The system isn’t always on your side. Had I been one year younger, the 24 year old would have qualified for 12 months in jail rather than 9 and had I been years younger, he would of qualified for much more time. I didn’t go to court as a 17 year old who got her older boyfriend in trouble for having sex with him. I was a 17 year old girl who chose to press charges after he took advantage of me. There are things I wish I could have done differently. Like, pushing to have rape charges pressed against him rather then sex with a minor charges. Or reporting the third guy immediately after it happened. However, I don’t want to live in the past. Especially one with so many horrible memories. I choose to not be a victim any longer, but to be a survivor and to continue to learn from my mistakes and become stronger from them. I can’t change what happened or the choices I made. I can choose to decide how I live after experience such events. I choose to use them to make me into a stronger person and to make better decisions in life. I am not a victim and I will not let anyone make me feel or tell me that I am. I’m a survivor and I choose what I want to do with my body. No one else.