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Sunday, December 23, 2012

TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE RAPE

kimberly1year
For years I’ve wanted to blog about being raped, not only for therapeutic reasons but also for anyone else out there who has been through it.
The whole ugly story happened when I was 21, still a virgin (a fact I was proud of), living with a roommate twice my age, and had never been in love.  I moved from my safe-haven environment on the northern coast of California to Sunnyvale, California to attend school and go to work.  I was doing pretty well, actually, until this incident brought my world to a spiraling tailspin of drugs and alcohol.  I went to school at night and worked during the day in Cupertino, California, for a company called Tymshare, Inc. where I was employed as a printed circuit board designer.  Now, down the street from work was this little neighborhood bar, aptly named Paul and Eddies.  As it turns out, many months later, I would bartend at this local gem, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
After work, mainly on the weekends, a few of us would meet at Paul and Eddie’s and drink until way into the early morning hours (or last call, whichever came first).  A man from work, let's call him Jack. who was not part of our weekly group, was also seen at this local pub on a regular basis.  Although we were not friends or even friendly, we were on polite speaking terms as his cubical was in close proximity to mine at the office.
One particular evening, as I drank myself to my usual limit (a trait I came by honestly from both sides of my family it turns out), and was offered the obligatory “ride home,” by my drunken friends as they left the bar (all of which I would refuse stating, and with slurred words I might add, “I’m perfectly fine to drive home.”  NOT),  I decided it was time to brave the road.  (Damn we were stupid in those days)  I’m sure my state-of-being was obvious as I made my way to the door and out into the parking lot. 
Then it happened.  I heard footsteps behind me.  They were quick, as though someone were trying to catch up to me.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly we sober up the very moment that “fight or flight” reflex kicks in?  I walked faster—they walked faster.  Finally I reached my little Toyota Corona and fumbled with my keys.  I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a low, presumably male voice say, “Hey, Kim.  Need some help?”  I turned around and there stood Jack,  an Hispanic man with a long, black, braided ponytail dangling under his blue-jean cap, who stood about 5’-8” tall and donned pock marks on his face from an apparent former acne problem.  I was actually relieved when I turned around and realized it was someone I knew from work and not some parking lot-striking homicidal maniac.  “Are you all right?” he asked, seemingly concerned.  “I’ll be fine,” I replied, “I’m just gonna rest in my car a little until I sober up enough to drive.  “Well, why don’t you rest in my car so I can keep an eye on you.  It is late and this parking lot is not safe in this neighborhood,” he said, so convincingly.  I was a little scared and he was this person from work who seemed to be an upstanding family man.  Looking back now I can see what an easy mark I must have been from his point of view, especially as naïve as I was back then.  Needless to say he convinced me to sit in his car with the large bench seat in the front.  I got in, closed the door, and we started having a civil conversation about work and his wife and 6 kids.  I believe it was about fifteen minutes into the conversation that he reached over with his right hand and started to unbutton my jeans.  I grabbed his hand and said, “Um, Jack, what the hell are you doing?”  He started to put his hand on the zipper, a little more forcefully than before and said, “You need someone like me to show you what it is to be loved.  I have watched you from the day you started here and I know you are inexperienced.  I’m older and will be gentle with you.”  I started thinking, shit, is he for real?  Is this guy I’m not attracted to and don’t know very well, actually trying to talk me into having sex with him?  I grabbed his hand again and pushed it away.   “NO, Jac, I am NOT having sex with you,” I shouted.  This was not the answer he was looking for.  Suddenly this look came over his face.  His smile turned into a scowl and his eyes seemed darker and angrier.  He stopped talking.  He grabbed both of my arms and shoved them behind me in one motion while twisting my body around so I was laying on the seat.  He then forced my arms behind my back so I was laying on them and they were trapped under the pressure.  “STOP,” I yelled.  “If you try to…” right then my sentence was cut short by the feel of cold steel against my neck.  I suddenly realized that this fucker had stuck a knife up to my throat with one hand while the other hand was working my pants off.  I knew then if I wanted to live, I had to stop struggling and just let him do what he had to do.  I went numb inside.  I didn’t speak or scream or struggle.  The pain below my waist was seering and I could smell blood.  After only minutes, which seemed like hours, Jack released his grip on the knife and let me up.  “There now, you’re a woman.  Don’t you feel better?  I know I do.  I know you liked it,” he said with that ugly smile back on his lips.  He acted like he’d just done me a favor.  Really?  Was this just a bad dream?  I sat up, pulled my pants up and fastened them, glanced quickly at the seat where there was a lot of blood, and wiped the line of blood from my throat where the knife had been pressed.  I was shaking so much that I didn’t know if I could get myself out of there.  Nervously I replied, “Jack I have to go now.  I have to work in the morning.”  He got out of the car, walked around and opened the door for me to exit.  “Thank you, Kim.  I had a great time,” he said.
After managing to get myself home and scrub myself in the shower until I was almost raw, I sat in bed wondering what to do about this.  What could I do?  If I went to the police they would say it was my fault for being in the bar, for being drunk, for getting in his car, for just being a woman really.  I had seen rape movies and all they did was make you go through a lot of crap in court and more humiliation and persecution and generally they let the asshole go for lack of evidence.  I couldn’t think straight and I had no one to call and no support system at that time.  I didn’t want my roommate to know because she treated me like a daughter and I thought she would be pissed at me for “letting” this happen.
Here’s the icing on the cake.  The next day I got up and went to work as though nothing had happened because I didn’t know what else to do.  I walked in, walked past his cubical where he was already seated, and heard him say, “Good morning beautiful.  How are you this morning.”  Upon hearing this remark, as though it were any other morning, I saw red.  I shot him a look that said, “You WILL die, bastard.”  I went to a friend in the office, a man that I trusted, and asked him to please walk me to and from my car from now on.  I wouldn’t tell him why and he didn’t ask.  He was just kind enough to do it.
Three weeks later I was at home, peeing in the toilet and I felt this odd sensation.  I looked in the toilet and there was blood and a lot of weird floating stuff.  It freaked me out.  I got a jar and put the floating stuff in it and took it right down to the doctor’s office.  He told me it was tissue from the miscarriage I had just had.  Miscarriage?  I was pregnant???  Right then I thanked God for letting that fetus miscarry. 
As the weeks went by I let my friends talk me into going back to the bar (Jack never went back, at least I never saw him there) and they introduced me to cocaine and bennies (crosstops) which I took with lots of alcohol.  I liked it.  It made all the feelings go numb and I didn’t have to think all the time.  I used to think horrible, scary things after the rape and the drugs and alcohol would be my savior (or though it seemed at the time).  It took me years to undo all the damage he did to me and subsequently that I did to myself, but justice was served and I was finally able to function.  I told my parents about the incident about a year later, when I realized it wasn’t my fault, and awhile after that a friend told me that Jack had to quit because he had been attacked in a parking lot and his penis had been severed.  Dad told me he would take care of it, and though I didn’t realize at the time that he had connections like that, he made good on his word.
I don’t tell this story for anyone to feel sorry for me, or to remain a victim, for I am no longer a victim but a survivor.  I tell it for anyone who was ever raped and became really messed up from it.  You must always realize that no matter the situation is ISNT YOUR FAULT!  Don’t let yourself or anyone you know say different.  Most importantly, if this happened to you recently, get yourself to the hospital as soon as you can and get a rape kit done.  You have to put your offender behind bars or at least try if you are strong enough.  But, if you can’t, and I know how hard it is to even think about doing, please be kind to yourself and get the help you need from a therapist or other counselor, because if you don’t, I guarantee it will fuck up your head and therefore your life.

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