Anonymous Interview with a Date Rape & Trauma Survivor

TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, VIOLENCE, PREGNANCY, DRUG/ALCOHOL USE

                                   Picture Source

                                   Picture Source

GT: Lately, I’ve been following gut feelings without knowing why and beautiful happenings have resulted. This interview was one of them. I reached out to a woman that I don’t know really at all to interview her for the blog about something feminism-related. She agreed, but right before the interview asked if she could talk with me about a rape instead.

This was the story she disclosed. It blew me away. It sent chills down my spine while I was hearing it because it was so clearly a story that needed to be told, that needed to come out and breathe. I feel deeply honored that she trusted me enough to share these personal sufferings in her life.

I have to say though, that I’ve been feeling very challenged with framing this interview. I always want to package stories in pretty bows, looking for the silver lining, and holding out for a triumphant ending. I’m going to warn you, this isn’t one of those. Yet, the story still needs to be told. It is a story of the harsh reality of rape, violence, harassment, and how life goes sometimes. Her story isn’t mine to write or to try to find an angle on.

But, I wouldn’t feel right without saying one thing: Feeling like we are tainted and like there is something wrong with us is common for rape survivors. I know because that feeling lived in my bones for more years than I would wish on my worst enemy. Those thoughts are leftover toxic waste from something that should have never happened in the first place. And I’m sorry that it did. I promise that there is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken goods.

Here are some resources to access help if you’ve experienced sexual assault, rape, or trauma.

BARCC: Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

RAINN: Rape and Incest National Network


When did it happen? What was the context?

I was raped at 21 years old when I was a senior in college. It happened right before graduation. It was about 9 years ago.

This whole thing is very complicated, there are many parts to the story. I knew him.

Let’s start with my workplace. I was working at my full-time position at the time and I had a boss that was awesome. She was full of energy and was the most driven, passionate, successful, and socially-connected woman I knew. She was an important mentor, or so I thought.

She knew I was really into this guy that I worked with. He was a lot older than me. He had reservations about talking to me because of the age difference. I didn’t know at the time but she was also doing everything she could to stop it because she liked him. I found this out years later.

I ended up needing a place to live and I moved into her son’s apartment because he had an open place. Her son kept asking me out and I kept saying no. I wasn’t interested in him, but, we were friends and would go to football games together and hangout.

One night he took me to an Italian restaurant and got me really really drunk. I blacked out and woke up the next morning in bed with him. That morning he was saying insane things to me like “You’re my girlfriend. You said you love me.” I was disgusted. I felt very unsafe and extremely dirty. He was not the type of person that I would ever pursue and I was not attracted to him at all.

I was date raped and incredibly confused. I also had no idea that the horror was just beginning. I was also worried because he had shown signs of rage that were very concerning.

I thought back to a few weeks prior when I had brought home a dog that I found in the road. I brought it home and told this roommate we should make fliers and find the owner. The dog was only at the apartment for one night. While the dog was barking, he said he wanted to break it’s neck and throw it over the balcony, so I had to call my sister in the middle of the night to have her take the dog. It gave me an awful feeling at the time.

 

What was the aftermath of the rape?

I talked to his mom about what happened and at first she was understanding and then she went crazy. She made up a bunch of lies that I was a slut and that I slept with all sorts of people at work, even though none of that was true. She tried to convince me that nothing was wrong and that I had the happenings all wrong in my head. She attempted to manipulate my emotions and change my perceptions. It really fucked with me because this was a woman I deeply trusted and respected prior to this.

My sister ended up having space in her apartment, so I left and stayed with her. A month later I moved across the U.S., but that night followed me. I had left all of my furniture at his apartment and he was either supposed to give it to me or pay me, but I got neither. Instead, both him and his mother continued to harass me for months.

They would just tell me what a horrible person I was because he was in love with me and that I broke his heart. They would call me things like "cold hearted" "worthless" "bitch" "tramp" etc.

They would call me at my new work trying to get through to me. I went into extreme depression and all I did was work, drink, do drugs, and not eat. I became completely unaware of my person. I was disconnected from my body and my life. I was so depressed and was doing awful things to my body. I was being harassed daily and was in such a blurred and disassociated state that I could have never predicted what came next.

 

What came next?

One night, I thought I had a stomach ache. My roommate drove me to the ER because I was also having back pain and I found out I was actually pregnant. All of a sudden that night I was sitting in a room and they were telling me “you’re in labor.”

Just a few days prior I was wearing a bikini. I was 130 pounds at 9 months pregnant. I had been so unaware of my own self that I never noticed. I was drinking like a fish and was doing drugs.

I never knew.

My family or friends never noticed either. The only time anyone ever did notice was one guy at a bodega who said “are you having a boy or a girl?” It confused me, but I didn’t think much of it at the time.

I made a decision in that moment in the ER that I didn’t want to see that child, a child from the man who raped me. I did everything I needed to do legally to give it away and I didn’t look back.

I was just a person floating through the world, not knowing who I was. I was smoking and drinking and taking painkillers. I was never me. I was always just this fucking grey matter that wasn’t a person. That was me for 3 years of my life after the rape happened.

I didn’t speak to my own mother for 6 months because I told her she didn’t understand me. I didn’t talk to anyone about it; I didn’t talk to her about it. I love my friends, but I felt that I couldn’t talk to them about it.. They were like the mean girls in high school.

 

Did the man and his his mother leave you alone?

Still, throughout the years, I would have to make a new Facebook account once in awhile or have to get off of it entirely. The mother to this day reaches out to me at times to harass me - she’s crazy. I was continuously manipulated for years to the point where I didn’t tell anyone.

The man who raped me ending up overdosing and almost dying. He did get sober through a 12 step program and reached out to make amends.  He said “i’m in a 12 step program and I need to make this better to get rid of my demons.”

I thought that his addiction was my fault and that I needed to fix it. I ended up telling him the truth and I sent him the emails I got from the child’s adopted parents. They send me yearly updates of the baby. I thought that what I was doing would give him a purpose, but that wasn’t right. He decided to get in touch with the child and try to get her ripped from her parents.

He totally lied. Tried to make up a bunch of insane lies about me and my life. He said that we were in a relationship and that I told him about the baby but then told him that I got an abortion… which was all bullshit. He also said that I was bipolar and a known liar. He would say that I worked as a hooker. The stories he would come up with were so outlandish and just not who I am. I was a magna cum laude college student who was accepted to an Ivy league graduate program. I didn’t go because of all of this.

At the point he raped me I had slept with 4 people... not exactly a whore. I am not trying to brag saying I was the best person ever, I definitely am far from perfect and would never pretend to be. It’s just the things he said about me were unimaginable. On the other hand so is everything that happened to me from that day forward.

Fortunately I legally did everything I had to do in the hospital that day. He continued to try and have a relationship with that child and it didn’t happen.

Then, he died... of a heroin overdose.

And now his crazy fucking mother has a relationship with that child and it’s just been hard now to be a mom and think that I abandoned someone.

 

What sort of impact has all of this had on you?

As weird as all of this is… he was horrible, but his mother is what I felt more betrayed by. As a result, I don’t trust women in general, definitely not women in authority. It’s changed my view of people. I trusted her and thought she was going to help me make my career.

Honestly, all of this has made me kind of an asshole. If therapy has taught me anything, it’s taught me to be a bigger asshole than before.

I have learned not to take shit from anyone. I have learned to be firm in what I think. Sometimes this makes me seem close minded or tough to work with, I am aware of this. But, I have learned to be strong and not a victim in any situation whether that be work, home, with friends or family.

Likely if I were a man you would either think I was very confident or an asshole. As a women it is seen as "harsh" or "difficult". I own that it is who I am now, but to be any different would put me back in a place that I never want to be.

 

What is your life like now?

This all happened 9 years ago, I’ve had a lot of relationships since. Until my husband they were all fun, they would all seem on the surface serious, but they were mostly about attraction. If you asked me what I liked about them it would be surface level things. It wasn’t family values or integrity. And I think it was because of what happened.

But, now I have a husband and a daughter. I now have a child whose birthday is the same birthday as that first child that I had. Tell me that isn’t divine. I don’t know what it means. All I know is that first kid goes to dance class and has a family. It’s great, but I never want her to call me.

I hate to say it, but the day he died was one of the best days of my life. I still feel trapped by his mother but I feel free of him. That was like coming out of prison. I never want to go back. Even though he isn’t here I never want to go back.

I want to be a good wife, mother, and employee. I want my life now.

 

What sort of things have you learned from all of this?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned out of all of it is that everybody judges. It’s a natural instinct. I always try to help people understand “you don’t know it all how can you judge that? I always assume there’s more to every story.

 

Why did you want to do this interview?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this story from start-to-finish. I thought it might be healing for me because I couldn’t write about it myself.

I feel like there are a lot of people that judge others for things they could never understand. Like I’ve heard people say in conversations “How could you not know you were pregnant?” I didn’t fucking know. I gained 10 pounds, but so what?

Or, I hear people say that “date rape isn’t as bad as torture rape,” but I’m living in a nightmare that seems like it will never end.

Even though I now live on the other side of the country, I feel like I’m being stalked and I literally spend my whole life waiting for the jack in the box to pop-up. I’m waiting for someone to out me. I’m waiting for this woman to out me, to write a book, to talk to a news anchor. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Even though I’m not telling people this is my story, I’m still putting it out there. I feel like there’s someone else who has this story. Maybe someone else has this feeling that their life is going to fall apart at any moment.

I’ll never not wonder if things are going to change - when is this kid going to come find me or want things to be different? There’s no way in my mind where I don’t see things crumbling. I don’t want to tell my daughter about this, but I don’t know if I have a choice. Especially in this day and age, they know my first name.

 

Is there anything you would tell younger you?

I don’t know if I have any advice. I don’t know that I’ve dealt with it enough to be about to give advice. I’ve definitely made mistakes along the way. Know your rights, go to the doctor… I don’t even know.

I guess find an outlet that is not alcohol. Not marijuana. Not self-loathing. Maybe a person to talk to or even a punching bag. Find an outlet because if you sit around and do nothing, you’re just going to hate yourself. And you’re never going to escape that, you’ll always wonder if something is wrong with you for the rest of your life. I question myself all of the time.

There were a million times there was a fork in the road and I could have chosen a different road, but I did what I could with what I had. It doesn’t matter.

Talking with you about all of this, I’m sitting here having an out of body experience right now. I almost feel like I have no emotions. It’s someone else's life. It’s not, but it’s really fucking hard.


Feel free to leave supportive comments or your own stories below - anonymous or otherwise.