Friday, June 02, 2006

A voice-for mature audiences only

In December of 1995 I was living naively in a rooming house in Columbia, PA. I was 21 and waitressing, eating free bread at work and canned soup from a hot pot for supper- actually, that was my food for the day. No sheets on my bed. A beach towel for a blanket. But I was gonna make it on my own. I was.
One night I sat on my bed at 11PM feeling oddly anxious and apprehensive but managed to fall asleep. Two and 1/2 hours later came yelling in the hall and pounding on my door. My first thought was to grab my keys and take off to my friend, Todd's, in Millersville, twenty minutes away. But the man in the hallway was after me. When he grabbed me and said, "Take off your clothes," I thought, I am going to be raped.
I broke away three times, finally making it out to my car (and losing my room key along the way). I sat in the driver's seat, my perpetrator somehow (I don't remember how he got there) in the passenger's seat, and the sounds of my sobbing astounded me; like a terrified animal. There were words- lots of threats on my life, and the landlord there by now, standing outside my door, laughing (yes, clearly laughing) at me.
What can I say? Yes, I went back inside. Where else could I go? My keys were missing in the dark parking lot. There was no where to run he couldn't catch me. And he would shoot me if I tried. Or so I was coming to believe. I don't think he even had a gun. But how could I risk being shot in the back at now 2AM in a silent, dark, impoverished neighborhood?
I next remember being back in the room, and eventually naked. Stopped shaking or I'll kill you! over and over.
It lasted near to three hours. Rape, sodomy- both ends, punches to the back of my head, one prolonged strangle hold. And he bit my cheeks. But left them intact. Why? He had plans to prostitute me. Can't ruin the packaging, I guess.
What did I think? My mind strayed away and let just my body stay. I thought of suicide. My main concern became keeping myself useful to him.
And I maintained this plan as he kidnapped me to Philadelphia. To prostitute me. Which thankfully never happened because I'd left the condoms at the rooming house. Oh, he didn't wear one. But he certainly didn't want to get anything from any customers I might have.
Staying useful. Playing sweet and dumb. Playing dumb got him talking to me like a friend.
Once we got to Philly he paraded me around a while, showed my tits to strangers- then took me to his aunt's somewhere deep in Philly, from where I never would have found my way out. He raped me once more and let me go to sleep.
I woke up several hours later to see an older woman smiling at me kindly while she braided a young girl's hair for school. She'll be dead in a year, she said as she looked at me. And I started to cry, and to pray harder than I ever have. To silently mouth Help Me. Help me.
Here is where I go foggy. I don't remember her leaving the room. I do remember HIM coming to my side and taking me to the kitchen to say his aunt had told him to let me go, I wasn't ready, and out of respect for his aunt, he would.
How wierd was it to be taken upstairs and snuggled into a bed made on the floor by my rapist, covered up, taken to breakfast later, even questioned about dating. I just kept playing my cards, being nice, promising never to tell, knowing that was my key home.
He told me he raped me because he saw a rich little white girl, and he really didn't like that. I think he was high when it happened and over the hours he realized I was a person.
I didn't take him to court- I only filed a report. I regret it now.
But when I got home the following afternoon I forgot how I'd always said I'd go straight to the hospital or police if I ever got raped. I forgot. I laid in bed dazed, and then I took a long, long, very hot shower. And the next day I went to work.
I stayed with a friend the rest of the week until the night she worked late and I decided I couldn't take it any more and drove home to my uncle's in NJ.
When I quit my job over the phone, saying I'd been raped, the manager didn't believe me.
For two years I was terrified of shifty looking black men (I am sorry)- I believed he did have mafia connections and had told his hitmen who would find me and kill me. He'd had my license plate number- I believed he could find me that way.
For two years, I didn't have a clue who I was. In one moment the girl I had been- well I don't know what happened to her. I remember her clear as day, but have never seen her again. I wasn't anyone. For two years an undecipherable personality hung on me- a personality I didn't recognize as me but knew must be me.
Every night I looked at the dark back yard, cars occasionally idling in front of the house- every night I was terrified.
It didn't occur to me once that night to bite him or to hit him- to hurt him back. These defenses are unnatural to me.
Now- now if anyone tried there is a rage in my so strong and deep I might kill before he got anywhere. With my teeth, with my fists, with every piece of me that will never, ever be raped or have my living in someone else's hands again. Somewhere in this once all sweet, all trusting person there is a ferocity of hate and revenge. No one is will ever hurt me like that again.


mikaelah said...

I am so sorry this happened to you.

Karen said...
I am not sure which archive, but not too far back, she took a self-defense course, a serious one. Her relevant blog invigorated me. I've managed to regain a lot of my trust and some of my naivete. Every year I am in a better place with it.
Thank you for your words that affected me as warmth and comfort.
Every time I talk about it or tell someone new I gain a little more control over it.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

What a horrible darkness, I wish i had words that could erase this and being your self back healed.

Heels said...

I am so sorry.