*****WARNING***** The following is something that I just need to get off my chest. It’s ugly. It’s not going to be fun to read. It’s not going to be pretty to read, either, because I don’t have plans to read this over multiple times and edit it, I just want to get it out of my head. Now, there’s already enough crap out there right now that’s super upsetting, so you really, probably don’t want to read this. You probably ought to go read something funny. There are lots of hilarious lists of funny text message conversations out there. They’ll brighten your day. You should go read those. This? This is 1,000% selfishly written. I’m writing this, because if I don’t write it, my soul will never, ever be at peace. Ever.
I almost killed an innocent person. A few times. I won’t even tell you how many times.
That innocent person had been wrongly accused and dragged through thorns, gravel, muck and mire and had been told that she was a monster that should be dead.
That person is me.
I was emotionally and sexually abused and raped when I was 17. Repeatedly. Well, honestly, the emotional abuse started when I was 16.
I don’t fully understand how he did it. Partly because I can’t remember it. Trauma causes something called dissociative amnesia, so there are HUGE blocks of time that are completely missing from my memory. I always get excited when I remember something, unless it’s something that my brain was trying to forget when it made me forget everything else.
Anyway, the details are fuzzy. All I know is, I was a happy 16-year-old girl with big plans and self-esteem. Then I met him, and my self-esteem dissolved into nothing, and my plans crumbled to dust at my feet. I felt like I was nothing without him. And when I wanted to dump him and run far, far away where he couldn’t find me, I felt guilty for it.
(I do remember an example of the way he liked to “joke around” though. His family had just adopted two darling little boys from Haiti. They were black. One day, he was helping one of the little boys wash his hands in the sink, and he started making him scrub at his dark skin and said to this sweet, little guy, “Wash it off! Wash it off!” When it hit me that he wasn’t talking about washing away germs anymore, my insides turned cold. I was mortified. I tried to get him to stop doing that to this sweet, tiny kid [I don’t remember how old he was, but he couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4] and he brushed me off with this grin that stretched from ear to ear, like he was really funny, and said along the lines of, “I’m just kidding around,” and went right back to having this little boy scrub at his skin as he told him, “Wash it off! Wash it off!” So, yeah. That was how he liked to joke around.)
As everything progressed, I did NOT understand what was happening to me. I know people might not believe this, but, I was SUPER naïve. Ridiculously naïve. Some might even say stupid. I was stupid. So I thought everything was my fault. When he raped me, I didn’t understand that he had raped me. When he sexually abused me, I didn’t understand that it was abuse. All I knew was that, I wanted to die. Not in an “oh, I just had toilet paper trailing on my shoe, I’m so embarrassed I want to die,” no. No, I literally wanted to die. Because then the profound, inexplicable agony I felt in my chest, would stop. I knew that I never felt clean after I showered. That I’d started cutting myself just so I could feel something other than my heart dying, because there is nothing—NOTHING—more painful than feeling your heart dying.
My mom noticed that I didn’t laugh anymore. She actually mentioned it. I just remembered that not too long ago. I thought it was interesting.
I didn’t tell anybody what was happening, because I was so deeply, *deeply* ashamed. I was gross. I didn’t want anyone to know how gross I was. And it was my fault, wasn’t it?
Anyway, the details are in my novel. The things that happened to Emily with her boyfriend, happened to me. The gaslighting—I don’t remember all the ways he gaslighted me. That was taken from another experience I had with another monster. And he never did shove me down the stairs, and we never did run away together. That’s all a metaphor. And he wasn’t near as handsome or charming as her boyfriend, Ted Bundy was my inspiration there. But the rest… Even how people would look at me after rumors started spreading around the school.
I remember—and it’s only a blip of memory—collapsing to my knees in the gravel driveway of my house at night. I can see the stars, the trees. I was sobbing, praying for help. To make things stop. I didn’t know how to make it stop. I may not have understood what was happening, but I knew I wanted it to stop, and didn’t feel like I had any control over it stopping.
I finally told my bishop, and the porn-addicted boyfriend told his bishop. My bishop threatened to disfellowship me and made me confess—again—to a group of guys in a disciplinary counsel. It was traumatizing. My church was *everything* to me (and still is, despite crappy people; people aren’t Jesus, no matter how much they might think they are). In the bishop’s defense, he didn’t *know* I’d been raped and abused. Because I didn’t understand what was happening. And I wouldn’t want to accuse my boyfriend of anything if I did, because I thought I loved him, and what was I without him? But still… I was 17. It wasn’t right.
Yeah, I’d completely forgotten about that experience until just a few years ago.
But anyway, my boyfriend just got a slap on the wrist from his bishop—naughty, naughty, don’t do that again!
His bishop did give him a book to read, though, that was written by a religious leader, that said that, basically, it’s better that a woman should die than have sex before marriage. I know that because, my boyfriend read it to me. Just that part, though.
That book has been discontinued. It doesn’t get published anymore.
That was when I started contemplating suicide. Because it was better for me to be dead, right?
I overdosed on sleeping pills before school once, hoping I’d crash my car on the way there. Hoping to at least just sleep through the day because it hurt so much to be awake, to go into such a deep sleep that not even the school staff could wake me up, and wouldn’t it be kinda nice if I *didn’t* wake up?
And I gradually started hating him.
I didn’t understand *why* I hated him. I just… did. But I still didn’t feel like I could just break up with him. I couldn’t hurt him like that. And besides, there was no one else like him. He was special. And without him, I was worthless. Who else would want me?
I remember sobbing outside of a church building, though. Praying for help. For rescue. I may have even knelt there, I wouldn’t be surprised. I was in such a way, in another world, I didn’t care if people saw. (For example, I remember also crying and praying as I walked home from a party down Main Street in my hometown—Main Street! A group of guys stopped to ask if I was okay, it was only then that I realized I was making a scene.) Because I felt trapped. Whenever I did try to end things with him, he had this way of making me feel like I couldn’t… I did try towards the end, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t.
I felt like I was drowning.
Anyway, then I met Paul. That was when my mom said, “You’re laughing again!”
And this led to a very ugly break up. I was vicious. I was cruel. I’ll admit it. Because for some reason, I hated him.
But then I later had really mixed feelings about it. I felt guilty about it. I shouldn’t have been so mean. I shouldn’t have hated him. Why did I hate him?
(It honestly took me until around 2016 to *fully* understand what he had done to me, and what had happened to me. I believed for that long—yes, for that long—that everything was my fault. This was in part because, in 2011, when I started to remember things and understand what had happened, a spiritual healer—not a trained psychologist, but a healer—told me that it wasn’t rape or abuse, my thoughts of it being rape and abuse were an illusion, and that really confused me. He wouldn’t let me fully explain my side of things, why I knew it was what it was, he didn’t have time for that. He did help me with a lot of other things at the time, and I love him for that, but he delayed that healing for years. But I now have a list—yes, a list—of trained therapists that can confirm what I have experienced, what I *know* and have always known in my very bones, even when I was too naïve to understand it. They know why I would panic when I watched movies that take place in high school and have to run into another room, curl into a ball, and sob as a wave of painful emotions washed over me, pulling me into a time machine that took me back to the most horrific moments of my life. They know why I did that same thing when my innocent baby, too little to walk on his own, was put in the tub with his nearly equally tiny cousin. They know why I can’t watch Special Victims Unit without having a meltdown. Why talk of prom and all the things that are happy memories for everyone else, sends me into flashbacks where knives and sleeping pills become my very best friends.)
My depression over the whole experience followed me for… well, I still feel it today. But when I was much younger, I thought I was disgusting. I couldn’t escape the pain I felt. My heart was shattered into a thousand pieces. I decided that my husband and children would be better off without me, because I was a burden and worthless. And I just, I couldn’t escape the pain…
So in 2010, I carefully planned my death. But then Someone found out, and stopped me.
That was when I finally started remembering things. And I started getting better. I’ve planned it out a couple of times after that at other low points, but I’m still here. As I should be.
Anyway, his family moved to my hometown for some reason. They had a perfectly fine house in another location, I don’t know why they felt the need to move there, but they did. And I knew right then that I would NEVER move back to my hometown.
Around the time Paul and I were making plans to move to my hometown—around Christmas of 2016—I went to a play in a neighboring town that my niece was in. Guess who was there? His family. My anxiety at this had me on high alert and I wanted to bolt, but I had to tell my niece that she’d done a good job. So I continued to stand there and wait for her in the entryway of the playhouse.
His family all whispered and smirked at me. The one brother held his hand up to his face to block me from his sight as he passed me. (He and his brother—those tiny little boys—had loved me back in the day. I remember them running up to me and hugging my legs, so excited to see me. I’d hold them. I loved those kids. Now, all grown up, this little brother hates me, because they taught him to. They convinced him that I’m the villain. It just hurts so much.) When his mother passed by, I decided to take the high ground and smile and wave—I hadn’t seen her in over a decade, after all.
She looked right into my eyes and gave me the coldest, longest look, as if I were a criminal who had burned down her house.
I realized, they blame *me*. That kid I dated left the church, you know, as did his little sister. I don’t know all the details. But, apparently, in their eyes, I tore him apart, and it’s all my fault that he’s the way he is.
And I thought, “Oh great. Just great. We’re moving into a tiny town where people live that I not only never want to see again, but they also hate me. Terrific. Yay.”
I was a wreck. I was frantic. I had already been having the *worst* panic attacks at the thought of moving back home, there were so many bad memories that would sneak up on me from that time, so much pain, and now those *people*…
I knew that I had been awful to him when we split up. I’d always had mixed feelings about that. So I decided, in my frantic, heartbroken and confused mind, to try and make peace with these people and hopefully live in harmony.
And I wrote him an apology. I poured out my heart. I talked about the bishop and how he handled things and how that affected me… I didn’t accuse him of anything because my anxiety was already more than I could take and I’d already blamed myself for far too long, I didn’t need a confrontation, I didn’t need someone else to tell me I imagined it, that I’m a whore, that it was all my fault.
January 2018, when he finally read it, he gave my apology a thumbs down 👎 in response.
He rejected my apology.
It hit me then that, there was no chance for peace. And I’d just blown every chance I had at ever seeing justice by writing him an apology. He could very easily use my apology against me, to try and ruin my credibility. I’d seen it done during the Me Too movement with a comedian and his ex-girlfriend.
So I wrote everything down in my book. I wrote the painful details that I can’t bear to talk about. It would all be out in the world. My book was my way of getting justice. And I felt amazing about that. It was—and still very much is—a source of great peace and healing to me.
But now my book is out, and instead of being silenced, I want—more than ever—to scream what happened to me from the rooftops. To tell, with boldness, my story. And why I’ve almost killed me, an innocent person, multiple times.
But I can’t be too bold. I can’t name names. Because then I’ll be harassed. I’ll be accused of lying. I’ll have people tell me, all over again, that it’s all my fault, and I deserve to die. I’ve watched how these things happen. I know the drill. I don’t want it. I don’t need any more fear or trauma, thank you very much.
But… how is that right? How is any of this right? How is any of it fair?
I don’t believe he was heartbroken that he lost me. You don’t drown someone you love. You don’t abuse them. You don’t trick them into doing something sick you want to do and try to convince them that it was their idea. You don’t lay them down and have your way with them when they’ve been crying and saying they want it to stop.
He was heartbroken and torn up that he lost his pretty plaything, his possession.
But I’m not allowed to talk about it, because I’ll just get more pain. More hate. More blame.
How is that right? How is that fair?
I’ve almost killed myself multiple times over all of this, because sometimes the pain from these scars just completely overwhelms me.
I keep thinking about Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. His trauma led to his suicide. I get it.
But I’m not supposed to talk about it. People really don’t like you to talk about these things. Victims are supposed to just get over these things, and do so quietly. Have you noticed?
How is that right? How is that fair?
I guess I’m talking about it anyway.
July 15, 2020
5 thoughts on “You Don’t Want to Read This”
You are brave. You are powerful. It’s all there in the words. I’m equally impressed at what you’ve overcome and horrified at what you had to endure. Others will see this and gain courage.
Thanks for sharing this.
You are so brave in being able to tell your story. I told a family member I could see as Emily in your but didn’t know the full reason why. Any time you wold like to talk I am always here for you. I love and respect you at all times.
Anonymous is Anita. I thought it would pick up my name.
Thank you so, so much for being so kind and supportive, Anita! It means more to me than I know how to say. Thank you!! ❤️
❤️ Thank you. Again, I cannot tell you how much this means to me! I really can’t.