It’s October 1st today. 12 days until it has been 17 years. I was 12 years old when I was raped by a couple that was much older than me at the time. What I remember is sneaking out of my mom’s house and hopping in my friend’s car, going to their house where everyone got dressed and ready to go, where my friends had helped me feel pretty. Born male, I was questioning who I really was, and decided to get a makeover, eye shadow, eyeliner, some mascara, foundation, lip gloss, painted nails. I wore a cute denim style dress that was down to my thighs, with a black cardigan over it, and pantyhose underneath, complete with a pair of high heels, and my hair braided down my back. I felt pretty, and cute, and wanted to hang out with people older than me at a loud party where some people were drinking, some were doing drugs, some people were hooking up. Until that day, I had never drank, I had never smoked, never had sex, never even been kissed.
At the party, I remember hanging out with a group of people talking, with my back up against a wall. As I was standing there this woman walked up, Nikki was her name, and started talking to me. I had known her for a little while, knew she was a roadie with her boyfriend, following bands around the country and were in town every now in then for shows and to crash whatever parties they could find (mainly for a place to stay). At the time I thought she was really cool, she had stories of bands from all over and all the stuff they’d get up to, so that night seemed no different until she asked if I wanted a drink and I said yes. From there on I don’t remember near as much other than “waking up” naked on a dirty mattress in a filthy room, with my clothes being thrown at me, laughed at and screamed at by Nikki and her boyfriend about how much fun they had with me, being slapped, told I was a slut, a whore, shaking and crying while putting my clothes back on and stumbling out into the street.
When I finally did make it back home, I was a mess. Mascara running down my face, crudely applied lipstick smeared everywhere, scratches down my back, bruises on my neck and my sides, on my wrists, in between my legs. My whole body screamed and ached. I wanted to sob, to scream, to break things. Instead I mostly withdrew and broke down. I washed myself off, washed every piece of evidence away. Why did I do that? Because I was afraid of getting in trouble, afraid of not being believed. I got rid of the dress, the cardigan, the ripped pantyhose, the high heels, and took up wearing baggy clothes and hoodies everyday to hide the bruises. I never wore a dress or makeup again, as some part of me blamed what I was wearing for what happened to me, all because I had heard that argument too many times. I also became incredibly self-destructive. Started smoking cigarettes shortly after, drank often, and had sex with a lot of different people, partly to feel a connection, partly to feel like I had some level of control. Quickly that gained traction into heavier drugs. Snort cocaine to feel good about life, to feel a rush, smoke meth to feel alive and on top of the world. Took different kinds of pills just to see what I could do to myself, to deal with having no control, to feel happy, to feel nothing. I had control taken from me with one moment of time, and just continued that spiral out of control, self destructing.
Luckily, I had found my way out of that downward spiral. I fell in love when I was 14, to Marie. She passed away when I was 15, however she managed to bring me out of my self hatred. I sought help shortly after, finally breathing after carrying trauma with me, self destructing along the way. I learned healthy ways to cope, however I didn’t give up smoking until I was 23. I’m not saying I don’t still carry the invisible scars with me from that traumatic experience, I do, and will most likely carry them with me every day of my life. I even had a couple suicide attempts in my teens, and I have physical scars that were put there to deal with the emotions swirling in my head. I may not remember the exact details of what my attackers did to me, as they violated me after drugging me, but my body seems to remember. I struggle with giving my 3 year old daughter piggyback rides, because any pressure near my neck makes me start to panic. I’m more easily startled than ever. Even being held down during consensual sex completely makes me panic.
One thing I never did after I was raped, was tell the police or my parents. I never talked to friends about it. I told Marie, and I’ve told my wife, but I had never told anyone else. I figured now was as good a time as any to finally truly let go of my story.