August 26

June 4, 2010
By
Do they know? Can’t they tell? I’m not hiding it that well. Puffy eyes and tear stains on my cheeks. How can they not notice? Something happened. Maybe they don’t care. Hiding from the reality of it, I don’t want this. But I need it. I know they see them: The ever so noticeable gashes on my wrists. They don’t know why. There’s a good reason. I promise. I can explain. Listen. You’ll understand…

It was cold that night. I didn’t care. I was his princess. For the moment, everything was perfect. It was late and everyone was sleeping when he came over. Sitting in the cold in my backyard seemed like rapture. How wrong I was. I can trust him, I thought. Why couldn’t I? Things didn’t go as I planned. I gave up, didn’t fight him. Tears ran down my face, but it didn’t matter to him. Once he started, I knew he wouldn’t stop. No. Stop. No matter how hard I thought it, I couldn’t say it. There was no point. He was getting what he wanted, what I didn’t want him to have. I know he heard it when the pain escaped my lips. Deep intakes of breath, trying to not let it show. How could he not care? How could he enjoy that? Did I even matter to him anymore? I kept my eyes closed. I couldn’t bear to look at him. I was crying enough already. I wasn’t strong enough to fight him off like I wanted. It wasn’t fair. His hands on my body, I shook. No matter the cost, he was going to have me. I knew what was happening and I couldn’t stop any of it. Despite the screaming in my head, I couldn’t make him get off me. I clawed at him when I felt my back start bleeding. The rocks in my back did so much less damage than he did.
When he was finished, I still felt helpless. I didn’t move for a little while. And he just stared at me, no guilt, and no shame in his eyes. He was blank. I slowly got up. He ripped the rocks out of my skin and helped me back inside. He kissed me one last time. And as he walked away, my phone vibrated. One new text message. It was him. Couldn’t he leave me alone? He got what he wanted. I opened my phone. “I love you.”

I lay in bed for hours, unable to sleep. What had happened kept flashing through my head, over and over and over. It didn’t stop. I was bleeding on my sheets, but at that point I didn’t care much. At some point between insanity and reality, I fell asleep. And waking up the next morning was Hell all over again.

I got up slowly the next morning for school, wondering if it was all a dream. Pain searing between my legs and up my back convinced me it wasn’t. I looked down at my bed. Dried blood clung to the sheets. My legs had dirt all over them. A shower was probably a good idea. I got in and felt the water wash the dirt out of my cuts. It hurt, but I was too numb to pay attention to it. No matter how hard I scrubbed my skin, the feeling of him wouldn’t wash away. I went to school looking like I had been hit by a bus. I didn’t care. Nothing mattered. No one seemed to notice what was wrong with me. In third period I found my haven. The music wing. People looked at me and seemed like they understood. And though I had told no one, they acted as if they knew what pain I was dealing with.
Everyday was an uphill battle that I couldn’t win. My parents couldn’t understand why I was failing my classes. I was always a good student. A’s and B’s, but I couldn’t deal with it this year. I was dealing with enough. I needed to tell someone, anyone. But I never did. I kept feeling that if I did, he’d hurt me again. It made sense then. I saw him time and time again throughout the day. Each time it got harder and harder to move away from him. He never said a word, just stared. Always with that look. “You’re mine.” I couldn’t get away from it. I blocked out memories of that night. If I pushed it back, it’d disappear. But that wasn’t the case.

Then this year, the flashbacks and memories resurfaced and were getting worse. I had to tell someone. So I did. My uncle was the only one who knew. And I made him promise to keep it that way. At least until I was ready. I had been in therapy for almost a year for trying to commit suicide. I found another person I could open up to. My psychologist just looked at me, “unable to speak,” she said. How could a girl that had been through so much, still find the courage to face anyone? I didn’t have an answer. Slowly she started to piece together signs of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. It made sense. Part of treatment for PTSD is re-writing what happened and picking it apart. It’s called a trauma narrative. These last few weeks, I’ve wanted to murder her for making me relive that night over and over. Today is my last day of treatment for what happened. I have to read my trauma narrative to my mother.

I was so afraid to tell anyone what had happened because I didn’t want to get hurt again. So, why tell people now? Part of my treatment is sharing what happened. And I made the conscious decision to speak up because it can happen. We, as teenagers, envision ourselves as invincible. We’re not. I’m living proof that it can happen to you. Have no delusions; sharing this isn’t easy. But I’ve learned how to travel between that night and today and still survive. Today, I can move on from what happened. There’s no getting away from it. I was raped. And I’m not afraid anymore.





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