It wasn’t just the rape.
It was everything surrounding the rape.
Do you know what the plural of rape is? Rape. So when I refer to “rape” I’m not referring to one instance. It was many instances over the course of two years (from what I remember)
I got braces this week (2018)
What does that have to do with rape?
I’ve wanted braces since I was 15; when my teeth went from being nicely spaced out to being crowded and crossed. They were as confused as me. They were being squeezed together by the pressure of my wisdom teeth; besides the overall structure of my mouth. No one knew this. We couldn’t afford a dentist, so I wouldn’t find out about my wisdom teeth until I was in my twenties and a chiropractor would see them on an x-ray after I’d been in a car wreck.
Over the years I was glad I had crooked teeth, and a big nose. Maybe if I was ugly enough then Ted would leave me alone. But he didn’t, and he wouldn’t. I remember sitting on the bench at a church baseball game, waiting my turn for bat. He was behind me, talking to someone else. He said “I like it when girls have braces, because it shows that they care about their appearance. That they want to look nice for men.” I knew he was talking about me. He wanted me to hear. Statements like this were meant to keep me under his thumb. If my parents could barely afford to keep the water in our house running, how could I ever ask for braces? Besides, did I want to be a pawn in his game? Hell no.
In public I was ignored by him, and if I wasn’t ignored, then mocked. In private he wanted me to be nice, and when I fought him away, I was threatened, then abused. Once even drugged. I was at his mercy, and he knew it. I woke up the morning after having the date rape drug put in my drink and thought, “What would happen if I stopped fighting? Would remembering what happened to me be worse than not knowing what happened to me the day before?” It was scary as hell waking up in my bed and wondering who and what had happened to me. I couldn’t stop fighting, but I did lose my will to fight. And when I lost my will to fight, then my spirit went to a scary dark place.
I stayed in the dark place for a long time.
Every time a public rape case is in the news I think about my rapist out there somewhere. Enjoying his life, juggling oranges for his children. He thinks he got away with rape, and he’s probably right.
It’s been too long for me, I have no case (according to the lawyers). I don’t want to confront him, I don’t want to see him. I don’t want him to look at me, to see I have braces. I don’t want him to know me now. I don’t want to know him now. I have a choice. Some might choose to believe that I always had a choice. But I’m here to tell you:
I never had a choice.
I have a choice now. I’m making the choice to share my story. I’m making the choice to be vulnerable again, in a new and healthy way. Not everyone has experienced this abuse, not everyone will understand. I have made a promise to be open with my readers, however raw, angry, or hurt it may read. It will always be my truth.
Yes, I am hurt when I read stories about rape. I can relate with the victims. I have promised myself to live life with arms and heart open. Sometimes when you live that way, the hurt gets inside. The low feelings drag me down for a while, but when I keep my arms open, I will soon begin to soar.