May 1998

Continued from last month. . .

Before I start this column, I just want to say that what I'm writing about is very difficult for me, and I probably wouldn't even be doing this if it wasn't for massive encouragement from some people very close to me.

I've changed certain things to protect my identity, but what you are about to read is the truth. I just wish that it wasn't.

When I came home from my grandparents I was so happy with myself because I had lost all that weight and I had so many good times with my cousin PJ and I felt like I was on top of the world! I was even looking forward to going back to school as the new me, and I thought that things would be better for me since I wasn't fat anymore. Was I ever wrong.

Right before the school year began I ran into one of my few friends and he invited me to come over to his house to go swimming with him, and I went back to my house to get into my swim trunks. After I changed I went to grab my bike from the garage but for some reason I decided not to take it. I still have no idea why I didn't. My friend lived a few streets away from me and it would have been worth it to ride, but I walked instead. I took a shortcut to get to his house through some woods and that was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my entire life.

I was halfway through the woods when I was jumped by these two older guys and they dragged me off of the path and into the woods. One of them raped me and the other beat me until I was unconscious. I remember some details from when the police found me, but I'm keeping that to myself. I was in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, but when I finally came to I remembered everything, and the pain was beyond belief.

When I went back to school just about everyone treated me real bad, including some teachers. The stares were the worst, and so were some of the things that were said to me. I still can't believe that anyone can be as cruel as they were to me!

I ended up being home schooled because I just couldn't take being there anymore, but I also couldn't stand living there either. I just didn't feel safe, and it wasn't fun being known as The Raped Kid. Until we moved I only left my house a few times, and that was just to see the doctor. We ended up moving a few months later, and I hope I never have to go to that disgusting place again. It's no longer my hometown, and aside from the two friends that didn't abandon me, I don't want to have anything to do with anybody from there. As far as I'm concerned that place doesn't exist.

Moving wasn't fun, and probably the worst part was having to pack up my mom's things. We had kept things as they were when she was alive, and going through her closet was too much for my dad and I to deal with, so her parents did that. Our house wasn't just a bunch of rooms, it was a special place filled with lots of memories. It was the only house I'd ever lived in, and leaving it tore me apart. It took a long time to get adjusted to our new home and town, but it's getting easier to deal with. My dad and I are always finding new things out about this area, and we now call it our home.

Getting used to a new school was harder than I thought it would be, and the first few weeks I had a really bad time. I kept screwing up but the teachers actually were cool to me, and that's hard for me sometimes to accept. After what's happened to me I have a real bad time with anyone being nice to me because I always wait for them to become mean. Sorry, but it's hard for me to trust anyone. Why should I?

I started therapy as soon as we were settled into our new house, but the first few times my dad had to drag me kicking and screaming into the office, and I ended up going through two psychologists before I found one that I felt comfortable talking with. I feel bad about that in a way, but that's how it is.

When I first went to see my psychologist I was the meanest possible person you can imagine, I said some really bad things to her and was as rude as possible, but she's totally cool to me. I now understand why I was like that, that I was angry and I needed to get that out of me, but I had no right to treat her that way. I have tons of anger inside of me, and it doesn't seem like it's going to ever end.

I've been in trouble in school more than a few times, and I've lost it a couple of times and done things that I'm not proud of, and I can become violent. The first week at this school we were playing basketball in gym and one of the smallest guys in my class took the ball off me and I just decked him without even thinking about it. I'm just glad he's not a mean person, and he ended up becoming my best friend here.

Holidays have been really difficult for my dad and I since my mom was killed, and this past Christmas was just the absolute worst ever, along with Mother's Day. We had always put a huge effort into decorating our house, but we just didn't even bother doing that. It's hard to be joyous when you have a family member gone from your life like my mom is.

I was so depressed that I decided to kill myself right after Christmas, and while I was trying to get the nerve to do it I sat in front of the TV and flipped through the channels, and I just happened to stop on a news program about a family that was dealing with a really bad tragedy, and that made a huge difference with everything. One of the family members is about my age, and I could relate perfectly to what he was saying because it was exactly what I am constantly feeling. That was the first time I ever had a chance to see another person in the same situation, and we have(had)the same struggles.

I think seeing him talk about his life is what has given me the encouragement to share this with all of you, because if you have never been raped there is no way for you to understand just how it feels, and I don't want anyone to have to ever go through this, but it happens everyday and maybe by sharing my life I can reach out to those who are going through the same thing?

So, how do you feel after you've been raped? I'll tell you.

Just try and imagine being scared every single minute of your life, nonstop and even in your dreams at night, or with me, nightmares. Imagine having to sleep with a light on. . . if you can even sleep. I wet my bed so much that I don't care anymore.

Imagine never feeling safe, even in your own home with the burglar alarm on 24 hours a day. When a stranger knocks on the door I don't answer it. Ever. No exceptions.

When my dad and I go see a movie -- I'll never go alone -- I have a can of pepper spray in my hand instead of popcorn. If I have to use the restroom, well I just wait until I'm at home. There I can lock the door. And the deadbolt too.

When I'm out somewhere I look over my shoulder every chance I can, and if someone I don't know says "hi" to me I ignore them. It might sound rude but I'd rather be rude than sorry. And if someone tries something on me I hope they have good medical coverage because they'll need it when I'm done with them. I'll do anything possible to protect myself and I don't feel bad about that. Why should I, I'm not the criminal?

Try to picture how scary it is to change for gym class, or how totally gross it is to have my doctor give me a physical exam? When I go to the dentist I wear a cup supporter. You get used to it after a while. When I have to try on clothes my dad stands guard at the door, and the two-way mirrors get covered. I'm not a thief so why should anyone be looking at me in there. Summer's coming but there's no way I'm going to go swimming at a public pool, and forget going to a water park. Too many weirdos hang out at those places. Especially in the changing rooms.

I'm sure some of you will think this is harsh, but what happened to me is harsh not how I feel. I know anyone that's been through this will understand me, those who haven't should consider themselves lucky. Very lucky.

Some of you will probably think I'm totally f--ked up, and you know what, you're right. I am f--ked up, but none of this was my fault. This is what happens to you when you're raped. Nothing's ever the same as it was before, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you wish, what was is gone for good.

This is all I have to say for this month, and next month I'll probably talk about some of the other things I have to deal with, including the zillion questions I have about my sexuality. I hope what I've written has at least given some of you an idea just how bad sexual abuse hurts, and to those who have been through it, maybe my speaking out will help you cope even a tiny bit better? If I reach even one person and help them suffer less, then what happened to me wasn't for nothing.

I want to thank everyone who's helped me along the way, especially "C" for saving my life and showing me that there really is hope after all. Your strength gave me the courage I desperately needed when I had none, and I hope I can pass that along to others.


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