A rape victim speaks out

Most women never talk about being raped. This is one woman’s story.
By EMILY PARKHURST  |  January 17, 2007

070119_INSIDE_RAPE

I am a 25-year-old freelance classical musician from Maine currently pursuing my MFA in Writing and trying to get the most from my twenties. That is what I tell people when they ask who I am.

I do not say I am a two-time rape survivor. Like so many survivors of sexual assault, I have been mostly silent about my attacks, speaking only to my close friends and family members, as well as professionals like my therapist who are equipped to handle the aftermath of my traumas. The first of my attacks was nearly nine years ago. The second was exactly a year ago this week.

What I have to say is about silence and the power of finding my voice. After I was attacked the first time, I was terrified, full of self-blame, humiliation, and confusion. I was raped by a man I considered a friend in the Midcoast house where I lived my first summer away from my family. Even though while he was attacking me I begged and pleaded with him to stop, I could not bring myself to call it rape. I was certain that I had given him permission by letting him kiss me. I was certain that the attack was my fault. I kept my rape a secret to protect myself, my own denial, and the people who cared about me. In doing so, I also protected my rapist.

My second attack, January 20, 2006, occurred first in an Old Port dance club, where I went to go dancing with a group of nearly fifteen friends. I was sober until a man I had never met before offered to buy me a drink. I believe now that the drink he gave me was laced with Rohypnol (see “Drugs To Watch Out For”). He then isolated me from my friends until the drugs took effect — only about ten minutes. I have no memory of the five hours after I took a few sips of that drink. He must have dragged me, nearly passed out, to his car and driven me to his basement apartment.

When I came to in a dark, unfamiliar room, I first noticed my hand was covered in blood and loose bandages. Later I would discover bruises on my back and a huge lump on my head. I had no memory of sustaining any injuries.

It was then that I realized I was being sodomized. My motor skills had not returned and I could not turn my body around to see who was hurting me. My arms would not work properly. But I was starting to feel pain. When he realized I was awake he turned me onto my back, laid his weight on top of me, and continued to rape me. I didn’t fight back, I didn’t speak; I still had no idea who this man was or where I was. After he finished, he hurried into the bathroom to shower.

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