22 years ago next month, a man came into my house and changed my life forever. He wasn’t a friend. He wasn’t a family member. To me, he was a complete stranger. He was my best friend’s drug dealer. His name was Scott. He was 22. I was 14.
At 14 you’re pretty sure that you rule the world, and that nothing will ever hurt you. So, when my best friend suggested we drink the bottle of Jack Daniels in my parent’s liquor cabinet, I didn’t argue. It was horrible, and burned on the way down. I hated every minute of it, but my best friend assured me it was going to be fun. After a few sips the burning subsided, and the fun began. We started stumbling around the house, laughing hysterically, and calling everyone we knew. “I know,” she said “Let’s call my drug dealer, he thinks you’re really pretty.” At 14 the thought of a grown-up thinking you’re pretty is a pretty awesome thing. I puffed up my chest, shook my shoulders, and agreed to the phone call.
30 minutes later there was Scott, on my doorstep. He was tall and handsome. He touched my face and said hello. I was in heaven. After he and my best friend made a little transaction off to the side, he came up to me and put his hand on my waist. “Is there some place we can go to talk in private?” Being naive, and young, I walked him down to the basement. He followed behind me, with the bottle of Jack in his hand. Once we were down there he started urging me to take sips from the bottle. After each sip he would kiss me. A peck on the cheek, then the other. A lingering kiss on the neck. His hands fondled the outside of my shirt, and then under it. He told me how beautiful I was, and what an amazing body I had. In my mind, I was a queen. This is what it meant to be a teenager, to be wanted by a man. A real man. He then asked me where my bedroom was.
I stumbled up the stairs ahead of him. Up two floors to my bedroom. The door shut. The lights went off. I suddenly felt like I had left my body. I kept getting glimpses of a naked me on the bed, with him on top. It hurt, but I let it happen because he had told me I was beautiful. That had to mean something. Right? At one point I saw the door fly open, followed by a flash of light. “Oh my god!!!! They’re actually doing it!!!” It was my best friend yelling into the phone in excitement.
The next morning I woke up, not with a handsome 22 year old next to me, but in a rumpled heap in a pool of my own vomit next to an empty Jack Daniels bottle. Everything hurt. My head. My body. I felt confused. I felt scared. I felt violated. My best friend was sitting in the living room when I got downstairs. “So?” she asked, “How was it?” I didn’t know what to say, instead I shrugged my shoulders and walked outside. She followed me outside cheerfully. She explained to me that Scott had left when I started to throw up, and that she had traded me for drugs. My best friend traded my dignity for drugs.
Since then I have had difficulties forming personal relationships, and trusting those close to me. I have no emotional attachment to sex, and I a difficult time saying “no” when a man pushes himself against me. Instead of enjoying foreplay, I fill with anxiety and go numb. I become an emotional void from the first grope to the last insertion. I have a history of choosing the wrong men because I don’t know how to say “no”. I end up taking them into my life because they told me I was beautiful. Even after they stop saying it, after they start treating me like an object, after they become complete strangers in our home, after I try to cut them out of my life; I can’t say no.
I have been raped one more time since then. That one sent me into a very dark period in my life where I hurt a lot of men. I used them the same way I though they wanted to use me. For the past 22 years I have made myself believe all I am good for is sex. I have struggled with eating disorders, alcohol addiction, and self doubt. Now, for the first time since that fateful night, I am finally ready to put my feet back under me. I am ready to take my life back, and I am sacred shitless. For those of you who know me in real life, please be gentle with me. Please help me through the rollercoaster ahead of me because I have a long way to go.