Thursday, October 19, 2017


The craziest thing is those are two of the hardest words to even type, knowing what it is associated with. It brings raw emotion. The night before I started my junior year of high school I was date raped by a man that I barely knew, but was excited to get to know prior to the events of that night. I actually met him at the end of another date, with a guy that I could have seen myself marrying and had known since he moved into my neighborhood several years before. My car wasn't working that day so we had walked quite a distance and he had to walk the rest of the way home, and I had to walk the few miles back to my house. Anyway, the man I met at the end of that date offered me a ride home, and I said he'd first have to give the other guy a ride home first, so we went and got him and drove him home. In the following days, the guy I was on the date with had met someone else and left for college (I'm not sure which order), and I didn't know what would come of us, since college was a big deal, and not within walking distance. So, one of my friends decided to give the guy a call that gave me a ride home to see if he would want to go out with me sometime... yes, back in the day when you had a friend ask a guy out for you.  

I had seen the guy a couple of times, with friends.  This night, he wanted to see me alone, that we would go grab some ice cream...

The night of the incident, a few weeks after meeting him, September 4, 1990, the man drove me up a road that lead to the middle of nowhere, I was physically shaking because I knew there was no ice cream stand up that road, and he said "What do you think I'm going to do, rape you, kill you, and throw you in the river?" The road was the Riverside Road. I didn't fight once it had started, as I had said no beforehand, my mind transported me to a field with beautiful purple flowers and I was running through them.  I literally felt like I had left my body and didn't come back to it until it was over.  The place my mind had transported me to, I had never seen the place before, but for the time, it made my life bearable. I figured if he was following through with the first half of his statement, I didn't feel like dying and being tossed in the river, where it might be a while before I was found. (It was called Riverside Road for a reason). I also really wanted to live, and I knew he had at least a golf club in his trunk (since I had given it to him), and he was bigger and stronger than me.  Death was not something that I was ready to face. 

I spent the next several hours, from about 10 pm to 5 am (three hours before school started, my first day as a junior) in between the hospital and the police department. I made it to my first day of school, then missed the next several. Life was hard for the next couple of years. I am sure I missed more days than I made it to school, or at least it was close. I was even runner up for the "Most days of school missed," or something like that my senior year.  

Very few people knew what happened to me. I was already pretty quiet and it was my own thing to deal with. My family knew, although my younger brothers probably didn't understand nor would I expect them to, and a select few other people.  There were many court dates. I hated men for a year, unless they were related to me. I didn't want to go out with them or spend time with them. I pretty much hung out with my friends and my family.  
In that first year, I organized a presentation to be put on with the New York State Police and the Cattaraugus County Community Action counselors, to discuss how to prevent this from happening, and how to protect yourself if it does happen.  I grew up in a small town, and this wasn't supposed to ever happen in my town, and it certainly wasn't supposed to happen to me.  I had no clue how to defend myself, or things to do to make the person rethink what he was about to do. We had a relatively good turnout from Saint Bonaventure University students, a few people from my high school and members from my church. It was the best way I knew to help others, educate others, so maybe they would not go through what I had.

A year later, I made a lot of decisions, several bad ones and some good ones, too. This kind of thing can really mess with your brain, and probably more so with the brain of someone that was my age. I went on to leave the area for college, and come out west to Idaho and Utah. I studied Psychology at Ricks College and Brigham Young University, so I could help others who have been in my shoes, but I never went on to get my Masters or Doctorate, so I can't do that.

In the end, the person was indicted of sexual misconduct. The Assistant District Attorney, police officers and my counselor figured that I wasn't the first person he had done this to, and he knew how to "cover his tracks." Being a child, having turned 17 during this time, and since he apologized after the verdict had been handed down, I asked that the fine be waived (yes, he was given a fine and no jail time).  Once again, the mind of a child, why should the courts get money when I was the one that would live with it for the rest of my life.... And my "he did say sorry, so he must mean it" mentality.

The sorry was just a courtesy, I decided later, but not much later. I didn't know the game back then. I was young and stupid, stupid enough to go out with the guy, by myself, although I didn't really know him. Young enough to think that the fine should have gone to me and not the courts, so why make him pay it anyway?! I'm not sure if the courts listened to my request; I hope they didn't. I hope he paid for his crime, even if it was just monetarily. I hope he never did this to another girl or woman. 
I have always said that I hope I was the one in four, so my mother, sisters, daughters and nieces, friends, in-laws never have to tell this story. 
I have left out names, because perhaps the guy I was seeing when I met this one doesn't want to be named... and I can only hope and pray that the guy that raped me has corrected his life and has made something of himself.  He was 21 at the time, so he would be 48 now.  
I don't tell my story for sympathy.  I tell it so, maybe, somehow, it will help someone else.  If you are raped, report it!  It could help prevent that from happening to someone else.  I once heard a statistic that a man could rape ten people before one will report it.  I don't know what the statistic is now, but if everyone reports it, then, if it still one in ten, then possibly nine women will not have to be raped by the same person.  

I am glad I didn't end up dead in a river; I'm not sure I would have, but the prospect was certainly made clear.  I have an amazing husband and four awesome children.  I have lived a good life.  I have an amazing family and I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment of the last 27 years, good, bad or ugly.  I still have many of the same friends, I have made new friends and I have become a person that I don't mind living with. 
If you are reading this, it was just a small time in my life.  It was a bad, hard time in my life, but just a small time, looking at the 16 years before and the 27 after, it does not define who I am.  I look at myself as a survivor; I survived and I have tried to help others and let people know how important they are. And man, those pictures of my kids are from quite a while ago.  I haven't blogged in a really long time, but I thought this was worth starting again, so I could tell my story, but not write a novel on Facebook.  This way, if people want to read it, they can, but if they don't, it isn't in their face.