Confessions of a Dreamer
It’s a typical night at work. I’ve taken what feels like a billion orders for french fries and burgers, served another billion drinks, wiped tables till my hands smell like the liquid we use for cleaning. My legs are sore, my feet are tired, and a glance at the clock tells me that it is just about time for me to take my leave. As I am getting ready to go, a familiar face walks through the door. “Are you getting ready to go home” he asks. “Yeah” I say, as a goofy grin spreads across my face. I don’t know him all that well but man is he cute! We’ve talked casually as girls and guys our age often do, flirting here and there, and even hanging out from time to time.
He offers me a ride home and I don’t think twice. After all, I do know him, so what harm could it do? As we get to his car I notice two other guys sitting in the back. “These are my cousins” he says and introductions are made all around. “Do you mind if we stop by my apartment really quick?” he asks. “I forgot my cigarettes and it is right up the road.” “Sure” I say, after all he is a “friend” and therefore I have nothing to be concerned about. Besides, his cousins seem nice enough and I’m young, the night is young, and for whatever reason, these guys wanna hang out with me!
We reach his apartment and like a lamb being led to the slaughter, I agree to come inside while he “looks” for his cigarettes. It does not take long for me to realize exactly how wrong my choice was. Within moments, my hands are pinned behind my back and I am led into the bedroom. Suddenly time simple and completely stops. I find myself floating above, a spectator to the wretched scene below me. That girl trying to scream is not me. That girl whose clothes are being stripped from her body, who know has 3 sets of hands groping and proding is not me. I want to cry for the girl as she tries to escape and cannot. I want to scream at the girl as she looks into their eyes and asks why with her tears. I want to scream “Can’t anyone help her?” “Can’t you see what they are doing?” Yet no one will hear me. I am a spectator, a ghost, a silent watcher to the horror she is enduring. A pattern emerges as they have their fun. One to hold her wrists. One to cover her mouth. One to violate her till he is satisfied, his seed the only evidence left inside. Then they switch, and the routine continues…till each monster has had his fill. From my vantage point high above, I can see them for what they truly are. Wolves in human skin, feral animals who have stalked and captured their prey. “Why don’t you scream some more?” they ask. “C’mon bitch, fight…fight us you whore” but the girl, the sad little girl says nothing. She lays there, a living doll, her heart beating, her skin starting to bruise, her eyes slowly streaming tears, yet she (me) is long gone. We are floating, disconnected, a fly on the wall in a house of horror. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the air is let out of the balloon and she and I are reunited once more. Methodically I put my clothes back on, no thought, just motions. No feelings just action. Soon I am back home, grateful for the numbness that encompasses me, grateful for the amensia that is seemingly setting in my brain.
The shower is my savior, the heat a cleansing pool, removing my filth, removing my shame. I want to cry but not tears will come. I want to scream but I have lost my voice. I want to crawl into my grandmothers bed and feel her arms around me and go back to being a little girl. All of these wants but in reality I towel off and head to bed. No one will ever know. This is my shame to carry, my burden to bear. When I wake up the morning I head to school. The same girl on the outside, but on the inside a part of me is gone forever. My innoncence and trust forever washed away down the drain of a bathtub, never to return again.
I have been asked before why I have never chosen to press charges, the fact is, that in order to protect myself, every detail about their faces and names is gone from my memory. While the event itself I have vivid memories of, the rapists themselves are always dark shapes in my mind, figures that terrify me but that I can’t make out. I know I was friends with one of them, but despite therapy I cannot recall his name or his face. This may seem odd to some who read this but it was the way I protected myself and was able to move on with my life. I am sharing what happened in the hopes that other women who have experienced rape will realize that they are not alone. There is someone who understands. I am also hoping this will encourage them not to make the mistake I did. You deserve justice, you deserve to have vindication for being violated. I lost my opportunity a long time ago to bring my attackers to justice, and my life has not been the same since. I hope if you have ever been in a similar situation you will not make the same error. Speak Up. Speak Out. USE YOUR VOICE! I never used mine until today. I hope this will help give you the courage to use yours. Thank you.