His Name Will Always Haunt Me
I was 14 and hanging out with a new friend. We went to the bowling alley and we were playing arcade games when the cool, older boys, one who I recognized worked at the local mall, joined us. My friend knew I had a crush on him. I don’t know if the new friend planned it ahead of time with them or if it was spontaneous, but my guess is it was planned. They invited us to ride in their car and hang out at their house. So we went. We were all in a bedroom upstairs when the other boy and my friend left. We started kissing and then he asked me if I wanted to see the black light posters from a better angle. We laid down on the floor. He started kissing me again and when I (a virgin) started scooting away, he grabbed my much smaller wrists, told me that if I make a sound his friend’s mother would come kill me with a knife and to just lay there. When he was finished, I was silently crying. He told me, “Get it together, “ but in like a sweet voice? It didn’t stop me from silently crying. Then he said, “I only did it because you were wearing a skirt.” As quickly as I could, I pulled myself together and found my friend downstairs, along with the other boy. The other boy saw my face and said, “Oh no, did he do it to you too?” The other boy dropped us of at my friend’s house. I called my mother to pick me up and she did. It was over winter break. I never told my mother what happened. Two weeks later, between Christmas and New Years, the rapist sent me a postcard from the Airforce to… brag? So, he must have been at least 18 at the time. About two years later, several girls called me on speakerphone to yell at me for having said he raped me. Then suddenly, I heard his voice, “Don’t lie. I didn’t rape you.” I replied, “Yes, you did,” but in a sad enough tone that I believe if you asked those women today what they think about that moment after MeToo, they would have a completely different reaction. There was an awkward silence before yelling commenced, I hung up, and avoided unknown calls for quite a while after that. These were women his age, 20 to my 16. “Date rape,” was a brand new term at the time, the media was expectedly sexist toward young women, and late night commercials always included Girls Gone Wild so I don’t fault them for falling for the system’s game. But, having it bullied at me years later was an awfully painful flashback. I tried to track him down, to get an idea of where he is and what he’s doing, but I never found anything. One trouble is, his name is so common, first and last, it belongs to my best friend’s husband and a local politician. Every time I see his name spelled out in full, I shudder and wonder… I was really messed up after the rape. I’m grateful to have a loving partner who I feel completely safe with, but it took like 15 years to get here (20+ years together now). That’s my story. I don’t think I’ve ever written it out in full like this before. Thank you for everything you’re doing. Everything. All of it. Thank you. You’re heroes.