Friday, July 3, 2009

Regaining Her Voice: Nicole’s Story

How old were you at the time of the assault(s) ?
I was 14 for the first.. I guess we could call it incident. I was newly 20 for the 2nd.

How Old are you currently?

Where did the Assaults happen?
The first one happened the night before senior prom, although I was not going to prom I was just invited along to see the hotel room my senior friends were going to have the night after.

The 2nd incident occurred at a house I had never been to, down in LA. I was on a trip trying to open myself up more and make new friends, but sadly it just closed me off more.

Did you know the person who committed the assaults?
Yes the first incident was committed by the guy that I considered my best friend and a person I could trust completely he was my confidant.
The second was by a random stranger, I was trying to be social and drinking and I ended up getting really sick, my friends put me upstairs in a bedroom so I could sleep it off. But I did not end up sleeping, I was interrupted by a guy looking for an easy target. It didn’t matter how many times I said I was not interested, that I didn’t want to participate, he did what he pleased.

Did you tell anyone about the assault at the time?

The first one I still feel like I cannot claim, I feel like I am lying about it, because anyone that I told, responded that my friend would never do such a thing. One of my female friends believed me the rest were skeptical.
The second I came down right after and was sobbing and trying to tell the person I was there with, he responded that he didn’t want to fuck me at that moment because he was sleeping with someone else that night. Not only was I assaulted but the person I was with blew me off and didn’t care nor even want to listen to what happened. So I sat in the corner crying wanting to go home, but my ride had left for the night so I had to sleep in the room it happened on the floor. It was one of the worst nights in my life.

Did the assult go to a court trial?
No in both cases, I was too ashamed it was my fault anyway… so there was no point in getting negative attention over it.

Do you think they will commit sexual assault again?

The first person : No. He ended up getting married to one of my friends sisters, I told her what happened but she didn’t belive me, she mentioned that he was on coke at that point in his life so it didn’t manner anyway. He get to live a normal happy life, while I am more screwed up inside then I will ever realize.
I don’t know about the second person, I only barley remember what he looked like.

What would you like to say to people about sexual assault?
Unless it has happened to you, no matter how much you think you do, you do not understand. It took away who I was and I will never ever have that person back. It has been 8 years since the first incident and I am just now Turing to face it, I ran from it for years, saying it happened if people asked but not really believing myself, I never felt like it really happened. To this day I feel like I am lying, right now I feel like I am a fraud. But it happened it affected me, it affected me more then any single event ever has and ever will. I was 14, I was so innocent, I was just starting to learn about myself, to grow and gain a sense of who I was. And in one instant it was all ripped away. I didn’t have teen years, maybe I went through the ages 15, 16, 17, but I didn’t really live them. I hid inside myself. The second rape, yes lets call it that, its hard for me to say that. I was raped. I want to cry when I say it, because it is starting to feel real. The second rape, did not hurt me as much, but it confirmed to my inner core that I truly was worthless, my existence did not matter, my happiness did not matter and who I was or could be certainly did not matter one bit. To this day I base how I feel about myself based solely on how other people treat me. My self esteem relies entirely on how I feel my friends or family or whomever view me. So if someone stands me up, or doesn’t want to be around me, I hate myself. Its not this clear, I don’t consciously think about it, but it is how my self esteem responds.

What would I like to say about this project?

Thank you. Just being involved has allowed me a lot of introspection. While introspection is not healing, it certainly is a start. I am proud of myself for being able to say “I was raped.” and mean it not to others but to myself. I am claiming the demon I have ran from. Its so scary, I cried before I went to have my picture taken by Eliina, but I know I am heading in the direction of healing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Regaining Her Voice: Joya’s Story

In 1974 at age 21

How old were you at the time of the assault?
How old are you currently?
Where did the assault happen?
LA Area

Did you know the person who committed the crime?

Did you tell anyone about the assault at the time?

Did the assault go to a court trial?

Do you think they will commit sexual assault again?

What would you like to stay to people about sexual assault?

It affects your life choices drastically, in a negative way.

What would you like to say about this project?

It is here when you are ready to regain your voice. No more hiding. This project is the safe place for your story. Finally, rest.

I was on the last 20 miles of a 3,000 mile journey, hitchhiking from New York to
Los Angeles to my parents’ house. I got a ride from a young black man. We had just gotten on to the freeway. It was 8:30 pm. He said he was ‘packin’. I thought he meant sandwiches. He cleared that up when he said he had a gun. He drove to an oil refinery parking lot. While raping me in the back seat of his Pinto I played along like a girlfriend, attentive and loving. He liked me. He said I should meet his mom and hangout with the family on the 4th of July! Afterwards I asked him if he could take me home now. He said “Hell No” and told me some white guys had raped his sister and now he knew “two wrongs don’t make a right”. We drove to his house. He knew where the Vaseline was. No birth control, but lube. He did it again. Then said he was leaving me with his cousin while he went to get some pot. He was gone for a long long time while his cousin got some “white sugar” (me). No lube.
He said “it hurt him as bad as it hurt me.”
It was probably 3 or 4am when the first guy returned. He made a bed on the floor in the living room for us. I actually fell asleep. We awoke to his cousin standing over me with a tire iron demanding more “white sugar” (me). The first guy asked me if I really had been
sleeping and I said yes. Then he grabbed my hand, pulled me up and we ran out the door to his car. We escaped; his cousin was on my heels. How weird to “escape” and still be
captive. He drove to a hotel and left me in the car while he went to “get a room?” I do not know what he was doing but he was gone too long.
I checked my purse for my I.D. The $20 bill was gone but the I.D. was there. I did not want him to know where I lived. I bolted across the highway to a small building with a light on. I ran up to the window and said, “There’s a man chasing me; can I hide here?” The woman motioned me to the back door. I sat on a crate next to some large cans of tomatoes. It was a catering truck kitchen. She offered me a scrambled egg burrito ending 9 hours in captivity. It was delicious. She said there was a man running up and down the street out front.
I smiled.
I got a ride home with a catering truck driver, woke my parents up and told them the story. My dad called me a whore but I was still glad to be “safe”.
“Safety” became my drug of choice.
Two days later I proposed to an ex-boyfriend, a pothead alcoholic who said “Yes”. I stayed with him 19 years and had 2 kids.
It takes drug/ alcohol-free courage and creativity to be happy. Pain pushes until
creativity pulls. I’ve got a couple of homemade careers where I get to redo
my life as it could have been.
When I walk at night I walk with large male friends and/or their dogs.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Regaining Her Voice:Rachel’s Story

How old were you at the time of the assault(s)?
I was 5-10 years old

How old are you currently?
I am 23 years old

Where did the assault(s) happen?
In my grandfather’s house

Did you know the person who committed the assault(s)?
Yes, my grandfather

Did you tell anyone about the assault(s) at the time?
Did the assault(s) go to a court trial?
Was there a sentencing?
Do you think they will ever commit sexual assault again?

What would you like to say to people about sexual assault?
It is something anyone, anywhere can experience without any preconception. Do not be naïve; it can happen to you or someone close to you. If it has happened to you know you are not alone and help is out there.

What would you like to say about this project?
Excellent!! Something I have been waiting for. Very excited to see more stories.

Although I was sexually abused several years ago, I feel it affects my life now more than ever. Nothing really seems right. Growing up I always put myself in situations to get hurt. For example, I was involved in relationships where I was not loved and I was being used for sex. When I was younger I loved sex; it was a sense of power and control for me. I knew I had what guys wanted and I used it to my advantage. I used to think I was a sexaholic because I always wanted to have sex. But now that I am with someone who loves me, I treat him like he was one of the other’s using me. I resent him sometimes and I started thinking to myself “Am I falling out of love? Is this lust?” But I am starting to realize he LOVES me! And I think that is something I was never able to accept. I never knew how it felt to be loved from the inside out. Even my friends I feel they love me but in my crazy head I don’t see why. Growing up not only did I attract horrific relationships but I also attracted bad friendships. I had friends that always tried to control me and run my life. At first I believed this friendship to be love but then as I got older I realized how much I pushed myself aside and dealt with these situations. Another way the abuse affects me today is with my family. I feel so unloved, unwanted, a burden to my brothers and sometimes to my dad. I guess this came from when I first told my parents about the abuse. At first my father did not believe me and had to clarify it with my cousin who we learned was also being sexually abused by my grandfather. Then I was sent to counseling and my grandfather was not to show his face. Then my dad started to feel bad for him because he is old and is pretty much helpless so he was allowed back in the house, basically they chose my grandfather over me. And that is pretty much how I have been feeling for 9 years now. And I have not spoken about it with them since! I want to get over this already and I want to stop blaming everything I feel on my past because I do have the ability to change but I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to say it’s okay, it was in the past let’s move on…my grandfather does not deserve that sort of justice. The way I used to deal with the past is by not thinking about it. But what was bad about this classic method is the moment something reminded me of it whether it was something visual, smelly or emotional, I broke down and no one knew. All throughout my childhood I tried to block it out and ignore what was going on but I have never really felt healed. It was not enough for me to just write down my thoughts. Or how I used to handle it was cutting my skin and becoming mute in school. What I always wanted was to talk with other individuals who were sexually abused and how they dealt with it. Till this day I am 23 years old and my past has made me who I am, in most cases a good person but in others it does have the best of me and I do look back at it and feel ashamed. I allow my childhood to control my relationships, my sex life, my personality, my self esteem, myself worth, my family, and my friendships. If it wasn’t for people who really love me and understand me, I would probably still be stuck in an extreme emotional rut. The way I try to cope with the past today is by blocking it out and telling myself what happened in my past has made me a beautiful person today. Sometimes turning it positive helps me accept it but it is not always so successful.