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.

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