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.

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