A while back I promised to write more about the time when I was a junior in high school that I ended up getting arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital. I do plan on keeping that promise, perhaps in this post, but first I feel that I should write more about something that happened before this experience. Something that I have spoken about in my blog before, and thought that I had given more details about than I really had. A couple of years before the arrest, during October of my freshman year of high school, I was raped. I was 14 years old and this was my first sexual encounter.
I had been dating a boy that I met in my science class. His name was Eric. He was a sophomore and we had a nice little relationship going. Nothing too serious, we would hold hands under the lab tables during class, talk on the phone for hours, and go on dates to the movie theater. One day I called his house and his older brother, Dan, answered the phone. I ended up talking with him for a fairly long time. In fact, I’m not sure that I actually talked to the boy I was dating at all that day. The older brother was a senior, and he was paying attention to me. I had known and was friends with both of the brothers. I never thought that Dan might be interested in me though. I can’t remember if there was only that one phone call, or if there were more, but Dan somehow managed to convince me to break up with Eric. I didn’t realize until later that this had a lot to do with Dan always wanting to take away things from his younger brother, having me interested in spending time with him was just an added bonus for him.
So at some point after this phone call (or phone calls) I was on the bus heading to school. It started out as such a normal day, and I am still not quite sure where things went off track. I can remember sitting on the bus wearing a pair of light blue jeans and my favorite dark gray t-shirt that was fairly worn and was in fact on long term loan from my mother. I was sitting there with my headphones on listening to a cassette tape on my Walkman. I can even remember the specific song that I was listening to in this moment. “Sex Type Thing” by Stone Temple Pilots. Everything remained normal until I got to school and walked into the main lobby. Dan was there, along with a lot of my group of friends in our usual spot in the foyer. I walked up and said good morning to everybody and started to talk with Dan. Then I all of a sudden decided that I didn’t want to go to my first period class. I had never skipped a class ever before, but that day I wanted to. Dan was more than willing to skip with me, and we exited the building and went off to the very edge of the woods right next to one of the sports fields. We were hidden from the casual observer, but if anyone really looked into the woods, they probably could have seen us. We just sat and talked for a while, and looking back now on the situation, I was probably in the middle of a mild panic attack. After a while of talking, Dan decided to kiss me. I was okay with being kissed. I was even okay with a bit of making out, but Dan kept pushing things further and further. At this point is when my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember that I would tell him to stop, that I didn’t want to go farther, and he would. For a little bit. Then he would start all over again, from the beginning. It would always start with a kiss. And each time that he would start over, he would get a little farther until I would say “No”. He was training me to realize that “No” didn’t really mean anything. No matter how many times I said it, he would always start over and push a little farther. He was breaking me.
I eventually gave up on saying no. It didn’t matter if I said it, cause he was going to do what he wanted to anyway. And that was how I ended up naked and dazed in the woods right on the edge of a sports field, when a gym class came out. He found this humorous. He himself was still fully dressed. He allowed me to put my clothes back on, minus my favorite pair of underwear that he had literally ripped off me at some point earlier. Then he led me off deeper into the woods. I went with him because I was more afraid of getting in trouble for skipping school than I was of him at the time. So I allowed him to lead me deeper into the woods, where I quickly became lost. If I wanted to find my out and back to school to catch the bus home, I needed him.
He found a small clearing and put our jackets down like a blanket over the leaves on the forest floor. And then I was naked again, and so was he. This was the first time that I had ever seen a boy naked, and he was trying to convince me to participate in the “69” position with him. I turned my head to the side and he eventually gave up on that. The next thing I remember, he’s on top of me and he asks me if I want it. And I have no idea how to answer him. I’m lost in the middle of the woods, scared and cold, and I have just been taught that “No” means nothing. He doesn’t wait very long for an answer though, I might have nodded at him, or he may have decided that silence was consent. It doesn’t matter though, because I had said “No” very clearly several times earlier. Things should never have gotten to this point. There’s also the fact that I was only 14 and he was 18. However you look at it, what happened next was rape. I was lucky enough to either not feel anything because I was numb at this point, or my memory has blocked out any feelings that I might have felt. It wasn’t all that long before I found my voice again though, and told him to stop. And he did.
I got dressed, and then when I thought about what had just happened, I burst out crying. He was instantly apologetic, and beat himself up for pushing me too fast. He made it all about how horrible he was, he played on my guilt. And then he said he loved me, and asked if I still loved him too. And in my mind I decided that what just happened could not be rape, because we were dating. We were in love.
If the story ended there, I might still believe that what happened was not rape. But it unfortunately does not end there. He led me from that spot after a dog wandered into the woods and he gave it my torn underwear that he had previously had hanging from a tree. Because he thought this was hilarious.
He led me off to a nearby apple orchard. And I lay there on the ground and told him I was tired. Then he changed. He told me that if he was going to get in trouble for skipping school that day, that he was going to have fun. And he started in on me again. Only he was a bit more forceful this time. I don’t remember a whole lot very clearly. I remember at one point we both still fully clothed and I was lying on my back. He crawled on top of me, straddling my hips and started “riding” me, like he was some sort of cowboy. I think he even said “heehaw” and he was laughing hysterically. This hurt a lot, both physically and mentally. The next thing I remember was him on top of me again, inside me again. I quickly found my voice again this time too, and he stopped when I asked him to again, while making a joke about how I always “finish” before him. Luckily, very soon after this he led me back to school, where we thought that we would just be able to slip on the bus and go home. Only our mothers were there at the school. The school had called them when we didn’t show up for class. They had been worried about us all day. When I saw his mother, I burst out crying hysterically, and she had me sit in the back seat of her car to wait for my mother to come out. Dan told his mother that we had been picking apples and that I had been “like this” (meaning hysterical) all day. He was just trying to help a distressed friend.
I never told anyone what really happened until much later, because I didn’t realize what had really happened to me for a while. I got in trouble for skipping school, and even when my parents later found out from a guidance counselor that broke confidence that I was “sexually active” I still didn’t tell. I defended Dan when my father was talking about having him charged with statutory rape. I fought tooth and nail to stop him from doing it, and my father eventually relented. I thought that we were in love then, now I wish that I had allowed him to do it.
When I did finally have the realization that I had been raped, and confronted Dan about it. He apologized and then proceeded to try to back me up against a pillar and hug me. I found my voice much quicker and louder that time. I informed him that he was never allowed to touch me again, and I walked away from him into the school building.
This post ended up being much longer than I thought it would be, so the story that I promised to tell will have to wait for a later post.