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(Ed. Note: Warning -- this essay is graphic and may be difficult for some of you to read.)
I was raped last Tuesday.
This last Tuesday, August 13 2013; three guys dragged me to an empty, grassy parking lot, and two of them took turns raping me.
This happened to me. I keep repeating this to myself: I was raped last Tuesday, but it still doesn’t seem real. The more times I say it in my head, the more it sounds like a foreign language.
I happened near some train tracks and I remember the whole time thinking that after they were done I could go lay down on them and wait for the train to come. Then it would be over. The main guy only referred to me as “it.” As in “Look what a whore it is, it likes this so much.” The other two guys were quiet most of the time. One of them spoke once to tell him, “Don’t you think that’s enough, bro?”
I feel fragmented. I feel sad. I don’t know how I feel. Everyone keeps telling me I need time but I just want to disappear. I’m angry at myself.
The night before it happened I had been admitted to a nearby hospital but got into a fight with one of the doctors because he wanted to do something I didn’t agree to. I signed myself out. I called my boyfriend at 5AM, then 5:30AM and he didn’t hear his phone ring. He sleeps like the dead.
I’m angry because at 6AM I thought, “I’ll walk and find a cab on the way.” I’m angry because I didn’t wait for my boyfriend to wake up. I’m angry for fighting with the doctor. I’m angry at being angry because it isn’t fair. Because all I did wrong was walk while female down a not so populated road at 6AM.
I’m angry at the police. Their questions aren’t so much about the men who attacked me but about me. “Why were you even there? Didn’t you think it would be dangerous?” “Are you sure that’s what happened?” “Are you sure that’s where it happened? It seems unlikely no one saw.” “Don’t you have pepper spray?” “We will find out if you’re lying, you know.” Endless questions, them trying to find holes in my story while I’m trying not to die from reliving the attack over and over again.
The men themselves were young, no older than 18 or 19. They were someone’s kids. I saw them behind me as I turned a corner and simply walked faster, even as one of them started trying to get my attention; I was annoyed but not alarmed, as a woman you get used to these things.
Then one of them threw a rock to get my attention. I turned around. He asked if I wanted to be friends and I told him to go fuck himself. Maybe that’s what did it. Maybe I should’ve run faster. Maybe I should’ve ignored the rock. Maybe I should have fought them harder, screamed louder. The list of maybes keeps me up at night.
But it happened. Next thing I knew he tackled me and dragged me to that awful spot and made one of his friends hold my legs. Cars passed by. I’m sure they saw. When I fell on the ground I yelped, afterward I cried and tried to talk to the blonde guy who was holding my arms. I remember thinking he looked the nicest out of the three. I said they didn’t have to. He told me, “Shh, it’ll be over soon.”
I struggled to get out of their grip so much I’m covered in scratches and bruises. At one point, the main guy told me if I didn’t stop moving he’d cut me with a broken bottle. I barely moved or made a sound after that. I remember going limp. That’s when I thought about the train and the thought was comforting. After the first guy was done the second seemed reluctant to continue but the other guy egged him on, called him a pussy. By then it didn’t hurt as much.
Until they stuck something alien and sharp inside my anus. The lady who did my rape kit said she wasn’t sure what it was. I still bleed when I use the toilet. I never saw a rape counselor and the ladies at the crisis center seemed annoyed they couldn’t get my veins to “cooperate” so they could get more blood. By the time I was done there I felt like I’d been raped all over again.
The reason I didn’t go near the train tracks afterward is because when they were done (and after throwing money at me and kicking me) they headed in that direction, like nothing had ever happened. I thought if I went that way they may get me again. I ran the other way.
I found a cab but the cabbie threw me out when I told him I didn’t have enough cash. Even though I was bleeding, even though I told him I was attacked. He said it wasn’t his problem and kicked me out. I walked home, torn and bleeding and crying. I think only one person asked what was wrong. I showered when I got home; I know, I wasn’t supposed to. I couldn’t get the feelings of worthlessness out no matter how much I scrubbed.
The police haven’t been much help; the DA told me “Sweetheart, this isn’t CSI,” When I asked what my chances were. He also told one of the detectives I’d make a bad witness because of my mental illness past (I have a panic disorder, had post partum depression) and that this was all “a waste.” I was sitting a few feet away. There are no Olivia Bensons or Elliott Stablers in real life. No one cared what I heard.
I have no hope of ever getting justice. I have no hope of ever feeling like myself again. There are moments when I seem OK, I can joke with a friend or my boyfriend, I can go and run an errand. Then I flash back. And then the crying starts. And I can’t breathe. And I remember this is my life from now on.
Every one of my friends and family has been so nice and supportive. Their love hurts me. I look at my 18-month-old daughter and I cry harder because she’s a girl and this could happen to her one day. I wish I was numb. I wish I would’ve been a “good patient” and never questioned that doctor. I wish I was born a man. On bad days, I wish I’d never been born at all.
I think this is the part of the essay where there’s supposed to be a resolution; some realization; a glimmer of hope. I don’t have one. All I know is that I was raped last Tuesday and that somehow I’m still here, still breathing, still moving and yet the girl that was here before is somewhere back on that road, still trying to get home.
If I ever find her or figure out how to be a human being again, I’ll let you know.
Information and support services for survivors of sexual assault can be found at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. (And as an important aside, in some parts of the country where support services are limited, RAINN has been criticized for partnering with service providers who deny assistance to trans individuals. The Survivor Project is another resource that specifically aims to help trans survivors.)