Saturday, March 26, 2011

On a Serious Note...

This is the kind of post that I promised myself never to write. It's serious, a little heavy, and -in my opinion- a tad self-masturbatory. Before I started writing my blog, I didn't like seeing all of the angsty blogposts that fill the blogosphere because they just made me depressed. And who wants that? But this post has been weighing on me for awhile now, especially this past week <--Note: I wrote that and most of this post last week...
Also, this is written: quite simplistically, a bit matter-of-fact, and not very well--all of which I do apologize for.

This past weekend (once again, I wrote this last week...) was the anniversary of when a man came into my dorm and sexually assaulted me. Yeah, there really is no way to water that down without completely cheapening it. It was two days after my birthday, I had just saw my sister off to her shuttle to the airport, and I was getting ready for church. My roommate had left our door unlocked on her way to church, which gave him means to just walk in, come up behind me in the bathroom, and hit me over the head.
No, my roommate is not an idiot. She rarely ever left the door unlocked and she thought I would be leaving for church in less than fifteen minutes.
No, there wasn't enough time to react to seeing a stranger's face in my mirror. A friend, upon hearing this story (well, minus a few details that if she had heard, would have likely made her a little less insensitive), said she'd never let this happen to her because she would have just kicked his ass. I barely saw him before I blacked out. He was prepared and I wasn't.
Yes, this is the real reason why it's so difficult for me to get myself to church.

Two days later, I called my mom, well, she called me out of concern from having not heard from me. I told her what had happened. I then called the police.
No, I didn't want to tell my mom or the police. I didn't want sympathy. I didn't want to make a whole big thing out of it. And I wanted to turn back with each second on the line.
However, I felt obligated to call the police for two reasons:
1. The safety of the other girls in my dorm.
2. After you experience hearing your mother breakdown screaming and crying at work in front of everyone (which is the most heart-breaking thing in the world), you'll do anything she asks.
No, I really didn't want to. However, this wasn't the first time something like this had happened to me and I was kind of tired of doing nothing about it.

I sat, waited, and put on my brave face, because I was not going to cry... I had never cried in front of a person that wasn't immediate family and I sure as hell wasn't about to start that day. I was not going to have that taken away from me. So, when the detective came, I answered the questions I was asked with a smile on my face. I made small talk. I was a delight. This was all easy for me because I had still blocked most of the experience out. So, I told him what I knew, which wasn't much. I was getting ready for church, I saw a man in my mirror (not like Michael Jackson...), and I blacked out.
No, none of this was easy.
No, I never used the 'r' word. I wasn't about to make assumptions when I really wasn't clear about anything.

The detective took me to the hospital and the small talk continued. I don't even remember what they did there. I think blood was drawn. I think I peed in a cup. I do remember pretending to read a Newsweek when I really was just staring blankly at the pages. Somehow afternoon faded into night and I ended up in a small room in a building across from the hospital. Two volunteers from the Women's Services at BYU had been called out of bed to sit with me until my mom showed up.
Yes, it was awkward.

Then I had my first gynecological exam. Swabs and samples were taken. Pictures were taken of every inch of my body. The scratches on my neck and the occasional bruise were noted. My mom and I smiled at each other, each of us trying to keep positive and happy for the sake of the other. A handful of pills were thrust at me with instructions. My blood work would be back shortly, but these were just in case I had contracted something.
No, I didn't sleep that night. Simply because I couldn't remember what had happened and I didn't want to, especially not when my mother was in the same room.

Honestly, the worst part of the experience for me was what happened the next day. A new detective was "in charge" of me. The one from the day before was nice and treated me like a normal person. With the new one, I was the guilty party in his eyes. A constant sneer was plastered on his face and the condescension in his voice was like a baseball bat to the gut. First, it was my fault. How did I usually dress? Did I often leave my blinds open? Why did I leave the door unlocked? Why couldn't I remember everything that had happened? Why did I wait so long to call the police? Then, I was a liar. According to him, sex hurts a lot for a woman when she's a virgin. Apparently when the secretary at the station got married and had sex, she was in a lot of pain the next day. It almost seemed like he thought that sexual intercourse is the only thing that can happen when a man sexually assaults you. I reminded him that I still wasn't clear on what had happened and I had never claimed that I was raped. More suspicion. Why couldn't I remember everything that had happened? Then my years of struggling with depression became very relevant. Were the scratches and bruises self-inflicted? Was I just starved for attention? Did I just want to drop out of school and go home? Finally, he said, "You know, it's a criminal offense to lie to the cops about this sort of thing. If you want to take it all back right now, we'll all just forget about it."
No, I wasn't lying. But even if I had, I personally don't believe that's how you should talk to a person. And lying about this would be just as serious and concerning.
Yes, I did start second-guessing myself. What if this didn't happen and I'm putting everyone through this for no reason?
Yes, I actually did blame myself for awhile. To be honest, I still carry around a burden of guilt for putting my parents through it.
No, I don't regret telling the police what had happened; however, I did for a long time. The experience did help me put together what had happened for myself. It also made the girls in my dorm and girls throughout BYU more vigilant in reporting suspicious people and in keeping their doors locked.

I don't really know why I have felt so pressed to write this post. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I wrote this a week ago. After I wrote it, I felt better and thought that I could settle with just having it written. But then it still didn't leave me alone. So, I'm just going to put it out there.
Yes, I do finally remember what happened.
No, I still don't know who the guy was.
Yes, I'm oddly grateful this happened to me and not to my roommate.

No, I still haven't gotten completely past the times I've been a "victim" (I kind of hate that word) and I don't think I ever will. I've had years of dealing with anxiety. I've had months of sleepless nights from the guilt, blaming myself, and/or thinking I deserved it. I've had weeks of feeling numb. I've had days where I just can't will myself out of bed. I've had moments of wanting to cut off all those who care about me.
But I have also had years of love and support from family. I've recently had months where I've learned to stop feeling guilty. I've had weeks of being anxiety-free. I've had days where I've been blissfully happy and optimistic. And I've had moments of hope.

And No, this isn't "what happened to me that made me gay."


FSO-PB Allen said...

I love you twin. Deep and passionate love from one friend to another.

You are unbelievably brave for putting this out there. For posting this for the whole world to see.

I never reported mine. It came out years later and would have been he said she said. I never have forgiven myself for that. So thank you for being one of the woman who reports these crimes.

Once again, I love you Twin.

paul said...

ooh girl. this makes me want to sleep at the foot of yo bed like a guard dog. and beat up all guys who look at you.

i can totally kick some ass.

time to start wearing 10 pound weights on my ankles. TO ENSURE RIBSMASHING DOOM FORCE!

Anne said...

First of all, I just want to give you a big hug.


Second of all, what you just did by putting this out there was very brave, and I hope that other women who have had anything happen to them will see this and be brave to report what happened to them.

*hugs again*

shelly ortiz said...

Wow. I don't know you personally but I'm proud of you. I myself had a similar experience, though I did know the person.

I'm glad that you don't feel guilty - because you shouldn't. None of what happened was your fault and now that you've let it out, I'm positive that it'll help someone else.

Despite that I did have a trial, it was a very long process. It took two and a half years to get to sit in that witness stand and answer questions. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. Although you didn't get justice by the government, he WILL get justice in another way for sure. And it will be eternal and absolute.

You're incredibly incredibly brave for speaking up about it. I don't know that I could write about my experience....Your blog is awesome by the way :)

Dr. G said...

Just when I thought you couldn't be any braver. One day you will see yourself as a survivor and no longer a victim! How great that you did report this and that you were willing to share your story for others. Stay strong!

Carla Schmidt Holloway said...

I read somewhere that people in serious car accidents, especially when another person is killed, will claim that they were at fault even when they weren't, because they cannot accept that such terrible things are just random, completely outside of their control. I never understood how people who have been assaulted or abused blamed themselves until I learned that. I hope that you never feel to blame or guilty about this ever again. You don't deserve that.

exumbrerum said...

Dude - that sucks more than anything I can think of. Talking about something like this is braver than anything that I can imagine doing. Were I your brother or father, I would want to kick that cop's ass almost as much as the slime that attacked you. I have what is commonly referred to as an "invisible disease", and I (in an almost insignificant way) understand what it is like to be disbelieved. Keep the faith, sis.

Hope you don't think this is too random - I stumbled across your blog via PostSecret, and your story made my heart hurt.

MormonLesbian said...

Thanks for all your comments and love, Team. You're all awesome and I love you.

@Spill the Milk--Wow. I can't imagine sitting on the witness stand in court. That's intense and really brave. That's awesome you did that.

@exumbrerum--I feel ya on the invisible disease thing. I don't think that's insignificant at all. A lot of people, despite all the study, research, and scientific evidence, don't understand/believe/give credence to disease of the mind.

Anonymous said...

hey, i just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story. and i'm sorry that sh** thing happened to you.

UndercoverDyke said...

I'm a fifteen-year-old lesbian in a conservative Christian family, and as I read through your blog I really came to respect you for keeping your faith where I gained a cynical outlook on life and what comes after. You're super relate-able to me, and not just because I share your view that Sascha Alexander is pretty much the most beautiful woman ever.
And then I happen across this post. You're so brave. I only hope I can be so brave and some day talk to EMCU about something that happened so very long ago. If I ever do get up the courage, know that the impetus was, at least in part, you.