I take the pen handed over to me from across the table, with the taste of salty tears in my mouth. I’ve never felt so powerless in all my life. I sign the papers, straighten the short dress I instantly regret wearing and walk out of the room.
3 years 3 months and 16 days have passed and not one day has been easier. It’s not just that I’m battling agoraphobia, but a sudden dullness lingers over me. I can’t seem to explain it; like the sun… I used to love it. But now, it’s not as warm. It always seems to feel colder against my skin than it used to…no matter how hot the temperature is.
I make my way to Auction Rooms, as I do every Saturday morning. I have my journal in hand, sit at my usual corner and order my drink of choice; a strong cappuccino with 1 sugar. I take my first sip and smile. I like the familiarity.
After I signed those papers, that morning, I headed to a café and cried my heart out.
While I was there, I had to order something. I decided on a strong cappuccino with 1 sugar. It’s funny cause at the time it didn’t seem like anything big, but since that day I only drink strong cappuccinos with 1 sugar. In retrospect I realize ordering that coffee that day, is the only memory I have of myself having some kind of power during that time. Power and familiarity were things I took for granted then, but not anymore.
I open my journal and begin to read, as I do every Saturday morning.
“I remember tripping over a stair and bruising my knee. Hannah ran quickly towards me and insisted on taking me to my room. I was so grateful and happy that I had made managed to make a friend so quickly, because we had only known each other for less than a week. I let her escort me to my room and hugged her goodnight. I changed and passed out on my bed.”
A couple enters the café and the cold stream of air that they let in, distracts me. I look up at them and smile. There is something about the way she looks at him…there is a certain kind of fondness in her eyes. They seem so close-it saddens and makes me happy at the same time. I wish I still had the ability to form bonds like that with people.
“…I woke up because I needed to go to the bathroom. Maybe it was 2am, maybe it was 3am. I don’t quite remember. Why didn’t I check the time??? I should have checked! I should have checked. God why didn’t I check. How could I have been so stupid?”
I feel a tightness in my chest. I’m uncomfortable. It’s the gap in my memory. I quickly take a sip of my coffee, and burn my tongue. It hurts, but it calms me down instantly….it’s the familiarity.
“…I placed one of my shoes by my bedroom door to prevent it from locking and headed to pee. I did it because of how easily our room cards deactivate. That week I had managed to lock myself outside three times during my bathroom runs and I just wanted to prevent it from happening again.”
Alice comes and asks if I want to order something else, and I tell her “I’ll have a toasted slice of banana bread with some butter, please.” “Sure thing!”
“….I must have forgotten to remove the shoe when I got back.”
I want to die. I want to kill myself.
“I want to die!!!!!!!!!! I want to kill myself!”
“…I woke up to blankets being pulled off my bed. Startled and confused, I’m wondering what is happening. I felt a weight on top of me. Something is on top of me. My God. SomeONE in on top of me. I can’t see. I couldn’t see. It was too dark. I was lying on my stomach. Wait, how did they get in? How did someone get into my room? I thought the doors lock auto…I feel a hand grab my legs and spread them apart. Everything is happening so fast. Wait? Is this some kind of college prank? But I feel a hand on my panties. No, this is not a joke…”
My response was delayed. I should have known as soon as I felt that weight. I should have started screaming sooner. I should have known better.
“Hand around my neck. Panties pulled down. Face shoved into my pillow. I can’t breathe. Scratch on my inner thigh. I try to scream. I can’t scream. Scared and gasping for air I’m filled with fear. I try to use my body weight to shuffle but penetration follows. In. Out. Quickly. Violently. I give up. I give in. I’m sobbing and screaming.”
“Here is your banana bread,” “Thanks Alice.”
Violently raped and left in a pool of blood, in my college room. Some blood was from the violence and some was from my virginity.
I was 19.
I cried all night.
The next morning, I ran to the administration building to look for someone to explain what had happened.
I relayed my story to the dean and the chaplain.
They broke me down, twisted the facts and confused me.
They made me believe that it was my fault and the short dress I was wearing was an indicative factor of the kind of girl I am.
I am the kind who likes to tease boys, get drunk and leave her college door open at night for someone to come in.
For anyone to come in.
After my 3 hour interrogation, the dean handed me my NDA.
So I took the pen handed over to me from across the table, with the taste of salty tears in my mouth. I had never felt so powerless in all my life. I signed the papers, straightened the short dress I instantly regretted wearing and walked out of the room.