SAAM Feature 13: Clara

Dec 1, 1979

by Clara

 

Dec 1, 1979, I was sleeping when suddenly my dog barked. I shushed him then he barked again. I looked up to see a man standing over me in the darkness. I let out a light scream. He pounced upon me, put a knife to my throat and said, “I’m going to kill you, bitch!” I said, “Who are you….what do you want.?” he kept fighting me, as I tried to scream louder, with no response from anyone. This was about 5 a.m. He kept after me, choking me with his hands, putting the knife to my throat. I would pull the knife away from my throat. He shoved my face into the pillow. I got down to the floor. He started hitting me in my stomach, the first pain I felt. I finally asked him, “Do you want to..(have sex)..? He said, “Yes”. I stopped struggling, and he stopped hurting me. I participated. Then as he left, he said he would be back. He had taken my TV, stereo, $18 from my wallet. It scared me that he went through my things and knew my name.  I actually convinced him to turn on the light. His face is forever embedded in my memory. I brushed my teeth, but did not use the bathroom, not wanting to lose any evidence.

I calmly called the police. I felt that i had caused it because I’m the one who had to ask. I knew that was the only way I could survive. The police pointed out that my hands were bleeding and that I did the only thing I could. I called a friend who accompanied me to the hospital. The rape kit did prove that I had indeed bee raped. I had surgery that afternoon to reapir some tendon damage. I assumed I would return to my apartment, but quickly realized I would never be able to go back in there.

While I was in the hospital a friend and my brother moved my friend and me into a shared apartment. I was terrified of the dark, and being alone. I finally left that apartment, and stayed in my car for about three months. I would go to someone’s door as it got dark, and ask if I could stay that night. I had two dogs. I knew I was in no condition for that responsibility. So my brother took them to stay with hi until I felt stronger.

My mother was in a nursing home. I knew she probably would not survive knowing I had been hurt so badly. My brothers said they would support whatever I chose to tell her. I lied to her and said I had fallen on some broken glass. I still live with that lie, 29 years after she passed on.
I was recommended a therapist who turned out to be miraculous. I saw him for several weeks. I then decided to stay with a friend in Florida for a few weeks. While i was there, the use of my paralyzed hand returned. I was joyous. I also got some reprieve from reliving the nightmare daily as I went about. I started keeping a journal, which I left with my therapist. I don’t want to read it again. I resumed therapy when I returned from Florida. I also found a job, working as a nurse in a small hospital. Then I found an opportunity to share a woman’s home, very close to the hospital.  I worked very hard to restore my trust and confidence. But I was determined I would not let some insignificant piece of dirt ruin my life.

I have no idea where this man is today. I would be willing to bet he is not alive. A lifestyle like that does not assure a lot of longevity. I have long since risen above the incident, but it never leaves. I am infuriated every tinme I hear of someone being raped, especially children. I was 35 at the time. I am thankful I wasn’t a child, nor an older person. I knew I would recover. With excellent loving support of family and friends, an excellent therapist, and my own will and determination, and the grace of God, I have grown from the experience, more every year. If my story can encourage others, I will have served a meaningful purpose. Thank you for reading my story.

Clara

Under Construction

Please excuse the mess as I make changes to the website to make it more functional and nicer to look at.

Recovery!

Well, the Blog-a-thon is finished and slowly I am starting to return to a more normal state of being. If you haven’t had a chance to read through the posts from last week, you should. There is a ton of great original poetry, writing prompts, and work by some of my favorite poets. I will try to post everything under the “Poetry” section of the site as well.

Stay posted for more regular updates!

The End (49)

We have reached 9 AM. There have been some bloodshot eyes, short naps, jokes from Mario Dones, many episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and delerium. On behalf of the entire End The Silence Campaign family, thank you and good night!

We’ll leave you with a quote:

These words want to answer your questions.

These words want to stave off your suffering,

but cannot. I leave them to you.

-Terrance Hayes, from “Wind in a Box,” Wind in a Box

Future Plans through Sleepy Haze (44)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oS419cViKs]

4am Ramblings (39)

As I sit here listening to the air conditioning from another building blowing,  the T.V going, and the soft whisper of the apt. settle.  I am understanding the full extent of the word friendship.  Last week I was told about this 24-hour blog-a-thon and I was in full support of my friend taking on this  task.  And  I  am so honored to be able to  sit  at her laptop and speak to you all.  She truly is passionate about this website and any and all of the people who she is and will be touching with this website.  Thank you for being in support of my dear friend.

Michelle (the grrreat)

3 am Thoughts (38)

It’s starting to get late and I’m reflecting on the day so far. Exhaustion is starting to set in and my mind is starting to get a little fuzzy. The support I’ve had so far today has been amazing!

I don’t have much to say right now except thank you. Thank you to my friends. Thank you to my family. Thank you to the people that I’ve met in the past year who have helped me get to this place where I am right now.

I am humbled in this moment.

We’re Stalling! (32)

The exhaustion is starting to wear down the creative process (8 and a half hours to go!!), but I promise amazing poetry at 1 am!

In the meantime, here is a painting that I finished recently. Hope you enjoy!

IMG_2430