by: Sharra Smith
I read in a book once, looking at your past was like stepping in to a land mine. The author of this book stated that in a sense you could change your past by changing how you look at it. Well my past is full of land mines. At some point I thought “Man if I could just change or start over”. Now I wouldn’t touch the path of life that I have traveled. I recently started working a rape conference. I started these conferences in the hope of reaching out to the public and helping other women like me. I ended up helping myself. For years I have felt that there have been pieces of myself that I would never get back. That the life I had was just what it was. Nothing more. I remember being in church and playing a game where you were given a construction paper heart. You had to shake hands with people and when you shook there hand, you gave them a piece of that heart. Over the last almost thirty years I have felt like that heart and like the game there has been nothing left.
With nothing left I had to reach for something greater than myself. An inner power had to be found. A search for God, for self, for family. I have had to come face to face with all the things I left behind. I have had to realize that home is not where you come from. Home is where you are going to end up. I have three wonderful children two that I have watch grow from the day they opened their eyes and one I was lucky enough to gain custody of. My youngest is a little girl and look at her and see the fire she has in her and I am reminded of myself. In some ways I’m so proud in other ways I fear for her. I make sure every day she knows she is beautiful and worth all the world has to offer. When she is older I will share with her the tragedy I have shared so many times and am going to share with you. I hope that trough me she will continue to fight for the freedom of victims and lend a hand to voices that need words. Here is my story….
The summer before I turned 16 I had been spending a lot of time with older girls from my school. My family had left for vacation and due to sports and my rebellion stage I was in I stayed home. That particular summer changed my life forever. I was talked in to going to a party in a nearby town and since I had my permit they convinced me I could go and be there DD because they all had licenses and it was perfectly safe. I also wanted to fit in and be “Cool” so I went. We got there and it was a lot like what you would expect…loud music, alcohol, some drugs. There were girls being idiots and men giving reenactments of king of the mountain. I’m not sure when, but at some point I lost track of my so called friends. It was getting dark and I wanted to go home. I looked for the girls in the house and couldn’t find them. I went outside where they had lit a bond fire and more music was playing louder then what was in the house. As I was searching outside a guy grabbed me from behind and drug me to a large extended cab truck. When he let go of my mouth I tried to scream but no one heard. He slammed me against the bed of the truck and reached in to pull out bailing twine. With the bailing twine he restrained me to the handles above the windows in the back seat of his truck. With a rag that smelled and tasted of oil and fuel he stuffed it in my mouth and duck taped my eyes…he shoved a beer bottle up me to get it nice and loose in his words. He would call me a slut and a cunt…Told me I was no longer a pretty little pink piece if ass. He took the rag out of my mouth and poured his alcohol in my mouth shortly after rubbing his penis on my face and across my lips. Asking me if I could taste that. He rammed himself in to me repeatedly and would occasionally stop and smoke telling me to stop crying he put his cigarettes out on my hands.. The more he drank the more frustrated he became with me then he just started to hit me and cuss at me for all the blood on the seat of his truck. He would yell you “Fucking virgin…Here let me loosen you up” and all I could feel was the cold metal end of what was one of his tools. I don’t know how long this went on. Either exhaustion or loss of blood I passed out only to awake to a new horror. I was bound like cattle with the same bailing twine and had been placed in a deep ditch as he was covering me with dirt and leaves. He had placed my clothes and some other bloody items in a bag and was covering it up with me. He gave me a few good kicks and as he was walking away he stopped and came back one more time. He told me that if I was alive and if I could hear him…If I told any one, the next time I wouldn’t live through it. I would be best for me to just lay there and die….
I don’t know how long I waited but I know it was a while. I had started to rain and which for me was a blessing it loosened up the twine and I was able to get loose. I gathered my wet and torn clothes now stained with my own blood and walked. I just kept walking. I was on some back road that I just figured would lead somewhere and it did. I took me to a main road I recognized. Several cars passed and no one stopped to see if I was alright. That road led me to the Wal-Mart by the hwy. There a young boy bringing in the carts helped me and got me to a phone. There I called my friend and waited beside the building not to bring attention to myself until she and her dad got there.
I know many have stories much like mine and I thank RAINN for letting voices come together to make a difference.