My Own Pearl Harbor Day

by: Renee K.

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December 7th 1941 – the day Japan attacked America. The day that changed our country forever. A sneak attack while the troops slept. They woke up to being bombed and killed. A horrible day for America.

How fitting that …

December 7th 2007 – The day that he attacked me. The day that changed my life forever. I too was asleep and woke up to him attacking me, him killing my soul.

The definition of rape on wikipedia is “an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with or without sexual penetration of another person without that person’s consent.” So I guess that it happened – I was raped. It feels like an outer body experience saying that. I always associated rape with a dark ally, a forceful stranger, screams of pain in the night. I never even conceived that it could happen in my own bed among friends suffering in silence.

About two years ago I was fresh out of college and living in DC in a house with 11 other interns – 3 girls and 8 guys. We were a really close knit group and everyone was deeply Christian, so I never thought this could happen.  We each shared rooms with one person of the same sex. That week my roommate had left since her temporary visa was up. I was the only one in that room. All the interns went out to party that Friday night and celebrate the end of the semester. We were among friends all night, and knowing that I let myself get drunk. I never drank in excess when I was among strangers, I always made sure good friends were there so that nothing would ever happen. I guess my plan backfired this time.  Two of my fellow guy housemates offer to drive me home. They did, got me up to bed and left me to sleep it off. I thought I was safe for the night. I was wrong.

I woke up sometime later. I was freezing and thought I was having a bad dream. “Why were the covers off and why was my shirt unbuttoned and my skirt off?” I thought to myself. I knew something wasn’t right, the nightmare I had been having was so awful, and like no nightmare I had ever before. In that split second I was glad it was just a nightmare. But then I felt him on top of me, him playing roughly with my breasts. The devastating reality rushed in on me -it wasn’t a dream. I was so confused. I wasn’t sure if I was having the most realistic alcohol-induced hallucination of my life or if this was really happening. No I told myself, this is not really. He would never do this to you. He is a nice Christian boy, he respects women, he doesn’t even like me. I kept on arguing with my mind while he kept touching me. I was so ashamed, ashamed to be thinking those horrible things of him, even as he was doing them to me. I kept denying that it was happening in my head.

When I finally came to terms with the fact that it was happening, I froze. I could not speak, and mostly could not move. All I could think about was how humiliating this was, how I had let this happen? I wanted to scream but was afraid to scream and have the house come running and see that – him touching me, him violating me. What if he said I told him he could, what if I had when I was drunk? What would they do, I would never be able to show my face there again. Everybody would hate me. I thought all these things in a split second. I still wanted to scream, I wanted to say no, but I was paralyzed with shame and embarrassment, so I closed my eyes.

The rest of my memories from that horrible night are a bit blurry. It was like I kept on jumping from watching it outside of my body to being the frozen person on the bed, eyes closed tight but still seeing everything…….He is in my room in just his white undershirt and blue/green plaid boxers. He is next to me, sucking on my breast and slapping them. He is fingering my vagina, it feels so good. I want it to stop, but then it feels good again. I am so confused why is this happening? How could this be happening? Then he stands up and comes closer to the head of the bed. His penis is out of his shorts. He pushes it against my cheek. I don’t remember anything for a while.

Somewhere in the blackness and confusion of my mind, I manage to have a coherent thought – If I turn over he will stop, he won’t be near my mouth, he won’t be able to touch my breast. My underwear are still on. I slowly turn, pretending to still be asleep. I pull the covers up. And I wait. Nothing happens. I start to warm up under the covers, I think it worked, he is gone, and now I can go back to sleep. Then I feel him next to me. He pulls the covers off. He pulls off my underwear. And I just let him, I don’t even move. In my head I am screaming “Stop” I want to fight him off, I want to run away. But my body just lays there, eyes closed, completely still, no sound coming from my mouth. He starts playing with my ass, spanking me, grabbing it, fingers me again. Then I feel it the weight of his penis pushing against my butt cheeks. I close my eyes hard, willing it to stop, biting down on my pillow. Blackness washes over me.

I don’t remember anything till the next morning. I woke up, and thought it was all a bad dream. But bits and pieces came back – a guy spanking my butt, his penis near my mouth. And as I pulled back the covers and sat up I wondered why I was completely naked – I never sleep naked. I got up drank a glass of water, but couldn’t keep it down. I was vomiting the entire day – not a drunken hangover, I just couldn’t hold anything down when the waves of horror and disgust came over me. That day and the following week passed in a haze – it was like I was existing without really being there. I didn’t eat much, I talked even less. And then at the end of the week I got to go home. The semester was over.

For months following that I dealt with the fear of being pregnant. I did a pregnancy test a day, worried they were all giving me a faulty result when they said “not pregnant”. I dropped 30 pounds in 6 months to prove I could, to prove I was not pregnant. I started working out ALL the time, it made me feel good to push myself to my physical limits.
After a couple of months I completely blocked the memory out. And that worked until I got married and started being sexually intimate with my husband. Then the memories rushed back full force. I plunged into deep depression, I was diagnosed with PTSD, I had trouble being at work, I started using self harm as a way to deal, and I tried to commit suicide a few times. It was after one of those severe self injury attempts / possible suicide attempts that I finally got help in a mental health ward. It was there I learned to accept the fact that it was not my fault. I realized I would not let what he did to me control the rest of my life. I am better now. I volunteer at a rape crisis center and rarely think about my rape. It will always be a part of me, but it is no longer the only part of me. I have come a long way in healing and hope my story will help others realize that they are not alone in being victims of rape. There is healing after rape.