Kelli Goes to Court

Another old post that didn’t make it to publication last year. I held this one waiting to see the outcome of reporting my rape to law enforcement. Since things have pretty much settled down on that front I felt comfortable publishing the details of my case here. Not that I have any details that will affect the case. It’s still open, but it’s not likely to move forward. Unless my assailant has another mental breakdown followed by several WTF moments and gets caught anyway. Possible? Yes. Probable? Not likely. At least he’s not likely to pursue me anymore if his head gets away from him again. I’ve accepted the “end” to my case. But now I feel comfortable publishing it too. 

Omg this summer has been ridiculous. I’ve spent more time in legal battles over the past summer than I’ve ever been entangled in the court system before in my life. Now that I can finally talk about it…

The whole thing started with my mom and the assault. That was weird being swept up by the state and county prosecutor tumbled headlong into the most drawn out, court case I’ve ever seen. Of course before that incident I hadn’t been involved in any court preceedings lol. I’ve always been threatened with things, but this was the first time I actually went through everything.

Then, our builder tried to ghost us and leave our contract in limbo. That was an entire fiasco in itself holding everything up as far as purchasing a new home went. So I’ve got criminal court over here with my mom, and small claims court over there with the builder. I wanted to take it further and report him to the licensing board, county, state, BBB, you name it but I couldn’t because everything was in Hubs’ name. He just wanted to be done so we could buy a home. The more rational decision for sure, but my inate sense of justice was crushed. That happens a lot so I’m rather used to it by now lol.

THEN… things exploded with my ex and I finally filed a report about the rape/abuse I endured during the beginning stages of our relationship. That was the icing on the cake so to speak. The entire reason I ended up reporting the incident in the first place is because we got into an argument here on my blog. Instead of leaving me alone after we each said our piece, he continued to pursue me by sending me several emails. He wasn’t threatening by the legal definition, but his intentions were clearly implied. I responded to his emails asking that he discontinue further contact. He didn’t. So I called the police and submitted all of our most recent contact for them to review. Of course the fight we got into was about my S.A.A.M. advocacy and finally speaking up as a victim of a violent crime at his hand.

During the entire fiasco with two different police departments trying to get everything sorted out in the right jurisdiction, several officers asked me if he had indeed raped me. I answered honestly that he had which is why I began writing about it in the first place. The only thing that each jurisdiction could agree on is that I needed to go forward and file the report making my claims official. Off I went to a THIRD jurisdiction to file the report. It had been almost eleven years since the crime had occurred at that point, and while I was within the statute of limitations for that jurisdiction they still didn’t have enough physical evidence to build a solid case. The investigation is still technically open, and each jurisdiction has my name and contact information so I can testify if he finds himself in trouble again.

Which is absolutely killing me. I only wanted to take the appropriate steps to get him to leave me and my family alone. Now I’m wrapped up in three different jurisdictions for at least nine more years when the statute expires on my case. I appreciate the effort made by each officer, prosecutor and victims advocate I spoke to. They want to help me. They know that I’m a victim, but their hands are tied in bureaucracy. I don’t have any physical evidence that is solid enough for the US legal system to go on. It’s enough for law enforcement to verify that I’m not making false accusations, but it’s not enough for the lawyers and prosecutors to take the case in front of a judge.

It’s political. No one stands to gain anything from my case going forward. They’re keeping it on the back burner on the off chance that they need something highly publicized to boost their career. Maybe during the next election cycle the file will be opened again, but until then I’m just left in limbo with countless other victims who couldn’t come forward immediately or didn’t have “enough evidence” when they did. It’s disheartening to say the least, but it’s the way things are. This is why I continue my advocacy. This is why I keep on telling my story. It may not make a difference in my lifetime, but it will make a difference over all. Eventually the politicians won’t be able to ignore the Voice of the Innocent any longer.

SAAM: Denim Day 

There was an ad displaying the exploitation of Denim Day that came across my feed on Facebook a few weeks ago. At first I was more confused than offended. I knew Denim Day was associated with SAAM and sexual assault awareness in some way, but everything I had seen about it didn’t share the real reason behind why Denim was so important to the cause. It didn’t especially stand out since most women wear Denim as a casual fashion choice, so choosing Denim seemed like a weird choice to bring awareness to anything.

I did a little digging into the event and found that in the late 90’s a young Italian girl was assaulted, her assailant arrested, tried, and convicted but the conviction was over turned at the judges discretion based on the personal opinion “her Denim jeans were too tight, and she would have had to help her attacker take them off, which would imply consent.”

In response to this outrageous decision all of the women in the Italian Parliament showed up to work the next day in Denim jeans, showing their solidarity for this poor girl. The event was international news, and once it reached the US, it started with our own women in government on the West Coast eventually spreading to a nationally organized awareness day.

It kind of knocked the wind out of my sails there learning the origins of the event. It also really surprised me that it wasn’t more widely publicized. The event itself is all over the place, but the origins aren’t widely discussed. I guess when it’s been ten years people would just assume that everyone already knew or remembered what happened.

It also made me very angrad. I’ve made up my own word to describe the feeling between angry and sad. I was sad because while the intentions of Denim Day are good,  the beginning has been lost after so many years unless you take the time to research as I did.

I am angry that a high ranking legal official could make such an outrageous claim that this poor girl had to help an older adult man remove her jeans and allow him to assault her. Or that the removal of her clothing at all some how implied consent.

In my own personal experiences my pajama pants were removed once, and during the second assault none of my clothes were completely removed at all, merely pushed aside. That right there should have been the biggest indication that the second assault was completely intentional, not a semilucid case of mistaken identity. I guess it was fairly obvious to everyone else except myself clinging to my attackers lies for dear life until I was ready to accept what really happened.

I wish soceity would just drop this “what where you wearing” bullshit already. In Islamic countries where women are covered from head to toe rape is still a prevalent crime. It has nothing to do with clothing of any kind, anywhere! The crime of rape is committed when a predator makes the decision to put their own sick pleasure and gratification ahead of another person’s humanity. Gender is irrelevant. Men can be sexually assaulted and raped too, by other men or by women.

In the mind of a predator, a burlap sack could be seen as provocative, because they don’t see another human being before they attack. They only see themselves and how good it will feel, or how their sick sexual urges will be satisfied. That is the true root of this issue. I’ve said it before once this month and I’m going to say it again: it’s predator vs prey. Not man vs women, or man vs miniskirt, or woman vs man, man vs man, women vs woman no! None of that. It’s personal responsibility. Clothing is just a convienet scapegoat used by those too ashamed, or cowardly to face up to their own actions.

Think about that today, Denim Day 2017, before you put on those jeans.

SAAM: Born for Greatness 

If there was a theme song for SAAM 2017 I think it should be this. Every time I listen to it, I think of all the other survivors of sexual assault out there bravely sharing their stories against opposition, victim blaming, and shaming. Fighting through the mental illness that often accompanies survival of any trauma. Even those who carry the secret within them, unable to share their stories for whatever reason.

We’re not just statistics. We’re not nameless, we’re not faceless. We were born for greatness.

SAAM: The Hardest Part

The hardest part of recovery from sexual assault, at least for me, has been defining my feelings towards my attackers. The first assault happened, and shortly after my assailant disappeared from my life. He never stuck around after the fact, which I think is what’s helped me “get over it” so quickly. Well that, and the fact that I haven’t been able to recall the full memories of what happened. I only have bits and pieces here and there, beyond that the rest of it is lost. I focus mostly on my second assault for SAAM, and all of my other awareness endevours because that’s the one that I have been able to remember. Having complete memories of it has made the impact on my life much more profound than the first assault. Forming a relationship with my rapist, battling feelings of genuine love vs anger. Knowing that I was merely an object to him, but choosing to believe his lies of love and a future together instead.

All of those things, consistently rattle around in my head after a triggering event. Not daily, thank God, but consistently every time I’m triggered. You know the things that hurt the most? It’s not memories of the trauma. I can sit here and preach about that all day long without shedding a tear now that I’ve accepted it and moved forward. It’s the memories of the good times. The days when he treated me well, and did everything right. Everything that you would expect from a genuine, loving, partner who truly cared about your well being. The reasons I fell in love with him despite the assault and the cheating and every other toxic, abusive trait he displayed. The days that kept me from completely losing my shit and going insane. The very same days that he now uses against me, trying to disprove my claims of abuse and rape. Those things hurt more than any trauma he ever put me through.

I thought I was prepared to deal with that facet of my recovery journey as I gather my writing for my book, but I’m not. I’ve been working on one chapter all week, and I just can’t move forward. There are no written words to convey my feelings, to describe his deception accurately with out tearing open the wounds all together in the first place. Reliving those good memories boil my blood. I know, it’s pretty much opposite of how most people react. The fact that he raped me doesn’t inspire the same level of anger as the fact that he aided in the repression of my memories by being a perfect example of a gentleman the next time we were together. That brings out my Hulk Smash.

The fact that so many people look at our relationship collectively and can only see either the black or white forgetting that the reality I live with is firmly mired in grey. I didn’t just experience horrors unspeakable with this man, staying with him out of some misguided cognitive dissidence or codependency. There were an abundance of good days too.

On his good days he did live up to every expectation that someone looks for in a potential partner. He took care of me when I was sick, he helped around the house, he called me through out the day just because, he paid for most meals unless I insisted otherwise, he interacted well with most of my family, he even dropped my little sister off at prom because she didn’t have a date and didn’t want to show up alone.

And he raped me, he cheated on me consistently, he lied to me about our relationship. He used me, took full advantage of my innocence, robbed me of what could have been some of the best years and experiences in my life and never even thought twice about it. Well, no I can’t say he never thought about what he was doing, because he did. He just never acted on putting a stop to it until the very last possible second, for whatever his own reasons may be.

All of those things are true. I know now that the likelihood of his good days being genuine is a stretch at best. They were probably just something convenient to keep me around, the typical cat and mouse, predator and prey scenario. My intellegence KNOWING that, and my emotions FEELING that aren’t cooperating and it really kind of pisses me off. More so as time marches forever forward putting more distance between me and the events of my past.

Making things infinitely worse are those well intentioned folks who ask me: “He raped you, how the hell can you still have compassion for this guy? He deserves to rot in jail! He’s a slime ball! Revenge! Karma! Anger!” Who immediately jump to the conclusion that I must not be telling the truth about some facet of our relationship when I tell them I don’t necessarily want him to suffer, even though I want accountability for his crimes.

It’s like that song I shared a few weeks back. Everyone was supportive, and excited when I shared something stating that rapists should suffer, but the article I posted stating how it was wrong to wish rape on rapists went ignored as if there is something wrong with reaching the level of healing that transcends anger. Because moving forward past the stage of anger is merely a part of the healing process. It’s a part of the process that many people never reach, but when those of us that do are ridiculed for it… it’s really no wonder why.

I have experienced the anger that so many other survivors use to fuel their movement forward. I recognize that I’ve been victimized by this guy on more than one occasion. I understand that having compassion, and offering my forgiveness does nothing to change the situation current or past between us. I get it. I just don’t have that lingering hatred or anger that society thinks I should have, as a “genuine” victim of this kind of crime, and in a way it makes me feel even more broken. Then I have to wonder if the abuse was really so bad that my anger response has been completely brainwashed out of me. If I am really that “crazy” to forgive despite the atrocities.

That’s been the hardest and only part of my recovery that I can’t seem to master, no matter how hard I try. Love, hate. Black, white. Up, down. Jeckle, Hyde. Yes, no. Or something in the middle… I do know for 1000% sure, that I never want to see, speak to, or hear from him again. Whatever compassion, fond memories, or nostalgic stories about our time together I might have, will never change that. Even if I do have them lingering through my conscious thoughts anytime I’m triggered.

Guest Post: Sex Sells. Sex Crimes? The Media Decides

Next up on my guest Post roster for SAAM is NCthomas of Thinky Thoughts. She answered my call for guest bloggers, and I was instantly impressed with her writing. I’m glad I have the opportunity to share her thoughts with you all! Please stop by her blog and check out some of her other wonderful writing.

 

Sex Sells. Sex Crimes? The Media Decides

It feels like a daily occurrence that we hear or read about another sexual attack being committed. It can be from the national outrage of TV personas abusing their position of power, fame, fortune and popularity to the live rape of a woman on social media How the British media tackle the subject is a mixed bag.

The first story mentioned above is about the once so-called “British national treasure” (I guarantee not any longer) Jimmy Savile. The crimes Savile committed are wholly unbelievable and it is hard for anyone to fully take in the scope of what this man did to children, women and even, it has been claimed, corpses. I know what you are thinking when you look at photos or clips of the man; you’re thinking, “Are you kidding me Brits? You guys were shocked at finding this out? I mean, look at him!” I know what you’re saying. In fact, I agree. You only have to watch clips of Savile and how he conducted himself around young teenage women to know this man’s behaviour was not okay. In fact, it was wholly fucking unacceptable. Like this (please beware, that for some this may be distressing) clip for example

I was born later than the generation who revered Savile and so I really can’t comment on what people were thinking when they saw this kind of behaviour, or if they even noticed. What I can tell you though is that, as a nation, we were shocked and appalled by the magnitude of his crimes (which finally came to light in 2012), and not just that, but the institutions who helped cover for him.

When the story was finally released and it was out that Savile was a sexual predator, the reporting media, both print and television, joined us in our shock and disgust. A question arose: “How did this man get away with this for so long?” And that’s when the real horrible truth emerged. Not only was this man connected to very powerful people, he was also protected by powerful organisations: media organisations.

Dame Janet Smith, a UK judge, conducted an investigation into Savile and the BBC. And the shit hit the fan. Turns out that rumours had been around for years about Savile and what he was doing. It was quoted that victims never came forward with allegations due to an “atmosphere of fear” at the BBC where Savile’s career was most prominent, hosting iconic shows such as Top of the Pops where the live audience was predominantly female teenagers, or Jim’ll Fix It, a show where predominantly young children wrote in for Savile to bring them to the show and make their dream come true. These shows provided access and Smith’s report quoted many who worked for the BBC at a time when Savile did as hearing something about Savile and his actions.

  1. Radio and tv presenter Terry Wogan was approached by a journalist who asked him when Savile was going to be exposed. Wogan’s response to the journalist was that was her job. This journalist, Jean Rook, was known for her outspoken and ballsy reporting. She died in 1991. The allegations against Savile were finally made public was in 2012, Savile died in 2011. (For a timeline into the events please click here )
  2. Roger Cook, an investigative journalist, received anonymous tips that Savile was abusing patients at a hospital he volunteered at. This was in 1980.
  3. TV presenter and journalist Andrew Fleet said Savile and his exploits made their way around the rumour mill of Fleet Street (for non-Brits this is the Mecca of the British media and a lot of the time we call the press Fleet Street). In Smith’s report it is stated that these rumours were seen as amusing.

 

This is merely three examples of people who work(ed) in the media who seemed to know something about these horrific crimes. There are many more along with prolific celebrities (such as the founder of Childline, a service where children who suffer abuse can call in for support and help,) who were aware of what was going on. The report can be found in full here.

To work in the media is a competitive and, understandably, soul-destroying business. The constant search for that big headline at times can be fruitless, which can lead to utter shite like this , to the illuminating , to just plain lies . So why is it when many were given the opportunity for a big story they never took it and ran with it? I understand the so-called “atmosphere of fear” but all that means is everyone valued their career over doing what was right. That as long as they got a pay-check it didn’t matter that children were being sexually molested.

Obviously the Savile case is a very unique one, and hopefully we never hear of the likes again. So, let’s put that to the side. Let’s, for arguments sake, all agree that because of it’s uniqueness that it isn’t fair to write off the media’s handlings of uncovering sexual assault of any kind. Deal?

Okay. So let’s look at the reporting of other rapes. Less high profile, shall we say. I refer to the second link in my opening paragraph in which a woman was subjected to a gang rape that went on for hours and was streamed on Facebook Live. Did you notice whilst reading the article that in the final of the three bullet points at the beginning and the two final paragraphs of the article that the story mentions other crimes committed on Facebook Live, crimes wholly unconnected and not even under the same category as the one that is being reported upon? The finger swerves to social media and makes it share the blame in this horrendous act. The article has the tone that if it weren’t for Facebook Live then it wouldn’t have happened.

Then there is the coverage of the Stanford rapist in which a female university student was raped by a fellow student. The assailant, Brock Turner, was, quite rightly, vilified by most but there were some, including Brock Turner who chose to blame alcohol and the present culture we live in on his sickening act. Even so, due to the worldwide outrage at this story, the media were hard-pressed to cover this in any other way except for the revealing of a rapist. But there’s always one who can’t help themselves, this article’s headline is quite something and though the article does not actually state that it believes its own headlines, it chooses to go into the semantics of what legally is constituted as rape. It’s message reads as this: “Here’s what to say when this is all over.”

So far I have given examples of rape coverage in the media in which the media reports the actual event. Unfortunately many rape cases are never reported. The latest statistics for England and Wales are that an average of 11 rapes occur an hour and only 15% ever get reported. (At the time of writing this piece, I could not find statistics for Scotland or Northern Ireland.) The reasons behind not reporting these crimes can range from shame to lack of faith in the justice system. But realistically, how do you expect women to report when tv adverts like this are broadcasted on your screens? Why on Earth are messages like this directed to the perpetrator? It’s basically saying “remember not to rape, that’s illegal.” Do we do the same for murder? No! Of course we fucking don’t! It’s plainly obvious – don’t murder! And it’s that simple for rape. It’s that simple everyone. Also, where is the victims voice? If anything, that advert should be the encouragement of victims coming forward and reporting the crime.

Looking at this so far it’s hard to pinpoint what it is that qualifies the subject of sexual assault worth being reported. Considering the media helped cover Savile’s repugnant acts and adding the factor that many attacks go unreported, its easy to assume they don’t widely report on sexual attacks. Well, no actually, nothing grabs headlines better than a sex crime headline, so long as its high profile of course. I don’t need to provide links, just Google it. It’s extraordinary how many come up, particularly if you select the images tab. Yet, the strangest thing occurred only last week in Britain. What could have been a big story, one to instil outrage and disgust amongst the public, to rally us all together and say “well that ain’t happening,” was unreported.

Let me start from the beginning, in the 2015 budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the man responsible for destroying our economy whilst under the guise of trying to fix it) George Osbourne declared changes to the child tax credit system. For non-Brits the best way I can describe child tax credits is it’s a subsidy for people, with children, on low income. It’s found that child tax credit are received by lone parent families and it can be the deciding factor on whether their family eat for the next fortnight. Osbourne declared he would be capping the child tax credit to a maximum of two children. The only people who would be exempt from this restriction would be those who have had multiple children in one birth and victims of rape. In the circumstances of rape victims they have to prove their ordeal occurred in order to be viable for said tax credits. The act was passed last week, without a parliamentary vote, without coverage from the media, without outrage from the public. As the public rely on the media for such information they can be excused. So where were the media? Could it be that it was done so hush hush that even they missed it? No. One paper reported on it. And in some way that made it worse. Because it made it all the clearer that the press knew exactly what had occurred.

I wish I could come up with a decent conclusion to this blog post. I wish I could give some suggestions or some silver lining to it all. The media have a responsibility to not only inform but in some cases educate. We live in a world where we have to broadcast reminders not to rape; where when sexual assault occurs it’s blamed on alcohol and the stresses of the environment we live in; where if someone is caught joking about sexual harassment it’s branded “locker room talk” and “boys will be boys.” The media have this side covered. All the search for is the sensational story. They don’t really want to change the world. Why change the world when you benefit from the misery in it?

 


NC Thomas is probably the most boring person you’ll ever meet. She loves reading, writing, wearing pyjamas and staying indoors. On sunny warm days, a rarity in Scotland, she is known to put the central heating on.

ncthomasblog.wordpress.com – Thinky Thoughts

SAAM: Why Women Don’t Report Part 2

Yesterday I reposted an article I wrote a few months back focusing on a social media trend #whywomendontreport, which was the blanket many people needed to speak up about their own sexual assaults.

Today I’m going to go a little bit more in depth to my personal story, and why I didn’t go to the police until nearly 11 years after the assault took place. Yesterday I kind of talked about what eventually lead me to report my assault to the police. Today, I’m focusing on why it took so long to do so.

The assault happened one evening in December 2005. I was living with my attacker after enduring an extreme falling out with my mom. (Yes, I’m aware that’s not what my previously published accounts say. We’ll get to that in a moment.) I had literally no where else to go. I was employed full time, but my salary was next to nothing. I couldn’t afford an apartment on my own, but I could afford to pay a few hundred dollars a month to live with a coworker and someone whom I considered a friend.

We shared his bed after I first moved in. I had my own room, but I didn’t own any of my own furniture. He had a mattress stashed in the second bedroom, but it wasn’t made readily available to me at first. Besides that, I felt safe sleeping next to him. THAT turned out to be a giant mistake, but I digress… we were sharing his bed for several weeks after I moved in. We hadn’t discussed any sort of sexual relationship or activity prior to the assault. We were roommates, and being naive as I was I assumed that nothing would change.

After the assault occurred, my entire world was shattered yet again. I say again because  the second reason I ended up moving in with this guy in particular, aside from my financial status, was the fact that I couldn’t endure the verbal abuse from my mother any longer. 

I spent the night with him one evening, just because it was late and I didn’t feel like driving home after spending the evening watching movies. When I woke up the next morning I found several nasty voicemails from my mom which almost pushed me over the edge. It was the first time my life had become so overwhelming that I wanted to end it. If my attacker hadn’t been there to pick me up off the floor, calmed me down, and offered me a place to stay I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. That event is what made me feel safe sleeping next to him, until he raped me anyway. 

 On the heels of my first bout of suicidal thoughts; then being violated in such a personal, and horrible way  by the very same person who had saved me just weeks earlier, I quite literally could not cope with it. The memories were almost instantly repressed, I returned to our apartment, and his bed the next night nary the wiser that something so violent had happened the night before.

Fast forward to the end of our relationship (because we did end up in a consensual sexual relationship AFTER the assault) when I was finally free from the constant triggers that came with living with, and being in love with my rapist; slowly the memories began to resurface. At first they were flashbacks. My current husband would say something or touch me in a certain way while we were intimate and I would have a panic attack, start crying, or just feel an overwhelming depression come over me. I didn’t understand why or what was happening, I just knew certain things and phrases were off limits for a comfortable experience.

Once the flash backs subsided, I was met with these haunting memories in nightmares. The same scene playing over and over again in my head. Hand on my breast, hand between my thighs, pain, sobbing into the pillow. The night mares were much less frequent and not triggered by anything specific like the flashbacks were, but they were still an ever present thing in my subconscious thoughts that I couldn’t understand and couldn’t get rid of.

Eventually, five years after my attacker and I ended our relationship, nearly 8 years after the assault itself had happened the full memories resurfaced. I remembered everything in vivid and graphic detail as if it had happened the day before. I was more confused than anything, doubting the validity of my own memories. It couldn’t be real. This man that I still felt such a strong attachment to so long after the end of our relationship couldn’t also be the man who raped me in such a violent, dehumanizing way.

It was that moment that spurred my initial idea to write everything that I remembered about our relationship down in an effort to heal. I began my journey on my own, unguided. When after a few months of wrestling with it (and enduring massive opposition from my attacker and his current wife who are still here reading my blog) I happened to look up the DSM criteria for PTSD. I don’t remember exactly why or what initiated my google search for information but once I found it, I felt like I was punched in the gut. Reading more in depth about it, was like reading into my own thoughts. All of these things that were swirling around in my head made sense when viewed through the lense of a PTSD diagnosis.

So, I set off to find a mental health professional to see if my hunch was correct. If I did in fact suffer from PTSD, a disorder I had ignorantly believed was only attributed to service men and women in the Military or law enforcement. The very first time I sat down with my therapist to discuss why I felt that I needed to be there. I spoke of the rape and how it caused so much continuing conflict in my life. I couldn’t come right out and say that what had happened was a rape for a long time. Almost a year into my treatment and recovery actually. Speaking to my therapist was the first time I had spoken the word “rape” out loud in a very long time.

It took a lot of soul searching to come forward about what happened to me. Not in the sense of going to the police, but just speaking the words out loud. Telling my story for the sake of being heard and putting the internal emotional turmoil aside. Especially since my attackers current wife began to blame me for her own emotional turmoil after many of the ugly events between her husband and myself came to light. The absolute last thing I ever wanted was to cause him any pain as I went through my healing process. I tried to skirt around the issue as much as possible for a very long time, desperately hoping that she would stop reading.

That day never came, and finally in April 2015 I decided I could wait no longer. I’d put my recovery on hold long enough. So I published for the first time the altered account of what happened. I changed and blurred what I deemed as unnecessary details to give my attacker the benefit of anonymity. I was foolishly trying to protect him from the consequences of his own actions. More than just wanting to protect him, I was also severely concerned as to how he might retaliate for me exposing the last dirty secret between us. After enduring his abusive behavior during and after our relationship I was terrified that if I called him out specifically, that his reaction would be swift, violent and angry.

Much to my relief he pretty much ignored my first retelling of the event, which gave me the courage I needed to continue writing and finally put an end to my own internal turmoil. I had put most of my turmoil to rest until about this time last year. A whole bunch of life situations had put me and my children back in close proximity to my attacker, when I hadn’t been as I began my healing journey. It was the first time we had lived in the same state for nearly ten years, and making things worse we were less than 10 miles apart in neighboring suburbs. Running into each other was pretty much inevitable, and I knew it before we made the decision to move.

Trying to put my mind at ease I contacted a mutual friend and explained my fears. Well, I thought he was a mutual friend, but as it turned out he went directly to my attacker with every single thing I had confided in him making my situation even more volitile that it would have been otherwise. Soon my attacker and his wife were driving by my home, sometimes (but not always) yelling derogatory things in my direction which sent my anxiety into overdrive.

The kids and I moved, not once but twice through out the year. There were other factors contributing to each of our moves aside from my attacker and his shenanigans, but the stress from it all caused me to reach my limit of compassion towards mostly his wife. It was one thing dealing with my attacker being upset, denying everything I had published and recollected about our short life together. I lived with him and know him very well (although he’ll deny that too) I knew what to expect from him. His wife was meddling. She had no business getting involved in something that was clearly an issue between he and I. I could ignore the victim blaming and shaming from him. It isn’t any different than the abuse I’ve already survived. From her? I’d had enough, and I let her have it in a very long, very angry, rant here.

Now that, actually solicited quite an angry response from my attacker. Which makes sense, as he viciously defends his family and always has. There was a time when I was on the other side and he came to my own defense, but this time was the first time I had been on the receiving end. I was actually relieved that he finally dropped his facade and told me the truth about our “relationship” which he had been hiding or twisting around for so long. Before his last rant (which I shared part of yesterday) he had always maintained the “I loved you, but…” explaination for our break up. The “but” changed every time we spoke about it, and never being a consistent story I knew he wasn’t being honest with me. FINALLY having him come out and admit that he had been using me from day one, confirming my suspicions and the conclusions I’d already reached, was exactly what I needed to hear. His intention was to be hurtful, but instead I felt a sense of freedom that I desperately needed to move onto the next phase of healing. Instead of hurting me with his caustic words, he inadvertently provided me with the key I didn’t know I needed to unlock more of my repressed past.

Of course he also verbally attacked my own family and abilities as a wife and mother which I felt the need to respond to. I did, really not feeling any hatred toward him all, merely standing my ground and defending my own. After I hit the reply button and thought about it, I remembered the last time we fought he had attempted to file a false harassment claim against me. I had spoken the reporting police officer several years prior and had been under the impression that charges had been filed, which I was unsure if I had violated by responding to his tirade.

Yes, that’s actually the thing that finally lead me to the police. Making sure I hadn’t broken any laws because my attacker had tried to intimidate me by filing false accusations. THE IRONY IS REAL HERE. I called the local police department and an officer came out to speak to me. I’d printed everything out for him, he checked to make sure no formal charges had been filed and that I wasn’t in violation of anything. He asked me about the assault and if I had ever thought about filing a formal report but beyond that nothing really happened. I wasn’t in violation of anything since no formal charges had been filed against me. It was misinformation from my attacker, and an attempt at intimidation plain and simple. THAT made me angry, so I set about furthering my reply to my attacker’s rant. It wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but my emotions got the best of me. I responded again, linking back to an article I’d written months before the confrontation. I had forgotten that all of my posts here have a limited time frame which comments can be left by the public, at least until I checked my email a few days later and saw a rambling note from my attacker, calling me crazy among other things for having the compassion to forgive him, and the gall to hold him accountable for his crimes. More of the same old story I’ve heard from him for years, both during and especially after our relationship.

I replied respectfully, told him continuing the conversation was pointless and asked that he not contact me further. He ignored my request, and emailed me again, which lead me back to the police. Once again I called the local department and an officer came out to speak with me. This time, the officer that came out suggested that filing a report about the rape would be the best way to build a case and get my attacker to back off.  My attacker was ever so careful with how he worded his emails as to not include anything that fell into the definition of a criminal threat. Every officer I spoke to knew his intent was to threaten and silence me, but none of them could help me in terms of the law.

Basically, I was shuffled from one department to the next. The local police couldn’t do anything more than take a report of the emails and my desire to have communication cease, but if I traveled from my home to the town where the assault took place and filed a report there I was told maybe that department would have different resources available. It took me about two weeks to decide to do it, but eventually I did. I packed up my kids and drove to the town where the assault took place, shuffled all of my kids into the small police station and initiated my report hoping to finally put an end to the years of harassment and bullshit threats from my attacker.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, especially after reaching out for help before and getting continually shuffled around from department to department. By the time I filed my official report I had been “redirected” four different times by four different jurisdictions. At least the department in the town where my assault had actually taken place took things seriously and didn’t try to pawn me off on someone else. The investigation is ongoing and I can’t discuss the details of actually giving my report and all of that right now. Eventually when things stall or move forward I’ll get around to the specifics.

As if the emotional turmoil wasn’t enough of a struggle to over come before giving my report, I also had logistical issues. Pretty much immediately after my attacker and I ended our relationship I moved out of state. It was another inappropriate coping technique. Instead of facing all of the pain, and working through it immediately as I should have I ran away. I did. I straight up ran away. Hoping to leave everything behind.

If life hadn’t brought me back home, if  my attacker hadn’t threatened to file false accusations against me, if I had never pursued therapy, and the memories never resurfaced, I honestly don’t know if I ever would have pursued filing the report. Especially after so many years and so many different people telling me to just shut up and forget about it, like he was a bully on the play ground not a violent, and abusive criminal. I won’t say that I regret it, because I don’t. I do catch myself sometimes wondering if I did the right thing. If coming forward so many years later was the best way to handle the situation, the best way to end any further harassment from my rapist, or if I’ve only delayed the inevitable. Self doubt constantly creeps in, no matter how much evidence I have to the contrary, how much support I have for pursuing a case against him. 

For the longest time I felt like I was doing something wrong even just by speaking up and not allowing this to pass by unaddressed. It’s only been recently that I’ve realized I’ve never been wrong, but it’s society and the shame continually heaped upon victims of sexually based crimes that is wrong and the only way to change it? Speaking up, loud and proud as long as I am physically able even despite fierce opposition. I am just one tiny voice lost in a sea of different opinions, but my voices matters. Every voice of every survivor matters, and don’t you dare let anyone convince you otherwise.

SAAM: Why Women Don’t Report 

This trend… Interwebs I love you. I love this, giving people the ability to speak out. This trend killed me to look through, especially on the heels of my personal struggling this week. I can’t think of much else to say on the matter other than sharing the screen shots that maxed out my phone memory of various tweets, simply scrolling through the trend.

These are all so true. Every single one of them, reflecting thoughts that went through my own head as I was trying to come to terms with my assault. In the end, it really boils down to this for me personally:
First off, it was so traumatic I repressed it until many years later. Secondly, when the memories did resurface I remembered this as well: He was recovering from major head trauma, and explained the event away as a sleep disturbance. All of the violence I endured with him happened at night, and it made sense. Until he denied everything years later. Not just he assault, (which is fairly obvious he would deny) but the night terrors, and other sleep disturbances as well.

“I was an asshole, jerk,selfish, blunt, honest to you about never loving you,dated mutable (*multiple is what he means here) women while together, had permission from you to be with other women when I went to the USAF. (Under very specific conditions) If anyone has any issues its you. You were a pussy pillow from the start, and I was a jerk enough to let you know up front….

Now about these blogs that are about me, first off you were never raped, matter of fact if I recall the next morning when I said to you “you are not going to read too much into this are you” and you said “no are you?” plus if I recall right you came over that next night.(This is a true account of the first time we were together after our first fight/temporary falling out but NOT the account of the assault which occurred as our ACTUAL first time ever, several months earlier.

Actually a lot of your stories are just that stories with new and exciting twists that never happened. Here are some of my favorites I purposed to you, my father speeding, my mother changing clothes or dressing down to make you feel better, you being raped, my current wife slashing your tires, that I could possible cut/hurt myself, (This one wasn’t written by me about you at all. I called you out for freaking out about it forever ago) suffer from depression, night terrors funny that hasn’t happened in 10 years for some reason, you helping me through anything the only thing you help was you opening your legs when I asked, and this could go on and on. (Everything else is accurate to my memories of events. You did admit to lying to me just to get me in bed in a private email, so…)  

I mean if I was this horrible person all this time and a sexual abuser then why be around me and live with me for 2 YEARS! I mean come on that makes no sense what so ever. “Help me you raped me, oh wait its love, I love you” Kelli you telling everyone that I sexually abused you then proceeding to go over your good times and bad and over the years should prove to readers you are FUCKED UP IN THE HEAD. It makes no sense but “You hurt me so you raped me, you rapist!” (That’s why I went to therapy in the first place. I didn’t understand why I loved someone who raped me, and abused me. According to science everything you just listed there is proof that the mental damage you caused was real. Go figure.)   Also if I raped you then why be with a predator? Strange when I was with [my wife] for the first time I was nothing but a gentlemen and asked her, “Is this okay”,” Are you sure you want to do this”, and my favorite “can I kiss you”. (I’m not sure how much you can count being gentlemanly going home with a stripper for an orgy with her husband and another girl. She told me when she called me back in 2008. Funny that you BOTH told me you kept calling her Kelli… Not Amanda, Michelle, Lindsey, Stephanie, Annibell, or Carol… Kelli.) Because my Father taught me to always ask before doing anything. (This is true. Your father is a good man. Too bad he wasn’t around enough for his manners or morals to rub off on you. I will say after your most recent bullshit I understand why he is/was so hard on you) You may be asking yourself “if you don’t care as much as you say then why are you responding? I am glad you asked! You see your readers only get the made up fictional version as if you were a victim of sexual abuse. I want your readers for once read what I have to say but I am sure you will be a coward and will take it down.” 

If his denial hadn’t been attached to that rambling diatribe (which I did edit removing a lot of the personal details for this post. Those interested can find the original still in my comments where he left it) detailing his over all poor treatment of me during our relationship, it probably wouldn’t have changed my mind. Seeing it in context next to his repeated admissions that he lied to me about almost everything, he never cared about me, he just wanted to fuck me, it became fairly obvious that what happened during those nights was intentional, and that he should have been held accountable. Which makes me feel incredibly foolish for defending him all these years, and somehow guilty for loving him and giving him the benefit of the doubt. Like it’s my fault for the way he chose to victimize me, my fault that he got away with it.
I did finally report it a few months ago. Ten and a half years after the event, and three years after the fog of repression lifted. I found my courage, pulled up my boot straps and did what I should have done ages ago. If nothing else comes from it, I at least have a greater sense of closure. Not a complete sense of closure, because I’ll never have that as long as I continue to blog. My internal conflict between morality and compassion has been put to rest.

The entire process of making a report is so much more complex than calling the police, pointing fingers and saying: “this crime happened!” with rape and sexual assault. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

These following tweets illustrate that better than I ever could.

The saddest part of all of this is how quickly #whywomendontreport stopped trending. It was a flash in the pan, just enough to catch my attention when I logged on that morning, and by the time I sat down in the afternoon to gather some tweets for this post it was gone. Shuffled off and buried under everything else. So many people in so much and different levels of pain crying out for a moment, only to return to silence.
Because when it’s not a trending topic or political game, no one wants to talk about it, forgetting that in order to see a change we so desperately need to. I know it’s not easy, I’ve had to step away from this several times to let the emotions and anxiety subside. I’ll probably have to log off social media all together for a few days to recover, but I do it anyway. I keep talking, after the trend is over, after it’s not news, after veiled threats, flash backs, and insomnia BECAUSE IT MATTERS.

SAAM: Predator vs Victim 

 Two years ago, I came across an article written by a young man who decided to share his experience being on the other side of a rape accusation. He believed the woman’s claims were unfounded and went forward to express that. Obviously, heading up my series on SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) I felt compelled to comment. At the beginning I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because while only less than 5% of sexual assault accusations prove to be false, there unfortunately ARE times when false accusations are made. The more I began to discuss things with him the more it became obvious that it was in fact the author himself making false accusations against his hapless victim. He knew the consent laws, and chose to ignore them based on circumstances. What made it even worse is that he attacked “feminism” for “empowering women to make false accusations”.
In short he was merely trying to justify his actions, and complain about consent laws. Consent laws that when followed protect not only women from being assaulted, but also men from being falsely accused. Or any combination of genders involved in any number of relationships. The laws, especially the laws in states that define consent as something one can NOT legally give under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances are designed to protect people on both sides of the equation, I fail to see the problem with them. Yet many people (not only men but men seem to be the most vocal about it) seem to think that by defining consent this way it is somehow unfair.
I look at it like this: much like the law defines how much alcohol you can consume to safely drive, the law must now define how much alcohol one can consume to safely consent to sexual activity. Sure, there are any number of people who can safely operate a vehicle at greater than the legal limit, but there are also many people who can not. The same is true when drinking before consenting to sexual activity. There are many people who can coherently consent after more than one or even a few drinks, but there are also many who can not. In order to protect the masses the laws must impose limits. It is fully within your rights to ignore such limits, but when you do you are making the choice to open yourself to numerous risks. Either of being assaulted, or being falsely accused.
It’s pretty easy to understand really. Now do the laws need more definition? ABSOLUTELY. Riding the wave of change, the challenge to what has unfortunately become a society and culture that not only glorifies, but normalizes sexual assault and abuse there will be backlash and fierce opposition. One step forward, and two steps back so to speak. It’s going to take time to find a middle ground giving the victims the necessary legal protection from further abuse, while also protecting those accused. There will be victims lost through the cracks on both ends, but does that mean we should stop the pursuit? No, most certainly not.
Feminism is right on track as far as sexual assault awareness and advocacy. If feminism is what empowers victims to speak out and take a stand, I am all for that. Especially in the face of such vocal opposition from what seems to be a growing number of predatory individuals. As I stated above, it isn’t limited to a specific gender or sexual orientation. It’s not men vs women. It’s predator vs victim. PREDATOR vs VICTIM.

S.A.A.M. 2017

For those who aren’t aware the month of April has been set aside by NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center) as a month dedicated to bring sexual assault awareness to the forefront of conversation. Two years ago I used the platform as somewhat of a spring board in telling my own story, and sharing several submissions from fellow survivors. I didn’t really do much last year preparing for the birth of my twins, but this year I’m back in full advocacy swing with once again sharing my own story.  The only way to make a difference in these horrendous statistics, is to keep talking about it. To keep bringing awareness to a crime that goes unreported more often than not, and even when it is reported gives victims little legal recourse to see their assailant brought to justice. Sitting idly by in the shadows hoping that someone else can speak up and make the change isn’t going to accomplish anything. I’ve been given my gift with words for a reason. So far I haven’t found a much better reason than this: to speak for those afraid to use their own voice. As long as I possess the ability to share my story, I will.

Comments are OPEN this year, but will be strictly monitored. Respectful debate is welcome.

 

***Trigger Warning***

**NSFW**

***The following contains graphic reference to sexual violence. Reader discretion is advised.***

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I am a survivor of not only one, but two separate sexual assaults. I don’t know why the second event is seared on my memory, and the first passed with out hardly a memory at all. My therapist seems to think I was drugged the first time around, as the complete memories simply are not there. I remember before, I remember after, but the event itself is lost. Something happened in those few hours between 4am and 8am leaving the back door unlocked, my underwear strewn across the room, and the scent of a strange cologne on my sheets, but the details of exactly what are lost forever.
The second event I can still remember as if it had happened yesterday. I can remember the scent of the room, the color and pattern of the sheets, exactly what I was wearing, and exactly when it happened. I wasn’t always able to recall it so clearly. It met me mostly in flashbacks, and nightmares. Pieces and fragments of the entire memory lost in my trauma cycle.
These are the moments exactly as I remember them. It has been quite a long time and few details may be blurred, but that doesn’t discount the validity of what happened. Rape, is rape, is rape. I rejected my attacker’s advances and he continued on despite it. The how, why, or mechanics are pretty much irrelevant to all but those of us who have to live with them repeating in our heads.
I had fallen asleep in bed next to a close friend. The same situation had happened many times before with out consequence. We spent a lot of time together, and late nights often turned into early mornings when I was too tired to drive home. He was my mentor, my confidant, my hero. I admired him, but most of all I trusted him. We were comfortable with each other, familiar like the oldest friends. Our friendship was physical as far as hugs, sharing each other’s personal space, and playful bantering back and forth went, but we had remained platonic. There was no indication that it would change, and I was perfectly content with what we had. I was young, just starting to branch out on my own away from the watchful eyes of my parents, and painfully innocent. It genuinely never occurred to me that he could want something more from me, least of all anything sexual.
I’ve always been frowzy, and back in those days I was caught between wanting to flaunt my feminine sexuality and hide my ample figure under baggy shapeless clothes. There were days when I would venture out in a miniskirt and tank, but they were fleeting and far between. I didn’t even know what I wanted from myself, and especially not how to read/determine what others wanted from me. I don’t want to say that I walked right into a trap, or that he intentionally set me up to take advantage of me, but looking back on it now older and wiser I have to wonder… The person I innocently encountered through mutual friends, and the person who I grew so close to seemed to be two entirely different entities.
He was so dramatically different alone in his own home. As if he became a different person when outside of the imposing and constant eye of the public. It was both comforting and a little disconcerting as he began to open up to me. He had recently shared that life hadn’t been going very well for him in the months prior to our meeting and pursuant friendship. His mood swings were frequent, and he was often unstable at best. Watching the happy go lucky, confidant, often arrogant boy I had grown close to, become scared, insecure, and melancholy in the blink of an eye made my heart ache. I had experienced a few of these episodes prior to the attack. Even though some of them were intense and frightening it gave me a deeper appreciation for his struggle. He hid his strife and pain so well in the company of others, but one on one when everything was still he broke out of his shackles; the constraints of society. He became real, raw, and so completely human. I had never felt more intimately connected with anyone than I did with him in those moments spent soothing a tortured soul back into the quiet rhythm of stability. Watching him endure the prison of his run away emotions reminded me of myself. It was morbidly comforting to see that I wasn’t alone in my emotional suffering, even if the reasons we were suffering were different.
After we had fallen asleep I had my back turned to him as usual, having shed most of my clothes before climbing in his bed, I was left in nothing more than my tight fitting cotton tee shirt and plain cotton panties. I had worn the same thing many nights before with out thought or consequence, but that night as he rolled over putting his arm around me, he slid his hand across my chest to rest on my left breast. I was startled from my sleep. Things had happened so quickly, and without any discussion. I wasn’t even truly sure what was happening.
While I had lost my virginity during my previous assault, I didn’t remember any of the specifics of intimacy. I had known my first attacker since childhood, but beyond acquaintance we never developed a close friendship. Perhaps that’s why it was so much easier to forget everything in relation to the first event. The second assault was quite different. As I lay there next to someone whom I had become resoundingly close to, with his hand touching me in such a personal place, everything was completely new. Physically I was not a virgin, but emotionally I was. It felt good, in a confusing dangerous way. I lay there waiting to see if he would realize what he was doing, or if he had merely rolled over in his sleep unaware of his actions. After a few moments of awkward waiting to see what was going to happen I gently removed his hand from my breast and managed to return to sleep if only momentarily before his hand found its way back. This time instead of just resting his hand on top of my shirt, he slowly worked his hand underneath. Starting gently on my back and slowly moving his way around again to my breast where he began to caress me. That startled me. It was one thing if he had accidentally rolled over unaware of his actions, but the caressing signaled a deeper, darker intent. Instead of waiting to see what happened next, I again removed his hand, this time a bit more forcefully hoping that he would get the message that I was not interested, but instead almost immediately after I tossed his hand away, he returned to grab me in a much more forceful way that before.
I tried to push his hand away yet again, but this time he completely refused. I struggled briefly before his hand left my breast and he forced it between my thighs running his fingers up and down my vagina before penetrating me. With that I gasped and arched my back trying to scoot away as he forcefully rolled me from my side onto my back, holding both of my arms above my head. He continued to roughly violate me with his hand not even bothering to remove my panties, merely pushing them to the side until there was a transition. No longer was he violating me with his hand, but instead had forcefully penetrated me.
It seared with a burning pain as he continued harder and faster. I yelped, struggling to free my arms and tried to use my feet to push myself away from him, while trying desperately to close my legs and end the painful penetration. I managed to scoot a few inches, my head becoming pressed uncomfortably into the headboard of the bed, my neck twisted at an uncomfortable forty five degrees. He then released my arms, as he grabbed my hips and pulled me back onto himself, using his arms for extra leverage making each thrust even more painful. I raised my arms, trying to push him away from me, off of me, but instead he pushed my arms away and leaned in putting his full body weight on top of me, giving me a forced kiss. I couldn’t breath, whether it was the weight of his body on top of mine, or the emotional weight of what was happening the kiss caused something to snap inside of me. I yelped again as tears began to run down my face and I fought harder finally succeeding in pushing him away as my knee connected with his rib cage.
Still trying to emotionally process what was happening, or had happened, to me instead of leaving the room and getting away I merely returned to my side of the bed, curled myself into the smallest, tightest ball I could manage and continued to sob. I had no idea where he had gone, or if he was still laying in bed next to me. The realization that he could still be in bed with me made me quickly stifle my sobs. It was quite a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but eventually I was able to quiet my sobbing and fell into a fitful sleep.
By the time my alarm went off, the sun was high in the sky and my friend had disappeared. He was no longer in the bed beside me, and I couldn’t hear any tell tale signs that he was at home. It was a little odd that he had just left without telling me, but not completely unusual. As I stirred from sleep, and rolled over in the bed the events of the night before became blurry and distant as if they had all been just a bad or over exaggerated dream. I stared at the ceiling trying to process everything flying around in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I began to justify his actions. We were both single, spending a lot of time together, and intimate in every other sense of the word save for sexually. Would I have been hurt or betrayed if he had made a sexual advance toward me during the day? Was it only because it happened somewhere in the space between sleep and waking that it seemed so skewed and inappropriate? Inappropriate. When that thought crossed my mind, I sat up in bed and made my way into the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror.
My breasts were hardly shrouded through my tee shirt which exposed my navel and low cut panties. I stared a moment longer and then closed my eyes hanging my head in disgust. I might as well have climbed into his bed naked. After becoming so close, then throwing myself into his bed in such a suggestive outfit, to use the horrible cliche, I felt that I was asking for it. I felt that couldn’t blame him for acting on impulse the way he did. If I truly hadn’t some how wanted him to make a move, I should have slept in my own bed, or on the couch. Instead of taking action against him, I fell into the trap of victim blaming. It was all I knew, growing up in a society that places so much weight on women to bare the responsibility of crimes against them.
Not once did the word rape cross my mind in all of my mulling and evaluating as I stood in front of the mirror, with bloodshot eyes and a broken spirit. Even though now I can see what had happened was most certainly a violent rape, I instead chose to think of it as “previously undiscussed intimacy”. I shook my head, angry and frustrated more with myself than him as I quickly undressed and hopped in the shower. I was due to report to work and staring at myself in the mirror wasn’t going to pay my bills. As I lathered up up the loofa and began to run it over my body I winced encountering bruises that I had yet to notice. My lower back and both hips had light purple and blue marks. On my left hip I could clearly see the outline of his handprint, where each of his fingers and thumb had pressed into my flesh to keep me from squirming away.
For a moment I stared at the marks on my skin as emotion began to overwhelm me once again. Something about seeing the evidence of the violence shook me to the core. I dropped the loofa, and grabbed one side of the shower to steady myself, as I moved my other hand to my lower pelvis pausing before I gently touched myself in a further examination of the damage. The moment my fingers touched the sensitive skin of my labia I winced almost doubling over in pain. My genitals in their entirety were bruised and swollen, my vagina raw and so swollen that I couldn’t actually tell how extensive the damage really was. The inside of my thighs were also beginning to turn a light shade of purple brown sensitive to the touch. At that moment I collapsed to the bottom of the tub. I could emotionally deny what had happened between us, but I couldn’t escape the physical evidence.
I began to sob once again sitting there watching the water run down the shower drain as I curled up as tight as possible while sitting on my knees. It was then that I also noticed bruises on my wrists, which made my sobs even more intense. What did it all mean? Where did I go from here? I couldn’t run away. We were friends, but more than that he was my closest friend. My best friend. The only whom I could tell all my secrets to with out fear of judgement or retribution. Where could I go now? Who could I turn to now that HE had hurt me? Even then as I was still struggling to comprehend what had happened I was sitting in HIS shower, with HIS scent lingering and wafting through the steam slowly filling the room, HIS hair lingering around the shower drain.
That’s when the panic began. My heart began racing as my head began to spin, nausea and the inability to breath caught me off guard. I closed my eyes, the only thing I could think of to do as the water slowly began to fade from warm to cold. I was numb. Physically and emotional, numb sitting there in the darkness overwhelmed by reality and the trauma I had experienced.
As the water lost it’s last trace of warmth, my head stopped spinning and I opened my eyes. I stared at the drain a few moments more before I was finally able to pull myself off of the bottom of the tub. The panic had passed and I had decided that there was nothing that could be done. What had happened was now in the past and I was determined not to let it destroy me. I had to get to work. So I climbed out of the shower, quickly dried myself, found my uniform, dressed and left not sure if I would ever return to that place again.
As I continued on with my day, steadfast and determined the memories began to fade. My mind was occupied with the present, circumstances at work, and everything else in between. The overwhelming emotions began to subside the less and less I thought of the event. A few things remained, his hand on my breast, the kiss, his hand between my legs, but the violence and depravity of his willful disregard of my humanity faded into oblivion. So much so that when he called me later that evening and invited me to come over I happily agreed.
I had been working the late shift so by the time I arrived at his apartment the lights were low and he was getting ready for bed. The door was unlocked and I walked in just as I had so many nights previously. I called his name, and he replied from the bedroom. I balked slightly at meeting him in the bedroom and my heart began to race once again, a feeling of apprehension building in the pit of my stomach. It lasted only a moment as I made my way through the apartment and into the bedroom. He was laying on the bed, with the saddest most distressed look on his face I had ever seen. He patted the empty spot beside him motioning for me to join him. I kicked off my shoes and did just that.
As I crawled in beside him he took a deep breath before spitting out a rushed and frantic apology as he stared straight ahead, either not wanting to or unable to make eye contact.
“About last night. I’m really sorry.” he said nervously.
I tensed up nervous with anticipation, and replied: “What do you mean?” It was quite possibly the dumbest reply ever to an attempted apology/confession but in the overwhelming situation my mind was racing so fast and furious it didn’t occur to me the what the apology was actually for. I had spent the entire day trying to repress and forget the memories of the night before, building up my courage to see him again, then this apology was thrown into my lap.
He paused, taking a few breaths, working up his own courage to continue and eventually said: “Last night, I got really intimate and… I… well… I thought you were someone else, and that you wanted to sleep with me, but you weren’t. You weren’t her and… you were crying. I mean… I’m really sorry, are you okay?” He stammered, finally turning his attention toward me, a look of grief, remorse, and a tiny bit of fear spread across his face.

I sat there momentarily trying to figure out if I was actually okay, or how to respond to his question accurately if I wasn’t. The moment passed briefly before I scooted over closer to him and answered: “I’m here, back in bed next to you aren’t I? If I wasn’t okay I wouldn’t be here.”
He looked at me searching my face for the truth, before he once again began to stammer: “Are you sure, because I mean… I never would have forced you to do anything if you didn’t want to. I mean… you didn’t really protest so… You… you like me. You wanted to sleep with me the first time you came to bed with me, didn’t you?” He said trying to justify his actions more to himself than to me.
I wasn’t really sure how to respond, still to this day, if I were placed in the situation again I don’t know how I would respond. All in all what happened was rape, but was is really? He wasn’t completely lucid mistaking me for another woman as far as I could tell, and he appeared to have great remorse for what had happened. If I hadn’t made the choice to spend the night sleeping in his bed it never would have happened, so was he really the one who should bare the brunt of the blame, or was I? At that point in my life, I felt the blame fall squarely on myself, even though I had rejected his advances by pushing him away that night, and there had never been any discussion of sexual intimacy before hand.
After a few awkward moments of silence I said, “Well no, but I was in your bed and we never really discussed where our relationship was going so… it’s okay. I mean I don’t DISLIKE you, but I shouldn’t have been half naked in your bed if I didn’t want to give you the wrong impression.”
In that moment, that was exactly how I felt. I felt that instead of holding him accountable for his actions, I should instead blame myself. It was easier to accept the blame and fall into self loathing, further removing the event from my mind, blurring and repressing more and more as each fleeting moment passed.
He looked at me with the most sincere look I have ever seen from anyone, and said, “Well, I’m truly sorry, and it will never happen again. Can I have a hug?”

I obliged and he held me in silence restoring my sense of security until I fell asleep, once again in his bed.
Our friendship continued despite the attack, eventually blossoming into a dysfunctional romantic relationship. Through out our time together the sex was frequent and often rough, some falling into what I believed at the time was the “grey area” of consent. None of the other events were nearly as violent nor dehumanizing as the first, but damaging just the same. He was my first recurrent sexual partner. The only relationship I knew was ours. It never occurred to me that something was wrong. It was all what I had perceived as normal, grew accustomed to, and even enjoyed.
While I was completely unaware, he knew what had happened was wrong and he often brought it up in conversation. He would constantly question my motives for staying with him, and had completely convinced himself that the love I felt toward him could not be genuine. As much as he kept bringing it up, I never remembered the most violent rape as being our first sexual experience. Some things remained about that night. His hand on my breast, the kiss, his hand between my thighs, and the apology the next day but for whatever reason my memory recall stopped there. Whenever he referenced the first time we slept together a calm, tender, albeit incredibly awkward moment always came to mind.
When discussing the discrepancy in our memories became an issue, he often chose not to argue with me. The one time he pressed the issue I became greatly upset, firmly rooted in my denial. We never argued about it again, yet he continued to bring it up. Perhaps he was hoping that I would figure it out on my own, or perhaps he was protecting himself and his guilty conscious, either way I went on in blissful ignorance for many years even after our relationship ended and life took us in different directions.
It was only after I began treatment to address PTSD for reasons completely unrelated to him or rape that the real memories began to surface and the dissociation began to fade. I can remember exactly what I was doing when the full memory of the assault broke through to my conscious mind. My current husband and I had just moved into our first home with our young daughter. I was unpacking some boxes and found my old CD binder. I popped in a CD that my attacker had given me toward the end of our relationship. I hadn’t listened to it in years, but it was some what significant and nostalgic. As I listened closely to the lyrics I really hadn’t paid attention to before, everything about the relationship began to run through my head. I remembered where we had our fist date, the circumstances that lead to us briefly living together, a few of our worst arguments; then suddenly as I was mulling over the memory of how our sexual relationship began, it hit me. I remembered his hand on my breast, I remembered his hand in between my legs; then instead of skipping like a broken record straight to the kiss I remembered the distinct transition from his hand to the forceful penetration of his penis, I remembered fighting, trying to get away, my head being smashed against the headboard. I almost started screaming as tears erupted from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, all I could do was sit there and cry. My husband at work, and my daughter sleeping soundly in her crib.
I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know who to tell, or if I should tell anyone. I was still in the early stages of my marriage relationship with my husband and talking about the relationship I shared with my attacker before had caused unnecessary stress between us. I didn’t know what else to do except write everything I remembered down in an attempt to heal wounds that I had been ignoring since the end of the relationship. Which is exactly what I did, in addition to seeking professional help.
The first time I wrote everything down, I had intended to publish it on my personal blog, which my attacker’s wife had found and been following for sometime. The way I met her and reasons she is still following my blog are a tale in themselves, but it’s not appropriate to share here. What’s important is that she was following, and before I began publishing the ugliness of what happened between myself and her husband I decided to contact her, allowing her to make the choice to continue or stop reading. Instead of avoiding conflict, I think it only inflamed it. Where she had only been following before, soon he and several of their friends were watching every step I made for the duration of my recovery. It took me two years before I felt comfortable enough to pen the words written here, and my attacker tried every trick in the book to get me to remain silent, barely stopping just short of physical violence.
I pressed on and continued writing and publishing various memories between us including the account of the assault enduring their harassment until this past summer. As I was finally reaching a place of closure on the horror show that was the relationship with my rapist, I wrote a very defiant post detailing how I felt about their treatment of me during my recovery, and attempt to emotionally manipulate me. It ended with a very long comment from her, and the first ever comment from my attacker on my public writing. In his comment he finally confessed his true desire for me was purely lust. I was a sex object to him, nothing more. While he denied the assault it self, he confirmed every other abusive aspect of our relationship. In addition to that he also denied the existence of any sort of sleep disturbances. It was then that another revelation smacked me awake from my post trauma stupor. The story he told me about mistaking me for someone else the night of the assault was just that. A story, to keep me around for his sick sexual fantasy. It took me several days to come to terms with that, especially since I’d spent the better part of my recovery defending him based on the fact the most violent acts only occurred between us at night after I had fallen asleep. Once I came to terms with it, and after several vaguely threatening emails from him, despite my repeated request that he not contact me further, I went to the police.
3,894 days after the assault, 1,825 days since the end of the relationship, and 1,095 days since the memory returned to my conscious mind. In the United States the statue of limitations vary from state to state, crime to crime. Where we were when the attack took place has a statute of 20 years. I got lucky. Showing up to file my report was one of the most panic inducing things I’ve ever done. I showed up at the local police station and told the officer that I needed to report a nearly 11 year old rape. He was very kind, and encouraged me to stay, but he was honest and up front. After so much time had passed, with out any physical evidence it was really up to the prosecutor to determine if the case would move forward or not.
Every officer I spoke to was very kind, and encouraged me to pursue the full extend of the law. I submitted copies of everything I had written about the assault, as well as an official statement, all of the contact I had between myself and my attacker, plus everything I’ve written here and that was that. I was told a detective would contact me, warned again that nothing much was likely to come of it with out hard physical evidence, and sent on my way. It was three weeks before I heard from the detective. By that point I had assumed that seeing the date of the crime, my report had been filed or tossed aside to make way for more current crimes. It was something I was prepared for as I took the step to make my report, and I felt comfortable simply knowing that I had done the right thing even if it was too late for my attacker to see justice. Until I got a phone call from the detective that is. I missed him the first time, and another week went by before we were able to reconnect. One month after I filed my report, the detective the next step of gathering a statement from my attacker.
Thankfully, because the police were now involved the immediate fall out from my attacker and his wife was minimal. Where they had previously contacted me directly, or posted things here they left it alone even as they still continue to visit the site daily. It was the best, most liberating, feeling I’ve ever had. The weight has been lifted off of me, the memory is just a memory now, not a flashback or overwhelming experience. The fact that my attacker is still following my blog, no longer bothers me. Whatever he might say, as crude, abusive, or threatening as it might be no longer bothers me. Even on my worst days when the PTSD I inherited kicks in and starts shuffling through all of the various traumas in my life. His part no longer bothers me.
What does bother me is seeing so many other women, or even men, suffer in silence because of the shame associated with speaking out about sexual crimes. Even as a victim myself, I wasted so much time trying to rationalize and justify what happened as something other than rape, because it’s easier to talk about. “He threw me across the room into a dresser” is so much easier to say than “he raped me.” I still physically choke on the word: rape. I have a very hard time saying it out loud without tears and heart racing full of panic. That is exactly why we need to talk about it.
Even in the current climate, where the circus that was the United States 2016 election, continues to bring sexual assault to the forefront of discussion, victims will cry out momentarily only to slip back into silence shortly after. Personally, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I didn’t hesitate to fight back during the act of the assault itself, but stopped fighting when it came to speaking out. I’ve been through a lot in my nearly 30 years, enough that I’m more comfortable facing adversity than with out it. I’m a fighter, I’m a survivor. I’m not going to remain silent about this anymore. I will take any and every opportunity to share my story. Not out of hatred, or jealousy, or revenge, attention seeking, or any other excuse that is tossed around as victim blaming or shaming. I’m never going to stop talking about it because it matters. It needs to be said.

I’m Kelli, I’m 29 and I was raped by a man whom I later fell in love, and entered a consensual sexual relationship with. The memories were repressed for five years after the attack itself, I chose to remain silent for two years after they resurfaced, and waited an additional year after first speaking out to make my report to law enforcement. I will remain silent no more.

That Moment

That moment when a post on your FB page gains new life and helps fellow victims speak their truth. All the feels!


Over the weekend I had the privilege to watch this badge (which you can find with many others at End The Stigma) that I posted back in January gain new life. It was heartbreaking and encouraging all at once to see each share pop up in my notifications and read through some of the stories of fellow victims who used the post as a jumping off point to start conversations with their friends and family.

I had planned to publish an article detailing my own survivors story in April for Sexual Assult Awareness Month, but with this influx of new fans who so bravely shared their own stories I think publishing it now is appropriate as well.

***Trigger Warning***

***NSFW***

***The following contains graphic depictions of sexual violence, reader discretion is advised***

I am a survivor of not only one, but two separate sexual assaults. I don’t know why the second event is seared on my memory, and the first passed with out hardly a memory at all. My therapist seems to think I was drugged the first time around, as the complete memories simply are not there. I remember before, I remember after, but the event itself is lost. Something happened in those few hours between 4am and 8am leaving the back door unlocked, my underwear strewn across the room, and the scent of a strange cologne on my sheets, but the details of exactly what are lost forever.

The second event I can still remember as if it had happened yesterday. I can remember the scent of the room, the color and pattern of the sheets, exactly what I was wearing, and exactly when it happened. I wasn’t always able to recall it so clearly. It met me mostly in flashbacks, and nightmares. Pieces and fragments of the entire memory lost in my trauma cycle.

These are the moments exactly as I remember them. It has been quite a long time and few details may be blurred, but that doesn’t discount the validity of what happened. Rape, is rape, is rape. I rejected my attacker’s advances and he continued on despite it. The how, why, or mechanics are pretty much irrelevant to all but those of us who have to live with them repeating in our heads.

I had fallen asleep in bed next to a close friend. The same situation had happened many times before with out consequence. We spent a lot of time together, and late nights often turned into early mornings when I was too tired to drive home. He was my mentor, my confidant, my hero. I admired him, but most of all I trusted him. We were comfortable with each other, familiar like the oldest friends. Our friendship was physical as far as hugs, sharing each other’s personal space, and playful bantering back and forth went, but we had remained platonic. There was no indication that it would change, and I was perfectly content with what we had. I was young, just starting to branch out on my own away from the watchful eyes of my parents, and painfully innocent. It genuinely never occurred to me that he could want something more from me, least of all anything sexual.

I’ve always been frowzy, and back in those days I was caught between wanting to flaunt my feminine sexuality and hide my ample figure under baggy shapeless clothes. There were days when I would venture out in a miniskirt and tank, but they were fleeting and far between. I didn’t even know what I wanted from myself, and especially not how to read/determine what others wanted from me. I don’t want to say that I walked right into a trap, or that he intentionally set me up to take advantage of me, but looking back on it now older and wiser I have to wonder… The person I innocently encountered through mutual friends, and the person who I grew so close to seemed to be two entirely different entities.

He was so dramatically different alone in his own home. As if he became a different person when outside of the imposing and constant eye of the public. It was both comforting and a little disconcerting as he began to open up to me. He had recently shared that life hadn’t been going very well for him in the months prior to our meeting and pursuant friendship. His mood swings were frequent, and he was often unstable at best. Watching the happy go lucky, confidant, often arrogant boy I had grown close to, become scared, insecure, and melancholy in the blink of an eye made my heart ache. I had experienced a few of these episodes prior to the attack. Even though some of them were intense and frightening it gave me a deeper appreciation for his struggle. He hid his strife and pain so well in the company of others, but one on one when everything was still he broke out of his shackles; the constraints of society. He became real, raw, and so completely human. I had never felt more intimately connected with anyone than I did with him in those moments spent soothing a tortured soul back into the quiet rhythm of stability. Watching him endure the prison of his run away emotions reminded me of myself. It was morbidly comforting to see that I wasn’t alone in my emotional suffering, even if the reasons we were suffering were different.

After we had fallen asleep I had my back turned to him as usual, having shed most of my clothes before climbing in his bed, I was left in nothing more than my tight fitting cotton tee shirt and plain cotton panties. I had worn the same thing many nights before with out thought or consequence, but that night as he rolled over putting his arm around me, he slid his hand across my chest to rest on my left breast. I was startled from my sleep. Things had happened so quickly, and without any discussion. I wasn’t even truly sure what was happening.

While I had lost my virginity during my previous assault, I didn’t remember any of the specifics of intimacy. I had known my first attacker since childhood, but beyond acquaintance we never developed a close friendship. Perhaps that’s why it was so much easier to forget everything in relation to the first event. The second assault was quite different. As I lay there next to someone whom I had become resoundingly close to, with his hand touching me in such a personal place, everything was completely new. Physically I was not a virgin, but emotionally I was. It felt good, in a confusing dangerous way. I lay there waiting to see if he would realize what he was doing, or if he had merely rolled over in his sleep unaware of his actions. After a few moments of awkward waiting to see what was going to happen I gently removed his hand from my breast and managed to return to sleep if only momentarily before his hand found its way back. This time instead of just resting his hand on top of my shirt, he slowly worked his hand underneath. Starting gently on my back and slowly moving his way around again to my breast where he began to caress me. That startled me. It was one thing if he had accidentally rolled over unaware of his actions, but the caressing signaled a deeper, darker intent. Instead of waiting to see what happened next, I again removed his hand, this time a bit more forcefully hoping that he would get the message that I was not interested, but instead almost immediately after I tossed his hand away, he returned to grab me in a much more forceful way that before.

I tried to push his hand away yet again, but this time he completely refused. I struggled briefly before his hand left my breast and he forced it between my thighs running his fingers up and down my vagina before penetrating me. With that I gasped and arched my back trying to scoot away as he forcefully rolled me from my side onto my back, holding both of my arms above my head. He continued to roughly violate me with his hand not even bothering to remove my panties, merely pushing them to the side until there was a transition. No longer was he violating me with his hand, but instead had forcefully penetrated me.

It seared with a burning pain as he continued harder and faster. I yelped, struggling to free my arms and tried to use my feet to push myself away from him, while trying desperately to close my legs and end the painful penetration. I managed to scoot a few inches, my head becoming pressed uncomfortably into the headboard of the bed, my neck twisted at an uncomfortable forty five degrees. He then released my arms, as he grabbed my hips and pulled me back onto himself, using his arms for extra leverage making each thrust even more painful. I raised my arms, trying to push him away from me, off of me, but instead he pushed my arms away and leaned in putting his full body weight on top of me, giving me a forced kiss. I couldn’t breath, whether it was the weight of his body on top of mine, or the emotional weight of what was happening the kiss caused something to snap inside of me. I yelped again as tears began to run down my face and I fought harder finally succeeding in pushing him away as my knee connected with his rib cage.

Still trying to emotionally process what was happening, or had happened, to me instead of leaving the room and getting away I merely returned to my side of the bed, curled myself into the smallest, tightest ball I could manage and continued to sob. I had no idea where he had gone, or if he was still laying in bed next to me. The realization that he could still be in bed with me made me quickly stifle my sobs. It was quite a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but eventually I was able to quiet my sobbing and fell into a fitful sleep.

By the time my alarm went off, the sun was high in the sky and my friend had disappeared. He was no longer in the bed beside me, and I couldn’t hear any tell tale signs that he was at home. It was a little odd that he had just left without telling me, but not completely unusual. As I stirred from sleep, and rolled over in the bed the events of the night before became blurry and distant as if they had all been just a bad or over exaggerated dream. I stared at the ceiling trying to process everything flying around in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I began to justify his actions. We were both single, spending a lot of time together, and intimate in every other sense of the word save for sexually. Would I have been hurt or betrayed if he had made a sexual advance toward me during the day? Was it only because it happened somewhere in the space between sleep and waking that it seemed so skewed and inappropriate? Inappropriate. When that thought crossed my mind, I sat up in bed and made my way into the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror.

My breasts were hardly shrouded through my tee shirt which exposed my navel and low cut panties. I stared a moment longer and then closed my eyes hanging my head in disgust. I might as well have climbed into his bed naked. After becoming so close, then throwing myself into his bed in such a suggestive outfit, to use the horrible cliche, I felt that I was asking for it. I felt that couldn’t blame him for acting on impulse the way he did. If I truly hadn’t some how wanted him to make a move, I should have slept in my own bed, or on the couch. Instead of taking action against him, I fell into the trap of victim blaming. It was all I knew, growing up in a society that places so much weight on women to bare the responsibility of crimes against them.

Not once did the word rape cross my mind in all of my mulling and evaluating as I stood in front of the mirror, with bloodshot eyes and a broken spirit. Even though now I can see what had happened was most certainly a violent rape, I instead chose to think of it as “previously undiscussed intimacy”. I shook my head, angry and frustrated more with myself than him as I quickly undressed and hopped in the shower. I was due to report to work and staring at myself in the mirror wasn’t going to pay my bills. As I lathered up up the loofa and began to run it over my body I winced encountering bruises that I had yet to notice. My lower back and both hips had light purple and blue marks. On my left hip I could clearly see the outline of his handprint, where each of his fingers and thumb had pressed into my flesh to keep me from squirming away.

For a moment I stared at the marks on my skin as emotion began to overwhelm me once again. Something about seeing the evidence of the violence shook me to the core. I dropped the loofa, and grabbed one side of the shower to steady myself, as I moved my other hand to my lower pelvis pausing before I gently touched myself in a further examination of the damage. The moment my fingers touched the sensitive skin of my labia I winced almost doubling over in pain. My genitals in their entirety were bruised and swollen, my vagina raw and so swollen that I couldn’t actually tell how extensive the damage really was. The inside of my thighs were also beginning to turn a light shade of purple brown sensitive to the touch. At that moment I collapsed to the bottom of the tub. I could emotionally deny what had happened between us, but I couldn’t escape the physical evidence.

I began to sob once again sitting there watching the water run down the shower drain as I curled up as tight as possible while sitting on my knees. It was then that I also noticed bruises on my wrists, which made my sobs even more intense. What did it all mean? Where did I go from here? I couldn’t run away. We were friends, but more than that he was my closest friend. My best friend. The only whom I could tell all my secrets to with out fear of judgement or retribution. Where could I go now? Who could I turn to now that HE had hurt me? Even then as I was still struggling to comprehend what had happened I was sitting in HIS shower, with HIS scent lingering and wafting through the steam slowly filling the room, HIS hair lingering around the shower drain.

That’s when the panic began. My heart began racing as my head began to spin, nausea and the inability to breath caught me off guard. I closed my eyes, the only thing I could think of to do as the water slowly began to fade from warm to cold. I was numb. Physically and emotional, numb sitting there in the darkness overwhelmed by reality and the trauma I had experienced.

As the water lost it’s last trace of warmth, my head stopped spinning and I opened my eyes. I stared at the drain a few moments more before I was finally able to pull myself off of the bottom of the tub. The panic had passed and I had decided that there was nothing that could be done. What had happened was now in the past and I was determined not to let it destroy me. I had to get to work. So I climbed out of the shower, quickly dried myself, found my uniform, dressed and left not sure if I would ever return to that place again.

As I continued on with my day, steadfast and determined the memories began to fade. My mind was occupied with the present, circumstances at work, and everything else in between. The overwhelming emotions began to subside the less and less I thought of the event. A few things remained, his hand on my breast, the kiss, his hand between my legs, but the violence and depravity of his willful disregard of my humanity faded into oblivion. So much so that when he called me later that evening and invited me to come over I happily agreed.

I had been working the late shift so by the time I arrived at his apartment the lights were low and he was getting ready for bed. The door was unlocked and I walked in just as I had so many nights previously. I called his name, and he replied from the bedroom. I balked slightly at meeting him in the bedroom and my heart began to race once again, a feeling of apprehension building in the pit of my stomach. It lasted only a moment as I made my way through the apartment and into the bedroom. He was laying on the bed, with the saddest most distressed look on his face I had ever seen. He patted the empty spot beside him motioning for me to join him. I kicked off my shoes and did just that.

As I crawled in beside him he took a deep breath before spitting out a rushed and frantic apology as he stared straight ahead, either not wanting to or unable to make eye contact.

“About last night. I’m really sorry.” he said nervously.

I tensed up nervous with anticipation, and replied: “What do you mean?” It was quite possibly the dumbest reply ever to an attempted apology/confession but in the overwhelming situation my mind was racing so fast and furious it didn’t occur to me the what the apology was actually for. I had spent the entire day trying to repress and forget the memories of the night before, building up my courage to see him again, then this apology was thrown into my lap.

He paused, taking a few breaths, working up his own courage to continue and eventually said: “Last night, I got really intimate and… I… well… I thought you were someone else, and that you wanted to sleep with me, but you weren’t. You weren’t her and… you were crying. I mean… I’m really sorry, are you okay?” He stammered, finally turning his attention toward me, a look of grief, remorse, and a tiny bit of fear spread across his face.

I sat there momentarily trying to figure out if I was actually okay, or how to respond to his question accurately if I wasn’t. The moment passed briefly before I scooted over closer to him and answered: “I’m here, back in bed next to you aren’t I? If I wasn’t okay I wouldn’t be here.”
He looked at me searching my face for the truth, before he once again began to stammer: “Are you sure, because I mean… I never would have forced you to do anything if you didn’t want to. I mean… you didn’t really protest so… You… you like me. You wanted to sleep with me the first time you came to bed with me, didn’t you?” He said trying to justify his actions more to himself than to me.

I wasn’t really sure how to respond, still to this day, if I were placed in the situation again I don’t know how I would respond. All in all what happened was rape, but was is really? He wasn’t completely lucid mistaking me for another woman as far as I could tell, and he appeared to have great remorse for what had happened. If I hadn’t made the choice to spend the night sleeping in his bed it never would have happened, so was he really the one who should bare the brunt of the blame, or was I? At that point in my life, I felt the blame fall squarely on myself, even though I had rejected his advances by pushing him away that night, and there had never been any discussion of sexual intimacy before hand.

After a few awkward moments of silence I said, “Well no, but I was in your bed and we never really discussed where our relationship was going so… it’s okay. I mean I don’t DISLIKE you, but I shouldn’t have been half naked in your bed if I didn’t want to give you the wrong impression.”

In that moment, that was exactly how I felt. I felt that instead of holding him accountable for his actions, I should instead blame myself. It was easier to accept the blame and fall into self loathing, further removing the event from my mind, blurring and repressing more and more as each fleeting moment passed.

He looked at me with the most sincere look I have ever seen from anyone, and said, “Well, I’m truly sorry, and it will never happen again. Can I have a hug?”
I obliged and he held me in silence restoring my sense of security until I fell asleep, once again in his bed.

Our friendship continued despite the attack, eventually blossoming into a dysfunctional romantic relationship. Through out our time together the sex was frequent and often rough, some falling into what I believed at the time was the “grey area” of consent. None of the other events were nearly as violent nor dehumanizing as the first, but damaging just the same. He was my first recurrent sexual partner. The only relationship I knew was ours. It never occurred to me that something was wrong. It was all what I had perceived as normal, grew accustomed to, and even enjoyed.

While I was completely unaware, he knew what had happened was wrong and he often brought it up in conversation. He would constantly question my motives for staying with him, and had completely convinced himself that the love I felt toward him could not be genuine. As much as he kept bringing it up, I never remembered the most violent rape as being our first sexual experience. Some things remained about that night. His hand on my breast, the kiss, his hand between my thighs, and the apology the next day but for whatever reason my memory recall stopped there. Whenever he referenced the first time we slept together a calm, tender, albeit incredibly awkward moment always came to mind.

When discussing the discrepancy in our memories became an issue, he often chose not to argue with me. The one time he pressed the issue I became greatly upset, firmly rooted in my denial. We never argued about it again, yet he continued to bring it up. Perhaps he was hoping that I would figure it out on my own, or perhaps he was protecting himself and his guilty conscious, either way I went on in blissful ignorance for many years even after our relationship ended and life took us in different directions.

It was only after I began treatment to address PTSD for reasons completely unrelated to him or rape that the real memories began to surface and the dissociation began to fade. I can remember exactly what I was doing when the full memory of the assault broke through to my conscious mind. My current husband and I had just moved into our first home with our young daughter. I was unpacking some boxes and found my old CD binder. I popped in a CD that my attacker had given me toward the end of our relationship. I hadn’t listened to it in years, but it was some what significant and nostalgic. As I listened closely to the lyrics I really hadn’t paid attention to before, everything about the relationship began to run through my head. I remembered where we had our fist date, the circumstances that lead to us briefly living together, a few of our worst arguments; then suddenly as I was mulling over the memory of how our sexual relationship began, it hit me. I remembered his hand on my breast, I remembered his hand in between my legs; then instead of skipping like a broken record straight to the kiss I remembered the distinct transition from his hand to the forceful penetration of his penis, I remembered fighting, trying to get away, my head being smashed against the headboard. I almost started screaming as tears erupted from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, all I could do was sit there and cry. My husband at work, and my daughter sleeping soundly in her crib.

I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know who to tell, or if I should tell anyone. I was still in the early stages of my marriage relationship with my husband and talking about the relationship I shared with my attacker before had caused unnecessary stress between us. I didn’t know what else to do except write everything I remembered down in an attempt to heal wounds that I had been ignoring since the end of the relationship. Which is exactly what I did, in addition to seeking professional help.

The first time I wrote everything down, I had intended to publish it on my personal blog, which my attacker’s wife had found and been following for sometime. The way I met her and reasons she is still following my blog are a tale in themselves, but it’s not appropriate to share here. What’s important is that she was following, and before I began publishing the ugliness of what happened between myself and her husband I decided to contact her, allowing her to make the choice to continue or stop reading. Instead of avoiding conflict, I think it only inflamed it. Where she had only been following before, soon he and several of their friends were watching every step I made for the duration of my recovery. It took me two years before I felt comfortable enough to pen the words written here, and my attacker tried every trick in the book to get me to remain silent, barely stopping just short of physical violence.

I pressed on and continued writing and publishing various memories between us including the account of the assault enduring their harassment until this past summer. As I was finally reaching a place of closure on the horror show that was the relationship with my rapist, I wrote a very defiant post detailing how I felt about their treatment of me during my recovery, and attempt to emotionally manipulate me. It ended with a very long comment from her, and the first ever comment from my attacker on my public writing. In his comment he finally confessed his true desire for me was purely lust. I was a sex object to him, nothing more. While he denied the assault it self, he confirmed every other abusive aspect of our relationship. In addition to that he also denied the existence of any sort of sleep disturbances. It was then that another revelation smacked me awake from my post trauma stupor. The story he told me about mistaking me for someone else the night of the assault was just that. A story, to keep me around for his sick sexual fantasy. It took me several days to come to terms with that, especially since I’d spent the better part of my recovery defending him based on the fact the most violent acts only occurred between us at night after I had fallen asleep. Once I came to terms with it, and after several vaguely threatening emails from him, despite my repeated request that he not contact me further, I went to the police.

3,894 days after the assault, 1,825 days since the end of the relationship, and 1,095 days since the memory returned to my conscious mind. In the United States the statue of limitations vary from state to state, crime to crime. Where we were when the attack took place has a statute of 20 years. I got lucky. Showing up to file my report was one of the most panic inducing things I’ve ever done. I showed up at the local police station and told the officer that I needed to report a nearly 11 year old rape. He was very kind, and encouraged me to stay, but he was honest and up front. After so much time had passed, with out any physical evidence it was really up to the prosecutor to determine if the case would move forward or not.

Every officer I spoke to was very kind, and encouraged me to pursue the full extend of the law. I submitted copies of everything I had written about the assault, as well as an official statement, all of the contact I had between myself and my attacker, plus everything I’ve written here and that was that. I was told a detective would contact me, warned again that nothing much was likely to come of it with out hard physical evidence, and sent on my way. It was three weeks before I heard from the detective. By that point I had assumed that seeing the date of the crime, my report had been filed or tossed aside to make way for more current crimes. It was something I was prepared for as I took the step to make my report, and I felt comfortable simply knowing that I had done the right thing even if it was too late for my attacker to see justice. Until I got a phone call from the detective that is. I missed him the first time, and another week went by before we were able to reconnect. One month after I filed my report, the detective the next step of gathering a statement from my attacker.

Thankfully, because the police were now involved the immediate fall out from my attacker and his wife was minimal. Where they had previously contacted me directly, or posted things here they left it alone even as they still continue to visit the site daily. It was the best, most liberating, feeling I’ve ever had. The weight has been lifted off of me, the memory is just a memory now, not a flashback or overwhelming experience. The fact that my attacker is still following my blog, no longer bothers me. Whatever he might say, as crude, abusive, or threatening as it might be no longer bothers me. Even on my worst days when the PTSD I inherited kicks in and starts shuffling through all of the various traumas in my life. His part no longer bothers me.

What does bother me is seeing so many other women, or even men, suffer in silence because of the shame associated with speaking out about sexual crimes. Even as a victim myself, I wasted so much time trying to rationalize and justify what happened as something other than rape, because it’s easier to talk about. “He threw me across the room into a dresser” is so much easier to say than “he raped me.” I still physically choke on the word: rape. I have a very hard time saying it out loud without tears and heart racing full of panic. That is exactly why we need to talk about it.

Even in the current climate, where the circus that was the United States 2016 election, continues to bring sexual assault to the forefront of discussion, victims will cry out momentarily only to slip back into silence shortly after. Personally, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I didn’t hesitate to fight back during the act of the assault itself, but stopped fighting when it came to speaking out. I’ve been through a lot in my nearly 30 years, enough that I’m more comfortable facing adversity than with out it. I’m a fighter, I’m a survivor. I’m not going to remain silent about this anymore. I will take any and every opportunity to share my story. Not out of hatred, or jealousy, or revenge, attention seeking, or any other excuse that is tossed around as victim blaming or shaming. I’m never going to stop talking about it because it matters. It needs to be said.

I’m Kelli, I’m 29 and I was raped by a man whom I later fell in love, and entered a consensual sexual relationship with. The memories were repressed for five years after the attack itself, I chose to remain silent for two years after they resurfaced, and waited an additional year after first speaking out to make my report to law enforcement. I will remain silent no more.