To the man who raped me
It has been a little over two years since you have stripped away my innocence, since you took away every ounce of respect I had for you as a brother in arms, in uniform, suppose to protect me from all wrongs. We wore the same uniform, with the same tape on our left chest pocket.
April is the actual month for Sexual Assault awareness, but I am well too aware of my assault every day of the year. I wonder what was going through your head to make you think it was okay to break into my room and take advantage of me. To think it's okay because I possibly wouldn't remember in the morning because I was drunk ... What kind of delusion led to you to think it was okay to take everything away from me and have the audacity the next day to tell me to my face "you're too weak to get anyone in trouble; you are so weak and it works in my favor". You admitted to it to my face. How do you live with yourself after you touched me, raped me and threw it in my face admitting to it?
I remember that night so clear because I get a constant flashback of it almost every night.
Let me recap for you: It was a Saturday night in Wiesbaden, Germany, where we were stationed together. Me and a group of friends went out and it was an initial night out due to us being 18 and allowed to drink in Europe. We went out to the Irish Pub and had a great time. I saw you there but paid no mind because all I knew you from was boxing together.
I honestly don't remember having as many drinks as I felt, but I did put my drink down by the smoke room for a bit and after I drank it, I remember bits and pieces of the night. My group of friends took a cab back to base and had to carry me to my room on the fourth floor. They took my key to make sure I didn't lock myself out of my room and thought they locked my door but accidently did not. I know they meant well because I have been through basic and AIT (army training) with these guys.
Well, I remember waking up with you on top of me and I said: "Who are you and why are you doing this to me ...? STOP STOP NOW PLEASE!" and you didn't. You slapped me and choked me till I passed out again and I couldn't stop you. You didn't stop. I was so scared ....
Then I woke up the next morning.
I was completely naked and so confused. I had bruises on my neck, wrist and hips. I couldnt remember anything. I felt so uncomfortable and sore. I was hurting so bad.
I quickly got dressed and ran down the hallway to my friend who had my key and tried to remain calm. I yelled at him: "Were you in my room last night? WTF did you do to me?"
He quickly responded: "No what happened? What is going on? I took you to your room and locked your door so you wouldn't lock your key in your room like you always do anyways ... here is your key, by the way."
I dropped to my knees and started crying and his girlfriend saw my arms (I was in a hoodie but the sleeves rode up). "What happened to you? Why are you all bruised on your wrist? and what the hell attacked your neck"?
I stared at her crying in confusion. I didn't know how to answer. I didnt want to seem like "That Girl" because I wasn't. Then questions began ... they figured something bad happened but I begged them not to say anything until I was ready.
I went to head back to my room and there you were walking out of my room.
As soon as I saw your face, everything hit me all at once again. It was YOU. You did this to me. Why? Why did you do this? You started walking towards me aggressively in the hallway and I panicked. I couldn't run, there was no where to run.
You then approached me and grabbed my wrist so tight, right on my sore spot you caused, and said "You are weak. So pathetic and weak.
"You don't want to get me in trouble, so I win and you lose. You are so vulnerable and it shows. See ya around kiddo!"
I dropped to the floor and cried. People came out of their rooms and I quickly sprung to my room. I took a shower and just layed in bed. So disgusted with myself. Blaming myself for not being more attentive. Blaming myself for being vulnerable. I wanted to just kill myself right then and there. I had so much trust in my brothers and sisters in the Military. That night I lost it all ....
I never told anyone. Until I got to Drum in February 2015.
This incident happened in April 2013. I had to walk around and see your face everyday and act like nothing happened. See you where I live, where I was suppose to be able to sleep in peace.
I quit boxing. I gave up at work. I gave up on life. In August 2013 I got to leave to deploy and it was a good break for me, but when I returned in January 2014 everything came right back.
I was depressed and suicidal. I had other problems attacking my head too and it all cause a mess. Family and friends started noticing I was distancing myself and becoming very questionable. I never told my family but I was in the hospital for four days for trying to overdose on pain pills.
I tried killing myself twice.
I volunteered to go on deployment again to get away from Germany in April 2014 and that's when I found my outlet. Working out.
It was something I felt I was in control of again. I finally had control of my goals, my success and my life. Once I started, I didn't stop.
People said I became a meat head and always asked what got me into it. Attempting suicide and depression did. Seeing pictures of me with my family kept me going from that point on. I still had horrible night terrors where I would wake up scared, screaming and crying myself into anxiety attacks. So I would take my soccer ball at 3am sometimes and go to the fields till formation time to clear my head.
When I got to Drum and finally decided to tell someone I needed help, it was almost too late again. It happened the day after a bad night. I woke up from a flashback.
I couldn't breathe so I took my car and drove with the windows down to this little lake on our airfield at 4am. We had a Sexual Harassment and Assault battalion run the next morning. I did not contact anyone. I shut my phone off and didn't let anyone know where I was. I was so ashamed to show my face. at 10am I went into work and walked into my NCOICs office and said I need someone to talk to ... I need help bad. He shut his door and got me the help I needed.
I stayed restricted because I do not have the strength to go to court and hear you deny what you did to me after you admitted it to my face two years ago.
I could not deal with that.
So I started to seek therapy and they gave me meds. I attempted overdosing on them and got rushed to the hospital blaming a migraine and begging the nurses not to say what happened.
Still, to this day, I have nightmares of that night, of me screaming and begging you to stop. I have anxiety from people holding me down. I can't play fight because I get scared of the aggression.
You ruined my life. It took me 2 years to finally tell my mom because I was so scared she was going to hate me. She would be disappointed in me. I am still so disappointed in myself. I blame myself every night and day of the year. I seeked help hoping to make me stronger but therapist pushed too much to find out why? And didn't let me get comfortable enough until I was ready to tell them what happened exactly. Do you know what it feels like to look at people, friends and family and wonder if the only thing they can see is SHAME branded across your forehead?
I do, because of you.
Do you know what if feels like to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and hate yourself? To blame yourself? No matter how many times people tell you it wasn't just your fault? I know exactly what that feels like because of what you did to me that night ... May 18, 2013.
I still have nightmares. I still wake up to the feeling of your hands on my arms, my legs, over my mouth. I can still hear you telling me to be quiet. And worse, I can still hear the little voice in the back of my head telling me that I brought this upon myself.
I have a hard time trusting new people, especially men and even worse in uniform.
I'm sorry to say, you changed me, permanently, and I'll never know who I would have become if not for you. Perhaps I'd still be happy and trusting instead of bitter and cynical. But I'll never be that girl.
I know and heard you are out the Military due to a DUI but there's a small, selfish part of me that I know that sitting across from you in a courtroom, recounting every excruciating detail of you assaulting me, taking my innocence, and leaving me there would send me back to that dark place.
I hate myself for thinking that, because I know that the longer you are out there, the more girls you could be hurting, the more lives you could be destroying. Girls who may not have the support I had. Girls who might see getting out as the only way to move on. Girls whose lives you could be ending.
On my worst days I think to myself "Why me?" Why would you do that to someone you knew and are suppose to be a brother to? Why?
Did it ever occur to you how that person might handle it? You were okay with me possibly taking my life? How could you ever possibly look at another human being and think they deserve this?
I've read so many stories about girls who are eventually able to forgive their attackers, who go on to believe that the experience made them stronger.
I will never be one of them. I will hate you until the day I die, with every part of my being.
And the assault? It wasn't what made me strong. Sadly because I couldn't go to anyone with fear of getting you in trouble and being found ... it was the gym. It was lifting. I found where I had control over whether I let you get in my head there or I use what you did to push myself harder.
Grabbing my soccer ball when the gym was closed on nights I woke up freaking out, scaring the hell out of my roommates and leaving to go for a run or kick some goals on the field. All I had between reaching my goals in the gym was me and my mindset. Looking at pictures of my little brother and my family was what kept me alive and going. Seeing that my little brother had so much pride in me and I was his hero ... little does he know he's my hero and always will be.
Even as I write this, I know there is little to no chance you will ever see it. But if you ever do and somehow this reaches you, look at my picture and understand this: that power you wanted so desperately that you had to take from your own in uniform? You will never have it. I take back that power everyday when I choose to wake up and love myself. When I choose not to see myself as a victim, but as a survivor.
You do not control me. You do not have power over my life. It's not fair that you get to make me feel small or guilty or ashamed ... not anymore. I am not the blacked-out girl you left lying in her bed naked and confused two years ago.
I am strong. I am beautiful. I am smart and I refuse to allow you to control my life.
You have no power.