Three days before I turned fifteen, a close [male] friend agreed to attend my first high school dance (a homecoming) with me. I had no way of knowing that I would forfeit my innocence, my love, my body, my sexual identity, and my sense of self that night.
Clad in black velvet from head to toe, it was not until afterward that I learned that white would have been more fitting, but I was thankful that the blood could not be seen.
I trusted him. We went to the dance, we danced, we laughed, and we went back to his house with friends and changed out of the formal attire and were going to head to a local twenty-four hour restaurant. The other couple offered to leave and get a table; he and I would be along shortly. I never made it.
I barely remember how it started, or when he started drinking, but I remember that first hit. I was unconscious, for how long and how I had gotten to that state I still do not remember. I remember waking up to his hand stroking my hair. I was very cold; I was naked. I could not move: my hands and feet had been lashed to the bed.
He kissed me and caressed me and told me how much he loved me. His breath stank of alcohol and his eyes had tears streaming from them. Throughout the duration of his forcibly taking my virginity, he cried and continued to tell me how much he loved me. Hours went by – they felt like decades, and there was now more than just my blood seeping onto the sheets. He collapsed atop me and, with his lips next to my ear, told me how much he loved and treasured me, but that all things he loved suffered, and so would I. To spare me that suffering, he meant to kill me that night. The tip of the blade caressed the line of my jaw.
It was love that saved me.
I told him that I loved him and that he could take my life, but first, I wanted to be able to hold him. Tears ran from his steely blue eyes as he removed the restraints. He crawled on top of me once more and I wrapped my arms around him as he cried. Finally, grief and drink overtook him and he fell asleep. As gently as I was able, I pushed him onto the bed next to me, then I gathered my clothes and left. I dressed outside of the building next to a garbage dumpster, which is where I deposited the dress, and every happy memory of that night, along with much of myself respect, dignity, belief in love, and my innocence.
I walked to the hospital and asked for a rape kit. I refused to name myself or the man that violated me. I needed a surgical procedure; he had ripped me to shreds, both vaginally and rectally.
I walked home.
I never told my Mother. I did not want to diminish her love for me. It was a long time before I told anyone.
It took years before I transitioned from victim to survivor properly. Then I began to help women and girls that had experienced what I had; volunteering is not just a reward in itself, it is also a bandage for the damaged soul. By helping others become whole, I became whole.
It has been twenty years since that day. I am not a victim; I am a survivor.