Already drunk, lonely, angry, feeling hopeless, I walked purposefully down 6th Street to another bar. I don’t remember what pushed me over the edge to making this life-changing decision. I do remember the inside of that dark, elbow to elbow, smoke-filled bar. I remember walking up to a total stranger and asking if he had any ecstasy for sale. It was the mid-1980s, and I was a college student living in Austin. A recent breakup had left me lost and obsessed with why it happened and in an emotional storm that I made much worse with drinking. Going to class became hit or miss. I was living alone in a one bedroom apartment and had no real friends. I can barely remember anything before this night, not what classes I was taking or if I was working or what I was doing before I walked into that club, probably due to PTSD.
“I don’t have any on me, but I can get you some.”, he said, looking at me suspiciously, as if it was a trap. Who was this dumb White chick walking up to him, assuming he had drugs? I guess it was common enough back then for him to decide I was not a cop. Why I didn’t say “never mind” and just walk away and go home, I don’t know. I went with him, leaving the safety of the crowd, getting into a car with him and another guy on the premise that we were going to get ecstasy somewhere, and Satan took over from there. My brain has blocked out some details, but I remember some of it. I was taken to a secluded place, by then I was wide awake and terrified. Terrible things were done to me. I’d rather not describe it because some people in my life would be very hurt to read this. It’s making my heart rate increase just typing this. The good news is I am ALIVE to type this. The men who did this seem to be the type that would be okay with murder as well.
After they committed the first crimes against me, they decided they wanted to commit more crimes and made me take them to my apartment because they wanted my debit card which I had lost and I said I had another one there, hoping that if I cooperated, they wouldn’t hurt me more. When we arrived there, I left the door of the apartment open , I can still see it open in my mind even though I only lived there a very short time and can’t remember anything about that apartment. I give God the credit for telling me to run, because I hadn’t exactly had good instincts up to that point. I was able to get outside the door, making some comment to them, I don’t remember what I said, and I took off running across the parking lot. I was not a runner back then, but I probably ran faster than I can run now.
It was still dark of night and I saw some people partying on their balcony and I yelled help me , help me! I ran toward where I figured the door would be and after that I don’t remember much. I think they called the police and I was taken to the police station at that point and I do remember making a report and then calling my brother who came to get me.
My life changed after that. I was able to move into a different apartment, but I lived in fear that those men would come looking for me. I cut back on partying , but I still drank too much. I stopped going to those bars. I was still depressed and somewhat self-destructive, but I knew I really wanted to be alive. I just wanted to be happy and not lonely. Eventually, the PTSD was too much and I dropped out of school. On an impulse one day, I loaded up my car and drove through a snowstorm to Denver and slept on my parent’s couch for a few months. I got myself together enough to go back to college and I graduated. Then I started my own business. Then I got married. Then I had six kids. And here I am. A mostly happy, fairly productive, basically normal person with a #metoo story.
What was done to me by those men left mental scars and bad memories, but it wasn’t the end of my life. I am not bitter and I choose to leave their judgment to God since nothing ever came of my police report. I do have some lingering fears that I continue to work on and running has really helped me with that , along with getting closer to good people and truly learning to turn to God instead of just going nuts and following my emotions. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes and for putting myself in harm’s way that night by trying to buy drugs, but I do not blame myself for their actions. Rape is an act of violence and always the fault of the perpetrator , not the victim. In case anyone has any questions, yes, I tried to talk them out of it and tried to resist and I was beaten. There was no way to escape until later when I ran. But this all happened a long time ago and yet, not long enough.
I wanted to share this true story in hopes of helping other victims. You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You can heal. You can live your life with hope. There are good people in the world. You can learn to protect yourself from the bad ones, sometimes, but it can still happen. Don’t live in fear, but don’t put yourself in danger either. If you are in a bad place in your life , seek help. There is hope!
If you’ve read my other blogs, you might know that I am a strong Christian. You might wonder if I was a Christian at that time. I thought I was . I was saved as a child, Baptized, loved Jesus, reading the Bible and going to church. I even went to church after I moved to Austin. But I had strayed far from God. I was living a life of rebellion, making my own rules, deciding what was okay, no longer studying the Bible for God’s truth, but instead making my own interpretations. I had fallen in with a crowd that I had no business with. Yes, I was a Christian. I think God saved me from a worse fate that night, but He let me see where I was headed if I didn’t turn off that path. He showed me a very dark and seedy side of life, where there were no rules, certainly no fear of God’s judgment. That was not me. I am a child of God! Up to then, I was just playing around with sin and danger, but that night, I left the road completely. Up to then I had never tried to buy drugs from anyone or broken any laws. I still had goals and cared what people thought of me. Did I want to die? Not really, but I was full of self-pity, depressed, and maybe looking for drugs from strangers was a cry for attention. I don’t really know, but it woke me up. I completely stopped some of the things I was doing and began to rebuild myself. Of course, God was working on me, but I still thought I was in charge and it took time. Running home to my parents was not optimal , I lost credit in my classes and I lost the money I spent on them and my apartment deposit and I am not really sure what happened to all my furniture and stuff, maybe my brother went and got it for me. But I needed to feel safe and have time to get myself together. When I returned to school I was ready to finish. I was okay with being alone.
Are you in rebellion? Are you still lost and don’t know that Jesus can and wants to save you? Are you making up your rules or feel like there are no rules and life is pure chaos? If you’re reading this , you at least have access to the internet where you can read and study and learn about God. Start with confessing your rebellion, ask God to forgive you! Then Believe that Jesus is real and is the son of God as the Bible teaches and ask him to forgive your sins forever. Are you a Christian living in sin? Confess it and ask forgiveness! God will let you rebel and wallow in sin if that is your desire. Humble yourself and cry out for help! But also make real changes if you need to, like getting away from people who encourage you to sin or rebel with them. There are plenty of them. But there are plenty of good people out there, too!
Let me add that I do not believe that all rapes or bad things are a result of a person’s being in rebellion against God. This is my story and I am just sharing what was going on in my life and I do think it contributed to my putting myself in danger, even though I do NOT blame myself for what was done to me. But criminals, rapists, evil people, they are opportunists. They look for a chance to get something they want without too much risk. Don’t put yourself in that position. Sometimes rape happens when we are with someone we trust and there is really nothing anyone can do about that. We can only be on alert for any signs of odd behavior and even then, some people give no warning of their bad intentions. If you can take self-defense classes and/or carry a weapon, I do think that can help your chances of escaping or preventing an attack. If it’s already happened to you, I am very sorry. I pray that you will be able to heal and live the rest of your life with no thoughts of it being your fault. I pray that you will get any help you need to feel safe and whole again. Rape does not have to destroy us. We can choose to take control of our thoughts and feelings about what happened. We can choose to believe that we are not damaged goods. We can look for the good in the world and, even more, in Jesus.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:17-19