It changes you; an account of gay rape
Editors note: The writer of this essay wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. SDGLN has confirmed the source and can account for the story’s testimony
It changes you. I was standing at the line in the bar wearing a vintage tee shirt that had a provocative expression plastered on the front of it; it was flirtatious and full of innuendo like me.
I walked past the line of guys waiting at the well to order a drink and squeezed in between the men sitting at the bar enjoying themselves.
I worked my way between them with my back arched and leaning over the bar giving the bartender a hug hello and ordering my cocktail. It was my hometown; my playground and I knew everyone there.
I got my drink and noticed him sitting on the barstool staring at me. I asked if I could sit down and he spread his legs in his seat and I literally plopped myself down in between his legs.
I don’t remember what the conversation was, but it was sassy and quick. I made my presence known then said I have to go now and walked away to join my friends. It was fun. He was cute.
The bar was closing and all of the customers were asked to leave and everyone always waited out front of this particular bar to say goodbye to each other.
Was the evening going to continue at an after party, were we going to grab greasy diner food or who was left to invite over for a nightcap; we called it the “sidewalk sale”.
As I exited the bar he was just standing there on the curb with his hands in his pockets. He told me he was just visiting town, he was here for work and was staying just for the night at a popular hotel just a few blocks away.
He asked if I would like to come over and have more drinks; I decided this would be interesting and said sure I will follow you there. It changes you.
We kissed in the elevator and we kissed in the hallway of the hotel right before he opened the door with his key.
The light was on already in the room and as soon as he shut the door behind me he flipped the lock on the top of the door. I wondered instantly. Why?
Within minutes he was kissing me; and at times was pulling the front of my hair as he leaned into me, pulling my face towards his.
Within minutes he was telling me take off my shirt and have a drink. I said no.
As he grabbed my hair again to pull my face close to his to kiss me, I looked at his face carefully and picked instantly who he looked like to me, so that if I had to remember what he looked like I would have a reference. I had never thought of that before.
I knew exactly whom he looked like. Someone who had been in the news; I would never forget. It changes you.
He told me no, you are not leaving. If you do leave here in one piece, you will be the first of many others who never got to leave. If I decide to let you live, if I decide to not disfigure you, if I decide not to kill you, you will be the first. Over and over he told me I would be the first. I wanted to be the first. It changes you.
In that submissive position, I flipped into survival mode. I was only 6 feet from that locked door but in my head I was doing what I had to; to walk out that door.
It was not fun, it was not easy, and it was not by choice. I followed through with the games, with the threats, with the hair tugging, with the back and forth if you do what I want you will eventually get what you want.
He reminded me over and over that he didn’t live here.
I didn’t know him.
That my confidence at the bar is what got me there but he informed me that my confidence might be what allows me to walk out the door when he is done, the others didn’t have that going for them.
Even then in that moment I started to blame myself for getting me in that position and also rewarding myself for doing what I had to, to get out of that hotel room.
That shameful dialogue in your head was starting strong. It changes you.
I didn’t speak to anyone of this night for months. I remember waking up at 6 am one morning and obsessively cleaning my bathroom; scouring the grout of the tile on the floor on my hands and knees.
My roommate came in and asked what the hell I was doing. What was wrong with me? I just exploded with anger and emotion and let it all out; I was hysterical. I told him what had happened to me months before; I was inconsolable. It changes you.
That popular hotel was on my route I drove to work everyday, so for years I took the long way to work. If I mistakenly drove on that street even close to the hotel, my heart would start beating out of my chest, my hands would shake and my mouth would get dry.
It had been my hometown, it had been my playground, and it was where I grew up.
It was different now. A man whom had only spent 24 hours there forever changed it and I had spent 26 years there. It changes you.
I was raped. I knew it then and I know it now.
I am not the same and I look at everyone and every situation with a different set of eyes.
They are still brown but they innately study features, they relate everyone to looking like someone else, they do not let me forget.
That vintage badass tee shirt I wore with confidence sat in my closet for over 17 years. I got rid of it; “Thrust you can trust” it said. It changes you.
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