In the hours following the rape, I went through what I now recognize to be classic symptoms of shock. Uncontrollable shaking, the feeling of being extremely cold, so on and so forth.
After leaving the school, I went to my mother’s place of work (which happened to be about a five block distance from the high school). I walked here mostly every day after school.
This day, the distance to my mother’s office seemed to be twenty miles.
Once there, I BEGGED her to take me home.
She told me she wasn’t able to take me; she was unable to leave work.
I threw such a fit that she ended up leaving work to take me home.
When I say I threw a fit, I mean I completely lost my shit, toddler-tantrum style.
Crying, howling and screaming, I am certain now that I must have more closely resembled a wounded animal than a fourteen-year-old girl.
Once we were in the car, my mother gently touched my face.
“What is WRONG with you, Lissa-Bethy?”
I sat, sobbing in the passenger seat of the 1977 Ford Thunderbird, thankful to be sitting on those red vinyl seats; thankful to be in the company of someone I loved so dearly, someone who cared for me in the most nurturing and loving way possible…wishing I could tell her what had transpired.
I hid my face from her and through my sobs I said “I…d..d..don’t…I…I..I…I CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT NOW.” I then erupted into louder, more ugly sobs.
I could literally feel the concern exuding from my mother.
We did not exchange conversation on the drive to my parent’s house.
I sat, sobbing, waiting for the ride to end–hoping and praying that once I got home, once I got to the place I felt the safest, that this would all go away.
I remember sitting in my bedroom, listening to Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ that evening, followed by 10,000 Maniacs’ song “Eat For Two.” I began to contemplate suicide that very moment.
Initially, I contemplated suicide because I was afraid I was pregnant from the rape. Keep in mind, at 14 years of age, I had no tangible idea how sex/reproduction actually worked…so naturally, I assumed the worst of consequences.
I did not know how I could explain a pregnancy to my parents without explaining the rape.
I could not explain the rape to anyone because of the threat that loomed above my head: “Don’t fucking tell anyone. If you do, remember I know where you live. I know where your family lives.”
I wept uncontrollably for hours on the floor of my bedroom, trying to rationalize the best way to end my life if I were, in fact, pregnant.
This actually brings me to an aside regarding the rather touchy subject of abortion. I am decidedly and unapologetically pro-choice. NO WOMAN should be expected to carry a child that is a result of rape/molestation/incest. Do NOT fight me on this, do NOT preach to me that my soul will go to hell (which doesn’t exist in the afterlife–it exists on earth and I have been there). If you are pro-life and we are friends, we will have to agree to disagree. Period. If you haven’t been there yourself, you can never know that feeling of dread. You can never know that horror. You can never and should never expect a woman to carry the burden of a pregnancy from rape.
I would have rather died.
I would have rather died.
The next month brought April showers and, thankfully, my period.
I was as happy as I could be about that, or as happy as a teenage victim of rape can be when she discovers she is not carrying the devil’s child in her womb.
I took up smoking.
I tried drinking.
I experimented with drugs.
I tried SO desperately to numb out from the cesspool of shit my life had recently become.
I became angry and hateful in general. I began to lash out at everyone. I began to get into fights with other girls. I got into fights with boys. I adopted the attitude of “Fuck you. Fuck this. Fuck everyone and everything. I don’t give a fuck.”
For ten months I existed in this hell, not knowing the hell that awaited me would be worse.
One morning in November, I had parked my car in the back parking lot of the high school. I was getting my books et al out of the passenger side of the car (that glorious ’77 T-Bird), when a classmate of mine approached me.
She said to me: “Hey, Elissa. I need to ask you a question.”
We spoke to one another so rarely, I couldn’t even fathom what she was going to ask.
What she then said to me rocked my perception of everything I knew.
She said to me: “Did X rape you, too? Because he raped me.”
I don’t remember what my verbal response was.
I remember hearing my books hit the ground, but not really realizing what was going on.
I remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. They were hot.
I remember the whole world seemed to go fuzzy.
She and I embraced.
For a long time.
We both cried long into the start of the first class period of the day.
And then, somehow, we ended up in the principal’s office (I loved Bennie Frantz–he was a good man). My classmate and I, forever bonded by the horror that X had bestowed upon both of us.
We each told Mr. Frantz our stories.
I believe my classmate and I held hands throughout the re-living of our horror.
I don’t remember her story. I barely remembered telling mine.
My life was a haze.
My parents were notified, despite my DESPERATE pleading with Mr. Frantz NOT to call them. (Please don’t call them, PLEASE don’t tell them, oh God, oh God, oh GOD, PLEEAAAASE.)
I remember the looks on my parents’ faces.
I felt so ashamed. I felt as if the whole ordeal was my fault.
My face was a fountain of mucous and tears. If dying meant that I didn’t have to experience this pain, that I didn’t have to witness my parents’ pain, then I wanted to die.
It was decided that the next plan of action would be to inform the police.
My classmate and I were eventually appointed a lawyer, as neither one of our families could afford one. I don’t remember our lawyer’s name (Jan? Janis? Something like that…), but she was a fucking dud. I remember feeling certain she sided with our rapist.
I recall giving a deposition.
I recall giving a deposition.
I recall being told what the defense would say to me. X had hired ‘an expensive lawyer’ from Hutchinson, Kansas (in hindsight, I do not know how his fucking white trash whore mother paid for that…I’m almost certain she paid for every-fucking-thing in blowjobs).
The defense would call me a whore, they would tell me I asked for it, they would attack what I was wearing, they would attack my character, they would make the jury believe that a football player AND a wrestling star would NEVER rape a woman–it was preposterous. (“He’s a good boy! People LIKE him! He plays sports!”)
I recall becoming very angered and standing up from my seat.
I leaned across the table, pointing my index finger at and speaking through clenched teeth to our (piece of shit) lawyer: “Listen here, you fucking cunt…”
And my father grabbed me by the seat of my ass, sat me back down and said to me in a very hushed tone: “Beth. This woman is trying to help y…”
I interrupted and countered with: “TRYING TO HELP MY ASS. Fuck this bitch. She doesn’t know her ass from a fucking hole in the ground!!!”
My father apologized for me.
My mother was in shock from the entire event.
Ultimately, it was decided that the case would not go to trial due to inconclusive evidence.
In plain-talk, it basically boiled down to the fact that it would have been our word against his.
The word of TWO GIRLS against THE SAME RAPIST.
It seems as though that would have worked, but my mental state was not a good one.
Not at all.
And it continued to be very poor.
In hindsight, I doubt I would have survived a trial.
Once the ‘incident’ was out in the open, I became a regular target at school for bullying from X, J, and C and their numerous friends. Daily, I heard insults such as “whore,” “slut,” “lying cunt,” and so on and so forth.
Teachers regarded me differently.
Teachers regarded me differently.
Friends also regarded me differently.
I felt EVERYONE regarded me differently, and I wanted to die because of that.
I began to cut myself in order to FEEL something, ANYthing that wasn’t what I was constantly feeling: depression, anger, sadness, shame…
I still have the scars, some of which I have had tattooed over (eventually, they will all be tattooed over).
I recall my parents taking me to a therapist in Wichita. She was HORRIBLE.
She was far too concerned with my relationship with God and not concerned enough with the fact that I had been violated sexually by a classmate, WHO continued to bully me at school (back in the days before social media, where bullies were not shut down and made into examples).
I walked out of her office even more angry than I was when I walked in.
My dad said to me: “Beth, do you think that lady is going to be able to help you?”
My flat response left little doubt: “Fuck that bitch. I will never see her again.”
Needless to say, it took years–wait, decades, actually, and moving many states away from my home state in order to find a therapist who did me ANY good AT ALL.