When I told my mom about it, the first thing she said was, “How could you let that happen?” There are certain things that you can never take back, and I will never forget those words. We were in her bedroom; I was getting ready for work. I needed to borrow a tie from my dad; the restaurant where I was a waitress uniforms included a white button down shirt and a tie. I picked out a brown one, with black polka dots. I had been on edge all day, not sure if I should go in to work or not. I remember the walk back to her bedroom; she was ironing and I sat on her bed, fingering the tie between my fingertips. I didn’t look at her when I whispered the words, somehow embarrassed and ashamed. When she asked me how I could let that happen, I didn’t know what to say, and instead began to silently cry.
Kevin was a guy that I met at a bar when I was in college. Typical of me, he was a “bad boy”; he had spent some time in jail, for assault I later learned, and had a child who was four. We talked on the phone a couple times, and he was never anything but nice. He had a way with words, always telling me how pretty I was and asking me when he could take me out. I met him with a friend once, in the driveway of some house, and he was nice and normal. When he invited me over to his house to watch a movie, I thought nothing of it.
I was wearing jeans, a navy blue sweatshirt, and my underwear had a picture of an angel on it. He lived in a tiny little house down the street from where I grew up, with his grandma. He ushered me in, telling me that his grandma was sleeping so we would need to be kind of quiet. He showed me pictures of his daughter and we sat down together to watch a movie.
My memory becomes fuzzy here. I remember flashes… I clearly stated that we were not going to have sex that night when he started kissing me. It was hot in the room, the movie was “8 Mile”, the couch had a dark plaid pattern on it. He kept telling me to relax, relax and it wouldn’t hurt so badly. The next thing I remember I was driving to my best friend’s house, the taste of him still on my lips. She opened the door and immediately said, “What happened?” I shook my head wordlessly, not able to say it. “What happened, Devon? Did he do something to you?” I must have nodded, because she brought me in right away and sat me down on her bed. She called my mom and said that I was spending the night at her house.
I couldn’t sleep that night, but don’t remember much of it. I lay beside my best friend and listened to her breathe. I was sore and confused, and when I tried to think back to the night before I just saw endless black.
I did end up going in to work the next night, if only to give my mind something else to focus on. When I got home that night, my mom insisted that my friend take me to get a rape kit done at the hospital. It was late, past 12, and snowy and cold. My friend’s car got stuck in the snow on the way out of our driveway, and my dad had to come and shovel us out. I wasn’t sure what, if anything, my mom had told him, but he was silent the entire time he worked. We ended up in the emergency room, where my friend whispered to the lady behind the desk. I was whisked away to a private room, where my friend tried to distract me with lame stories before a counselor came to speak with me. I told her honestly that I didn’t remember anything. She took me back to a room and I panicked for a moment; I didn’t want to be alone so told the nurse I wanted my friend to come back with me. She did and all I remember about THAT was that I could see my vagina on a huge T.V. screen and they made me give them my underwear. Oh, and I had to stand on a white piece of paper while they clipped my pubic hair. My friend held my hand the whole time. According to the report, there were some signs of bruising, but there is no timeline in your vagina so there was no way to tell how long it had been there. I wasn’t a virgin, either. I remember being gently admonished for not coming the night that it happened, because the more time that passes the harder it is to collect evidence.
I felt numb through the whole thing, like it was happening to someone else. It was so cold when we exited the hospital, I remember there were so many stars in the sky and the air was so harsh it hurt to breathe. Someone had my underwear and pubic hair in a plastic Ziploc bag.
I had to go to the police station the next day and give a report. I will never, ever forget the kindness of the officer that took my information; he was so polite and caring, never rushing me, looking me straight in the eye and telling me that he had a daughter at home and he would see to it personally that something was done.
Of course, nothing was. Kevin claimed that the sex was consensual. When he was questioned, he was actually already in jail on an unrelated charge. It never went to court, never went past that interview room.
I thought that I wasn’t affected by it; after all, it happens to tons of girls, right? I wasn’t hurt, it could have been so much worse, at least I wasn’t a virgin and God, I couldn’t remember it anyway! But I noticed that my life was slowly falling to pieces around me. I stopped going to class and eventually took a leave from school. I avoided my friends and stayed in bed all the time. I couldn’t sleep and would wander the house at night, tears slipping silently down my cheeks. I wasn’t the same person.
Ironically, my dad decided to buy me something to cheer me up. What did he choose? “8 Mile”, the movie that was playing as I was raped.
I “got over it” eventually. I met Adam about a year after it happened, and he helped me overcome a lot. I still really don’t remember that much of what happened and I think that’s a blessing. I can even watch “8 Mile”, my love for Eminem too great to miss it. But I will NEVER forget the first words my mom said, though she has apologized countless times since. If I learned anything, it was to always think before you say something, because certain things you can’t take back. You just can’t.