What Being Raped Cost Me

I’ve written parole protests repeatedly as the offender who raped me comes up for parole. I do it mostly so that when I talk to the lead voter from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, I have a template of what I want to say. I never know if I’m going to lose it, and I don’t want to forget something I think is important. I have a Zoom call with the lead voter next month, and this is the first time I’ll see who I’m talking to. I’m a little freaked out, but I requested the Zoom call instead of the ‘usual’ phone call. I wrote a blog post about this parole protest a while back, and I was angry when I wrote it. Maybe that’s not all bad- it took me a long time to really feel angry. But that’s not the biggest impact of what being raped cost me. I discover more damage as I get older. The anger is because of ‘him’, as well as the law that put him on parole from a prior attack (without rape) and mandatory release from what he did to me; that doesn’t cost me anything but brief periods of time when I really think about what he did. That isn’t what changed for me that day.

I’ll die alone one day, never having been in love or knowing the comfort of a kind and safe husband, whose touch didn’t leave visible and unseen scars. I’ll never know what intimacy can be when it’s from a place of love and mutual passion. I’ll never know the joy of a wanted pregnancy, and the privilege of watching another little human come into the world and go through the delightful (and sometimes taxing) developmental stages as they grow into adults. I’ll never have grandkids to spoil. I won’t have memories of a family of my own, and the incredible experiences families enjoy- and survive. I will have missed out on the idea I had of what my future would be the day before January 10, 1987. My dreams weren’t massive, but a husband and children were definitely on the list, when I met the right ‘someone’.

I won’t have memories of my dad walking me down the aisle, handing me over to the man I chose to spend my life with. I won’t have the images of my mom holding my children, giving her something she’d always wanted- to be a grandmother. There won’t be any photos of Christmases of my parents watching my kids open their presents, or Thanksgiving dinners at the table I now see every day as I walk to the kitchen, in the house I moved back to after my dad died. There will have been no swimming lessons from my dad, as he made sure my kids were safe near water. My mom won’t have had the chance to share her love of dollhouses with a granddaughter. Or listening to both of them sharing their love of art, music, traveling, and movies with my family.

I will have the memory of leaving the hospital in a hospital gown and coat from ‘lost and found’, since I’d escaped barefoot, in a towel, and was given my neighbor’s petite robe and slippers- all of which became evidence. I remember the rape crisis volunteer going into the pharmacy to get the medication I’d been prescribed, and asking her to get a package of underwear and some Kotex, since I was still bleeding. I remember calling my parents the evening of the rape after getting to a friend and co-worker’s house, since my apartment was a crime scene covered in fingerprint dust, and a sign on the door forbidding anyone but police from entering. I remember my folks wanting to come immediately, but me being too overwhelmed with the ‘business’ of crime, dealing with the statement, meeting with various people, from detectives to victim services to the rape crisis volunteer. I knew I’d want to be sure they were okay, and I wasn’t up to managing that.

I remember my dad wanting to read the seven page statement I gave to police over 2 days, starting the afternoon of the rape after the hospital released me once the rape kit was done. His face said more than he had words for after reading that statement. No father should know what his only ‘child’ had gone through by the premeditated and sustained intentional actions of a serial criminal. There are things in those seven pages that I’ve never told anybody but the people taking the statement. My mom’s mom told me she’d awakened suddenly early on the morning I was being attacked, and woke up my mom’s dad saying “J is in trouble. Something is wrong.” I remember my mom’s co-worker/friend taking me to dinner during a trip back to my hometown, and asking if I’d been raped. She told me that mom had gone quiet, and wouldn’t say anything specific. I told her that I had been, and that I’d hoped that both of my folks would feel free to speak about what happened if it would help them deal with it. None of it just happened to me. And none of us had done anything to deserve the assault on more than my body and twenty-three year old mind. The collateral damage was extensive.

I will never forget the horrible ’24/7 sickness’ with being pregnant. I was constantly dry heaving. I’ll never forget the torment of not knowing what to do- I didn’t want that baby, but couldn’t bring myself to abort it. I loved babies, and had spent eleven years working in the church nursery while I was a pre-teen through nursing school. I was adopted, and knew that if a child I’d carried to term was relinquished there was the possibility of one day having to answer that child’s questions about his or her biological father, and not being willing to lie. I couldn’t imagine the devastation of knowing that what brought it life was a felony, and that child having to live with knowing that it was never wanted by its biological roots. So the morning I started cramping at 12 weeks, I was relieved. When it fell out into the toilet, I saw enough to know which side of the placenta I was looking at from my nursing school obstetrics textbook. And I felt guilty for being glad that it hadn’t survived. I never talk about that. So many people suffer greatly from miscarriages, and I was relieved. But I couldn’t make a decent decision (and was alone with all of it), and I don’t know how I would have made it psychologically if I’d carried it to term. I wanted kids. I didn’t want ‘his’ kid- or any permanent physical reminder that I would have to see daily and attempt to raise without prejudice. I was 23 years old, and naive. But I knew I wasn’t equipped to cope with the child of that horrific six hours that put my life on a completely different path. I was raped because I was taking care of someone else’s baby, who had a brother who’s a predator, and was called to come and get the baby as part of a fabricated story to get to me. And I’ve hated my relief at the loss of a baby, even if I didn’t want it.

For well over half of my life, I’ve never known the feeling of being presumably safe, even in my own home. I need contingency plans for everything, because I don’t want to depend on anyone. There are times when I have to ask for help, and I hate that I need it- though I’m always grateful for the help. When I see news stories about victims, I almost hurt physically for them and their families. I don’t like the word ‘victim’, because I survived. He’d indicated that dismemberment was appealing to him when he put the knife under my right breast and grinned, saying “I wonder what you’d look like without this”. There’s no way he could let me live when I knew his name, where he was living, and that he’d just gotten out of prison 30-some days earlier- I’d been told he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and nothing about what he’d actually done; I didn’t know people who were criminals until then. I did what I had to do to be able to walk out of the apartment after the offender passed out six hours after he started violating me. I don’t have any regrets about that (other than not knowing to listen to the ‘you really don’t know him’ while he was telling me his lies to get access to my apartment and a place to carry out his conspiracy to end my life as I knew it- I didn’t know to consider that I’d ever be a target). I did what I had to do, including faking the ‘washing’ when he forced me to shower, so that any internal evidence would be preserved- and it was. By the time it was safe to attempt to escape, there was no real risk- it was die then, die later, or get away.

The decades after the aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon have been a roller coaster of therapy for PTSD, and a seriously messed up body that can’t be a coincidence when living with a constant state of fight or flight. I have multiple chronic medical issues that read like the table of contents for a medical textbook on the various systems in the body- from head to toe (literally), there are an assortment of diagnoses. I’m housebound now, aside from doctor appointments, and drive-thru runs to the pharmacy. I wonder what I’d be like without the physical damage he did, or the effects of the assault on my autonomic nervous system from chronic stress. But even with being disabled by medical issues, and having to give up working as an RN (my identity), the worst things from being in the offender’s crosshairs are the things that never happened.

Published by JillinoisRN

A disabled RN who is still trying to find ways to help people. I've got a lot of interests, and a lot of things I'd like to convey to people.... whether they want to 'hear' them remains to be seen :)

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