Preface: I’m doing it. I’m going to do this. I’m finally doing it. I’m sharing the 20-page written statement I wrote up for the district attorney last month, in parts. I need to share this. Please don’t judge me for what was my living hell. All of this is true and it’s of course told from my perspective. I went through the document and replaced his actual name with “my abuser,” which is what he really was. Here we go…
It all started when I was much younger than now. Tragedy struck at the age of 3 when my father died. I subsequently grew up without a male role model. My mom remained single for most of my childhood. Because of the tears and the trauma of my dad’s death, I learned that tears were actually not allowed. I became a very good actress at pretending that everything was okay.
I first met my abuser when I was 12 years old. I had just moved back with my family to the United States from Europe. I was attending high school part time, for French class and a Physical Education class. He was in my P.E. class. We often exchanged greetings and a few words during that class and were friendly, but just acquaintances, nothing more. The following year, at 13, I entered into High School full time as a Freshman. Throughout the next three years my abuser and I would run into each other on campus, passing by on the way to a class, but never exchanged any significant conversation and we did not have another class together. On the last day of my Junior year in high school I was carrying my Yearbook around for people to sign, and I encountered my abuser in the hallway. He asked to sign my yearbook. On the inside of the hard cover he wrote a few words and left his phone number, next to his signed name. He was a senior and graduating. I was to never see him again.
At the end of that summer in the year 2000, just before the start of my senior year, I called him. I dialed his number. We spoke for a bit and agreed to meet. Our first meeting was in the day time. He picked me up at my house and took me to to a special place in his manual steering, old car. It may have been a Honda. He apologized that the air conditioning didn’t work. At first, our meetings took place outside of either of our homes. He also took me to a cliff overlooking the beach and that is where we had our first kiss. My mom soon found out that I was seeing my abuser regularly and forbade me to see him further. She didn’t want me to date him. She knew he was a pilot and told me not to go into an airplane with my abuser. Alas, that had already been done and I couldn’t tell her because she was concerned for my safety and I didn’t want her to worry.
Soon after that, I started letting my abuser into my mom’s home at night after she, her fiance, and my brother were asleep. I would open the front door and we would quietly sneak upstairs to my bedroom. He stayed for several hours and then left before dawn. Other times I went out of my house and waited for him behind the mailboxes just across the street, so no one would see me. I knew exactly how to open the squeaky front gate so that it would make minimal noise. Often, to get out of my house, I would remove the screen from my second floor window, walk out onto the roof, and my abuser would catch me as I made the short jump from the first floor rooftop to the ground. I thought this felt like Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo was below the balcony, and that this was a forbidden love story.
A few months into our relationship we had sex for the first time. It was my first time having sex, ever. It happened at my house. I was very scared, and displayed this verbally and physically. He talked me down to calm me, so that I would comply, telling me it would be okay. I was 16 and he was 18. That was statutory rape. It occurred before the age of consent. We engaged in sex regularly after that first time. It was always initiated by him, he would pull out his penis and take off my underwear to gain access to my private parts. He always initiated the sex. We had talked about sex before, and I had expressly told him many times that I wanted to wait to have sex until I was 17. I was setting a boundary and a personal moral obligation to myself. He disregarded that “no” and had sex with me anyway.
Having sex for the first time produced a number of confusing emotions. I felt guilt and shame for having “let” it happen. I blamed myself although he was the one who pursued it. The more we had sex, the more worthless I felt. My self esteem was being corroded. My complaints and “no”’s were disregarded. I felt like I didn’t matter. I didn’t know how to make those feelings stop.
My abuser had moved from his parents house to a nearby apartment complex. His one-bedroom apartment was a short 15-minute jog from my home. I often went there, and we would have sex. He had a camera and would take photos of us together, naked, and of my private parts. The photos were explicit. His mom went to the print shop where he got the photos printed and when flipping through the photos to see if there were any bad or blurry photos that she wouldn’t have to pay for, she saw these nude photos. She knew that we were having sex, whereas my mother had no idea. My abuser’s mother told him that he shouldn’t be taking such photos, and my abuser’s response to that was, “Well then, don’t pick up my photos at the store for me any more.” He was not in the least bit embarrassed. I, on the other hand, was. I was felt ashamed of the fact that I was sexually active, when I knew I shouldn’t be, according to my own moral standards. I told no one.
That Winter break, my abuser spent three days in my sliding glass door closet. He had a cell phone (when cell phones were rare) and made some business and personal calls during the day. I brought him food and he would come out of the closet at night. His mother was aware of this and she warned him to not get caught (by my mother).
This was the first year of my high school career in which I did not participate in extracurricular activities. Usually, in the Fall season, I ran for the Cross Country team. In the Spring time I ran and did long jump for our Track and Field team. All of my energy was going to this forbidden relationship and our nighttime escapades, usually multiple times a week on a regular basis. Additionally, I was always a good student. I got mostly A’s and some B’s. This senior year I got a C in one of my classes and my GPA suffered. I also had no energy to study for the SAT exam and subsequently got a low score. Because of this my application to Boston University got deferred.
That Spring was my first suicide attempt. Two things in my life had changed. My mom was planning on getting married, to which I felt neutral and emotionally detached. That did not affect me much. The other thing that had changed in my life was that I was having sex at night, clandestinely, with my abuser. The relationship felt intense. There was the intense pressure of not getting caught by my mother, and I wasn’t getting enough sleep, which left me struggling during the days at school, both emotionally and physically. Since my abuser entered my life I had stopped talking with my friends, and grew distant from them. I didn’t have energy to spend time with them after school any longer.
It was about 9 o’clock at night just before bedtime. I was on the phone with my abuser. I was feeling intense anger, but unaware and unable to express this in any other way, I picked up an old pair of scissors and started cutting through the skin on my left forearm. I made some deep cuts, which bled, and from which I still have scars today. The more he spoke, the more I cut. I had never done it before. He stayed on the phone. I had not contemplated suicide before, but suddenly, the thought came into my mind and it seemed like the only way out of my pain. I attribute that extreme emotional pain to the sex and the confusion I had around it. I found a large bottle of Advil, as well as some other pills, and swallowed them all down with Listerine mouth wash. I wanted to die then. my abuser then got off the phone and called back the landline. My mother picked up. He told her about what I had just done, the suicide attempt, and she rushed me to the hospital. We stayed until the next day. My mom says that the medical staff pumped my stomach, though I was not conscious and so cannot verify that. my abuser’s parents drove him to the Emergency Room to visit, but my mom would not allow him in to see me. Instead, he left behind a teddy bear that he had brought to give to me.
In the meantime, my mom had gotten married, and I graduated along with my brother from high school. Right after graduation our parents took us on a six-week traveling vacation around the world. When we returned we moved from that city to another city eight hours away. I did not see my abuser again until the Fall quarter of my Freshman year in college. My abuser came to visit me about once every 4 – 6 weeks on a weekend during my two years at university. The drive was an average 8-hour drive but he would often boast, for years afterwards to friends and family, that he was able to make that drive in less than six hours. He often drove at speeds over 100 mph.
When at my university town, he would rent a room at a motel right by campus across the street from a restaurant where both I and my abuser’s cousin worked. We spent the weekends in the room, Friday through Sunday. Years later, my abuser would tell me as a matter-of-fact statement that I was “a girlfriend who put out” meaning that I had sex with him often. I think that made him feel good. I engaged in the act of sex, having been trained at a young age that this is what I am supposed to do in order to receive love. I desperately wanted love and affection.