I was 21; a college student, working, still a little shy, and very naive. I’d just lost my virginity about 6 months prior, 20 days after my 21st birthday, to a guy I trusted who only saw me as a challenge. “It’s a rare thing for a man to break virginity these days”, he said to me. He was so gentle. So loving. He made me feel so safe. He was so tall; 6’4, with a bald head, the most beautiful tone of deep, brown skin. He was my first and it was awful. He kissed me and shushed me and wiped away my tears. He was perfectly imperfect for the job but I wish it had been someone else in hindsight. We broke up months later because I couldn’t swallow his lies. Perhaps if I would have stayed, my life would have taken a different path.
We partied in Atlanta for New Year 2004. I rubbed elbows all night with intellects from New York, Downtown Atlanta afro punk wearing expensive hobo chic, and fashion designers from Paris who gave me their business cards because they liked what I was wearing. I nursed one glass of champagne the entire night because I don’t drink like that. I felt so grown up and sophisticated. Another party that same night in an expensive industrial loft… I had my first one night stand the second day of the year. Not on purpose, but because the entire time he was inside of me he was begging me to move in with him to the city, bragging about his money, and how we could live together in his luxury loft apartment. I stared up at the high ceilings, the dark recessed lighting, and looked out of the window where I could see the downtown building lights through his white sheers. His expensive mattress under me, I could have gotten used to, but somehow it all seemed way too much in such a little time. I decided I would not see him again while he was still inside of me planning our lives together.
The fourth day of the year I was at another party, in another city. This one in a small house filled with broke college kids wearing mostly jeans, t-shirts, and jogging sets; many of whom I didn’t really know. I only knew the two college kids living there. There was alcohol, food, video games, lots of weed… Very different than anything I was used to in my small, Alabama town. My innocence, I imagine, was practically oozing off of me. I remember one of the guys asking my friend was I his little sister. I did look younger than everyone else…besides the fact that I was the only one not drinking or smoking. When you are in college, you have this false sense of safety. You think everyone is just a kid like you; trying to keep up your GPA and make $20 last a whole month. My friends took the party outside as everyone was starting to go home. We cleaned up a bit and I made my bed on the futon, stripped down to my t-shirt and underwear, took an Ambien, and fell to sleep.
Some time shortly after, I looked up and this guy said something to me. I don’t know what he said. I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep. Next thing I know I felt my arm being yanked so hard that it flipped me off of my stomach onto my back. My eyes flew open but I was quite out of it because of the sleeping medication. It was completely dark and I could not see anything. He crashed down on top of me and at the same time ripped my underwear from my body. I froze. I could not move. I think my spirit left my body. He was so strong and so heavy on top of me. He ripped my underwear so hard that they completely tattered and only the waist band remained intact around my hips. He ripped my shirt off in the same way, only leaving the collar which he wound around my neck. He was speaking but I have no idea what he was saying. I was lost in the pain. It was like he was ripping me apart down below. Any little movement or sound I tried to make was met with a tightening of the shirt around my throat as he pounded into me forever. He finally finished and climbed off of me. He was still talking and this time I heard him. He said, “All of this blood”. He ran out of the house…I think. I don’t know. I blacked out. My friend found me sitting on the futon with the shirt hanging from my neck and the bloody, torn underwear around my waist. I felt her touch me and I just lost it. To this day, I don’t know his name, what he looked like…nothing. He was just a guy my other friend took classes with. I refused to go to the police. I was so ashamed. He never returned back to school. My friend checked. They wanted to find him and beat him up because I wouldn’t go to the police. I just wanted to forget….and a little piece of me wanted to die. It took me 12 years to tell my mom.