The other night we had a power outage that lasted for 6 hours. It may not seem like that big of a deal but the instant the power went out, my heart began to race, I was sacred, I was nervous, and my anxiety was through the roof. It was during this power outage that I had a realization about one of my biggest fears, the dark.
Yes, me, a thirty year old woman is afraid of the dark. I jump at every sound, I yelp whenever a pet jumps up on something, I toss and turn, and at times even check my closet for monsters.
I wasn’t always afraid of the dark. As a child I can remember chasing fireflies in New Jersey, looking up at the stars in the big Montana sky, and talking with the moon.
Where did this fear come from and why was I being triggered so much at this moment. Well, I was being trigged from something in my past, something that has been screaming to come out for the past 13 years. As I laid in bed waiting for the power to come back on it hit me and it hit me hard. It was time for me to share my story that only a few knew from the summer of 2006.
So what happened during that summer? I was 17, I was depressed, I was drinking, and I was looking for acceptance. This is the summer I truly lost all the innocence that I had left. I was sexually assaulted early on that summer and later, I was raped.
It was the typical summer night for me. I was at the local pool hall hanging out with friends having an enjoyable evening. We stayed until close. I wasn’t ready to go home and nor was Phill, he asked if I wanted to come out to his house and have a couple drinks. I agreed. He drove me to a small town about 25 minutes out of the city. He lived with his parents but had a trailer as his bedroom so that is where we went. Once in he pulled out the drinks, then he asked if I want to smoke some pot. Me looking for acceptance reluctantly agreed. I took one hit off the pipe and told myself no more; I didn’t like where this evening was going.
This is the part of my story where you may need to take a few deep breaths, pause while reading, or even stop completely. I should also say that this may trigger others, if you feel like you can not continue, then please do not so.
As time went on, Phill continued to drink and smoke. He eventually decided it was time for us to have sex. I no longer felt safe and more than anything wanted to go home. But he had other plans. He started pulling at my leather jacket trying to get it off, I fought it. He pushed me down and laid over me. I could feel his hands trying to undo my belted leather jacket. I asked him to stop, he didn’t. Once he got that undone he moved onto my pants. I was able to get my jacket zipped back up while he was figuring out my pants buckle, then I pushed his hands away and was able to get my pants back together. Phill moved back up top to my jacket. I kept telling him to stop, I kept pushing, I kept fighting, but he just kept repeating that this was what I wanted. We went back and fourth like this for some time, him undoing my buckles, me pushing him and getting them back together, him telling me this was happening, and me begging for an end.
Finally my prayers were answered, Phill’s phone rang. Our friend Sean asked him to come back into town for something, I was able to use this as my way out! I told Phill that we needed to get to Sean’s and so we left. Just like that it was done.
Once at Sean’s he knew I was upset, he told Phill that he would take me home. Phill got upset, refused, told him that I was coming back with him. Sean prevented that from happening. Sean saved me that night, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
I continued on with my summer like nothing happened, I pushed it deep down so I wouldn’t feel what true terror felt like anymore.
Later that summer I was hanging out at the mall with my then boyfriend. He was new to town, early 20s, attractive, and I felt like I had won the lottery with him, though I never introduced him to anyone close to me. One night, he wanted me to join him at a party that another friend was putting on. I was so excited! We were doing couple things! I got in the car and off we went, to a green house, slightly east of town, sitting on at curve on the highway, all by itself.
Inside there was another couple and a male. Beers were in the fridge and harder stuff on the counter. The other female and I instantly got along. Before I knew it we were drinking, playing games, laughing, and just enjoying each others company. The the other girl and I were ready for a break and let the men continue on. All three men started to get loud, they got angry, started fighting, and they got frightening. Her and I decided that we needed to get away from them, grabbed our cigarettes, and headed upstairs. We locked ourselves in a room just to get an escape from the situation that was unfolding downstairs. It was nice, it was quiet, and I was finally feeling accepted.
Then, things got loud again. We started to hear the men yelling for us, they had begun their search for us, and then they started yelling AT us. Soon, all that separated us from three intoxicated men was one wooden door. That door didn’t stand too much longer, a fist came through it and they started tearing at the door. Soon my boyfriend and hers were in the room with us. They started ripping at our clothes, pulling us away from each other, pushing us, yelling, screaming, hitting. Soon all that was left was two scared girls curled up, naked, on the floor.
The third guy walked in and made the comment, “it’s a naked party!” and quickly removed his clothes. My memory fades to black soon after that. Some time later I did come to, I could feel my body moving like on an ocean wave, the room was dark, it reeked of alcohol, but I could see movement. I looked to my right and my boyfriend is on top of the other girl with her wrists pinned down, she isn’t moving. I looked down and recognized the man below me, my wrists were being held by someone else though, the man behind, the other girls boyfriend, was holding them back. Then blackness…
The next day my boyfriend said to not speak a word of what happened and takes me back to my car. Shortly after this I found out that he wasn’t in his 20s but early 30s and was here to get away from his wife and kids. I was broken, I was beaten, and I was lost.
This was the summer that I became afraid of the dark, the summer of 2006.