Monday, April 21, 2014

Stand Where I Stood: Betrayal

“You are so fucking stupid! Why can’t you figure out how to do this?! It is not hard to do!”

He bellowed and it seemed to echo, I felt eyes on me. Instantly the river fell silent, I don’t even think the water made a sound, as people stared waiting to see what was about to happen. He got out of the boat and started dragging it. He threw the paddles into the trees along the river and screamed at me

“Guess we don’t fucking need those! You can’t figure out how to paddle a fucking boat. How do you think you will ever be able to drive a goddamned car?”

I didn’t know what to do. He had been so sweet for a couple months I had pushed the other incident out of mind and away; it was just an accident he didn’t mean it.

This was different. He was berating me with words and in front of everyone, his whole family, friends we had run into along the river, and a lot of people we did not even know. It was one of those moments where you don’t know where to look or whether or not to say anything. In this case my typical need to get in the last word froze and I said nothing in my own defense. I just sat there in a sinking boat; which is actually a good metaphor for the whole situation.

His brother told him told him to lay off me, that it was my first time and it takes some practice… He cut his brother off right there with a tirade of cursing and gestures. I looked at his brother’s boat with his girlfriend and the spare seat in the back of the raft. Every fiber of my being told me to get out and go to their boat, but for some reason my muscles wouldn’t move. My body was not listening to what my mind was saying. I was literally scared stiff. Something inside me told me that there were going to be consequences for this display. The show continued as he dragged me along down the river rumbling about things I could not make out. Thankfully we did not have far to go.

By the time we got back to his house to change clothes he was fuming. His face red with anger and his eyes had gone to that black color again. I kept telling myself to tread lightly, be small, be quiet, no sudden moves; that would keep any accidents from happening again. I was wrong, this time was going to be another first and this was when the campaign of humiliation and confusion began.

We walked into his house and he shoved me against a wall I was only wearing a bikini and sarong type thing and I was soaking wet and cold. He was pressing me into the wall and staring at me. I kept repeating to myself, be small, be quiet, no sudden moves. His grip on me was hard and uncomfortable. He was strong and he trained everyday with weights, my tiny barely 100lb frame was no match for him. Slowly as we stared at each other that smile crept across his face. The crazy smile; the one that was part of that accident it wasn’t going to happen again, right? I was still repeating my new mantra in my head and had added he isn’t going to hurt you he promised. That day I learned that promises are often made and often wasted.

He let go of one arm and twisted back on the other nearly dragging me to his room. His room was a tiny one with a high window on one side of the wall, boring and white. No evidence that he had any personality at all; that was the first time I ever noticed that. He picked me up and threw me on the bed. My head struck the shelf that served as a head board and I bounced a little, mostly I was just glad to be out of his grip. My arms and shoulders had angry looking red marks. His face was no longer red; only that smile and he kept looking at me. Be small, be quiet, no sudden moves. Be small, be quiet, no sudden moves, he isn’t going to hurt you, over and over in my head with the rhythm of a train pounding in my skull, now throbbing with the welt raising on the back of my head.

He was clearly thinking. I like to think he was at least considering not doing anything. With a swiftness I did not know he was capable of he was on top of me. His hands grabbed my hair and pulled it; he kissed me hard, not like I had ever been kissed. This was not a kiss with warm feelings; this was like ice cold steel. He bit my lip when he pulled back and began to rip the sarong off of me. I asked what he was doing his response was not what I expected.

“I’m going to fuck you, just like you fucked me today.”

I tried to squirm out from underneath him but his weight was too much for me. Before I even knew what was happening I felt him; it felt like I was tearing in half. Harder and harder he went; he wasn’t looking at me he had closed his eyes but he still had that smile. My body was not ready for this onslaught and it burned more with each movement. He wasn’t using a condom and I thought if I could get him off me to get one I could get out of the room. I whispered that he should put one on. His eyes snapped open and he looked down at me and said

“I am not ever going to wear a fucking condom again. I hate them, don’t worry you’ll get used to it.”

I was in agony now, my body was not responding to this, he had pulled the triangles of my bikini back and I was exposed. He was fondling me but it was rough, not the gentle way I knew. I started to scream out in pain with each of his efforts. Hoping against hope that his family would be home now and would hear me and come and stop this attack… no one ever came. It seemed to go on forever and when he was ready he finished his business but he did it on my face. I was mortified and felt shameful but part of me was glad that at least I wasn’t a virgin and this was not my first time. The horror of that idea was weighing in my mind as he wiped himself off my face with his shirt. Before I could even get dressed he grabbed the arm he had twisted earlier, I cried out in pain; with everything else I had forgotten about my arms. Down the hall to his parent’s room we went, to their bathroom.

The shower was on the hottest setting it could be when he shoved me into it and ordered me to clean myself up.

“You are dirty, nasty. Look at what you did; you didn’t even try to stop me. You must like it like that; all that screaming… You’re a slut. Wash your fuck face I do not want any of that on you when I kiss you again.”

Even though the shower was scorching I was grateful that at least I felt I was washing the episode off me. He was outside the shower watching me, more embarrassment as he directed what I did and how I did it. As quickly as he had moved before he pulled me out of the water and told me I was done. He threw a towel at me and I wrapped it around me and sunk down against the wall. The enormity of what had just happened was starting to dawn on me and I was forcing back tears. I did not want him to see me cry.

“Oh you like being down there? Let’s try something new, don’t worry sluts like this sort of thing.”

He sat down on the toilet next to me and pulled his pants down he told me I just had to kiss him.

“All you have to do is kiss it. That’s all.”

His voice had softened a bit and I thought maybe if I just did this, all this would be over. I leaned forward and kissed him in a place I had previously never considered. He grabbed the back of my head and forced himself into my mouth.

“Don’t you fucking scrape me with your teeth; you should know how to do this already.”

The tears came now and I could not stop them. They burned in my eyes, I just squeezed my eyes shut and focused on the rather difficult task of not “scraping” him. He was in charge of every move with his hand pulling my hair. It was over and again all over my face. He blamed me again and shoved my head under the tap in the shower; he ordered me to clean my face.

Abruptly he left the room and me alone in it. He said over his shoulder that he had better not have to come back and get me. As soon as he was out of the room I shut the door and locked it. There were no windows I had no other choice but to go out and face him. I remember sitting back against the wall. The tiles were cool on my back and I shivered but then the shivering didn’t stop. I was shaking and I knew I had to get it under control but then the tears came again. Tears furious and stinging tumbled down my face. Everything he said was true. I didn’t really try to stop him. I could have kneed him in the crotch or something. My mind was spinning and I was crying and shaking like a leaf. I told myself I could not go out there like this. I found a tooth brush and decided using someone else’s toothbrush was not nearly as disgusting at what had just happened. I scrubbed the inside of my mouth. Using his mother’s brush to comb out my hair I pulled it up and wrapped it in a twist. I dried off and covered myself and opened the door. I was still shaking and the tears were involuntary now. My mantra, be small, be quiet, no sudden moves was on repeat in my head.

No one seemed to be in the house as I made my way back to his room, a room that felt foreign to me now. My change of clothes was piled on the floor and looking closer I realized it had not been his shirt that had wiped my face earlier. It was my shirt that had wiped him off my face and out of my eyes. The damp towel was able to help me at least feel like you couldn’t see any spots. My whole body was aching and gingerly I pulled on clothes. I stood there a moment in front of a mirror. I wiped my eyes and somehow found the strength to force myself to stop shaking. Slipping on my shoes, I folded the towel and placed it in the laundry room.

When I walked out into the great room it took me a few minutes to realize he was outside. On the back deck of his house, all of his siblings were gathered. Forcing the thought that they had heard me and assumed I was having a good time out of my head and continuing with my mantra I took a deep breath. He saw me and motioned for me to come outside. I pulled the door open and stepped onto the deck; I know I was blushing from head to toe. No one said anything, to me, but one of his brothers was talking to him off to the side and slapped him on the back and gave him a high five. Naturally I don’t really know what they were saying to each other but at the time it felt like he was taking a victory lap.

He walked over and took my hand gently. I must have looked mystified because he kissed my hand and said to the group that I was worn out; it had been a long day. He put his arm around my waist and when his eldest brother asked me if I wanted to stay for a barbeque; I didn’t have to answer.

“No, no she’s had a long day. She told me she was tired earlier when I showed her the shower, so we decided I would just take her home but hey throw a steak on for me, I’ll be back soon!”

His head tilted all the way back as he gulped down one of the beers everyone was drinking and took a long drag off his Camel cigarette. A large part of me wanted to take a beer and drink it as fast as I could so that I would feel it and the events of the afternoon might fade away into a fog. Gently he took my hand again and we left. On the way home it was as if nothing had happened. Sweetness oozed from him like honey from a spoon. Confused I asked

“Are you mad at me?”

He replied

“No, not anymore; I’m sorry about that stuff I was upset about at the river. It was great sex though. Did you like it?”


“Oh, I thought you were kind of into it… it was role playing you know. We should totally do that again, I really liked punishing you; but if you aren’t into it I won’t do that again. I’m really sorry; I thought you knew what we were doing. Fuck me; I just keep messing up don’t I? You forgive me right? You know I didn’t know you weren’t into it. I swear sweet cheeks it that won’t ever happen again.”

As he turned into my cul-de-sac he asked if I was going to tell my parents. I could feel the rush of red come to my face.

“No. I couldn’t tell them about that.”

He nodded and agreed that it was better that way, our sex life was ours and nobody else’s business. Or something to that effect I felt dizzy and I was barely listening to him. The sun was just starting to set and I was spent and now I had to go in and face my family like nothing was wrong. Leaning across the seat he kissed me with his lips so soft and gentle. Jekyll and Hyde that’s what this was like. My brain was racing around in my head like it was inside a blender. Who was this guy? This was certainly not the guy who had wooed me and convinced me to go on a date with him after a hard break up with my first real boyfriend. This was beyond my understanding, I was humiliated, and I had no one I could talk to and sort this out with.

I tripped getting out of the truck and scraped up my palms; he leaned over and asked if I was okay. Sure, now you want to know how I am doing… I just nodded and walked into the house. Plastering the smile on my face, the one I would learn to use so that I could keep up appearances. The sound of him peeling out in my driveway echoed through the neighborhood and I could hear my father yelling from another room at me to make him stop doing that.

I remember telling my parents I had eaten already and I was just really tired. Opening the window in my room I let the cool air wash over me and finally I was out of sight and I gave into the tears. I had to steady myself I was crying so hard. I pulled off all my clothes and wadded them up and threw them in the darkest corner of my closet. Never again could I wear that shirt, it represented pain, disgrace, and the indignities of just a few hours that had changed my life again. Pulling on the loosest pajamas I had I crawled into my bed and pulled the comforter over me; burying my face in a pillow to stifle the noise I lay there and sobbed. Utterly confused and completely alone I sobbed. I found my childhood security blanket and like a little girl gently rubbed my face with it. I cried for a long time, everyone else had gone to bed by the time I finally drifted off to sleep. His voice in my head, the sweet one and the one full of madness, who was I dating? I told myself, in the words of Scarlet O’Hara, I will worry about that tomorrow.


  1. My heart hurt for you reading your words, the pain I felt was a repetition of the pain I have replayed in my mind of the attacks that I was also subjected too. Like you - I was convinced that the attacks were not what I know them to be now ... I was lied too as well. Lies and fear and pain. The only pain that I know of that is greater than what we have lived through is when some well-meaning person comments that I should have gotten out of there the first time it happened. Rape is a shocking thing. Serial rape is a conditioning by humiliation that you are less than. Less than everything. As I read your story I am reminded of the very first time that I confided in someone whom I thought might understand. After narrating to her my story, perhaps even more graphically than you have done - her comment to me took the wind out of my sails completely. After hearing about the crude, vile and degrading attacks her initial comment was "Are you sure?He was such a charming man - it seems impossible to even think of him capable of such a thing!" That was possibly the last time I spoke of my trauma to anyone for perhaps five years. If my best friend that had known me for a lifetime could doubt my word in favour of a man she had met less than a year before what did that say about how others would view my tale?I vowed then that my history would become mine alone. I would be silent. Bear this cross on my own. By chance I happened to read in a local newspaper of a charity fundraiser to support the plans to open a Women's Refuge in the nearby town. That is where I first spoke to women who believed me without casting any judgement on me. And that was the day that I began to understand this bewildering and toxic phenomena that is domestic abuse/serial sexual abuse ... and the day that I began to heal. Thank you Amanda for re-living your nightmare in the hope that somebody will read this and have a similar epiphany to the one I had ... the moment when the abused realises that she is not alone, she is not uniquely pathetic and stupid, that she is not to be used and abused. You write from your heart ... and I can tell that it is one capable of huge love and compassion. I hope that you find the narration of your story to be as healing as it will - without doubt - be to others who have lived the same nightmare. Much love and respect to you.

  2. At first when I began reading this, I thought It was about someone else. But then I see that sadly you and I were both on that same painful road for many years and with more than one awful person. I once asked my therapist what was wrong with me that I could turn men into these horrible creatures, but I learned- after MUCH therapy that they actually LOOK for women like us. They look for kind, nurturing women who will blame themselves first, or feel sorry for them and try to "help" them. I too had a very similar mantra from about 16 to 32, sadly with boyfriends in my teens to men I had married. Always remember that there is NOTHING wrong with you, you are a beautiful loving empathetic woman, and that is exactly what monsters like these men hunt. I love you and am so very proud of you for sharing this story, You are a very strong person and you WILL find happiness in your life because YOU can make it.

  3. ages 26-29. Never before, NEVER EVER again. Thank you

  4. My heart breaks for you very strong ladies.

  5. I am so sorry! When I was a child things happen to me, but nothing like this. I am so sorry!

  6. Oh Belle. I love you. I am so sorry you have had to endure much sorrow at the hands of evil 'men'. You have a strength in you that is amazing.