Warning: graphic content.
This is a true story about the most traumatic thing that has happened in my life. Even though I have suffered the after effects for years, I believe going through this has completely shaped me as a person, and I do not regret anything. All names have been changed other than my own.
I was always told that I’m too trusting. “Vic, you have to keep personal things to yourself.” “Stop believing anything people tell you.” I heard it all the time from family, close friends, even people I just met who I told a little too much about myself to. I can’t help it; I trust people. I have always thought of people as inherently good. You hear the stories of terrible things happening to people all over the world, especially when they put a little too much trust into someone they shouldn’t have. I just never thought I’d be in one of those stories.
I was fourteen when I met him. I had never been to a sleepaway camp before. My cousin had convinced me to go with him, and when I later found out that my best friend attended the camp as well, I jumped right on board. Once we had arrived and settled in, my best friend introduced me to her group of friends. Lily, Jake, Chris, Daniel, Riley, and myself. That became ‘The Crew’ around camp. Everyone knew us. No, we weren’t the popular kids. In fact, we were the exact opposite. We were a group of six misfits who ended up getting into crazy shenanigans together. It was awesome.
The summer was going great. I was loving my first time at sleepaway camp, and I was incredibly excited to start high school in the fall. I even began to develop a crush on Chris. One day towards the end of the summer, Chris asked me to take a private walk with him. Private walks were a big deal in camp. Everyone knew they were forbidden, so we had to sneak around. I still remember the path we walked. “Vicky, you’re beautiful,” he told me. I blushed. “Has anyone ever told you that?” he asked. “Other than my family, no,” I responded. “Vicky, would you want to be my girlfriend?” I was ecstatic. I had wanted a boyfriend for as long as I could remember, and I liked this boy. How could I say no?
I ran back to my bunk, hopping with excitement. As fourteen-year-olds do, Riley, Lily, and I giggled and gossiped about it late into the night. I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my family. Then I remembered. Home. We were one week from the end of camp and then we were to go back home. That meant I was going back to New York and Chris was going back to Boston. My first relationship suddenly became my first long distance relationship. 210 miles, to be exact. A four and a half hour drive. Chris and I promised to stay faithful and promised to visit each other as often as we could. Then we headed off in opposite directions back to our homes 210 full miles apart. It was devastating.
I’ll tell you right now, long distance relationships can work. Even though we went through turmoil, the distance did not quench our love for each other. Or, our childish lust-love. Chris and I dated for one year, six months, and four days. We visited each other on eleven separate occasions over the course of the year and a half. One visit was a month long the next year at summer camp. Other than that, every visit was over a long weekend and was for at least three days at a time. We thought we were in love.
Chris had been my first boyfriend, my first kiss. I thought I would marry him one day. I thought we would beat all the odds, and my first boyfriend, whom I met at fourteen and held a 210-mile distance from New York to Boston with, would be my husband. I imagined the day we could finally move in together and no longer worry about the distance. I imagined the engagement ring, the wedding ceremony, being together forever. None of that happened. I also imagined one day he’d take my virginity. That, he did. I swear on my life I said no.
It was December of 2011. Winter break. Chris had been on a family vacation in another country. He’d been gone two weeks. Two full weeks without communication was hard on us, only fifteen at this point, but we’d been dating for a year and five months and we thought we could get through anything. I was so relieved when I finally received a text from him. “Hi, Vicky. I miss you. I’m coming to New York to see you for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. I love you.” It was wonderful to hear from him, and I was ecstatic that he was coming to visit. Suddenly, though, things became a bit strange. No longer was he as loving and caring as he was before he left. Now he was talking about sex. It worried me, but I wrote it off as male hormones. I shouldn’t have.
January 16, 2012, is a date forever branded on my memory. It was a Saturday. My parents had tickets to see a concert. Chris was staying over. My parents and I argued for hours over whether it was okay for them to leave us home alone while they went to see their show. I told them everything would be okay, go, and have fun. They trusted me. I trusted Chris.
As a compromise, they left my 12-year-old brother and godbrother home with us. As usual, my brother immediately went for his video games on the main floor and my godbrother went to play the drums in the basement. That left Chris and myself upstairs all alone. “Want to watch a movie?” I suggested. We chose Zombieland. Never have I ever watched it since. Never will I ever watch it again.
About halfway through the movie, he turned to me. “Let’s do it,” he said. “I don’t want to,” I replied. “Come on, it’ll be fun,” he coerced. I held my ground. “What if I just did this…” he said and slowly pulled down my leggings. “I’d rather not,” I said, squirming a bit. “What if I just did this…” he said, slipping his hand underneath my panties. “I don’t want to,” I said again, but this time when I tried to squirm, he held on to me. He pulled himself on top of me so I was lying flat on the bed, and he was in an upright position on my stomach. “Chris, please, I really don’t want to.” He ignored me. I squirmed and squirmed, but he was too strong. He held me in place.
I don’t remember hearing the condom seal break. I don’t remember the feeling of the very first time I had ever been penetrated. I was crying too hard. I do remember the pain, though. Hot and angry running from my upper thighs to my stomach. When he finally pulled out, he looked at me, his face curled into a tight scowl. “You were crying too hard, so I didn’t get to finish. Make me finish,” he yelled. He grabbed my head and forced me to pleasure him orally. I hate when people ask me why I didn’t bite.
When it was all over, I went into the bathroom, lied down on the floor mat, and cried. I can’t tell you how long I was there for. I can’t tell you how long it had lasted. I can’t tell you whether I had felt his cum drip down my face afterwards. What I can tell you is this: I had always dreamed of my fantasy wedding night with the man of my dreams impregnating me with a beautiful child, the entire time giving myself freshly to him. Pure. Untouched. I wanted to wear white.
I broke up with him four days later over the phone at two in the morning after having gone without sleep for over 72 hours. Every nasty thing you can think of, he said to me. I went five full months before I told anyone. Five months. Evidence gone. No more proof. My word against his. I didn’t report it. I didn’t take him to court. I didn’t have him locked up behind bars where he should be.
I had panic attacks every night since. Every time I closed my eyes, I would relive the entire scene. I developed insomnia because I refused to sleep. I developed depression and anxiety. I developed anorexia. I’ll be covered in scars, physically, mentally, and emotionally, forever more.
They say hindsight is always 20/20. I can see every wrong step I took. I can see every time he gave evidence as to what was ahead. I had so many outs, yet at the time I was blind. I am an entirely new person since this incident. It took two and a half years to be able to look myself in the eye and say, “I was raped.” It still hurts every day. But I’m healing. It’s much easier to say now. I don’t think about it as often as I did. It’s been nearly four years, and I know I have been changed for the better. Yes, the last few years of my childhood were ripped out of my clutches, but now I can see the world clearly. I don’t stand for rape jokes. I am the biggest protector of all my friends, male and female. My brother has been taught time and again to treat women with respect. And when I found out my best friend in the entire world had been hurt in a similar manner just a few years later and by someone I trusted with her, don’t even think for a second I didn’t kick his ass to the moon. The hurt will never fully go away, and I know that, but now I can take the pain and suffering I went through and turn it into good for the rest of the world. One day I will be able to stand up and tell my story to the world, and he will be in the audience somewhere, and he will hear his name. He will know how he hurt me and that I became better from it. I fought back and I won. He won the battle, I won the war.