I was 23. It was January, 1999. I’d just left Central the previous spring, and was living at home with my parents. Money meant working at Marshall Fields (now Macy’s) while looking for a full time job more likely to develop into an actual career. The internet was just becoming mainstream with dial up capabilities, and as I had in college, I was embracing it and all of its possibilities, including the possibility it had for dating.
Classifieds 2000 was a Hotmail site that specialized in, you guessed it, classifieds. I posted an ad under Women Looking for Men. No pictures, as this was before digital cameras hit the mainstream, but I had a lot of responses all the same (which now that I think about it speaks volumes about my personality and writing abilities, doesn’t it?).
He was one of my responses.
I don’t remember his name. One small thing I do recall is he drove a Chevy Cavalier. Because this was the day before cell phones and I couldn’t afford a pager, things were done the old fashioned way and I gave him my (family’s) phone number. He called and was charming, non-threatening and I was excited to meet him.
Until he called one Friday night, early Saturday morning and told me he was coming over to my house.
I hadn’t shared my address with him. He had caller ID though and my parents were listed in the phone book so it was inevitable he would find a way if it was his will. He asked if my bedroom was the one that faced the back side of the house. That question suddenly made me realize the footprints I’d seen going down the side of the house the same morning weren’t from a meter reader but from him.
I was terrified, not because of his stalking abilities but because my parents were home. I said no, that it was my little sister’s bedroom. My bedroom faced the driveway. He told me if I didn’t want him waking up my sister with snowballs thrown at her bedroom window, I’d meet him outside.
I met him outside.
He coaxed me into his car. It was cold outside and I also mistakenly thought I could reason with him and get out. That maybe I’d charm him and could even talk him into a date and he’d be on his way.
He hit the car locks and immediately began his assault. He threatened that if I didn’t cooperate, he’d march into my house, which I’d left unlocked. He’d scream at the top of his lungs what a slut I was, meeting guys on the internet for sex. That my parents and siblings would know all about my shameful behavior.
He constantly had my hair in a tight grip with one hand, his knee or other hand thrust against my vagina to keep me in place. We “made out” for a minute or two
With his hand at the back of my head, it was easy for him to “guide” my head to his lap. He’d already unbuttoned his pants and removed his penis from his boxers before I even got in the car.
I cooperated to the extent that I could when faced with this nightmare. I gagged a lot, which seemed to turn him on more, and it was finished within five minutes. He held himself in place until I was forced to swallow. Who knows if it was the act itself or the violence of his actions that thrilled him more? Once he was finished and his pants were done back up, he all but shoved me out of the car, shouting, “Whore!” as he drove away.
I staggered through the front yard and into the house, not quite believing what had just happened.
For a long time, I forgot it had happened. I never spoke about it with anyone when it took place because it fulfilled every mother’s worst nightmare: there are horrible people on the internet. I also instinctively knew I’d be blamed for it. I met a guy off the internet, I was asking for it, what did I think was going to happen? And truthfully, it felt more like a nightmare than an actual thing that had happened from the start. Some would (probably correctly) attribute this to shock.
Eight years later, after my divorce, I was testing the online dating waters again when I remembered it ACTUALLY occurred.
Eight years after I remembered it happened, almost sixteen years to the day, I acknowledged to a friend I’d been sexually assaulted. Until then, I never labeled my story as an actual sexual assault.
Still, I don’t speak of it. I’m not ashamed of what happened, because I know it wasn’t my fault. On the other hand, it’s not something I want to draw attention to.
To this day, my parents have no idea it happened (and please, let’s keep it that way). My brother and sister, no idea. Dipshit never knew. Almost all of my friends have no idea.
But now I say it aloud to all of you, in public.
I, too, am a victim of sexual assault.