4:2 ~ Soul Theft ~ A Gang Rape Leaves Me Empty
I had fled the confines of Norwalk State Hospital and planted a mattress on the floor in the spare room of my parents’ apartment, a fresh start of sorts. I determined to get my act together and make it all work for me and my sweet little boy. I was looking for work. I was trying to be helpful enough to my mom so she wouldn’t start thinking of kicking me out. Within two weeks, I would be gang raped by six young men. That was not on my radar.
My mom liked to go to the grocery store daily, as if she were one of those lucky European women who stopped at the bakery each day for a fresh loaf of rye. She may have imagined herself lazily plucking through mounds of fresh vegetables and fruit from street vendors, everything freshly baked and harvested. But one particular day she needed a fresh bottle of vodka more than she needed food, so we climbed into the old Ford Fairlane and drove down to the local Food Giant Supermarket.
As soon as we stepped onto the rubberized mat and the automatic glass door swung open, I saw him. Within two skipped heartbeats I had sized up all six foot two of one of the cutest guys I had ever seen. He had wide shoulders and wavy golden hair down to the green apron pocket of his supermarket uniform. The way he placed the milk into the bag first before adding the bread was downright genius! A bag of oranges went in next. Our eyes met. My cheeks flushed and I turned away. I grabbed a shopping cart and walked into the nearest aisle, almost knocking a box of Cocoa Puffs off of the end cap.
I was standing with one foot on the bottom rung of the cart waiting for my mom to decide between a quart and a fifth when I felt a tap on my shoulder. The box boy that I noticed when we first walked in was standing right behind me. My heat skipped a beat as I turned and attempted to give him a winning smile. We made plans after a short conversation. This gorgeous hunk of a box boy was going to pick me up on Friday night.
Once my mom paid for her precious cargo, I jumped onto the back of the cart and let it take me down the slight incline to the car. Whee! I was already imagining my happily-ever-after with a new husband and a loving dad for my little son. I didn’t want my mother to notice what went on between us. I was sure she wouldn’t approve of me dating so soon after leaving the hospital.
That Friday afternoon I changed in and out of several different blouses and made sure my jeans had the least amount of holes and stains. Finally, my Sir Galahad arrived in his souped–up Corvette and we were on our way. Where were we headed... out to dinner? To a movie? I was too nervous to ask.
He turned up the car stereo and reached over to open the ashtray underneath the dash. “Do you want to get high?” He reached in and grabbed two pink capsules. “Oh!” I wasn’t expecting that but I was game. I had certainly “done” my share of drugs and wasn’t a newbie. As a matter of fact, looking at these, I figured I would hardly get a high from them. They were pink, not red, like the Seconal pills I usually took. Pink is lighter than red. I thought these were something called “Pink Ladies,” a milder version of Seconal. But I didn’t ask. I wanted to be “cool girl.” My chin jutted forward. “Sure!”
Soon I realized that he didn’t have any plans for the normal date ideas, like dinner and a movie. We drove out through a field, and soon I found myself sitting on the couch in his rented farmhouse, which seemed to have landed in the middle of a few acres of packed dirt underneath a freeway overpass. The farmer must have stood his ground for decades while progress grew up around him and the government waited until he ceased to be an obstacle to their plans to get folks from here to there as quickly as possible.
Within a few minutes I realized that “pink” did not mean “less.” My muscles felt like overcooked spaghetti, my head the size and weight of a watermelon. I sat on the couch trying to carry on a conversation, but feeling more and more detached, as if in a dream. I thought we were alone in the house, but suddenly there was another young man there. My date introduced me to his roommate. “Nice to meet you. Hey, do you want to see the art work in the other room?” he asked.
“Okay.” I got up and tried to walk.
“You bastard!” muttered my date.
I wondered why he called his roommate a name, but as if I had no will-power at all, stumbled after his roommate into the other room. I felt helpless, and my stomach was beginning to lurch along with my legs and body. I thought of running the other way for a second but I still didn’t understand what was going to happen and didn’t want to appear to overreact.
I was pushed onto the bed, my clothes quickly removed. I looked towards the door, imagining my limp legs able to get up and run. My date peered in and quickly turned away. I heard him making phone calls. I hoped he was calling the police. I was being raped!
My arms were lead, my lungs hollow. I couldn’t make myself move my body as it seemed all my limbs were rubber bands. I tried to call out, but no sounds left my lips. My date came back in, told his roommate he was taking cuts, and then bore down into me. Suddenly there were others in the house. One young man came in, then another. I knew I was being gang raped, a term I had heard but never thought it could happen to me. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. One young man, obesely overweight, tried, but could not get an erection. He apologized. “That’s alright,” I said. That’s alright? That’s alright??? Why did I care more about his feelings than I did about what he was doing to me…attempting to steal my very soul? This was an all-time low in regards to my people pleasing personality. In all I counted six.
Sometimes something catastrophic can occur in a split second that changes a person’s life forever; other times one minor incident can lead to another and then another and another, eventually setting off just as big a change in a body’s life. – Jeannette Walls, Half Broken Horses
Much later, I was dressed and tossed into the back of my date’s car and driven back to my parents’ apartment. He opened the door and stood aside as I pulled myself out of the back seat. I wondered how I would make it up the stairs. My head was reeling. “Thanks for everything,” he sneered. He peeled out and I stood there, watching until his taillights disappeared over the hill. I turned and stumbled up the cement stairs, trying to be quiet as to not wake the neighbors.
For a few moments I contemplated calling the police. But then I pictured the interview. “Why did you go out on a date with someone you had just met? What are you wearing? Whey did you take those drugs? Why did you follow his roommate into the bedroom?
Yes, I thought, this was my own fault. I deserved this. I am a stupid girl. I am worth nothing to anyone. No one will ever know about this. No one but me will ever know.
This event placed my life on a very destructive trajectory for many years. I didn’t connect what I did next with the rape for a very long time, but looking back, it’s obvious. I’ll be writing about what happened next and how the Lord eventually rescued me from myself in future chapters. If you’d like to receive updates automatically in your inbox, simply sign up in the form on the upper right of the page. Do you know someone who may be helped by my telling my story? Sharing is caring. Simply share using one of the social network sharing buttons below. And take good care of you!