It has been a little over 10 years since that terrifying night that changed my life, my body, my mind and my heart. While living in Denver, I made the mistake of trusting the wrong person.
While having a drink with somebody I thought was a new friend, I was drugged (in my drink), abducted, bound, and gang-raped by four men. It was obviously planned and premeditated. It was brutal, violent, and sadistic. It was without a doubt a “hate crime”. I am telling my story in hopes of helping others. I am NOT a victim, I am a Victor! I am a survivor!
I left my hometown of Emmett, Idaho for a short time in 2001 and went to Denver, Colorado. My sister and her family were moving there. I could no longer hold my secret in. My intention was to have the safety of anonymity of a big city. I was facing the fact that I was gay, but I could not say it in small-town-rural-close-minded Idaho. The years of bullying and name-calling in school, just for being suspected of being gay, told me that I could never “come out” among the people I loved, and the town that I devoted myself to both personally and professionally.
My time in Denver was brief, intense and ended in violence, which prompted my return to Idaho, back to the safety of Emmett, and my family. I went there with the intention of “coming to terms” with being gay. I knew inside I was gay, but I was not “out”, and I was running out strength to hide from it. Shortly after being introduced to a man, who I thought was becoming a friend, I soon realized he was not a friend, he was evil. He invited me to go have a drink with him and some friends; I was so excited because I had never really gone out with a guy before. Shortly after arriving at the bar, and after a few sips of my first drink, I knew something wasn’t right. I could feel that something had been put into my drink, I felt “out of my mind”.
He and his friends led me to the car, after I got into the vehicle, they bound my wrists together. They then said they were going to show me what “being a faggot was really about”. I then have no memory until my wrists and ankles were being tied to a bed. I couldn’t see anything, they had blindfolded me. Then each of the four men took turns raping me, taking breaks only long enough to hit me, or take another drag off of their pipe.
I remember there being a strange odor, and I could hear them whispering about “how good the Meth was”. I can remember how cold my body was, and how hot my blood felt as it ran down my legs, and down the crack of my butt to my back. And, I can remember the horrible ripping, tearing, burning pain…I felt as though they were swinging the sharp side of an axe between my legs, chopping away like they were avidly attempting to fall a tree.
Truth be told, there were moments during the crime when I thought I would meet the same fate he did, there were moments when I prayed to live and escape, and there were moments when I prayed for the mercy that only death could bring; anything as long as I could no longer see, hear, or feel anymore is all I wanted. I could see out the bottom of the blindfold, my wrists and ankles were tied to the corners of a bed. But, I was thankful that consciousness was on and off for me, the drugs in the beverage and passing out from the terror and trauma was a small blessing. I am fortunate to not remember every single detail, which I am so far beyond thankful for.
Ten years later and I am grateful that my life did not end. I ended up bloody and bruised inside of my Ford Explorer sometime during the middle of the following day in the parking lot of my apartment complex. Where I wrapped myself in a blanket and slowly made my way into my apartment, and spent hours sitting on the floor of the shower for hours tending to my many wounds. I then went into “hiding” for a few days, and eventually got fired from job for missing work.
In the shower, I sat there and the water went from hot to warm to cold…but I could not even feel the water. I stared at the drain with a foot on each side of the drain that I knew were mine, but they no longer felt like they were attached to my body. I watched for hours as a steady stream of blood, their fluids drained from me, it mixed with water and together and went down the drain.
I was in so much physical pain, and in shock, my body was no longer functioning properly. I could not feel a thing. It was the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I have ever felt. In my mind’s eye, I can still see myself crouched over, sitting on the floor of the shower, with my arms around my knees, my head between them, alone, and mesmerized by the drain.
As I sat there, I had a million pictures flash through my mind; pictures of that night, pictures from pre-school, memories through my life flooded my brain. I could still clearly hear their voices; I could hear them cheering one another on. I could hear the horrible things they said to me. I could hear them threatening my life, over and over. As if the torture they inflicted on me wasn’t enough, they verbally degraded and taunted me. They made statements like, “faggots are suppose to like this”, and “hey little girl, stop crying”, and among one another they chuckled, “boy, I hope he doesn’t get pregnant”.
I got out of the shower and crawled to my bed. I stayed there for two days without moving. I vowed I would never speak of this, I would not report it to the police, and I would not seek medical attention. I would just “deal” with it.
I could hear the phone ringing, and I could hear voices coming through my answering machine. I still did not move. I listened as my boss called and left a message telling me I was fired, I did not even flinch.
I knew they knew where I lived, and I was waiting for them to come back and finish me off, I waited for the sounds of their voices again, I waited to hear them coming up the hallway to my room to kill me.
After getting out of bed, I went into hiding. I couldn’t go out in public. I had bruises all over. I had ligature marks around my wrists and ankles. The blood vessels in my eyes were broken, and I had blood spots on the whites of my eyes. I talked to my mom and my sister on the phone and acted like I was fine. I acted as though I had been at work.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that there was more than blood that drained out of me in the shower. My goals, spirit, dreams, happiness, and life were attached to those blood cells that swirled around the drain. All of it went into the Denver Metro Sewer System.
In my silence, I knew I had to leave Denver and return home to Idaho. I did not feel safe because they knew where I lived. I did my best to secretly tend to all my wounds, tucking my prolapsed rectum back into myself, then hemorrhoids, and bleeding, etc. I told myself that I would just pretend it never happened. My body was damaged, as was my heart and mind. I had no idea just how much I would be dealing with for the following 10+ years.
A whirlwind of medical procedures, illnesses, surgeries, and financial woes ensued and have NOT stopped yet. People think that if you are a victim of a crime, that it is just the one main event, then it is done. Believe me, that is not the case. I am still afflicted by many diagnoses and conditions. The damage, the trauma, and the stress take a tremendous toll on your physical being. And, for ten years now I have been amidst a complete financial disaster. I have done my best to work in between surgeries and procedures.
In May 2011, after almost 10 years, I finally released it. I told my family and friends, I spoke of it on Facebook. I instinctively hid it inside of myself, just like I did about being gay. It has been 10 months now of coping, healing, speaking, feeling, living, battling, overcoming, and striving to love the skin that I wear. I will never give up, and I will never stop trying. I started a page for Hate Crime Survivors on Facebook. I communicate with other victims and survivors. It is now a part of who I am.
I will be 35 years old on the 28th of this month. In a couple weeks I will be moving into my Dads house, because of all the financial burden of these 10 years. I am letting go of my rented townhouse, and my thrift store furnishings with the hope that life will give me a chance to start over again. These past 10 months have been so difficult in many ways, but also my life has become a beautiful thing that I truly cherish for the first time in almost 35 years.