Too often, we go on with our lives leaving things unsaid. This is a letter to someone I don’t know.
Caution: Trigger warning. Graphic; RAPE, hard truth, swear words.
To Whomever You Are,
You were one of five men who took advantage of a runaway girl who was cold, hungry and tired.
Over the years, I’ve thought about you, here and there. You didn’t stand out at the time. All five of you men gathered around me and looked at my teenage body hungrily, never looking me in my eyes for long. Maybe you were as afraid as I was.
You grown men had me cornered, and we all knew that I had nowhere to go but up that old staircase, to that cold bedroom with the chipped, painted wood paneling, a dirty mattress with no sheet or covering, and the winter snow outside. There was no heat and I shook from both fear for my life and from the bitter cold of my exposed skin.
I had a terrible sinking feeling in my gut as I walked up those stairs. My knees were weak and I wanted to scream and make a run for it. I knew better though. One of the guys had a bat and he looked like he meant business. He managed to make eye contact and I remember he had a gold tooth and a smirk. That fuck had all the power to keep my skinny ass moving up the stairs, despite my barely being able to stand.
I remember wondering if I was going to die that day. Would it be from bleeding to death after the bat smashed my skull open? Or would I just lose consciousness from the beating, and end up dying from being exposed to the winter and left to die back out in an alley there in the ghetto?
After the first round of the gangbang slaps to my face and head, and many tears later, I was resigned to dying at the hands of the man with the bat. I hoped it wouldn’t be too painful. I prayed for a quick death.
Round 2: You came in, I was crying softly and you whispered to me, “get your ass dressed and climb out that window. You’ll land on the pile of garbage but you should be able to get your ass out of here if you hurry. I’m going to start yelling at you and you just hurry your ass and get the fuck out. Now git or they’ll come through that door and kill you.”
The next couple of minutes were a blur. I didn’t think twice about jumping from that second story window. As I landed, my feet and legs stung like a million bees attacking in one fell swoop. I guess adrenaline kicked in because I didn’t hesitate to get up and make a run for it. I didn’t look back either as I ran non-stop the 2 blocks to a busy intersection and the store. I called a relative to come and get me. I don’t even recall getting home, but I do remember a very hot shower and hours of sleep and tears.
I’ve never forgotten how you saved my life. Through the years I have wondered about you; if you were still alive, do you have a family and maybe a daughter that you’re protective of …. or if the boys had gotten to you and harmed you. I can’t imagine anything good coming from it. I hope you’re okay wherever you are. I have worried about that and you, on occasion.
For what it’s worth, I forgave you that same day you gave me my freedom. I just wanted you to know that.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.