This post is about an unpleasant subject, and it is laced with profanity, just in case you're not in the mood for that kind of thing today.
Ten years ago today, I woke up at 3:18 in the morning to a man with a ski mask holding a knife to my throat.
You know how you read or hear about someone who's frozen with fear? That's actually true. He ordered me not to move or scream, but he didn't need to; I wasn't capable of doing either.
After the longest hour and a half of my life, he finally left. I waited a few minutes, then I left my apartment, terrified that he was waiting for me. I was sure throughout the attack that I was going to be murdered. I thought that his was the last face I'd see (the mask turned out to be a t-shirt, which fell off), that his was the last voice I'd hear. Only at the end did I realize that I was going to live. He made me promise that I'd never tell anyone what he'd done, and I promised. I told him, convincingly, that I had to work the next day, and that I just wanted to sleep for a few hours. I told him that my boyfriend (now husband) was very jealous, and that he'd never believe that I'd been raped, so I'd just not say anything. He believed me.
That's not the only mistake the asshole made. On my way out the door, I found that he had 1. Dropped his pager and 2. Stolen my bike. The bike was a pink beach cruiser, ladies' style, with a big old basket attached to the handle bars. Perhaps he didn't realize that a 6-foot tall man in his early 20s would look rather conspicuous riding that around Devon, Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. I gave my statement to a lovely female detective at the hospital, and she called me at 2:30 the following morning to tell me that they'd found him riding my bike down Route 30; they arrested him, and he confessed.
He was arraigned a short time after it happened, but even though he confessed, it was nearly a year later before he was formally sentenced (he spent that year in county jail). He was sentenced to 25-50 years. At that time, it was the harshest sentence ever imposed in Pennsylvania for a rape in which the victim survived. He appealed that sentence, which was upheld by the appeals judge. I appeared at the arraignment and at both sentencing hearings, wearing suits I'd bought with my employee discount at Nordstrom and kick-ass shoes. I wanted to stare him down, but he wouldn't look at me. I wanted to be brave, since I felt like a coward for letting it happen, for not fighting him.
I was lucky in so many ways. I was old enough to handle this. I lived. He was caught and imprisoned I had family, friends, a man who loved me. Still, that summer sucked. I had to move out of my apartment, which I loved; I couldn't live there anymore. I couldn't live alone anymore anywhere. I didn't sleep. I would come home from work at 6:30 or so and take a nap, knowing that I'd be up for most of the night. I showered constantly; I was often late for work because I'd decide on my way out the door that the shower I'd already taken an hour before wasn't quite enough. I cried a lot. I had nightmares.
Now? Entire days (even weeks) go by during which I don't even think about it. In 1998, I didn't think that this would ever be possible. I'm happily married. I have 2 lovely children. I have friends, a house I love, a life.
So you know what?
I WIN, motherfucker! You're in prison, and I'm not. 25 years is a long fucking time, isn't it? Hope I was worth it. See you in 15 fucking years, assuming good behavior. And I'll be at your parole hearing too, don't worry. I didn't fight back, but I made sure you couldn't do this to anyone else. Happy Anniversary to me.