I have always feared rape. When I was younger a slight sound outside my bedroom window sent me running to the bathroom across the hall, images of adult fingers sliding the window up and a body hoisting itself over the wooden sill onto my fuzzy pink rug were prominent in my mind. In high school I took courses at a college in the city and had to park in a parking garage. When I left for the car at five pm, it was always dark out and bitterly cold. The walk from the garage elevator to where I had parked that day was always terrifying; I kept a hand in the pocket of my jacket which held a small can of pepper spray.
But in my fears of rape and kidnappers, I never believed that the rape could be carried out until it was happening and you were on me, drilling your enlarged self into me up to its thick base. I was sure my uterus had been ruptured—for all the pain which coursed through me. And the blood streamed from my inside—that I knew for certain: I could feel it on my butt and inner thighs, trailing down to the wood floor.
I had always believed there would be some way out. That I could do something to stop it before it truly happened. And I did try everything. After the initial shock I was an adrenaline-fuelled animal: I screamed and my mouth was smacked again and again until I stopped; I clawed, your fist met my jaw and your other hand yanked my hair; I bit until the skin on your arm broke open, you lifted my head and smashed it back down into the floor. Then I peed—I peed a river through my jeans while you were forcing them open. The stink when you pulled them down was as unbearable as it was humiliating. It had been on TV once when I was 13; a girl had peed on her abuser to escape being raped. It had worked for her, for me it gained more beatings. I squeezed my thighs together as tightly as I could when your boxers had been pulled down and the blood-filled mass of you was nearing entry. Your hands forced them apart, stretching the muscles until they screamed.
I had always believed I could stop it. And even now the phrase taunts me: “you did everything you could.” Rape was all the more terrifying after, not just because of the post-trauma night-terrors and depression, but because of the realization that one can do everything and it still won’t be enough to prevent from being violated in the most horrific way. The inescapability of it is what woke me in the middle of the night screaming in a pool of my own sweat and sometimes urine. I was 22. Because I was not a child, the justice department did not do everything they could to find the man who had raped me. When they did find him, he was given two years in jail. It would be ten years before I no longer re-lived the rape in my sleep anymore.