DISCLAIMER: THIS STORY IS OF A VERY SERIOUS NATURE AND CAN BE AT TIMES VERY GRAPHIC. PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION.
When I first created my Facebook, I was 13 years old. As most parents, my family was very particular about the people that I added to my page. Always monitoring to make sure that no weirdos were talking to their daughter, and just overall being good parents. Of course, there were some people that made that unfriend and block list but there were also people that became… friends. Some that I met in person and became like family and others that were people I have never met in person, as of yet, that became like big sisters and aunties to me, making sure that I was protected on the sometimes-treacherous internet.
In 2011, Kristin L. and I became friends. She has always been polite to me online. We share in a few niceties and sometimes indulge in conversation about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But there was one time when our conversation got deep. So deep that I was speechless and not able to respond. It would be six years before we both decided it would be healing for her and others to share her story. She decided that it was time and she was willing to share her story with Pynk.
What you are about to read is REAL and nothing was changed. This story is about a young woman who survived a home invasion, kidnapping, and rape. It was just five hours that changed her life forever.
It was a day like any other. I went to work. I came home. Nothing special. On this particularly hot day in mid-August, I needed to go to the store for trash bags, so I changed into a short set and walked to the K-Matt in front of my complex.
I got cat-called a couple times along the way from occupants in the same vehicle. Ok, it’s summertime. It’s kinda par for the course. Whatever.
I make my purchases while talking to my grandmother on my cellphone. I get home and go on with my evening because I was expecting a visitor later on. A couple hours later, my doorbell rings. I go to check the peephole, but it just shows the dark entryway because the bulb is out, so I open my door to see who’s on the other side of the all-glass security door. No one’s there.
As I turn to go back inside, out the corner of my eye, I spot a movement on the darkened staircase. Before I can react, there’s a strong arm around my throat and a blade to my temple. Oh, shit.
Out of instinct, I try to, unsuccessfully, grab the blade. Then I tried to elbow my assailant in the gut. Didn’t work.
“Where’s the safe?”, he barks at me. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about, and I tell him I’d only just moved in a few weeks prior.
He gets frustrated and walks me around, by my neck, and forces me to turn off all my lights and my TV, then walks me into my bedroom. I get shoved and locked into my closet. Unbridled fear consumes me and I start to tremble all over.
I hear his voice holding a one-sided conversation about the mystery safe. Then a threat to kill “him” on sight. Then a question of what to do with me. Next thing I know, the closet door opens and my hair scarf is shoved into my hands with instructions for me to blindfold myself. I comply.
I’m then told we’re going for a ride and that I better not make a sound. I’m taken out of my bedroom window and loaded into a car. Into the trunk. He hops in the driver’s seat & speeds off.
In between guesstimating where we are by the turns he makes, trying not to pass out from fear and trying to figure out if and when I can pull the emergency latch and jump to freedom, the car pulls over and comes to a stop.
He gets out and starts arguing on the phone with whomever. Complaining that he came all the way down from New York for this shit. He, again, asks what he should do with me. Then he gets back in the car.
“I talked to my partner. He told me to get rid of you. You know what that means? He said I should kill you.” I began to sob and beg for my life.
“Yo, cut all dat cryin’. I told em I’ll take you to em and let him decide.” So, he pulls off and drives faster than before. A short while later, he turns and parks the car. The trunk opens.
My mind’s racing. I’m considering every possible scenario of what could and should happen next, yet fear has me paralyzed.
I’m lead into, what I assume is, a hotel/motel room and left standing in the middle of the floor. I strain my ears to listen for the presence of anyone else, but hear no one. “My partner told me I should kill you, but I’m-a give you two choices. Either I kill you or I fuck you. What’s your choice?”
The flippant side of me instantly thought those weren’t much in the way of choices, but I knew I had to choose. I chose my life. With tears streaming down my face and echoing in my voice, I reply, “Fuck me”.
I’m instructed to strip completely naked where I stood. So, off went my tank top, pajama shorts, thong and slippers. I’m, then, lead into a bathroom, put into a shower and told to rinse off. I found the request odd, but kept that to myself and did as I was told. After he dried me off, I was lead into a bedroom and instructed to lay on my back.
“I’ve got a gun. If you try anything, I’ll use it. Got it?” I nod my head because my voice won’t work. Then, to confirm his claim, he brushes a cold, hard metal object against my left shoulder. Again, I’m scared shitless.
“I’m about to fuck you, and you better make me believe it”. He proceeds to climb his heavy frame on top of me and immediately enters me. Raw. And starts thrusting away. After what seems like forever, he yanks me up, flips me over and forces me onto my knees on the bed.
“Suck my dick”. I comply. Holding my nausea at bay. “Yeah, I seen you out Old City.” That mentally halts me. I hadn’t been to the Old City section of Philadelphia for three weeks. He had been stalking me for three damn weeks.
He gets up and enters me from behind. Disgustingly asking me where to bust. Then, he starts talking about how he wished we met under different circumstances and how much he’d like to “get together” in the future. He takes me back to the first room to re-dress and back out to the car. This time, I’m allowed to ride up front, but with the seat fully reclined.
He drives back to my complex and we re-enter through my bedroom window. He seats me on my bed and I quickly scoot as far away from him as possible. He gets back on his phone. Telling whomever to come and get him, and asks how long it’ll take. After he ends his call, he calls me to him so he can “do somethin'” while he waits. So, he rapes me, again, on my own bed.
I’m placed back into my closet as he rummages through my purse and retrieves my cellphone. He reads me my cell number and advises that he’ll be calling and has people watching my apartment. If any cops show up, they’ll shoot up my place. Then he takes me to my bathroom and instructs me to wash between my legs, then come back out to the bedroom. I comply.
As I’m about to feel my way out of the bathroom, he stops me from exiting and tells me to count to 100. He says, “By the time you’re done, I’ll be gone”, then closes the door. I start counting out loud. And kept counting. Attempting to listen for the sounds of any movement.
After a while, I slowly released my makeshift blindfold, and cautiously open the bathroom door to peer into the darkness of my room. Nothing and no one is there. Afraid to call authorities, I call two friends and left messages. It was 2:45am.
Too terrified to exit in the darkness, I grab a knife and huddle on my loveseat in horrified disbelief of what the hell just happened. After daybreak, the second friend, returns my call, rushes over and takes me to the hospital. The rest is history.
For three months afterwards, I didn’t go out after sunset and slept with the lights on and the door open. I still suffer from some lingering PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) to this day and I imagine a part of me always will. They never found the guy and didn’t really try. If anything, the police tried to get me to recant and drop the case.
Kristin has made it very clear that from this situation she has learned very valuable lessons. She has turned her trauma into a tool of support for women who experience something similar. Here are just a few:
NO ONE IS INVINCIBLE – I now realize that I used to take very foolish risks with my safety. In college, I’d let me emotions cloud my judgement, and if I got mad, I’d go walking/driving at any time of the day or night to cool off. Not considering my surroundings and who might’ve been in them.
TRUST YOUR INTUITION – That’s your built-in “Spidey Sense” from God, warning you to danger whether physical or spiritual. Take heed.
NO SHAME, NO BLAME – This one was harder for me to learn. I’m sure there are folks in my family who are disapproving of me openly airing something so private. Too bad. It’s my story, my truth and it needs to be told to help or heal someone else. I did nothing wrong. I didn’t “ask for it”, as the detectives assigned to my case tried to imply. I am not going to shoulder the blame for someone else’s depravity. For over 10 years, I’d been made to feel like it was a dirty L. secret. It’s dirty, but it’s not my dirt. And now it’s no longer a secret.
USE YOUR VOICE – There are so many sexual assaults that go unreported every day. If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of any crime SPEAK UP & SPEAK OUT! Don’t be ashamed and don’t be discouraged. You are not alone. I encourage people to reach out to women like LaQuisha Anthony, founder of V.O.I.C.E. (Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences) or your local county police for information on victim’s advocacy groups. Ms. Anthony holds a special place in my heart for encouraging me to begin to open up about what I went through.
Kristin has since gone on to marry and have children. Her daughter is her motivation for sharing her story.
“Thank you for letting me share this with you,” Kristin shares her last words of the day with me. “We’re all someone’s daughter and we need to be protected. Take care of yourself and each other.”
If you or someone you know has become a victim of sexual violence, please contact:
Women Against Rape (WOAR) https://www.woar.org
V.O.I.C.E. (Victory Over Inconceivable Cowardly Experiences) http://www.asurvivorsvoice.org