WARNING: This post contains a lot of emotional fury.
Darkness Falls Part 1
This next story takes place in the summer of 2011, shortly after my fling with The Leach. I was 23 years old at the time, and I remember very clearly the emotions that led up to the Darkness. It had been 7 months since Timmy and I had finally let each other go, but my heart still felt a huge void where it had once held all the love that I had for him. And in case you can’t remember who Timmy was, he was The One That Got Away – the one who held me up against the glass while we made love for the city of Vancouver to see. He was my everything, and to this day I still doubt that I’ll ever love another man with the level of intensity that I loved him.
In hindsight, it’s easy for me to see that I was spiralling into a pattern that would end up hurting me so much more than I could have anticipated. I desperately wanted to wake up and not feel the hole in the middle of my chest – the emptiness that accompanied me wherever I went. And I was willing to do almost anything to distract myself from the pain – including having flings with guys like The Leach.
In order to understand what happened next, first we have to hit rewind back to the night that I met Timmy. You may recall the Halloween party in which I dressed up like a slutty nurse (literally the costume name) and pushed Timmy’s friend into a ditch. If not, you really need to read that story. The truth is, Timmy wasn’t the only guy that I met that night. After all, I was young, hot and dressed up like a slutty nurse – need I say more?
When Hot Lips and I first arrived at the Halloween party that night, we met another man who I will refer to as The Monster – for multiple reasons. He stood about six foot seven, so he literally did look like a Monster compared to everyone else in the room. He was also dressed up as a Fighter, but was missing a key part of his costume – a black eye. And for whatever reason, he chose Hot Lips and I to remedy this – following us around and asking if we could put some make up on him to make his eye look like it had been punched out. If I had a time machine, I would go back to that night and do the job the old fashioned way.
The Monster spent the rest of the night following me around like a lost puppy, flirting shamelessly and showering me with attention, which I really didn’t mind. I didn’t dress up like a slutty nurse in order to fade into the background, let’s put it that way.
In fact, when Hot Lips and I were outside waiting for our taxi, The Monster was one of the first guys who became alerted to the fact that we were having some trouble with one of Timmy’s friends, who – as you may also recall – was beyond drunk and had started calling Hot Lips a whore after she said no to having sex with him. And yes, this is also what led to me pushing him into a ditch and cursing him out. However, The Monster was at our side moments later, in order to make sure that nobody else would give us any trouble – which made him seem like a pretty decent guy.
After that night, The Monster started calling and texting quite often – telling me that he wanted to see me again before he had to move away to Alberta in a couple of weeks. One night, I went to his place to hang out and watch a movie. I never questioned my safety when I was around him, because he was friends with so many of my friends – even his roommate was a guy that I saw all the time hanging out at another friends place.
We were watching a movie, when suddenly his lips were on mine and we were making out in an instant. His kisses were deep with a feeling of desperation, and I tried not to feed into it, knowing that he was about to move away, I didn’t want to get into anything too deep. Then suddenly, his hand was up my shirt and he was groping at my breast, at which point I pulled away and tried to sit back from him. He looked up at me and asked “is something wrong?” “Um… yeah, your hand is up my shirt and I wasn’t ready for that. I wasn’t giving you those signals.” He started laughing as he removed his hand from my shirt “you know what I like about you, Peach? You wear your ovaries on the outside.” I told him that he had pushed a boundary without asking, and he apologized. We started talking about the fact that he was moving away soon, and how sad he was to have met me right before he had to leave. Eventually, the evening wrapped up and I drove myself home.
The Monster continued to call me on a regular basis after he left BC and moved to Alberta. Eventually, I stopped answering his calls once things started getting serious with Timmy. In fact, Timmy knew that The Monster was still chasing my tail, and he really didn’t like it. I think it never sat well with him that he had stood back while his friend was acting like an asshole, whereas The Monster had swooped in like a Knight in shining armour. I told Timmy that if it bothered him so much, then maybe he should start acting like a knight in shining armour, too.
Fast forward to the summer of 2011, where this story takes a completely different turn. To be honest, I can’t even remember how it all came about, but for one reason or another, The Monster reached out to me over Facebook one day and discovered that I was no longer with Timmy. He told me that he was still in Alberta, but that he would love to come to BC to visit me soon. In the back of my sad, lonely mind I wondered to myself if this was how it was all meant to be. After all, I had met Timmy and The Monster on the very same night – and look at how things had turned out. I had chosen Timmy and here I was with a broken heart – maybe I should have been with The Monster all along.
Soon enough, we were making plans for him to take the road trip from Alberta to BC, over phone calls that would last for hours. In fact, he even started writing me love letters which would arrive in the mail every few days. At the time, I treasured those love letters like they might end up in my wedding scrapbook one day. In reality – I burned them in my back yard months later.
I’m going to be completely honest – there was a lot of flirting between us, and it was loaded with sexual connotation. I enjoyed flirting with him, and I imagined that if the chemistry was there and everything felt right, then maybe we would end up having sex. But what mattered to me the most, more than anything else, was to establish whether or not a relationship was possible between us. I wanted to do things right this time – just like he and I had been telling each other for weeks.
Soon, it was the day that he started driving over, which would take about 18 hours. His plan was to leave the night before and drive through the night, arriving at my house the next day. We joked that he would likely arrive on my door step dead from exhaustion. He told me that he wanted to kiss me the moment that he saw me, and I told him it would depend on how we both felt in that moment – these are things that you just can’t plan.
Partway through his road trip, he called me to say hello. Only this time, everything about him over the phone was different. His breath was heavy, and he told me that he couldn’t wait to get me naked that night. I laughed it off, acting as though he had been innocently flirting with me, even though it hadn’t come across that way at all at all. I told him that we would see how it went, and he laughed. I hung up the phone with feelings of apprehension and discomfort – why did I suddenly feel so nervous? Yes, we had been flirting, and yes, that flirting had certainly crossed the line of sex talk. Had I created some sort of false promise of sex? I texted him, and said something along the lines of “I’m feeling really nervous about the expectations that you might have for us to have sex.” He texted me back saying not to worry and that he would be there soon. But I was worried, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was walking directly into danger.
Why would I have walked directly into a situation where I felt at danger? For so many reasons, starting with the fact that I was raised to be polite. He had driven all the way here – I couldn’t just tell him not to come over now, could I? Maybe the feeling that I had in my gut meant nothing. I was 23 years old and I had never been faced with this kind of dilemma. It wasn’t like I could pick up the phone and call my Mom to ask her opinion – the disapproval of me inviting a boy over for the night would override everything else, and she wouldn’t be able to review the situation without bias. In the end, I decided to proceed with our plan of hanging out. What could possibly go wrong?
Hours later, I stood at my front door watching his car pull into my driveway while feelings of nervousness rose in my chest. The car door opened and he jumped out with a burst of energy, his eyes on me immediately while he started running towards the door. I had forgotten how tall he was, and how physically intimidated I felt when I was around him. His arms were around me in an instant, and he leaned down to start kissing me, pushing his tongue into my mouth while we stood at my doorstep. I was completely overwhelmed by the level of passion I could feel in him, and I felt myself pulling away, suddenly feeling slightly sick.
We made our way into the house while he explained that he really needed to take a shower after driving for such a long time. I threw him a fresh towel and gave him a demonstration of how to work the temperature in my 1920’s house. I could hear him talking to himself while he was in the shower, his voice loud and booming, and I suddenly remembered how loud and bold he is. And even though the immediate make out session on my front step had really thrown me off, I still had hope that we could have a nice evening together.
When he got out of the shower, I was waiting for him in the kitchen. I figured that sitting at the kitchen table would prevent the possibility of him overwhelming me with unwanted affection, but I was wrong. Instead of sitting down at the table with me, he stood beside me, leaning down and kissing me while I tried to to ignore the feeling of suffocation that was taking over in his presence. I wasn’t even really kissing him back, and kept trying to pull away, but he would turn my face towards his and continue. Finally, I asked him to stop, and explained that it was too much. He laughed and said he was sorry, and asked for a tour of my place.
I showed him around the back yard first, explaining what my vision was for the property. I wanted to have a normal conversation with him – some sort of meeting of the minds, in order to see if it was possible for me to feel the passion which he was so clearly vibing on. Only, it bothered me that he seemed to have all of these physical desires, with very little interest in connecting with me on a deeper level now that we were together in person. And maybe you’re reading this wondering why that would suddenly be an issue for me – since I sleep with strangers quite often. But maybe this is where you discover for the first time that I absolutely cannot sleep with anyone unless I feel some sort of cerebral connection with them first. Every single one of the men who made it on the Hit List only made it there because he made his way into my brain before my body on some level.
The Monster was not concerned with making his way into my brain. Walking around the back yard, he kept touching at me, his breathing getting harder the closer that he would get to me. It was during the back yard walk that I really started wondering what I had gotten myself into. He was there, but he didn’t really appear to be home. The humanity had gone missing from his eyes, and he was looking at me quite the way that a dog would stare down a piece of meat. I noticed the erection in his pants, which he made no effort to hide or point out. The fact that he did neither was what bothered me the most.
When we got back into the house, I decided to be completely honest with him. I told him that I had no intention of having sex with him that night, and that I felt as though it was the only thing he wanted, which he denied. I explained that he was touching me too much and crossing my boundaries even after I had asked him to stop a few times, and it was making me uncomfortable. I told him that maybe he should leave and find somewhere else to spend the night.
He apologized and promised that he would stop. He told me that he would be perfectly capable of sleeping beside me without trying anything – and assured me that he understood where I was coming from. He seemed a little put off, but overall I felt more at ease, and the part of me that was raised to be polite took over and told him that he could stay.
We climbed into bed together, me fully clothed, and him in his underwear. I turned over on my side, facing away from him, hoping that we could curl up and fall asleep together and that tomorrow would be a new day. I realized moments later that I had been completely foolish to believe that I still had any level of control over the situation.
His hands were all over me at once, and I told him to stop, but he didn’t. He kept reaching his hand down my pants and I told him not to, but I still felt his fingers pushing their way between my thighs, despite my protests. The sheer size of him became so intimidating to me in that moment, as I realized that it would take very little for him to hurt me. Here I was, in my own bed, completely paralyzed with fear. I was saying no, and he wasn’t stopping, and suddenly I realized that my words no longer mattered. I felt his finger push it’s way inside of me, and a tear rolled down my cheek.
Many of the details that happen next feel hazy, so you’ll have to bear with me on this one. I remember trying to keep my legs together while he pulled them apart, pushing his finger inside of me further while I shuddered, feeling sick. I remember him realizing that my body wasn’t responding to what he was doing, since I was clearly not into it. His fingers felt abrasive against my raw skin, and I remember that it hurt. He told me that he was going to go down on me, and I asked him not to, but again he didn’t listen. The feeling of his tongue against me made me feel numb, and I remember laying there completely still, hoping that if I didn’t move or show any sign of reciprocation that he would just stop, but he didn’t. I can’t even describe what it felt like to loathe him and to have no choice but to let him have my body. I hated myself for being there – but I knew that it was too late now. Every time I tried to move away from him, his massive hands would grab my thighs and hold them down effortlessly. I thought that I was strong, but I was no match for him.
When he lifted his body over mine and slid himself inside of me, something disconnected. I knew what was happening, but it was almost as though I couldn’t feel it happening to me. I was floating inside of my body, peering out through the eyes that were still mine and yet felt like they belonged to somebody else. I stared up at the ceiling, noticing the detail on the chandelier hanging over my bed. In the corner of my eyes, I could say his head moving up and down while he had sex with me, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him or acknowledge what was happening. Time felt suspended while I waited for it to be over. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the way that it felt as though a part of me died in my own bed that night – the bright light inside of me dimmed into a flickering flame until it finally burnt out, leaving me cold and raw.
When it was finally over, he turned me back over on my side, facing away from him. The most disgusting part about all of this was the fact that he spent the night with his body wrapped around mine, snoring in my ear while I stared at the wall.
The next morning, I snuck out of the house before he woke up. I remember putting my clothes on and feeling as though I was getting my clothes dirty just by wearing them. But I couldn’t think about that right then, because I had to go to work.
I felt as though I was seeing and hearing everything from underneath the water that day. People were talking to me, and had to wave their hands in front of my face before I would notice. My boss asked me if everything was okay, and I mustered up the best smile that I could and said I was tired, but fine.
One of my coworkers asked how the night went with my friend who was coming to visit, and I told her that “things had happened even though I didn’t want them to.” She looked at me with knowing eyes and told me that there was a fine line between having fun and sexual assault.
After my shift was over, I drove back to my house – terrified to face him, but also filled with fury. I knew that what had happened was wrong, and I knew that if I had to look at him for any longer than a few minutes, that I was going to be sick. Luckily, he was in the back yard when I got home, so I didn’t have to step foot into the house while he was there, and I made sure to keep it that way. As soon as I saw him, I told him that he needed to pack up his shit and get out of my sight. The look on his face was full of shock – he honestly had no idea what was wrong, and the invalidation that I felt in that moment was stunning. I yelled at him that he knew that I didn’t want to have sex with him the night before – I had told him this multiple times, before and during what had happened. He yelled back at me “I can’t fucking believe this” as he stormed into my house, collecting his belongings. I sat on the back deck while the tears rolled down my cheeks, until I heard my front door slam and I knew he was finally gone.
I ran inside of my house, locking all the doors and windows, before making my way into the bathroom just in time to start throwing up. I ran a shower and sat on the shower floor for what felt like hours, even after the water turned cold. I wanted to reach down and touch my vagina to find out if it was even okay, but I couldn’t do it. Instead, I opened my mouth and let go of a wailing cry, a sound of despair that I had never heard from myself before. I slept in the bath tub that night, crying and shaking because it felt like the only safe place to be in my house.
The next day, I woke up and knew that I wasn’t okay. I knew that I needed help, but that there was only one specific person that I would allow to see me like this, and that person was my best friend Mario. As soon as I told him what had happened, he was on his way over to be with me.
Mario took me to the hospital, where I was brutally questioned by a nurse before being put into an empty room that they reserve for sexual assault meetings. You see, if you go to the hospital and tell them that you were sexually assaulted, the first thing that they do is call the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. From there, a person who is on call comes to the hospital to be with you, and usually that person is a volunteer who has been assaulted at some point, themselves.
When the girl arrived to see me, I sat there and told her what had happened while she listened. I cried and she cried, and we sat in solidarity until the doctors came in, asking if I wanted to do a rape kit. I told them no, I didn’t. The Monster hadn’t physically torn anything or broken anything, of that I was sure. He had also taken the time to slip on a condom, so I knew that there wouldn’t be any DNA to collect. And besides all of that – I didn’t want anyone to come close to my lady parts. I felt like there was something so wrong about me, something that had been forever tainted. My parts were no longer exciting and sexual, they were scary and off limits.
Mario took me home and stayed with me that night, because there was absolutely no way in hell I would be sleeping in my house alone. Everything about my house now felt wrong – like it was no longer a place where I could feel safe. I even made a phone call the very next day to a security company, in order to install the best security system that money could buy.
Lucky for me, Mario stripped my bed of all the sheets, and threw them in the garbage. He helped me move my furniture around in my room, because I knew that I needed my room to feel different if I was ever going to sleep there again. To be honest, my house and my bedroom in particular never did feel the same to me. When I finally sold that house years later, it felt like washing my hands clean of something that was weighing me down.
The next few weeks felt like a horrible dream while I went through the motions of life, wishing that the fog would lift and that I would feel like myself again. But I knew that I was never going to be the same person again – because part of me had died. I was going to have to rebuild everything from the inside out, and I had no idea how to start or even if I wanted to.
When I finally told my Mom what had happened about a month later, she cried and wanted to come out to see me right away, but I told her that I didn’t want to see her. I didn’t want to see anyone who loved me, because I felt so ashamed. I knew that I needed support, but I wasn’t sure how to reach out – especially while I struggled with how much I hated myself. I asked my Mom to tell the rest of the family what had happened, because I couldn’t do it myself. She came back by telling me that she had discussed it with my Dad, who used to be a cop, and that he felt as though the best way to handle this situation was to keep it as quiet as possible. My heart broke when I read those words, and it confirmed for me what I already knew – I wasn’t the only person who felt ashamed of me.
Despite my Dad’s extremely chauvinistic perspective, I still asked my Mom to tell my family what had happened. She told my Brother, Sister in law, Aunt, Uncle and cousins. Not a single one of them reached out to me or showed any ounce of support. My heart broke even more.
When I finally came to a point where my depression turned into anger, I visited the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and asked what my options were for justice. The lady there explained that she could arrange an interview between myself and my local RCMP office to give my statement. I decided to go ahead and report what had happened to me.
Here is what it looks like when a woman has been sexually assaulted and chooses to report it: the local Police department sets up an interview room, in which you sit in alone for at least 15 minutes while a camera stares directly into your face. After this, two Police Officers (one female) come into the room and ask you to explain what happened to you – pausing your story every five seconds to ask for clarification on specific details: what were you wearing? You smoked a joint that evening – do you smoke weed often? What affect does it usually have on you? How is your short term memory? Can we please see all texts leading up to the visit? It seems that you were quite flirty with him up until he came to visit – what changed? What impression do you think you gave him when you were flirting?
I felt defeated. Even though I was trying to do the right thing by standing up for myself and using my voice – I also felt as though I wasn’t being heard at all. And even though I knew who The Monster was, knew who his friends were, had his address and knew where he lived, guess what? They never managed to track him down for an interview. That’s our Justice system hard at work for our women. And I say that as a white woman who grew up in a first class neighbourhood in one of the safest countries in the world. To even imagine what other women face who are not nearly as privileged – we can’t understand a pain that deep. For the first time in my life, I finally understood the underbelly of society, and I saw all of the reasons why it is so impossible for us to heal one another.
At this point, I knew that my own journey of healing was going to be a long one, and that I was going to have to want to it in order for it to happen. But I just didn’t have the strength to do it, and I fell deeper and deeper into the pit of despair, not realizing how close rock bottom was…
To be continued…