Saturday, 28 July 2007

Rude awakening

I had a rude awakening just as I was enjoying myself finding out about myself, my sexuality and generally discovering what it was like to be a young woman of 18.
I was trying to find my own life but did not find it instead I was raped by a group of five dickheads who was lead by one nasty bastard who could not take my having ignored him at the local pub.

I had had the audacity to laugh when he tried to make a move on me. I had not meant it personally he just was someone I did not trust, he was too slick and too full of artificial artifices. Such youthful exuberance had to be punished so the nasty bastard lay in wait for me and got me into his car on a false pretext of taking me to see a flat. He knew I was desperately looking for somewhere to live.

Somehow he got me into his car for the trip back into town via a pub, called the Butler where I was not allowed to get out of the car but instead he filled it with other young men then after insisting I drink a lot of mountain wine he sped off in the car out of town and up into the hilly woody bits at the edge of town.
Hours later I was dumped back in the town center. Now many years later I think I was lucky they did not panic and kill me. Could so easily have happened. People do stupid things and then panic and make it worse by making it murder.

Although I do not remember much in the way of clear memories I do know that I was humiliated and stripped of my clothes and made to go round from one to the other masturbating them in turn with my hands and mouth while the others watched and waited for their turn, the guy whose idea it had been was constantly laughing at me and running me down. I recall him calling come on you can do better than that and is that all make it harder come on and more such exhortations.

Then at the end they all took it in turn to rape me lying in the back seat of the car. It was brutal stuff I am glad in a way that I cannot recall all that happened and also that I did not have it on my mind all the time, but it had also come back from time to time, every ten years its come back.

Until now I feel that I have looked at it enough I have seen the nasty memories and now I can finally bury them but I know they still have me in their grip, as this sort of stuff sits in your very body and can be reawakened at any time even when you are enjoying yourself.

That’s the cruelty of these memories they come back when you do not see any connection and they hit you at your core and cause great confusion and distress over and over and even when you know it should be gone, its now too long, a whole lifetime of being restrained from your own intimate expressions.

I was homeless and living with friends in a squat so I went there, and was really shocked by how they reacted. They told me to fuck off as soon as they heard what had happened to me. They told me that I was bringing them down and I should go away. I did leave as I was really shocked that these people who had seemed to be friends would treat me like that. After all had we not all been living there for a while sharing everything as friends.

It seemed they did not mind sharing the nice things like food and drink and grass but anything else, anything real that was to be avoided and kept outside the door. I went back out into the hostile unfriendly world and was down by Reading bridge looking at the water when a voice behind me said ‘don’t jump its not worth it” just for a moment I did consider this new option but did not take any action.

I had bumped into a funny scarcastic little bloke known as the professor, he was not too popular with my now ex friends and luckily I bumped into him as he wanted to help me. First he insisted I went to the police which worried me and I was very dubious about this course of action.

What good would it do I wondered. The police were well known for their prejudices. We went to the head office in Reading behind the old town hall and library. And the police behaved just as I thought they would, in fact they surpassed themselves by their sexism and racism.

The way they talked to me was quite incredible, really demeaning, disrespectful and totally intimidating. "Oh you want to make a charge of rape" "oh yes so you fancied abit of black and now you want to cause the lads abit of trouble by coming down here". I was put into a room for an examination by the police doctor but left just before this ordeal.

The professor was waiting outside for me and he was very indignant that the police had not been helpful at all so he then took me round to the house of some hippies he knew who lived up by the cemetery junction. They were nice people who he said would want to take me in and so I had somewhere to stay until I was back on my feet again.
I guess my mind put it away for some years as I even forgot it had happened to me and only remembered after I had been to a couple of meetings about rape also attended by several rape victims who had come to speak to us, it was only after that when I was very incensed at a meeting when I realized with a huge shock that I was also one of those victims!

I think losing my country and identity as a West Indian and a Trinidadian was very hard, losing all my family and friends even harder and then I lost my parents through the move. And then finally just when I was enjoying life discovering myself and my sexuality I was raped and lost my own identity and I was also homeless with the prospect of nothing and still I wanted to fit in to make the best of it all. I guess victims always want to fit in everywhere. And probably rape victims want to fit in more than others.

Some years later to my shock horror I realized the man whose idea it had been to rape me lived not far from where I was now living. This really shook me up so much so that I was walking really tortuous routes to avoid seeing him, for days and weeks I was walking home a very long route and feeling very scared.

Until one day I said no more this is enough and that day I did not take the back roads no I went straight down the road where I knew I would see the dick and sure enough there he was. Well I just went over and said hello and looked him straight in the face and said you do not scare me anymore.

I saw he was very nervous and that he was actually really worried. He wanted to know what I wanted I told him nothing and walked away. I then just went on my way home not sure what had happened but somehow his power to scare me had been broken. In the end he had been proved to be nothing more than a sad man.


Michael said...

Your writing is very compelling and it certainly sounds as though you have and have had an extraordinary life. As the philosopher said “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” Certainly that can be said about you.

I read recently that if we get our diagnosis later in life (40’s and 50’s) the disease actually progresses more quickly. I was diagnosed about 5 years ago and in a short time started using a cane, then a walker and now a wheelchair if there is more than a very little walking to be done. It does sound as though your progression has been faster than that.

Keep writing. You express yourself well and we can all learn from you. Keep your spirits too. No matter what our physical condition, we always have a choice about how we will react. You are incredibly strong. React for all of us so that we will know what to do if and when the time comes.

God bless,

Cathy said...

The finest people I met in life were when I was homeless. We share many things, I went thru a gang rape at 19 and other nicities at other ages. Truly I came here to thank you for the comfort and common sense you left at my place, but after reading a few lines had to stay for the rest. You speak from a deep place I recognize - thank you for sharing some of it.

Anonymous said...

I've laughed at the "move" too, and luckily escaped I know that initial reaction..well.
You have a fascinating writing style and I hate to admit I "enjoyed" this, but on a writing level, I did. I found that you were following the Give journal & decided to stop by. I am very glad I did. ~Mary

Lucy said...

My dear girl, you took the time to welcome me to the world of facebook. Mort is a great guy and I am so glad he introduced me to you. Powerful, Powerful writing. I lost my son to MS in 1992. He was 42, and it was so hard to watch him but he only had to battle the horrible disease for 7 years. He chose hospice but only after fighting the disease with all his might. Please keep in touch and thank you for letting me in to share your friendship and life. Lucy

Sita said...

Popped over from Amrita's blog and my 'antenna' went up when I saw Naipaul and James in your reading. Intrigued I clicked on this blog and realized you are a Trini...well, sort of (-:

Your writing actually does remind me of Naipaul. This was a terrible experience and I am really sorry that anyone should have to go through this. It must be painful and freeing to write about it.

Just today I went to a roti shop here in Toronto with a childhood friend who just emigrated from Glencoe. I am also in my 50's and went to SJC in POS, but grew up in Arima.
Noticed you studied criminology. My uncle in TT is a criminologist and has authored a couple of books on the topic. His name is Ramesh Deosaran.
Anyway, always great 'connecting' with someone else's story, esp. a Trini.

Lille Diane said...

I am deeply moved by your story, your courage to write it and your strength to face off with the coward.

Herrad said...

Hi Lille Diane,

Thanks for coming by it is much appreciated.


Herrad said...

Hi Michael,Hi Lucy, Hi Cathy, Hi Mary,Hi Sita,

Was too amazed you left a commnt did not expect anyone to read it.

Really appreciate your commenst, actually more now than then.


KParthasarathi said...

The bitter experience is behind you and is best forgotten as bad dream.You have come out of the ordeal stronger and with courage.
I am fortunate to have stumbled on your blog.You write exceedingly well with a natural flow of words with no kinks.Would like to finish reading the entire blog at one go.
Thanks for visiting my blog and writing to me

Rhapsody said...

First let me start by saying "I am sorry that happened to you", no one deserves that kind of brutality.

It is important that you seek therapy to aquainted yourself with your tiggers and you can stragetically set up coping mechanisms that will enable you to deal with the memories when they come as they come.

You not remembering is your brains way of protecting you from the full impact of the trauma, its the reason it comes in pieces. Know that you are a strong woman capable of excellence beyond measure and that one moment in time cannot deminish that or take it away.

Stay blessed my friend....stay blessed.

Blue said...

Hi Herrad,
If you are living now in Amsterdam,I have been there many times.It's a lovely city and hollands are very friendly people. We have in summertime many hollands in Finlnad.

I think I am coming here to read your writings because in your dogblog are only pics and I have no dog at all!

Happy summer to you!

Blue said...

Herrad my friend,
Where is the avatar, which you offer me.
I cannot found it.
What I have said before, you have so many bogs it's difficult to know where I must be.

sheri said...

I wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog.
Such a horrible thing for a young girl to go thru..I'm so glad that you found your power! There's nothing like it..
I will be coming back to read more.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bekkie In Wonderland said...

I came by after you visited my blog and what a find you are! You have a lot of blogspots going. Your writing here is honest and I bet you have even more stories to tell. I have never met a person yet who hasn't had at least one good story in them and I love to hear people's stories whatever they are about. I'm so sorry this happened to you and that you were homeless at such a young age. The part of town you were in couldn't have been worse with all of the illegal activities that go on there. I hope by writing this story down it helps you somewhat with the memories you still do have of that night. Remember another saying: Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm following you now you're a great writer! ♥

Bekkie In Wonderland said...

Congratulations you should visit my site and pick up your blog award. I am passing on the "sunshine award" to you and 9 others on my newest blog. Just copy the instructions on my blog to get your award so you can put it on your site to show it off. I also have linked back to your site on my blog so everyone will be able to get to get to know you. Each person who receives this is asked to pass it on to 10 of your favorite bloggers (or not) but I feel we should pass on the sunshine. Take care! ♥

Lucy said...

You are a sweetheart and I am so sorry I did not get back to you before I have been having computer problems and they, Hewlett Packard is going to wipe my computer back to factory state and then walk me through reinstalling the discs. to bring my computer back to life. May I please wait until Thurs or Friday depending on when this is done to pick up my awards so I don't lose them or If I think of something that may save them, I will do it.