Trigger Warning: Drug and alcohol use, abortion, and gang rape
I was sixteen years old when I first left home. (I ran away before, but the police brought me back). My mother and I had spent the past few years butting heads and I was tired of living by her rules. The more I rebelled, the tighter she tried to hold me. By this time I had smoked weed, drank any alcohol I could get my hands on, and popped whatever pills I could find for about a year. I rebelled more and more as the memories of childhood sexual abuse came to the surface. My mother accused me of lying about it for “attention”, which just drove a bigger wedge between us. I think this was also my first instance of mania. I was wild and crazy, just a party girl looking to have a good time.
I had a friend I smoked weed with named *Greg. Greg was a sweet, quiet guy and we hit it off. A few months later, I was pregnant. Deciding to get married, we told his mom and dad. My parents? I had so much anger in me I simply told them I was getting married and leaving. Being all of sixteen years old, my dad had to go to courthouse and sign for me to get married. I still remember the anger and pain radiating from him as he stormed from the room.
We immediately moved in with Greg’s parents. We slept in his childhood room that was still decorated for the high-school senior that he was. He had a part-time mechanic’s job. I didn’t have a job, but none of this bothered me. I knew it would work out fine, and I had visions of being this great mom living this perfect life. That’s why I think I was manic during this period.
Not long after moving in, Greg’s mom talked with us. She was this uneducated little country woman, but she had a way of talking that was very sweet and gentle. She convinced us both that having a baby at that point in our lives was a mistake. She loaned us the money and gave us the number of a clinic that performed abortions. We decided to go through with it that next week. I had not spoken to my family since I left, so I had no one to talk to about my choices other than Greg’s mom.
Again, I think I was manic throughout this entire period. Otherwise I don’t think I could have done this and survived. I always considered abortion as a woman’s option, but never, in my sixteen-year-old mind, did I think it would be an option I had to consider. So I focused on my “great life” Greg and I would have after this “procedure”.
I won’t go into details about the abortion. Just know it was horrible and something I have to live with for the rest of my life. Manic or not, I chose to go through with it.
Afterward, I felt empty, as though my soul was left behind in that clinic. This began one of the darkest periods of my young life. If I had been wild before, I was now the poster child for “Girls Gone Wild”. The drug use became worse as I grew more and more out of control. I found a job at a burger restaurant and we found a place of our own. I attended night school so I could get my high school diploma. Greg worked two jobs. Most of our money went toward rent, electricity, and alcohol, and drugs. We began selling weed to help support our habit. For months we ate egg sandwiches and whatever I could bring home from my work. Every day, I got high, drunk, or stoned on something. Every weekend, we went to wild parties thrown by his older friends.
His friends, Kevin and Robert, had their own apartment and they knew how to throw a party. We were always welcome, and at the time I thought it was because they just liked us and were such good friends. I felt the way they looked at me, but it was no different from how men always looked at me. I didn’t think much about it, really. I wore sex like a costume because it was a weapon for me, flirting shamelessly. No one looked at me, the real me, if they were too busy looking at my body.
One night the party was wilder than usual. Some new drugs came in and they were strong. We danced and partied like always. Greg and I had no money for drugs that weekend. so Kevin and Robert gave them to us. They also kept giving Greg drinks until he was too drunk to function. They told us we could stay the night since we were too wasted to drive. We had never stayed, but we both thought it was a good idea. I remember dancing and first Kevin, then Robert, slipping me more drugs. I remember very little about the next few hours.
Around three in the morning Greg and I stumbled to the bed in the spare room. We both passed out immediately. Within twenty minutes, Kevin and Robert snuck into the room and picked me up. I remember waking up and they told me we were going to party some more. I think I passed out again, because the next thing I remember I was in a different bed and completely naked. Kevin was on top of me.
I was so stoned everything around me seem to be flashing in slow motion. I looked over Kevin’s head and saw five guys surrounding the bed. I tried to say no, but I don’t know if the word even came out of my mouth. I did push against him, but I was no match for him. When he finished, the next guy climbed on top of me. I was crying and pleading with them to let me go, but they laughed and told me “we’re just having fun” and “you know you like it”. I even yelled for Greg, but he was passed out. They didn’t let me go until they all had a turn.
Robert led me back to the spare room and put me back in bed with Greg. I cried myself to sleep.
I never told Greg or anyone else what happened that night. I was too embarrassed and thought it was my fault for being a flirt. Not long after that, Greg and I decided to go our separate ways. I continued to self-medicate for many years, trying to forget the choices I made and where those choices led me.
*All names have been changed to protect the innocent…and the guilty.