There have only ever been two people in my life that have ever known the details of my two sexual assaults, my husband and my mother. The few siblings and friends that do know that I have been raped only know that fact-that I have been raped. I have always feared the look on a person’s face when they are told that something like that has happened to you. I fear that I will be seen as less than or that I won’t be believed. These fears are just as strong today as they were when the rapes took place 17 and 16 years ago respectively. Now that my mother has passed, there is only one person who knows about the brutality that I endured and the scares I still live with today. I was a normal 16 year old working in a smoothie shop when I met a cute boy who had come in for a drink. He asked for my number, but I told him that I didn’t give my number out to people I don’t know. He assured me that he would be back as many times as it took for me to know him. He was true to his word and we began dating about two months later. He played for a local junior sports team that players from all over the US and some other countries played in that lead to countless former players going on to being drafted by professional teams. I had never been to a game before meet my then boyfriend. After dating for several months, I lost my virginity to him. I was completely in love. Not long after that he and I went to a party at the house of one of the “host” families that players lived with while they played in the league. We were talking in a bedroom when he told me he was going to go get us drinks and he would be back. The next time the door opened, I was not my boyfriend who entered, it was the Captain of the team that I had had very few interactions with. I will refer to him as L. L asked where my boyfriend was and said he would just wait for him to come back. L sat down on the bed while we made polite small talk about things like what schools we went to, where he was from originally, etc. I told L I was going to go look for my boyfriend because he had been gone for a strange amount of time. As I got up, L grabbed my wrist and yanked me back down on the bed. Before I could even think he was on top of me. He pinned my hands above my head then pulled my tank top down exposing my breast. I begged him to stop, I yelled hoping someone would hear me over the music, and fought as hard as I could. Even when he only had one hand grasping my wrists while he used the other to undo his pants and remove the underwear I was wearing under my skirt, I still wasn’t strong enough to get free. I begged him not to do this to me. He told him that I would be happy he did once it was over because he was “amazing.” I screamed at him to get to f**k off of me so he slapped me so hard that my ears were ringing. He used his knees to keep my legs apart as he violently raped me. This was only the second time that I had ever had sex. When he was done, he got up from the bed and said something about me being a dirty girl and that I would be begging him for more. My boyfriend came in the room seconds after L had walked out. I expected him to comfort me or go do something to L or just ANYTHING at all. Instead he told me that I was slut who cheated on him. Apparently it was common practice for the captain to get to sleep with any of the rookie’s girlfriends. My boyfriend said that I wouldn’t have “let” it happen if I didn’t really want it. He said things like that so many times that I actually started to question it myself. I stayed with my boyfriend because I felt like damaged goods. I took the blame whenever he cheated on me because “I cheated on him first.” I put up with being beaten by my boyfriend because he “wouldn’t be so angry if I hadn’t been a slut.” This relationship was on and off for several years and was my first experience of love. I have since been able to see that nothing about that relationship was love, but it shaped the relationships I had and partners I chose for years. I never reported my rape. I used long sleeves, pants, and makeup to cover the deep bruising that seemed to be on my body forever. After months of not being able to sleep without nightmares or going a single day without a flashback of the assault, I began abusing drugs and alcohol along with cutting myself. Around a year after my rape and the start of my substance abuse struggles, my parents went out of town for a weekend so I decided that was a perfect time to have a party with some friends from my school. I attended a pretty small school with about 80 kids per grade, most of which I had been in school with since preschool. There were probably 10 or 15 of us hanging out, drinking, and having fun. It was probably around 2 or 3 AM when people started passing out. I went to my room and passed out fully clothed on my bed. At some point I woke up somewhat to see a very good guy friend of mine on top of me. I was in and out a lot because of how intoxicated I was so I was barely able to move let alone fight him off of me. I remember telling him no and stop. The next thing I remember is my best friend coming into my room in the morning to tell me we were going to go to McDonald’s for some “hangover food”. I was under my covers but only had my shirt on. I got dressed, got in the car, and went to get food. As we were driving I got a text from the male “friend” that had been on top of me. He was asking me not to tell anyone about what happened the night before. I never responded because I still hadn’t fully wrapped my head around what happened. This situation was different from the first time. He was my friend. It wasn’t a violent assault like before and HE WAS MY FRIEND. I knew that doing anything about it would make me an outcast, which was terrifying to me at 17 years old. I understand how unbelievably stupid that was now at 33 years old. I told myself that I had invited him over. I have gotten drunk. I had gone to bed after telling everyone they could stay the night. It was my fault. Again, my perspective is different now. I spiraled into drug and alcohol addiction to a degree that should have killed me. I made several attempts to end my life, but still never told a soul what had happened to me. I ended up being sent to a rehabilitation center and was exiled from my family as soon as I turned 18 because they didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I was fortunate to grow up in a family of wealth but unfortunately that wealth was viewed as being enough to make my siblings and I happy. That meant that quality time and conversation were nonexistent. We were given new cars and credit cards to do whatever we wanted while my parents spent most of their time abroad or in homes they owned in other states. It took nearly a decade for me to develop a relationship with my mom again. One day she finally asked me the question that I had unknowingly wanted to be asked by my family which was-Why did you do all of the things you were doing back then? What happened? I broke down in tears and assure my mom that she didn’t need to live with the knowledge of what had happened to her daughter. I had a daughter of my own at that point. My mom told me that she did need to know because she had carried so much shame for not having made any attempts to find out what was really going on. I started by simply saying that I had been raped twice. She tried to come over to hug me but I said I was ok. She then asked things like when, where, who. I was very vague about it and left out the names of the people. She sat me down and told me that I had to tell her e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g because I had suffered through it alone long enough. I’m a lot of ways telling her was harder than enduring the rapes because I had a daughter and knew how devastated I would be if this had happened to her. I also feared that she wouldn’t believe me. She listened, we cried, and she apologized for making me think I wouldn’t have been believed. I apologized for the way I handled my pain from it by abusing substances. I have hope that the country is making strides when it comes to the way sexual assault is handled, however, I live every day with fear that my daughter may be violated in the way that I was and I will be powerless to stop it.