*I envisioned this being told from a girl’s point of view, but you can imagine whatever you want.
*This story contains sensitive, possibly explicit content.
It happened in broad daylight.
He pulled up beside me while I was walking back to Bre’s car. My friend Bre and I had just left a local donut shop; she was craving a bacon donut and didn’t want to go alone. I was wearing a simple red t-shirt with Danny DeVito’s face on it, skinny jeans from Old Navy, and five-year-old sneakers. I looked like your standard teenager, bad posture and all.
He whistled at me from the window of his car, but I didn’t answer. He called me “pretty thang,” but I didn’t answer, hoping he would get the message and drive off. The faster I walked, the faster his car followed me along the curb. Ignoring him didn’t work, so he parked the car and got out of it while his friend kept look out. At least his friend was helping him out (even though the circumstances were bad), unlike Bre, who was slowly walking a few feet back and scrolling through her phone as she tried to dodge trash cans. There was a bigger problem than those stupid trash cans.
He called me “pretty thang” again, and I distinctly remember saying, “I don’t have anything you’d want.” I thought self-deprecation and talking negatively about my body would push him away; I was wrong. He got closer and reeked of disgusting marijuana and cheap cologne.
He grabbed my hip with his left hand while the right one covered my mouth and muffled all of my screams. He began to rub his rough, scummy hands up and down my body while repeating “You’re such a pretty thang, a pretty, pretty thang”; I tried my best to push him away, but my noodle arms barely made him sway. Then he captured my hands in his and pushed them against my mouth; I couldn’t be heard, and I couldn’t fight. He moved his left hand down my arm; the dryness of his hand scorching my body made me want to simultaneously puke and cry. He pulled up my shirt and bralette and sucked my C-cup sized breast in his mouth.
I kept trying to fight, every ounce of my being felt disgusted. Kicking my feet to get him away did nothing, and one of his feet stepped on both of mine to stop me. I did my best to look sideways and could make out Bre at a good distance away trying to take selfies in front of one of the murals. My anger amplified.
While keeping his marijuana-coated mouth on my breast, his left hand slowly traveled down my stomach to my pants. He was going to enter a place no one had ever been before, and my fear rose. Just as he was about to enter uncharted territory, his friend in the passenger seat told him another car was coming. The stranger let me go immediately, said “Maybe next time, pretty thang” with a wink, and got back in the car.
As soon as they drove off, I sprinted to Bre’s car. I shrunk to the ground and bawled my eyes out; every part of my body was shaking, and I felt utterly disgusting.
Some time passed before Bre made it to her car, and she had the nerve to ask why I was crying.
I felt worthless afterwards, even though he wasn’t able to go all the way. I felt like scum, like my body was suddenly infected. I took three showers to get rid of the grotesque feeling, but no amount of showering would help.
When I gave up on showering and eventually stopped shaking, I went to the police about it. They asked for a description, but I couldn’t provide them with one that wasn’t generic. I was blinded by fear and only knew the basics; he was a Caucasian-looking male with green eyes. The police said they’d do their best, but I had no hope.
After the assault, I completely shut down. I had minimal, one-word conversations with everyone. Images from that day plagued my brain, playing on repeat. Months of counseling went by, and I had the hardest time coming to terms with what happened. The only time I left my house was to go to school. I didn’t go anywhere with my friends and missed out on a couple of family vacations.
Fear began running my life, and it took over a year of counseling for me to realize who I had become, how the assault changed me.
I hate that the event controlled my life for so long; I completely lost myself. Only a shred of who I am was left, and I had to save myself. After I told Bre what happened, I cut her out of my life. I joined a support group for teenagers like me who had been assaulted. They helped me find myself again and showed me the support I needed to win my life back.
I wasn’t going to let the assaulter win; I wasn’t going to let him have control over my life.
He couldn’t take me from myself.
Featured image credit: Luis Galvez