Her Story: I Survived Rape and Incest

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College student. Lover of country music. Spanish speaker. Social butterfly. Sorority woman.

These are just a few identities to describe me. Another phrase to describe me?

Virgin.

Does that surprise you? Yeah, I get that a lot. When peers and even elders find this out about me, I almost always receive a look of confusion. Really? They say. How do you manage?

How do I manage? It’s really not that big of a deal. I don’t wear any sort of chastity belt, and it isn’t like I don’t come into contact with men. Believe it or not, my Catholic upbringing has little to do with this. I was in a 2 ½ year relationship in high school, I have a ton of guy friends, I frequent the frat party scene (more nights per week than I’d like to admit), I adore dirty dancing and making out with a passion. I’ve had the opportunity to “lose it” more times than I can count. My best friends have open, casual sex often.

So, what’s different about me?

I’m a survivor of rape and incest by my own father. 

Unlike the stories you’ve heard before, my case is not a “typical” college horror story. I won’t beat around the bush: it happened more times than I can count when I was very young, as long as I can remember up to age 11, to be exact.

This has led me to stay celibate in college, and at this point, absolutely affects me in my choices and college decisions. I don’t like to call it “daddy issues,” even if that’s exactly what it is. I have major trust issues, and while sometimes all I want to do is hook up, I feel like something just still isn’t right for me.

This surely isn’t something I share openly or often. I don’t know at what age it all began, but it thankfully ended when I was 11 years old. For those years in between, nobody knew what I was going through. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what I was going through. I was convinced and persuaded that it was the norm. I hated it always, and I lived in fear of my father; but there was nothing I could do to prevent it. I could act like a brat or a perfect angel, but most days out of the week, the same events would transpire. It became systematic, something I learned to live with.

My parents divorced when I was a baby. My father was a meth addict and an alcoholic. I spent most of my time with my mother or grandparents, but once I got a bit older, I started spending weekends and many weekdays with my father. As an only child, I had no defense. I don’t completely recall how it all began. My mother had no idea until I was much older; again, I didn’t know it was wrong. I thought all parents did that with their children.

When I was 11, my father was caught during a drug deal and arrested on the spot. He was charged with countless offenses involving drugs, violence and theft. It was at that time that I came forward to my mother. I was infuriated with my father for being arrested, so I sought revenge by telling the secret he had threatened me with for my entire life. My mother called the police, and I had to testify in court against my father with him sitting right in front of me. To my confusion, I was convinced by authorities that what happened to me was wrong, completely illegal, and absolutely disgusting. I will never forget looking my father in the eye and having to admit to being raped. It was more humiliating than empowering.

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