Pain came from this.. it came from all of this…. and maybe this is why sometimes victims don’t speak…
*before I proceed, this is in no way, shape or form me saying that we shouldn’t speak up, because we should… and more power to those who have, this is simply me speaking about how it pained me and why most victims probably don’t*
… I saw this post yesterday and it really set me off.. so I will tell my “this is what happened when I told” story.
Well… I waited 72 hours before I spoke up and said something. For 72 hours straight I did not eat, I did not sleep, I wasn’t myself. I played in a basketball game and I was off so I sat majority of the game. I went to dinner with my grandmother who is mentally ill and she knew something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared. I was anxious. I was sad. And to make matters worse I went shopping with my parent figure, my brother, and my rapist. And I was quiet and by myself. I loved shopping but I couldn’t even do it. I didn’t care, I let everyone else choose for me.
I stayed by myself, to myself. I just simply didn’t care. But I was around my brothers best friend, my brothers friend that he knew for a long time. And I had to sit there and stomach all of this knowing the day before he had done what he did.
The Sunday night before, it was December 7th and I was pacing up and down the hallway crying. And I kept getting close enough to my dads door to knock on it and tell him. But I couldn’t. I just kept pacing up and down the hall and crying. I just simply couldn’t stomach.
The next morning all I could do was cry. And cry. And cry. And finally I called my dad.
I had to tell my hero that his baby girl had been hurt by a little boy who he knew. Who he cheered on at football events. Who he watched in the stands screaming and cheering for basketball games. Screaming and shouting as he was handing the Paton off at a track meet. I had to tell my father, the man who I love more than life itself that I…. me… Nia Renee… I was
And I begged him not to ask me who. I begged him not to say anything. I begged him to just take me to get a pregnancy test because my period was late. And I just knew that I was pregnant. And that’s all I wanted. Within seconds my dad was at my school. We marched down to the counselors office and that is where I met the police officer who took my statement.
I then had to go to the hospital, where they performed a rape kit. I had to lay in a room, alone. With tears running down my face as I was being laid open a table. My dignity was being scraped out of me. I laid on the table and I just cried. She said and I quote “these tears inside of you are consistent and they don’t look very good, however, I am going to be honest… when this goes to court, they can argue this as just consensual rough sex, but I believe you baby… and you need justice”.
So I cried even harder. I got dressed and I got in the car and I had to listen to my dad call my basketball coach. He says as he tried to hold it together “nia won’t be at practice for awhile… she won’t be there… someone…. *as he finally releases his tears*… someone hurt my baby girl…. they hurt her”. And he hung up the phone.
I slept in my dads bed every single night for 9 months straight. And one night in particular I was having nightmares. I kept screaming “I said no! I said no! I said no!” And he grabbed me just a little too quickly and I just started punching him in his chest. I started punching him as hard I could to get him off of me. And he says to me”hit me baby, hit me as hard as you can, let it out, let it go… I’m right here, I am not going anywhere. I’m right here”. He’s sobbing as he is saying this.
A few weeks later I had to go meet with an investigator. And he asked me to play by play what happened. He asked me a lot of questions. He told me I needed to let him know everything. Every detail I can remember. And so I looked at him and said… “I remember the movie he put on just before it all happened… Dante’s Peak… and as it was happening there was chaos going on in the background… chaos was erupting… in the background… after I stopped screaming no… after I fought back but I couldn’t over power him… I just laid there… as Dante’s Peak played in the background…. and I will never forget that, nor will I ever be able to watch that movie ever again.”
And then after that he made me call him… and ask him why he did what he did to me… and he said “because I wanted to, and because I could”. He laughed and laughed and laughed as he was playing a video game… he just laughed. I hung up the phone. And I looked my investigator in the face and all I could say as tears were falling down my eyes… “I said no… I said stop.. and he didn’t”. And he goes “I know baby…. I know.”
I was 15 years old.
And then the worst of the worst came…
I had to testify in court. After countless months of torture. After watching my dad come home from long days of being my proxy and the speaker for me at all of the hearings before trial… after it all. I had to sit on a stand for 12 and a half hours over the course of 2 days. Right in front of him. I sat right in front of him and stared him in his face and I told the judge (trial by judge not jury) what he did to me. And I had to do it over and over and over and over and over again. For 12 and half hours.
After the judge called for a recess I was walking out of the court room, and his aunt looked at me and says “you’re a dirty whore who just wants to ruin the next black man… you’re just a slut”. I walked out of the courtroom in tears… and I approached my dad, my best friend, and the police officer I had told my story to from the beginning. And I told my best friend what she said and she had to be physically restrained by the police officer.
But… I was sitting and waiting for hours after the final day of the trial. And my dad told me he would call and tell me what happened and what the judge decided as soon as he heard. But my phone never rang. Not one time did my phone ring. I just sat there. Staring at my phone, for hours. I sat there. I waited.
And then I heard the garage door open.
And my heart sank.
He pulls into the garage and he sees me sitting on the steps. He doesn’t pull in all the way. And he gets out of the car. And I asked him what happened. And I could see the anger in his face. And he says “They dismisses the case, they ruled it as hear say”.
I couldn’t catch myself. I fell. I fell right into my dads arms and I screamed and I cried and I was so angry.
I was so angry and I asked him why he made me do that. Why did he force me to tell. Why?
And he told me “because… you can’t let him win.. you can’t let him think that his actions do not have consequences”.
And all I could think was, “but he did win”.
I told. I went to the police. I told. And all that happened was my whole entire high school took sides. The girl who cried wolf. Do we believe her? He came back to school. I had to see him walk around every day. I had to see him mock me. I had to deal with my locker being in the hallway and he would walk as closely to me as possible without touching me. Until I begged my teammate let me share a locker with her. That was close to the door.
I hid in the athletic office. I buried myself at school. I hid. I didn’t do anything. Because I felt like he won.
But one day… I had a few people reach out to me. From across a bunch of different schools and told me that he tried to do the same thing to them.
But it hurt because they said he tried with them.
But he succeeded with me.
I just felt hopeless.
We have to do some of the hardest things when I comes to reporting. When it comes to telling that story over and over. And each time you have to relive it. And one day you tell that story and you realize you aren’t crying anymore. And one day you realize that it doesn’t hurt as bad as it did anymore. And one day someone is reading your blog from a different country. One day you look up and the sky is blue and the sun is shining and the world seems to be back under your feet.
One day you look up and realize that you did win. One day you realize that you got through it. And you would be very upset with yourself if you didn’t say anything you wouldn’t realize how strong you are. And you wouldn’t realize that you could make it. And you made it…
So before anyone asks why we don’t speak up sooner. Before you ever ask the integrity of why she didn’t say anything. You have to realize that it’s not easy. Some days you can’t look yourself in the mirror. Maybe it was someone’s best friend.. maybe it was an uncle.. or your parent… or maybe it was someone who was the closest to you. And they are scared. Because this shit is down right scary. It is down right brutal.
The nightmares. The nights spent crying. Holding yourself on the bathroom floor when you cried so hard all you could do is throw up. This shit isn’t easy to do. It’s not easy to look your hero in the face and see that he’s looking back at you like a fallen angel. And that you’ve been injured beyond any repair that single father can do to help a teenage girl who is trying to grow up, grow. It’s hard.
But I’m glad I spoke up. I’m glad I told. But I told my dad when I was ready. I told my dad when I needed to. Whether it was 3 days or 30 years. It does not matter when someone speaks on something as painful as rape… because the moment they do… the moment they speak up. The moment they say that someone hurt them…. badly….
Dante’s Peak… it erupts. And nobody is ever prepared to deal with the recovery.
But I made it. I won. 💜