“I Never Got A Chance To Heal:” How One Survivor Came To Terms With Being Raped While Her Attacker’s Mother Was In The Same House

April 29, 2016  |  

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When many women create online dating profiles, their first thought isn’t that they will encounter rapists, and yet earlier this year VICE reported that the incidence of online date rape has risen within the past six years because offenders use “the ease of access” afforded by dating websites to lure “potential victims not thinking of them as strangers, but someone they have got to know.” JJ, an anonymous survivor of online date rape shared her account of being attacked by a man whom she met online with us. Read on to understand her story, how the attack changed her view of rape, and what advice she would give victims as she continues on her journey of healing.

MadameNoire (MN): How old were you at the time of your attack?
JJ: I was 22 years old at the time of my attack; it was 24 days before my 23rd birthday. I met my rapist –I seriously don’t remember his name, it is something I repressed so deeply, but I think it starts with a J — on an online dating site, either OK Cupid or Plenty of Fish. We talked for a few weeks, did some casual things, like Starbucks for coffee, before he invited me to his house. He was the same age as me, a recent college graduate, so he was still living at home with his parents.

MN: Can you walk us through what happened?
JJ: The day I came over, his mom was home so he had to sneak me in. We watched TV in his room, he showed me his diploma and college things; it was very casual. We hooked up a little bit but I didn’t feel comfortable doing more. He kept going and I said, “No.” He ignored me and even though I pushed him off, he pinned me down to where I couldn’t fight him anymore. I gave up fighting him. I was terrified. I was too scared to scream, too scared to move so I just laid there and waited until he was done. I don’t really remember what happened after or even me leaving his house. I was so numb and in shock. I just wanted to get home. That’s when my tire burst on the Long Island Expressway (LIE). That whole day was extremely stressful; I’m honestly not surprised that I repressed what happened for so long.

MN: What was your perception of rape before you were assaulted?
JJ: My perception of rape before it happened was largely based on myth and fiction. I watched a lot of Law and Order: SVU and thought rape happened in dark alleys and by abandoned buildings. I never thought it would happen to me. I mostly thought that rape was perpetrated by older men, criminals, and “creepy” guys; it was unfathomable that a rapist could be my own age, someone fresh out of college and who surely dealt with all of the consent campaigns most college campuses had. I know some people looked down on rape victims and asked about what they were wearing, the circumstances, etc. but I never held any of those viewpoints before I was attacked. I always believed the accuser and felt sympathetic. I don’t think I would have been able to live with myself if I held any other notions on rape, especially since I ended up being attacked.

MN: Did you seek legal ramifications against your rapist?
JJ: I did not pursue any legal action against my attacker even though I know could have. At the time of the attack, I was not in a great place mentally. My father was dying at the time and I did not want to stress and shame my family by going through the ordeal of a trial. I also worried that my sexual history would be on display because when I was in college, and even before I started talking to my attacker, I did hook up frequently. I did not want to be judged by anyone or be labeled a slut. I still can report the crime if I want because the attack is within the statute of limitations and I do have proof of the attack — he messaged and texted me apologizing, asking for forgiveness, etc. — but I probably will not because of the time that passed.

MN: Did you share that you were sexually assaulted with your family members or friends?
JJ: It was easier to share that I was sexually assaulted with my friends before my parents. And even then it took me two weeks after the incident to say anything. And I only told my one best friend and a few coworkers at my previous job that I trusted. It took about a month after it happened for me to tell my parents. They were so upset and my mother wanted to know why I didn’t report it, why I didn’t tell them sooner, and it’s awful because I was more concerned about stressing out my family than my own mental health. I told my therapist almost by accident and she was shocked at how nonchalant I was about the whole thing. Only then did I realize the extent of what really happened to me. If I didn’t see her for a session when I did, I most likely would have repressed the whole incident.

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