Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a birthday present from hell

Submitted by: Karen

This is an old story, but I think it serves as a good starting point -- silence can eat you alive.

December 31st, 2002: Although more than 5 years have passed since the inicident, I still remember the way he felt against my back -- I remember crying myself to sleep, feeling angry, scared, and violated. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, and although my friends were with me, I was still too afraid to speak up. It was only the past couple of years that I've felt comfortable discussing the incident, so here's a recap of that faithful night.

I really looked forward to my 18th birthday and since it's New Years Eve, what better way to spend the day then to join a throng of people in Nathan Philips Square to cheer in the New Year. We had dinner at Jack Astors (I suppose I still secretly hate this restaurant) before heading downtown. We arrived early, but not early enough as we were still pretty far back from the main stage. Shawn Desman was a new artist performing that night and as more and more people began to filter in as it approached 12am, everyone huddled closer together. I felt something warm brush against my ass. I figured it was an accident -- stuff happens -- but it happened again and this time it lingered for longer. I shuffled a little to the left, hoping that whoever it was would take the hint and leave me alone, and for a while it seemed to have worked -- that was until he started grooving around to the tunes of Shawn Desman. He had his hand on my hip and started humping me from behind, conveniently for him, I was unable to move both in fear and for being trapped in a crowd of people ready for New Years anticipation. Things got worse the closer and closer it got to 12, I could feel his hard on as he thrusted against me and despite the fact that I managed to push away his hand from my hip, it returned again. I still don't know why I didn't scream for help. I just froze.

When the crowd started to disperse I turned around and there standing in front of me was a man in a puffy army green winter coat with a fur trim along the hood. I stared at his brown hands before looking him in the eye -- he was at least a foot taller than me. He didn't smile, didn't do anything, but just stared. I turn around and he disappears.

I told my friends that someone touched me inappropriately, but nothing to the extent that I described above. I was still too embarrassed at the time to say anything and I never felt so alone and so trapped. The following year I became very depressed and went through periods of what we now call "hibernation". Simply put, when someone hurts you, you need to talk about it and get it out because bottling it all up ends up hurting not only you, but the people you care about. I made the mistake of saying nothing because I was naive enough to think that because the stranger didn't rape me, no one would help me catch the creep. The fact is, he touched me inappropriately -- not just once -- and had the gall to use my body without my consent to pleasure himself.

I sincerely hope that no one will ever have to experience what happened to me. Fight back because it's your body, and your right. You're not alone.

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