I looked right at him, he couldn’t even look up and look me in the face.
His mother and father, whom I didn’t know would be there, stared blankly into my face. Their eyes looked lifeless, their energy was cold and frigid. I felt like they looked right through me, not at me. I was not a person to them, I was one of the many catalysts to “punish” their son.
I wasn’t the victim.
Maaannnny years ago, I had been tricked into thinking I was simply auditioning for catalog modelling, nothing fancy but it paid good. I had gained quite a substantial amount of weight the year prior, I admit being young and having gained the weight I had, I was vulnerable. I was admit flattered to have received some interest in me modelling. I met up with the supposed modelling agent whom had legitimate documentation for me to sign, should I pass the audition. I even had him call a fellow model to ensure it was a legitimate business, I spoke to the female and was satisfied with her responses to my many questions.
To no surprise, the story takes an obvious turn for the worse. I did not in fact end up auditioning for a catalog modelling agency, I was taken advantage of sexually. I was sexually assaulted. As I typed that I feel slightly shy and I even questioned whether or not I should save this as a draft or actually post this. However my intentions of writing this and sharing my intimate personal experiences is to hopefully help anyone else undergoing or may undergo something so heinous as what I did.
If we don’t talk about the uncomfortable subjects, then our story served no other purpose then a “mistake” , a “shameful time”, an “oh well” or an “oops” we simply must overcome quietly only to become our pasts. I just want to be very transparent in this blog that although I have overcome the shame, guilt, anger, sadness and embarrassment, those negative feelings sometimes quietly find their ways in the parts of me that are still healing. I probably may always have little residues of those negative feelings, however as time passes the echos of those words will become more and more faint in my mind I am sure.
I knew I had felt “funny” and wasn’t sure how I ended up where I did. I wound up in my vehicle at a gas station confused as to what had happened. I had vague memories of a serious of events that took place. I remember feeling stupid and thought I was just a young dumb girl that got herself into a predicament. I thought I was alone. Not having at the time a close relationship to a male figure, having lost two of the closest women in my life, I didn’t really have anyone to tell. I can’t remember how much information I had disclosed with a few “close” people in my life, however I know the information was not received well. “I told you so”, “I warned you”, “I don’t believe you were drugged” were sentences I do remember however. It became one of those “things” that got swept under the rug, I never went to therapy, I never really disclosed it to anyone because I felt like no one would believe me, I would be blamed and no one would really care.
I am partially to blame. That may shock or offend people, but it is the truth. I should not have engaged in a conversation by a stranger on social media. I should not have gone to the audition alone. When he had disclosed to me that the studio didn’t have any room that day, we would have to go to one of the models houses, should have been a clear indicator to not go. Once I got to the place and this supposed model that was supposed to be there wasn’t, yet another sign I should have fled the scene. When I was trying to be smart when offered a drink and said “no thanks, but I will have juice” I should have watched him poor the drink. In hindsight, those are very clear red flags, some people may still judge me and call me stupid.
The fact is, when were younger, we don’t have as much experience, I personally didn’t have any self esteem or self respect, when were younger we feel invisible or “that will never happen to me” attitude. It’s not an excuse, however despite the red flags and obvious indicators that I should not have subjected myself to that situation, I did. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Perhaps some individuals did not make mistakes in their younger years, perhaps those that haven’t may make the biggest mistakes of their lives in the peak of their “maturity”. Everyone’s’ story is different, it isn’t fair for anyone to judge or compare.
Years went by, again, something swept under the rug, a forgotten but shameful memory, I began to deal with it myself. As I grew closer to my Faith I was able to overcome a lot of mental hurdles that were hindering my abilities to heal. I was able to share my situation with girls that were younger in hopes to raise awareness. My hopes were to teach them that it’s OK to talk about these embarrassing subjects and that we need to, as women, be heard and tell people, whether they believe us or not.
Now, several years later, I had received a call from a lawyer’s office in Vancouver, the name they mentioned that I was possibly involved with did not ring a bell. I actually apologized and told them they had the wrong number. They called back a couple weeks later and the reason I did not recognize the name was because my offender went by multiple different identities. They were calling to tell me he had been sentenced to a number of years in jail, they wanted me to testify in court to keep him in longer and to sentence him to be a registered sex offender. My first thoughts were, “I’m not alone?”. Because I had healed so much on my own with God, I was actually excited to work with this lawyer to seek justice. That word alone, justice brought me so much comfort in knowing at least someone out there was in my corner, on my side. The lawyer was such an amazing woman who had such a passion for justice and such compassion for all the women involved. Yes I said all, after finding out more information I gasped that the number of women he had assaulted sexually in many various ways was around 70!!!! (That deserved multiple exclamation marks).
The more research I did, the more I was able to have closure about all the times friends and loved ones told me I made up the fact I had been drugged. He had been doing it to many women. I wanted to tell all the people that hadn’t supported me, but the truth is already out there. He was all over the internet when I searched his actual name. Ultimately who believed in me wasn’t important, the fact was that I intuitively knew a situation had made me uncomfortable and I knew the truth.
I had to take a step back and be somewhat thankful. How could I be thankful this horrible situation happened to me? Hearing about other girls situations, it gave me a clearer perspective that I was actually lucky. Yes lucky to have had what happened to me in the way it did. Not lucky I had it happen at all, but it could have been much, much worse. My heart breaks for the women that had more severe encounters with this individual. The fact no one was murdered, there was no outbreak of disease, nothing filmed had been leaked publicly and no one got pregnant is actually so rare in these cases, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
It’s these things that make me, the other women involved, our group strong.
Anyone that knows what has been happening in my life the past year knows it has been a hard road. Only a few people knew that on September 27th I went to Vancouver and I looked evil right in the face, on top of everything else I have had to endure this year. I was fortunate enough to have a friend accompany me, which given my current situation was such a huge and unfortunately rare blessing for me. Testifying, recalling the events was the easy part, all I had to do was tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I knew the defense lawyer brought this individuals parents there to intimidate me, it didn’t work.
Despite the pathetic efforts of the accused defense lawyer, the cross examination ended pretty quickly.
Years ago I would have wished this had all came to light then and I would be able to close this chapter of my life off for good. I whole heartily believe everything happens the way it should for a reason. My faith is what I lean on and I believe God’s timing is absolutely perfect. Having to sit there and watch the evidence being played for strangers eyes to see was by far one of the hardest things I have had to endure, even though I have worked on so much. I’m so glad this is happening in the timing it did, I wouldn’t have been emotionally capable of withstanding this years prior. Because of everything I have endured over my life, deaths, abuse, family mental illness, abandonment, family suicide, abuse, rape, my own poor decisions, loss of friendships, criticism and bullying, I was able to stand up there, look evil face to face and tell it “On behalf of all the other women effected, on behalf of all of my friends and family that didn’t believe me, On behalf of anyone that judged me, On behalf of my younger and vulnerable self, you can try and take away my self worth, my privacy, my time, my safety, my confidence, but you cannot take away my voice“.
I got through the longest 5 minutes of my life. The video finally ended. I did it, somehow, my friend sitting in the back with tears welling in her eyes, I smiled knowing that even if it was just one person sitting in the stands, I wasn’t alone. I was believed, I was supported, I was loved.
Being in a room full of evil isn’t something I have encountered very often. By working in the hospital, I’ve been in rooms with patients that were criminals of various degrees, I’ve encountered some colorful characters over the years, but this was actual evil. Someone who had no remorse, no guilt, no shame of any of his offenses. He did not hold any understanding of the consequences of his actions other then the sheer fact he was upset he was caught. As a believer of Christ I believe I must forgive everyone.
I forgive my offender, but he picked the wrong girl to victimize. For me and all the other women’s stories, it will be the catalyst to more awareness, more support for others and more change.