“One summer night, after just having graduated 8th grade, a few friends and I were hanging out in Times Square. This was normal to me for a long time. Going out and staying out late into the night. This one night in particular, I was talking to my friends about my dad abusing me and told them I needed to get away. I needed somewhere to go live or stay for a few days. A man near us was listening.
‘I just need to get out of there. I can’t take the way my dad watches me get dressed and always has something sexual to say about how I look,’ I told my friends. The man nearby came over, introduced himself and talked to us for a while.
He said he was 26, wearing an NYPD shirt and the other police officers were talking to him as if they knew him. He told us he was an officer and told me he would like to help me. I was scared. My dad was old and I was his caregiver, so I let him know I didn’t want to press charges on my dad. I just needed to make things better. This man listened. I mean, really listened.
I gave him my beeper number. Yes, it was THAT long ago! He beeped me the next day and wanted to hang out. I called him back and could hear a lot of people in the background. He said he was at the police department, working.
He listened to everything I had to say. He seemed to really care and want to help. Our talks and meeting up happened again over the next few days. Until one night. This night was a little different. I stayed out with him later than usual.
We were leaning against a building, just talking, when he looked at me and said, ‘If I could afford a hotel room right now, we would be f**cking all night long.’ I stood there, frozen. That sentence made me feel confused, but I wanted him to like me. I wanted to make him happy. So, I ignored that sentence and just smiled.
Then he kissed me. I felt so comfortable with him. He made me feel heard. Truly heard. But this night, he really didn’t listen at one point.
We walked into Central Park in New York City. We sat down on the grass. It was around midnight. We kissed. Then he held me down as he forced my shorts down and forced himself into me. It was so painful. I was in shock. All I could do was lay there, looking up, fixated on this one tree. I was quiet. I didn’t want this at all. No part of me wanted this.
But, I had been so conditioned to let men do whatever they wanted with my body. This felt no different. Except for the pain. Holy sh*t did that hurt.
I have no clue how long it lasted because fixating on that tree really helped. Then he finished and told me to get dressed quickly, after looking at me saying, ‘I came. You came. I can tell we both really enjoyed that.’ I KNOW I didn’t enjoy that. It was as if he was trying to manipulate me into thinking I did.
We walked out of the park. I got on the train and went home. When I got home, I realized I was bleeding and had dirt and grass all over the back of my legs and butt.
The guy was not a police officer. I know this because I met up with him throughout the summer and found out clues about him all along. Last I heard, he was in jail. I don’t know what for. He took away something from me that I can never get back. He was 26 when he forced a 14-year-old to lose her virginity to him. I like to think he is still in jail. It makes me feel so much better.
For years after this happened, I blamed myself. I thought the way he treated me was my fault. For 17 years, I had such a hard time enjoying sex. It was something I did just to make the other person happy or because I thought it was what I had to do, even in my marriage.
When I started tearing apart why I felt it was my fault through journaling, I realized it wasn’t my fault at all. I asked myself questions like, ‘Why am I to blame?’ and all I could come up with at first was, ‘I don’t know.’ Then I came to realize it wasn’t me, it was him. He was the adult. He was the manipulator and I was not at fault, even if I was out late at night or any other reason I tried to give myself.
I now am able to enjoy sex and not feel like I have to do it to make my husband happy. Let me just say, working on not blaming myself has helped our sexual relationship too. My husband no longer feels like I don’t want him.
Also, my husband is completely fine with me not being in the mood or even stopping in the middle. Now I am strong enough to know what I feel and able to voice those feelings, too.
If I could ever get one message to that man who took my virginity when I was 14, it is this. You did not break me. You do not have control over me. You are just a mere glimpse of a part of my life. I am strong now. I will forever hold my head high.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laurie Somma of Pennsylvania. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and her blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more of Laurie’s backstory:
‘I’ll give you a 6-pack if you meet with me and drive around.’ I said, ‘Ok, I’ll be back later tonight.’ My heart was racing thinking about getting into a car with a man I don’t know. But I was desperate.’
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