PAVE My Stories: Military Male Survivor Speaks Out – Part One

Coming forward about rape or sexual assault is never easy for a survivor to do after it has happened to them, and in most cases that do or we hear of, are generally females. It is not just because males are less likely to be attacked, but for a male survivor to come forward it seems to be proven more difficult. However, thanks to James Landrith who was an active Military duty U.S Marine, he uses his voice to encourage other male survivors to come forward to come forward a give hope to others. James openly expresses how the  organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse. Incest, National Network) helped his journey to healing and how even being a survivor from a few years, can still bring up bad memories. However, by using techniques he has learned through professional advice, he knows how to overcome those feelings.

“I was drugged and raped by a woman who bought me a few drinks. She used blackmail and coercion to ensure my compliance once the effects of the drugged drinks wore off. I was an active duty U.S. Marine and she was a local civilian. Dealing with the aftermath of sexual violence takes on a different form daily. I never know when or if I will be triggered or by what.” – James Landrith

Unfortunately after being sexually victimized like James has been, survivors struggle to live each day without feeling the urge of suppressed feelings and thoughts about what happened to them. To many survivors just like James, this can cause an unexpected panic and stress attack that alarms/triggers the survivor to the feeling of being unsafe.

“I never know when or if I will be triggered or by what. As I type this now, I have been fighting a week long panic attack and I am unsure of its source. Some days, I don’t even think about it and go on about my business unhindered. However, on other days, it is at the front of my mind and I find myself checking for exits in any room I enter or elevator I ride.” – James Landrith

These feelings can raise so much stress on their body both physically and mentally because their mind goes back to when their encounter was/took place and struggle to come back to reality. However, with an organization as helpful as RAINN is to survivors, they are there to teach and provide information on how to prevent and decrease these types of symptoms as they arise.

“Re-Experiencing: This is a repeated reliving of the event, and interferes with daily activity. This category includes flashbacks, frightening thoughts, recurrent memories or dreams, and physical reactions to situations that remind you of the event.” – RAINN

Many people when they are in a public atmosphere or are surrounded by a crowd of people can suffer from both anxiety or panic attacks but to those who have been sexually assaulted or have been raped, the chances are significantly higher. It is sometimes hard to see straight away when you suffer with these (PTSD symptoms) as a survivor but to properly heal and gain back control of your life the support from others is essential. Having support from an organization like RAINN and other survivors like James, can not only help with the healing process but they can also help provide an understanding on what you (as a survivor) are going through and that all the horrible feelings you may be feeling are normal but as times goes by it will get better.

“There are many programs and organizations available to assist survivors. You can find local centers in your phonebook, or go online to RAINN.org and filter down to a local center. Also, many local governments offer crisis services. When a survivor decides to come forward, even if it is DECADES after the abuse, they may be in crisis mode. When I first decided to confront my own experiences, it felt like it had just happened and I was extremely raw. It might as well have just happened. I was clearly in crisis mode and found some via the local county mental health services.” – James Landrith

When you are at the stage of talking to a professional therapist about your sexual assault or rape, you may feel overwhelmed as that is a normal feeling to have, but if you do not feel comfortable with the person you are talking with then find someone you do feel comfortable talk with. It is essential to always feel safe and comfortable when talking to a professional so it is okay to keep looking for the right person but whatever you do, do not give up on yourself because like what James and other survivors discovered, healing is an individual process and everyone heals in different ways with different people, on their own journey.

“One thing to remember is that a survivor owns their healing and they have the right to turn change therapists or counsellors if they do not feel comfortable or validated. Not every survivor/counsellor pairing is going to be successful. This does not make you a failure at healing; it just means you haven’t found the right partner. Keep trying!” – James Landrith

Please Note:  ”The Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline is a groundbreaking crisis support service for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one advice, support, and information to the worldwide DoD community. The service is anonymous, secure, and available 24/7 — providing victims with the help they need, anytime, anywhere.” – RAINN

Coming Up Next: Part Two of this article will be based on “Private Practice” the February 2, 2012 Storyline in relation to James Landrith’s interview we did with him on his own personal survivor story.

PAVE:My Stories: Anonymous

PAVE My Stories: Anonymous
The beginning of my sophomore year of high school, I met the most amazing boy. I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend; he was sweet and funny. However, due to circumstance, I didn’t get the chance to date him until the very end of junior year. Once we did start dating, I was so happy because no one had ever treated me as kindly as he did.

A few months into the relationship was when I first knew something was wrong. He started being mean, he wouldn’t let me hang out with my girl friends, and basically forbade me from speaking to my guy friends. I didn’t want to break up with him for this, but these were my friends from elementary school. At the same time, I didn’t know if anyone would love me if we broke up.

It kept getting worse. He had no respect for me, constantly made me cry, never let me be with my friends, but was able to do whatever he wanted, while I sat alone at home on Friday and Saturday nights. I lost my virginity to him a few months into our relationship. After about a year was when it started getting bad. Growing up in a small town, rape had one meaning: when a stranger forced a girl into having sex with him. Rape didn’t happen between acquaintances, friends, significant others; if rape happened, it was usually the girl’s fault. Now, after a year of dating, when we had sex, it HURT. He’d be forceful and rough, and even when I cried and asked him to stop, he wouldn’t. He would yell at me to shut up and let him finish, and afterwards, would leave me to myself to finish crying while he went and played video games. Time and again, I went through this. It was stuck in my head that this was normal. He would be so sweet during the day when we were around other people, but by ourselves, it was different. I didn’t think I could leave; we had plans to get married, his whole family was so excited about it. I was so afraid he would hurt me if I tried to break up, and he made me feel like no one would ever love me. I wasn’t pretty, I was too needy, I was too demanding, I didn’t do enough for him. As much as I loved him, because I did, it was never good enough.

For another 3 or 4 months, sex was like this. Consensual at first, forceful at the end, with me feeling degraded and left alone to cry. I had no one to talk to, and no one noticed that I wanted to die. But because I was taught that rape was a stranger on a girl, I didn’t do anything. One night, everything changed and I knew it was wrong. We were alone for the night, and started fooling around. I didn’t want to have sex, but it started anyway. I changed my mind, and asked him to stop. He took my shoulders, slammed me down on the floor, and held me while I cried and screamed. The pain was horrible, and after he finished, left me to go watch TV. I couldn’t stop crying; I didn’t know what I had done to deserve this, I didn’t know what I could do right anymore to make him stop doing this to me. I kept crying and screaming, and eventually he yelled at me to shut the f*** up, to go downstairs and go to bed. And I did, because I was too afraid to leave him to go home. Home was a half hour away, and it was so late at night, I didn’t want to scare my parents. I broke up with him shortly after this. He tried so hard to get me back, but I have wonderful friends who held my hand while I tried to deal. I didn’t realize that rape could happen between significant others until almost a year after I broke up with him; I’m still dealing with the aftermath. I have severe anger problems, I have trust issues, and still, sometimes I’m afraid to have sex with my boyfriend of almost two years. All the memories still haunt me, but talking about it and dealing with the memories head-on has helped. I don’t know if mentally or emotionally I’ll be okay; but I’ve made progress. Enough that I can make it through the day without thinking about it and without worrying that he’ll find me.

Do you have a story to share? Please email your stories to info@ShatteringTheSilence.org with “My Stories” in the subject line.

PAVE My Stories: Brigid

PAVE My Stories: Brigid
It was a Saturday night, Valentine’s Day, a friend and I had decided to go out and get tanked to celebrate how miserable we were as we had both recently broken up with boyfriends. We went to a local “meat market” and were hanging around flirting and drinking and pretty much still feeling miserable.  I ran in to a couple guys I used to know from a restaurant where I had worked for years, and they immediately recognized me too. We shouted back and forth over the music, then one asked me to dance so I did.  It was a typical club scene, drinking and dancing, whatever.  My friend had run in to her ex with another girl and wanted to leave, so Dude said he would drive me home.  I agreed.

He drove me home and, boy I was DRUNK.  He said he had some pot, we smoked some, which immediately made me puke.  I was so embarrassed and he was really sweet about it. He held my hair, brought me water, told me over and over it was ok, we have all been here.  When I told him I had to go to bed he asked if he could stay, didn’t even get under the covers because he didn’t want to freak me out. A gentleman!

He called several days later in the afternoon to see if I wanted to hang out.  I told him I had been fighting a nasty cold for a couple days, so maybe the weekend would be better. He said ok, fine, yeah.  After meeting my family for dinner for my nephew’s birthday, I came straight home, feeling ill and tired and wanting nothing more than my bed.  When I arrived home there were all these utility crews in the parking lot – apparently there was a gas leak of some sort.  I talked to one of the guys and he said it was fine for me to be home, they would let me know if the situation changed. Ok, good.

So I went inside and took some Nyquil because I felt like crap. I crashed immediately (you know the way Nyquil does that).  Some time later, maybe an hour or two, I heard the phone ring.  It was Dude. I didn’t answer, I was too sleepy.

A bit later I woke to this insanely urgent knock on my door.  It was after 1 AM. I was confused like, “WTF?” and then I remembered the gas leak.  Oh no!  So I got up and answered the door.  It was Dude.  He said he had tried to call but I hadn’t answered so he just came by, was that ok?  I told him I was really tired and didn’t feel very well. He said ok, but he had left the pot the other night (indeed he had, I had it stashed) and could he get it?  I agreed, turned to get it from the hiding spot in the bedroom.

He followed, teased me about my pajamas, “What are you wearing?” with a laugh as he gave the waistband of the shorts a little tug. I got the pot, handed it to him, and then pretty much collapsed in the bed.  I guess I thought he would just leave, but he offered to give me a back rub “to help me relax” (because I obviously needed that) and urged me to turn over. I sleepily did.

So, I was sacked out face down on the mattress, half asleep, he was rubbing my back and it was nice and cozy when all of a sudden he yanked my shorts and undies off – one fell swoop! I jerked to sit up but he pushed my face back into the bed, catching my temple on the table at the head of the bed pretty hard.  He straddled me, and I could hear him undoing the belt and the jeans in a frenzy.  I thought HELL NO! and tried to roll over, in the process he got a hold of my right arm and managed to get it pinned under my back as I rolled, torquing out my shoulder pretty good. I tried to push him or maybe hit him with my one free arm, but he grabbed and held it fast, then with his other arm elbowed me in the head. I tried to squirm out from under him kicking and such but only succeeding in twisting my shoulder further – I thought for sure it was going to just pop.  He was using his knees to pry my legs apart while holding my head against the bed by smashing my face with the palm of his hand, I was struggling too much for that to work very well so he planted his knee into my sternum good and hard (knocking the breath from me) and then punched me a few times in the head.

I saw his face then – he had this sick grin I will never ever EVER forget and that was the moment I realized a) he was clearly enjoying himself and b) I wasn’t going to win – he was going to beat the hell out of me and fuck me anyway. So I just stopped fighting.

So, he then raped me. At one point he actually asked me if I was enjoying myself.  At some point he was done, rolled off me and we laid there.  I was so completely defeated, I couldn’t even get up then. I remember his heart was beating so loudly, I said something about I thought it might explode, he laughed and said it must have been all the coke he did before he came over. He got up then and went into the living room to smoke some weed, to “help him relax.” I looked at the time – it was 2:30 and for some reason that, of all things, made me bawl.  He came back in the bedroom and asked what was wrong (!?!).  I cried until I passed out.

I woke when the alarm went off and he was crashed out next to me. Ew ew ew. I showered and quickly got ready for work and then had a heck of a time waking him up so I could leave.  I didn’t want to touch him or talk to him, but I couldn’t just leave him there.  I shook him awake and told him I had to leave right then. We got out into the parking lot and I started getting into my car, he said something like, “Aren’t you even going to say goodbye?” and I replied, “You can’t do this to me again.” He smirked that same sick grin as before and said, “Oh yes, I can.”

That day at work was pretty much hell.  I remember the secretary mentioning that I had got there really early – I had too!  I didn’t take time to eat or make tea or anything, I just wanted to get the fuck out of my apartment. At noon I went to lift weights with a coworker and friend, which was our habit on Thursdays and as we dressed she asked, “What happened to your leg…both of your legs…and your arm…my god your shoulder! Brigid!”  I sheepishly looked away, told her that Dude had been over the night before and it got a little out of hand. I remember her looking at me waiting for me to say more and I didn’t. That was the extent of the reporting.

Of course I didn’t tell anyone, especially the cops.  I felt like an idiot for trusting him, for opening the door, for being stoned, for wearing those pajamas, for not being smarter or stronger or any adjective that would have kept it from happening.

Over the next couple of weeks there were several nights Dude called repeatedly, and then, often, some time later there would be frenetic pounding on my door, him hollering my name.  It was awful – I would squat behind the couch in the dark because if he saw a light or heard noise he wouldn’t go away for long periods of time, sometimes banging on the door for 20 minutes, going out to the car and calling again, leave a message saying he could hear my phone ring, my car was there he knew I was home, then he would come back in and knock some more.  Eventually he gave up.

My Story: Senica Evans

Here is my story;

It was the middle of December 1995; I was a freshman at Whitney Young H.S. on the Westside of Chicago. I lived on the Southside which meant I had to take 2 trains to get to the other side of the city every day. I wasn’t alone in my travels though. My best friend from grammar school, RC, went to the same school. We took the trains together. When we would get to the end of the line, 95th St, we parted ways. I walked the 4 or 5 blocks home alone. There was a KFC and a Burger King on the last block of my daily trek. I frequented both of them, but on this particular day I decided to patronize Burger King. I ordered my usual and exited the store. As I crossed the parking lot, I passed a group of 4 boys. One of them called out to me since I had already passed them. I turned around and said “I’m not walking back so you can catch up“. He obliged. Then there was the usual banter of what’s your name, what school do you go to, etc. The exchange ended with us exchanging numbers. He was older than me, 20 to be exact. He called me that night and we talked for hours. We planned to see each other the next day.

 

The next day, I told my mother I was going ice skating downtown with RC. This was just a rouse as I was meeting him around the corner. We were supposed to go to the skating rink together. I left the house and he was right where he said he would be. He was in a gray 2 door Cutlass. We drove around to an area that was unfamiliar to me. We pulled up to a 3 flat apartment building and he parked the car. He said he would be right back. He had to run to his grandmother’s house for a moment.

 

I sat waiting in the car for what seemed like 15 or 20 minutes. He suddenly reappeared at the car. He opened the door and told me to come in for a second. I exited the vehicle and followed him inside. We walked up the stairs to the third floor. There were two apartment doors on both sides of the stair case. He knocked on one door and there was no answer. He turned as if he were getting ready to head down the stairs and threw me down. I tried to get up but he held me down with his body weight. I was squirming trying to get from underneath him but there wasn’t enough room. I was stuck between the wall and the banister. He held me by my neck with one hand and unfastened his pants with the other. Everything after that become a blur. He took from me something I could never get back, my virginity.

 

When he was done he jumped off me and said “c’mon, I’m gonna take you home”. I felt so low and dirty and ashamed. I walked back to the car staring at the ground. I wanted to run but I didn’t know where I was or how to get home. I got in the car and slumped down in the seat. The weight of everything that just happened hadn’t fully settled in yet. When we got back around my house, he dropped me off in the same place he picked me up. I walked the block home. When I got in the house, I immediately took a shower and went to bed. My mother didn’t have a clue what happened and I intended to keep it that way. I didn’t want a soul to know.

 

One month after the incident, my secret was still safely tucked inside of me. But things slowly started to change. I started sleeping more and was growing increasingly tired. I just thought I was getting sick and quickly dismissed it. Mom, on the other hand, did not dismiss this sudden change in my behavior. She began questioning my every step. There is truly nothing like a mother and her intuition. One day she asked me if I was pregnant and I quickly denied. Pregnant? No, I’m not pregnant! She handed me a pregnancy test and instructed me how to use it. Three minutes later it was confirmed. Yes, I was pregnant.

 

Again, my world came crashing down. I was 14 years old how could I be pregnant. I was a virgin! Well I was before it was stolen right out of my hands. My mother was livid so livid that her baby was not only having sex but also pregnant. She had done everything in her power to teach me about sex and having babies and diseases. But in her world, I completely ignored everything she said. She didn’t speak to me for an entire week. When she finally did talk to me I didn’t have the courage to tell her that as a result of me lying to her I was taken advantage of. She decided I was too young to be a mother. There was no way this was going to happen. I hadn’t even finished high school let alone got into college. The pregnancy was aborted shortly thereafter. I buried this entire incident in the deep dark recesses of my mind to never be talked about again. I hid the hurt, the pain, the embarrassment, and the shame.

 

Today, I am no longer quiet. I found healing through transparency. I have been able to be a shining light to other women and girls who have experienced similar situations. Unfortunately, this was not the end for me. I am a survivor of domestic violence and was married to an abusive controlling spouse. I survived it all. I am a stronger, wiser, better woman because of it. I released all anger, bitterness, and resentment for all the men who have wronged me in my life. Today my life is filled with peace, joy, and true happiness.

Senica Evans is an outspoken survivor, advocate, speaker and author. She has a wonderful website www.SennySen.com where she actively reaches out to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. She recently released a book Married to Him, which is her story of overcoming a marriage filled with deceit, abuse, and infidelity to joy, peace, and deliverance. She also hosts a weekly Blog Talk Radio show entitled Let’s Chat Radio Show where she discusses all things pertaining to relationships from love to lust and romance to destruction.

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PAVE My Stories: Janet A

My Story

My story started in 1989 and ended October 17th 2011 when my ex-husband suffered a stroke and my stepson and I went to his house to find Power of Attorney.  What we found were videos that he had made throughout our marriage where he had secretly drugged and Raped me repeatedly throughout the 4 years I lived with him.  He drugged and Raped me while I was pregnant and while I breastfed my handicapped daughter. Even though I have found no current videos I am sure he has been raping me throughout the past 16 yrs.  He was obsessed with me,  he had easy access to me using my daughters handicap to stay in control.
I can write at this time because I’m not sure what the law is deciding to do. I’m trying to get charges against him in this state with the other women and another for me. One of the other states has a statue of limitations even though I didn’t know at the time I was being drugged and raped until 2011.
I can tell you that the rapes of me on the videos occurred in 2 different states and the videos also included another women in a third state.  I now live in the third state and have been pretty much dismissed.  I will tell you the police department doesn’t care much for me and wish that I would just go away.  When I gave them the tapes and told them what I found they didn’t even bother to look at them.  I thought at the time that they would at least go to his house and see if they could find any other evidence but they didn’t.  My ex’s sister was coming in from out of state and was staying at his house.  I knew that if she found any incriminating evidence she would get rid of it.  I went back and found more videos, ropes, handcuffs, police badges, a vaginal spectrum, containers of pubic hairs, and, guns.
When I spoke to the detective he told me that these things take time they have training and court to attend to and besides I should be comforted to know that he (my ex) was in the hospital with a stroke and can’t do anything and besides it wasn’t in their jurisdiction.  He was more concerned of the fact that I was cussing at him wondering what the hell they were doing.  I asked him about the other women and he stated they hadn’t seen the other women.  That scared me to death. I thought they had gotten rid of the videos! I only had the one video that was proof positive that I was not his only victim!  I contacted the local police in each of the other states and they were concerned.  I’m not sure how sane I would be at this point without them!
The police here have allowed his son and sister full access to the house and I’m sure they have gotten rid of anything they may have found if anything.  After this discovery I found that there were people who knew what he had been doing and his son told me that his dad made him rape a young girl in this fashion when he was 8 or 9 and that he thought that was how you got girls until he met his wife when he was 29. Hum.  Apparently from what I know he had been drugging and raping women for over 40 years.  The last 10 years he worked as a maintenance man at the local college dorms and had the master key to the dorms.  I remember him always bragging how the young girls liked him because he would help them when they partied too much or had boyfriend issues.  I believe that is another reason the local police have done little if any investigation.
I sent a 2 page email to 2 congressmen, 2 senators, and the governor.  I got a letter response from one senator who forwarded my email to the mayor and told if I need anything else to please write. I got another response back from one congressman just to see if the police have done anything yet. I also sent an email to the FBI. Haven’t heard anything, which I’m not surprised. I called the local FBI and they told me they don’t get involved until they hear from the locals.
I am hanging on each day trying not to let my feeling and thoughts get the best of me.  I don’t know what else to do.  I understand it may never go to court I just want them to at least charge him for his crimes.  His son has already told him what we had found so you know there is no way he is ever going to act sane again.  He is not that stupid.  His speech is affected with the stroke and the right side of his body.  He has been showing signs of improvement and his vitals are good.
I need help but I don’t know what. I took 30 days FMLA but spent them all going crazy trying to get someone to listen to me or at least pretend to be do something. I am back at work and walking around pretending that I’m normal and have everything under control.
I’m putting my house up for sale and want to have it ready by March. I need to get the hell out of here. I’m trying to stay busy with that, work and getting my daughter hooked up to outside activities to stay somewhat productive.  I’m even attempting to become a non-smoker. I have moments when I truly understand why people lose their minds and go shooting everything in site and I also understand how a 2 year old feels when they’ve reached their point of frustration when they fall in the middle of the floor and slam their feet and arms and scream at the top of their lungs. It’s not a good feeling!
I have to sit and wonder how many other women are being drugged and Raped and not knowing.  How many are in therapy wondering what the hell is wrong with them. I’m beginning to feel as if it’s acceptable behavior to Rape as long as the victim doesn’t know they are being Raped.
If anybody has any ideas at what I can or need to do, please tell me. My friends are a godsend but just as frustrated as I am in this process.
Just about every question I had the past 22 years was answered in one day.
Thank you for listening to my story,
Janet A.