Voices and Faces Project

In honor of #TBT I’m celebrating the reprinting of Anne K. Ream and Patricia Evans book Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence and Survivors.
more about the book from Random House:
In these pages you’ll meet a community of rape and sexual violence survivors who have been shaped, but refuse to be defined, by their histories of violence. They are brave, and they are outspoken—but, mostly, they are hopeful.

I was interviewed by Anne and photographed by Patricia years ago near the Santa Monica beach. Although my story of rape is tragic because I kept it a secret for 13 years, it never defined my spirit. As a matter of fact they repeatedly asked me to stop smiling as they photographed me because a smiling woman doesn’t convey the pain and seriousness of the issue.

My stuggle with the aftermath of my rape included promiscuity. It’s ironic and confusing to explain that victims go out and reinact their shame. In nearly all of my sexual interactions I recreated my attack (mostly by demeaning myself) in various ways and with many partners as a way of trying to retake control for the fifteen-year-old girl who had it snatched from her. My efforts always failed. It took a therapist to tell the twenty-eight-year-old me, “You were raped and it’s not your fault,” for me to even understand that I was raped. And she had to do it and say it for a long time before I believed her. Then I had to understand it and accept it.

And there’s my point. Rape comes in many forms. All are gruesome. Let’s take a moment to educate ourselves and our children. Please take a look at the book and the Voices and Faces Website. The website has lots of information and places to get support.

Here is my story. I wrote it in verse.

Rape

by Holly Raychelle Hughes

15 years old.
Raped
On my parents bed.
Raped
While I lay still and thinking
“This is it? This is sex?”
Raped
Staring at the blue fern patterned wallpaper
Raped
Bleeding in the middle of the bed.
Popped.
Raped
How do I keep this secret?
Raped
What did I do to cause this?
Rape.
How old is he, 20?
Raped
My voice, white noise from a transistor
radio across the room, saying “stop”
saying “no”
Raped

My parents aren’t home.
Raped
My friend (?) Tina playing pool downstairs
in the living room with this guy’s friends.
Raped
15 years old and confused,
he’s done.
Raped

He gets up . He’s wearing a condom, where did it
come from? When did he put it on?
Raped
He walks away and down the stairs.

Raped and sitting in my blood.
Raped and standing next to my parents bed,
looking at the bright red blood in the middle of the bed.
Raped

In the afternoon.
Raped
and cleaning up the mess on my parent’s bed.
Raped
The dog jumps up and begins licking the bloody sheets.
Raped
and not understanding sex or why
he wanted to have sex with me.
Raped
15 years old

I stand at the top of the stairs leaning over the black banister
and call him back upstairs.
Everyone in the pool room cheers.
Raped
He complies.
He walks upstairs and I lead him to my bedroom.
Four purple walls covered in Duran Duran posters.
Stuffed animals bear witness to my platform bed.
Raped
I lay down again,
there’s another condom.
I try to learn what he is doing.
Raped

I try to pretend it’s my choice.
Raped

It’s over again.
Raped
He goes back downstairs,
Raped
I clean myself off.
I put all the sheets in the wash.
Raped
I bleed for one week from the wound.
Raped
He said he couldn’t believe it was my first time
Raped.

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