My name is Caroline. I was date raped and gang raped as a 22 year old on August 15th, 2014. To this day, no one has heard the full story. This is the first time I’ve felt comfortable enough to share it, with the intention that someone else who is struggling will find hope and healing.

I don’t know how or when it happened exactly, but he began drugging me early on at his house party. As the hours passed and people began leave for the night, I started to feel the physiologic effects of what he had given me. I felt ill and my vision began to go. I recall falling and lying helplessly on the floor, too exhausted to move. The “friend” I was with saw this and told him to lookout out for me as she left. As she headed out, he took the liberty of lying down next to me, opening my mouth, and feeding me capsules he had packed. 

My memory goes blank at that point. I only remember faint snippets of what occurred after, though they lasted for what seemed like an eternity. 

He dragged me up the staircase by my hair until we reached his bedroom.

He placed me on his bed with my head and back flush against the mattress. 

Time skips. My memory fades to black. 

I opened my eyes and he was kneeling, naked, across from me on the bed. He was stroking himself, almost in a prideful way. He uttered the most eerie and chilling phrase that I will take to my grave—“This needs to be inserted now.”

At that moment, I was confused and terrified—he was a friend of mine that I had known since high school. Why was he doing this? What did he give me? 

He began to crawl on his hands and knees towards me. His light blue eyes morphed into an opaque shade, exposing his crippling thoughts and violent intentions.

I strained my head and neck in an attempt to sit up, but I couldn’t. I mustered up all of my strength to lift my right arm, but nothing moved. It was as if every inch of me had been set in concrete. My body was heavy, motionless, paralyzed; yet my mind was alert and racing. 

Panic set in. 

I mouthed “no,” but he held me down by my throat and raped me. I struggled to breathe. He was choking me, but he just smiled. There was nothing I could do to protect myself. 

I vaguely remember colorful lights as well as warped faces and bodies leaning over me. There were others—I recall their dehumanizing laughs, none of which I recognized. He was not alone in this act. They took turns. This led me to realize that he was not my only rapist.

I woke up the next afternoon in a dazed state with about ten hours unaccounted for. I slowly sat up in his bed and began to look for my clothes—the clothes I did not remember taking off. When I found my bra, it was ripped down the center. I felt waves of nausea and anxiety wash over me—what happened last night? 

While I continued to rifle around his bedroom, he woke up and immediately started yelling at me to leave his house. Alarmed, I grabbed my things and stumbled down the stairs as quickly as I could. One of his roommates was at the bottom of the stairs waiting and immediately acknowledged how upset I was. He stretched out his arms, hugged me, and whispered, “I’m sorry, no one should ever be treated that way.” With those words, I fell into his embrace and began to cry. After a few moments, I pushed his roommate away, found my keys in my purse, and drove home. 

I do not remember anything after that until a few weeks following the attack. Throughout those weeks I fell physically and mentally ill, taking on a zombie-like state. Within a month the hypervigilance, insomnia, and paranoia set in. All of these factors left me plagued with an insidious rage. I consequently fell into unhealthy coping rituals and activities in hopes of regaining control over my life. However, these only perpetuated my delusions and landed me in the hospital. 

It has been a while now, yet I still deal with sinister flashbacks and triggers on a daily basis. But I’ve learned to embrace this challenging and straining journey because I do not want to be the one who was robbed of everything. I want to be the woman who lives a productive life as a result of overcoming such horrors. I am in the process of becoming that strong woman and I have accepted that this will be a life long journey. Finally sharing my story will help me get there. I am making it through and will soon move from just surviving to thriving. 

To those of who are struggling, it will get better. You will heal and in time, you will be able to experience every joy that life has to offer. I honestly believe that it's a miracle I'm alive, because the odds of me coming out of what I've been through were slim...but I came out of it all because I never stopped fighting. And you shouldn't either.