Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia

I ask my guests to dig deep. This is an especially harrowing guest post by writer and blogger Cindy Brown. I’m honored this is her very first guest post. When I suggested something raw and honest about her past, her first pass was about giving up cursing. It was great — but I knew there was more to this strong, sassy woman.

Giving her my typical Lorrie Moore quote: Write something you’d never show your mother or father, I in no way expected this level of truth. Astounded and proud, I asked her, “Are you sure about this?” “Yup,” she replied.

Please read, follow her Twitter, blog, Facebook…I’m honored to know her. We welcome your comments below!

Bad Things Come in Threes

 

I write a humor blog called Everyday Underwear. Recently, I wrote a piece titled, “Excuse Me, But Are Those Real?” where I talk about true things about me that at one time or another, people didn’t believe. The two I cited were humorous and normal observances: 1) My boobs are real 2) My teeth are naturally straight. There was a third thing, however, that didn’t quite fit into my humor post.

3) I’ve been raped three times.

I stared at the screen in disbelief. My stomach felt sick and a lump appeared in my throat, making it difficult to swallow. My face flushed hot and red, as a sudden personal heat wave permeated the cool room. My heart skipped a beat. I had bared my soul. I had put my story of hardship and healing out there for the world and this is what I get?

Online commenting was a new thing at that time. I anxiously waited to see what was said about my story. SAFE (Sexual Assault and Family Emergencies) had the idea to share my journey and they arranged for an interviewer from the local paper to come to my home. We agreed I would use a pseudonym.

I was so impressed that the newspaper not only put the article on the front page of the print version, but that it was available online as well – with a comment section! I hadn’t written the article. The article was about me. I couldn’t wait! By allowing my story to be shared, did I help someone come to terms with their own rape? Who would reach out? What kind of wonderful comments, support, and emotional sympathy would I receive?

I stared at the screen again and read the single comment. This couldn’t be! I stood up and paced the room. I was on fire, a burning soul filled with the fuel of anger. Who do I call? How do I get this removed? Who would do such a thing? I sat and read the comment again.

“This story can’t be true. Nobody gets raped three times unless they are in prison or asking for it.”

I stewed. I waited. I checked the page frequently. One more commenter thanked me for sharing, but the overshadowing of the first statement blackened my spirit. That was it; two comments. It’s a miracle I had the nerve to pursue being a blogger all of these years later. But I had helped someone. SAFE told me they had a client come in because she read my story. That gave me hope.

I could have let fear keep me from writing and sharing again. I could have said, “Forget it; there is only negativity in this world.” But no, I was determined even more now to share my story. “Later,” I thought, “in a book.”

The idea of fear controlling me came clearly to the forefront. It was fear that put me in the situation to be raped. The commenter (I assumed it was a man because surely a woman could not be so crass about rape, right?) was correct. I was neither a criminal nor a slut, but I WAS in prison.

My life had been a prison of fear and self-loathing since that first rape.

I’ll never forget that evening. I was so excited. I had been asked out by one of the most popular boys in school. Me! I wasn’t super popular. I was kind of middle ground. I had a friend who was in the upper echelon of popularity, and so by proxy, I was accepted at times. But nothing like this had ever happened.

I was just sixteen. I was ready for the date an hour early. I stared out the window, scanning the road for headlights, wondering if this could be the best night of my life, eager for the adventure. Where would he take me to dinner? Would we go see a movie? He hadn’t told me what we were going to be doing, but I was dressed and ready for whatever he wanted to do. He was an hour late.

The doorbell chimed and my mother invited him in and greeted him while I tried not to look ready, even though I’d been waiting for two hours. I was so proud! This was a very popular boy (an upper classmen even) and he was taking me on a date. He was a preppy dresser and everyone liked him. Upon entering, the normally gregarious and verbally interactive young man seemed reluctant to talk to my mother. “Odd,” I thought, “maybe he’s nervous, but he certainly isn’t being very polite. What’s wrong with him?”

We went out to the car and I was caught off guard. Another boy was driving the car. My date gestured for me to sit in the back with him. I naively thought perhaps he had arranged for this friend to chauffeur. I was not prepared for what happened next.

It didn’t take two seconds after the car backed out of the driveway before he was all over me. I knew right then why he hadn’t spoken to my mother. He was stinking drunk. His breath was revolting, disgusting, and telling of why he was an hour late. He’d been drinking some kind of hard liquor; that was certain.

Our house was in a small subdivision just outside town. The driver, a boy I was familiar with but didn’t know well, drove us to a dark country road behind the subdivision and parked. He turned up the music. My “date” got more and more aggressive. I was embarrassed that he was doing this and not only that, but with another boy right there in the car! The driver ignored us, eyes forward, tapping the steering wheel to the beat of the music. Don’t ask me what was playing. My mind was elsewhere.

As he forced himself upon me, I received my first of many lessons in the meaning of the phrase “paralyzed with fear.” This is the part in the story where people who have never been raped ask the most stupid questions. Why didn’t you fight? Why didn’t you scream for the other boy to help you? These are the questions of a person who has never had the dead weight of a drunken boy on top of you, violating you in a confined space.

At first my voice was audible, “Stop, please stop, no!” I repeated the words over and over. There was no response to my words from either boy. The driver intended to ignore, and he did, or at least pretended not to notice what was taking place. My “date” was too busy with his agenda to hear my plea.

It was as though my voice became smaller and smaller and smaller until it literally imploded in a tiny “poof” and was gone. Adrenalin coursed through my body so strongly that instead of giving me strength, it made my muscles feel like jelly. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t fight. I couldn’t move. I heard my heartbeat, but I was paralyzed. I was in shock.

When he was done with me, he got into the front seat of the car and told me they were going to a party at such-and-such’s house and he asked if I wanted to go.

I don’t remember my exact words, but I said something along the lines of, “No, I don’t want to go to any damn party with you. Let me out of this car!”

I stood on the edge of the road. As the car drove away in the night, I watched the taillights. I didn’t move an inch. They turned the corner and were gone. To this day, I can’t tell you who the driver was. I can’t tell you what the car looked like. I don’t even know the date that it happened, as my diary is long lost.

I watched my dream date drive away and marveled at how quickly he had transformed into my worst nightmare.

I left something very important in that car that night; those boys drove off with my self-respect. In a matter of twenty minutes, my life had changed forever. I would never be the same. My life as a woman, as a human, would be shaped and molded by this event in ways that wouldn’t be revealed or understood by me or to anyone else until eighteen years later in intense therapy.

The night was silent. I was neither cold, nor hot, but I don’t recall what time of year it was, other than I know it wasn’t winter. The results of trauma are strange. I remember the events clearly, but other details are inexplicably gone. In pattern form, the other rapes ended up just the same, clear memory of the trauma, all other details fuzzy. It’s an opposite response than many who have experienced such events.

I would rather be one of the ones who can’t remember the trauma.

I wasn’t even fifty yards from my house. I walked home, but was too humiliated to enter the house and tell anyone what happened. I sat behind the house on the sidewalk for a few hours and waited, waited, waited until the lights went out and I snuck back in.

I should have turned him in. I should have told someone. The humiliation and degradation of the night’s events were too much. I just wanted to forget it. I wanted to erase it. I wanted to be numb. I don’t remember ever seeing the boy again. If I did, I have blocked it from memory completely. I must have seen him at school. To this day, I’m sure he has no idea of the magnitude of the trauma he caused me and the resulting events that took place in the shattered life he left on the side of the road. As drunk as he was, he may not even remember raping me.

Twenty years later, I was on Facebook, trolling friends’ friends to find old classmates to connect with. I saw a picture and name jump off the screen. It was him. I literally shot up out of the chair and yelled out loud. I never thought I would see him again. But there he was. The trauma I thought I had dealt with in therapy came boiling to the surface again.

So many urges and thoughts went through my mind in that instant, I cannot even begin to explain them. The things I wanted to do! Oh, oh, oh, the things I wanted to do swirled above my head like a swarm of angry bees. Emotions spilled out and I screamed at the air in release. I felt as though I might pass out. Once again, I was in shock.

I stared at the picture, injecting venom into each pixel with my stare. His once lush head of thick hair… gone.

“Thank God, at least the asshole is balding,” I thought.

 

If you need prescription medication to treat B.O.Y.B. (Bored-Off-Your-Butt)
syndrome, please check out my humor blog, Everyday Underwear…
About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Rachel is the creator and founder of #MondayBlogs and #SexAbuseChat and an advocate for sexual abuse survivors. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Comments

  1. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/C1C0Le1O

  2. This is me applauding both Cindy and Rachel for the guts it takes to share this. It’s uncomfortable and creepy, and you both open yourself up to scrutiny like commenters on that first article, but you had the power to say, “I don’t care what you think of me, this is the truth.” We need you.

    • Lorca, I hope to receive no insulting comments this time – as a reward for the first time I talked about this issue. As a writer, I am learning that nobody is ever going to agree with everything I say or put out there – and that is okay. I don’t mind. I have learned to develop some tough skin over the years while at the same time developing the understanding it requires to deal with the haters.

      Thanks so much for your comments!

  3. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/M9K7ZeV1 via @RachelintheOC

  4. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/oTRZGDxH via @RachelintheOC

  5. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/kNQ0AfC2 via @RachelintheOC

  6. Great to see you here Cindy. I adore you and your courage. I hope you have found a place of healing and support. xxoxo

    • Aww, thank you Jessica! I have courage now like you wouldn’t believe. Confidence and boldness have replaced the fear and self-loathing I once felt. I AM HEALED and am so happy about that. I am blessed. Thanks for your comments and for sharing my story.

  7. #MentionMonday Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/WsAJwe2a A harrowing story of violation Plz RT

  8. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/7bUl5nfL via @RachelintheOC

  9. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/ykLbmcLf via @RachelintheOC

  10. Hi Cindy. Thanks for sharing this powerful story and I am so sorry that this happened to you. What I do want to tell the readers is that statistically, once a woman has been raped she has a greater chance of being raped again (there are a number of significant variables). Too bad your commenter didn’t try to educate himself instead of just being a douche bag.

    • Thanks TL. I appreciate your comments and helping to spread the word. People think attitudes have changed about reporting rapes and they have — to an extent. But as Steve mentioned earlier, the sentences are still appallingly short.

    • I can definitely say that is true and I know why women get raped again after being raped once – it’s the whole self-esteem issue. Where can you really go from there once your body is devalued? I plan to write about it in the book. It might just be the first one I start, I don’t know. I have so many ideas for books! An interesting life full of many traumas has given me ample writing material ;0)

  11. Dear Cindy – first of all – I will gather a band of women brandishing baseball bats to accompany you to the balding asshole’s home and hit him so that he can never use his equipment again. Second – you and I both have teenage daughters, I wonder, have you shared this when them. I may share your story with my daughter…..

    Lots of love and kisses to you for sharing!!!
    Lisa

    • I, too, have a teenage daughter (just turned 13) and I did share Cindy’s story with her. She was appalled and shocked — and asked me to put her back in karate. :)

      • Wow, really? That’s awesome! I do feel like if I had a self-defense class or something under my belt, I would have been more prepared. I just wasn’t at all prepared and was stunned. I would never be that way again, I’ll tell you that. 3rd time was a charm, LOL. I learned to stop being a victim and be a victor.

    • Lisa, thanks for the support – I know you will always have my back! And yes, a few people close to me had some concern initially over me sharing this story and so I did sit my girls down and share this with them in a shorter summarized way. They were both eager for me to go ahead and share it.

  12. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/IwD4Py9b via @RachelintheOC

  13. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/3cUevoXu

  14. Yes. Just…yes.
    I am standing straight and tall, applauding your strength and the bravery it took to write this post. To let strangers in and open yourself to potentially judmental and hurtful responses…to help others.
    What an amazing, strong woman you are. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

    • Thank you, Chris. Cindy IS amazing and her story is powerful. What I especially admire is her bravery in sharing this experience. Something we all can learn from. xo

    • Thank you, Chris. I guess I am hearing that I am brave, but it’s just me. I’ve only not shared because others have discouraged it in the past. You know me, I want to scream everything from the rooftops. Who will listen? I know you will and I thank you for that, my dear. xo

  15. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/gFvMenH9 via @RachelintheOC

  16. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/LtTIfv8k via @RachelintheOC

  17. Please check out my very first guest post today at http://t.co/SofCWgvS #BLWriters #rapesurvivor

  18. Holy crap, Cindy. Good on you for sharing your story. Shame on that person who suggested that it was untrue or deserved. We rarely have control over what happens to us, only over our attitude in response. And yours is amazing: you have responded with humor, a full life, and a generous willingness to share the painful truth with others. My grandmother was a child of rape, and it has impacted our entire family for three generations. Nothing much surprises me, except the resilience of the human spirit.

  19. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/JXPOjSPG via @RachelintheOC

  20. Well, I am nothing if not resilient. I’m like a super bouncy ball! LOL! I’ve had so many tests in life, I can pass them with my eyes closed – ha ha. The humor I present in life is a product of hiding the pain for many years. You know, I thought, “If I appear happy and jovial, people will believe that I am.” Now, I just AM and it’s wonderful. Thanks for your comments, Cara. *Hugs*

  21. Cindy, my heart broke reading your story, I feel so bad for your teenage self, and for all those painful years caused by someone who might not even have the humanity to feel badly about it. It seems you’ve found a way to still be amazing, and I hope that’s really the case. I don’t have any great words of wisdom or insight or healing to offer, other than to say I am so sorry that happened to such a lovely spirit. I wish things had been different for you, and I hope the future is much brighter than the past.

    • Well, thank you, Fred. I must say that it certainly is brighter now. I feel as though certain things in my life are rewards for what I went through when I was younger. One is my husband, another is my writing career. Thank you so much for your comments. It was a rough thing to go through, but what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger – and that’s the truth!

  22. @RachelintheOC @hiyacynthia Srsly, that was a #powerful post, torn between anger and sadness.Everyone should read this: http://t.co/OlKkvpgW

  23. #MentionMonday Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/ccfWOzNK A terrifying account you must share…

  24. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/22NjYbcQ

  25. Cindy, your strength in coming forward now will inspire many women who have endured the same trauma. As a humor writer, I’m sure you’ve encountered your share of people who think it’s easy for you to laugh and be funny because you must’ve had an easy life. They fail to realize that each of us has the option of choosing to laugh, some people just don’t make the right choice.

    • You are exactly right, Cindy! One of my goals as a writer is for people to know the real me. There are no masks anymore and they need to know that I paid a price in life for my happiness now. Many, many tears and sorrows – but I always hid it… stuffed it until it exploded out of me like a volcano. There is peace for people like me if we just take the time to make it happen for ourselves. Living in self-pity and misery is no way to live.

  26. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/yZQoAZws via @RachelintheOC

  27. @BloggyMoms My first guest post is up. Not my usual humor, but significant for rape survivors – http://t.co/SofCWgvS

  28. Wow, Cindy. Your story hit me very hard. I am so sorry for what happened to you. The world is so raw and people are barbaric. Wishing you peace now and laughs in your present day. Love too.

    • Don’t worry, Justin, if you read my stuff for very long, I will make you laugh 90% of the time! This was a real departure for me from the humor writing, but I have so many important stories to tell. This is only the first in a string of many book subjects I have in mind. I do have peace and laughs and love now and am very happy in life. Thank you for your comment ;0)

  29. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/Qc7brtjT via @RachelintheOC

  30. My very 1st guest post is being well received. I normally write humor, but this is a serious piece about rape. http://t.co/SofCWgvS #writer

  31. My very 1st guest post is being well received. I normally write humor, this is a serious piece about rape http://t.co/erhAim6Z #writer

  32. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/pF40dFus via @RachelintheOC

  33. You can overcome traumas from your past. Don’t let them eat away at you like a cancer! http://t.co/ZGiZ6IMx #Healing #Strength #Hope #Anger

  34. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/Mux44RF0 via @RachelintheOC

  35. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/uU0tV74C via @RachelintheOC

  36. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/i3O0D2XL via @RachelintheOC

  37. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/UC2bPUHp via @RachelintheOC

  38. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/B2MxEeow via @RachelintheOC

  39. Overcome traumas from your past. Don’t let them eat away at you like a cancer! http://t.co/eRM0Vw92 via @hiyacynthia

  40. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/iO4fCU9R via @RachelintheOC

  41. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/gGzHG3fI via @RachelintheOC

  42. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/ofznkol5 via @RachelintheOC

  43. I have gotten so many RT’s on my first guest post, I’m waiting for Oprah to call, LOL! Thanks to everyone! for sharing! http://t.co/SofCWgvS

  44. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/8cpvr50Q via @RachelintheOC

  45. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/LtZwDVEu A harrowing story of violation Plz RT @amberrisme

  46. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/OM4h5AMd via @RachelintheOC

  47. Rec’d so many RT’s on my 1st guest post, I’m waiting for Oprah to call, LOL! Thx! http://t.co/erhAim6Z via @hiyacynthia

  48. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia generating amazing comments on my blog: http://t.co/TuXWOnyq #brave #rape

  49. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia has generated some amazing comments on my blog: http://t.co/qkmNajpM #brave

  50. If you’ve had a trauma from rape, even if it was years ago, you can still heal! My story: http://t.co/SofCWgvS

  51. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/8NecIEVr via @RachelintheOC

  52. A fellow blogger friend opens up about the first time she was raped. A case of date rape at the young age of 16. http://t.co/0mEjkT8p

  53. If you’ve had a trauma from rape, even if it was years ago, you can still heal! My story: http://t.co/ZGiZ6IMx

  54. I was chatting with 2 girlfriends one day and a funny comment turned a bit dark, and then one of my friends blurted out: I was raped when I was in college. Without really intending to, I said, “I was too. At 18.” And then my other friend said, “Me too. High school party”. It happens so much more than people know, because the nature of the trauma is shame, self-loathing, and fear, and that’s enough to keep a lot of women (especially very young women) buried in silence.

    I’m so proud of your courage, Cynthia, and so happy for you that you’ve conquered this demon enough to write of it so eloquently.

    • Thanks, Jo! I have so many more stories to tell. This one was just the beginning. It was really the first trauma of many, many, many to come in my life. I feel like I’ve lived multiple lifetimes, I’ve had so many experiences. And yes, it isn’t talked about frequently enough! So many people think, “It’s only me – I’m the only one who has ever had this happen.” That is never true, but we let ourselves be deceived anyway. I really didn’t realize until years later how low this event took me, the path it let me down. Stifling my pain didn’t help anything! So glad to share this now. Response has been phenomenal!

  55. If you’re a woman, or love one… How rape can shape a life @hiyacynthia “You can still heal!” Her story http://t.co/HophgFph

  56. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/200JPEUQ A harrowing story of violation @amberrisme Plz RT

  57. If ur a woman, or love 1: How rape can shape a life @hiyacynthia “You can still heal!” http://t.co/eRM0Vw92 via @RachelintheOC

  58. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/QPFn1POA via @RachelintheOC

  59. Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia http://t.co/ftjHhOEr via @RachelintheOC

  60. I know how you feel Cindy. I saw my abusers photo on the front page of the Saturday Newspaper when I bought it. 30 years of shut out memories came flooding back. I understand your reactions because I had the same ones.

    Thank you for having the courage to share.

    • Hi Patrick. I was looking at this link for something and saw that I had comments I didn’t know were here. I still have you in my e-mail messages for a proper response one day. Thinking about you and your journey. So glad you have been able to speak out as well! It is strange, isn’t it, how an old memory can spark a current reaction. Shocking, really. That’s part of what made me want to talk about it. I know that if I am as strong a person as I am, it must be exponentially harder for those who might not have my strength when something like that happens. Life is tragically hard, but wonderfully rich. It’s my daily challenge to just stay focused on what makes me feel “rich” and forget the tragedies.

  61. I have learned in life that God is the dealer, it is up to us how we play our hand. Do we just hold and hope the dealer overdraws or do we ask for more in hopes that we are a winner by the decisions we make. I believe you are a winner because you are using positively the ugly that was jammed in your memory forever. You decided to ask for another card dealt to your hand. That card demanded you use your God given talents to communicate to others for their benefit. Your descriptive narrative brings reality to the reader about an indelible event. I believe this crime to be one of the most heinous of mankind because of its lasting damage. You are so valuable to the reader as you are. Set aside the dark shadows of reality and replace it with mature experience as you are demonstrating in your writing. It’s time for some exciting fiction that is based on the maturity of life that you can enjoy sharing with your readers. Keep writing lady it is fun to be one of your readers.

    • Oh, Tom, I so treasure your words! I intend to write lots of material in order to both entertain and help others deal with their past. Thank you for saying how mature I come across in my writing. I once had an older friend of mine who is quite book smart tell me that I was very wise. Hearing those things does make it easier for me to keep writing, knowing I have value and am not just blathering on and on about things one would not care about. Well, some days I write about that, but not most :)

  62. David Lewis says:

    As a proud, bald man, I liked this article till the end…

    Well written story. Hopefully more people realize it’s okay to speak up.

    • Ha ha! That’s funny. Stay proud, brother, stay proud! And thank you for the compliment. Speaking up is one of the things I’m best at and having the nerve to put it out there for the whole world to see has been a process for me. Response has been very positive and supportive and I’m quite glad. People can really be mean and awful on the internet sometimes. Thank you for taking the time to read my piece.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Bad Things Come In Threes by guest @hiyacynthia [...]

  2. […] Please join me in a big welcome back to Cindy Brown. This post continues Cindy’s story after her last post on Rachel in the OC, Bad Things Come in Threes. […]

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