Rape [part 2] Son of a Sheriff. © Dakini Verona 2010
I sure wish that I could say that I shot the son of the sheriff, the way Clapton sang about shooting the sheriff. But it never happened, only in my wildest dreams and fantasies. As I was saying.. I was alone in the dark streets of Sarasota, Florida [rape part 1]. I was 14 years old.
|Eric Clapton sang I Shot the Sheriff|
My rage had subsided as quickly as it rose. I was blindly walking now, trying to figure out how I would get home. I couldn’t call my parents. No. That would never work, to admit I had been wrong. So I continued to walk and hoped a solution would rise from the dark.
I heard the car pulling up behind me, it was one of those large muscle types of cars. The kind that had a trunk so big you could easily sneak in 4 kids to the drive-in theatre. The kind that you could find 6 rambunctious boys hooting it up on a Saturday night. In retrospect, the kind that you should never get into, even when you know the occupants.
The windows were rolled down and they called to me as they paced my path. They recognized me from Venice, where I went to school. I was the outcast. The Hippie Chick that no one wanted to talk to. Well, not until tonight anyway. I recognized a couple of them from town. They were older than me, probably seniors or at least juniors.
They had a car, after all. They had been drinking, but that is no excuse for what was about to occur. They found a place to pull over and two of the boys got out of the car. They told me I was heading to a bad neighborhood and that there were lots of “N-----s” in the area. In hind-sight I would have to say that these boys were surly up and coming members of the Klan. I had seen more than one white robe during my brief visits to the south. They did not agree with the Civil Rights movement and wanted the south to rise again. They were clearly feeding my fear of the unknown and knew the right words to convince me that I would be safer with them, then in the streets. I should have listened to my gut and stayed in the street.
The sensed my resistance to get in the car and used all their collective sweet-talking skills to lure me closer to the car. The boy driving was clearly the leader of the “pack”. He told me that I should trust him, because after all, his father was the sheriff.
I reluctantly got in the front seat. They convinced me that they were doing me a favor by giving me a ride. When they turned the car around, they told me that I had to hide under the dash, because they were not supposed to have any girls in the car. The leader said that they didn’t want to get in trouble for helping me out, since they didn’t know me that well.
I obeyed, and ducked under the legs of the guy riding shotgun. I fit ok, but it was uncomfortable as you can imagine. They had the music on rather loud and I could barely hear them talking above me heads, being so close to the speaker and all. I wonder when they planned the next step. I imagine it must have been before they picked me up, since it seemed to go without hesitation.
The car suddenly turned off the main road and when I tried to get up, the leader said he was taking a short cut to my house. The other boy held me down in that dark space under the glove box. When I looked up I could no longer see the street lights of the small city and instead saw a dark sky. I was getting very nervous at this point, but became frozen with fear.
I was not one much for praying, but that night I did my share of asking any God to help me survive what was about to come down. When we pulled onto a dirt road, my worst fears began to surface. I struggled to get up, but was no match for the boy’s strength.
Finally, the car came to a stop. The leader came around and opened the door. They each held my wrists and began to pour whiskey into my mouth. I gasped and choked, but they did not let up until the entire bottle was empty. Another bottle of the liquid courage was being circulated among the onlookers.
I frantically looked from side to side and saw that we were in the middle of a swamp at the end of a dirt road. The trees loomed overhead, with their ghostly Spanish Moss drooping from their sparse branches. There was no escape. Even if I managed to get away, I had no idea where I was, or where to go. There were 6 of them and only one of me. In my “Sunday Best” no less.
I had so many regrets running though my mind. I tried to keep my thoughts intact to prevent me from losing my mind. Suddenly I heard a scream. I was shocked when I realized it had come from inside of me. It must have been one of those survival reflexes that we hear about so often. However, there was no one to hear it. The next sound I heard was the resonating smack of a slap across my mouth followed by a shout to shut up or else!
I obeyed, to avoid more pain. Again, something took over and pushed me aside to the safety of that corner. I curled up inside, pulling my knees snugly to my chest and buried my face into my knees. I tried to not look or listen to what was going on, but sometimes I was forced to respond. Shock is a funny thing and affects each person differently. That night, at that moment, I withdrew deep to avoid the pain. I was so far removed from the events, that I felt as though I was watching this act from up in a tree.
The leader was first, of course. He requested the assistance from his lackeys and they pulled off my beautiful outfit, tossing it aside in the mud beneath their feet. My pants were yanked off and my panties shredded as a part of the ritual.
I kicked and fought, but was again, no match. Two boys in the front held an arm and leg, another at my head, holding my arm up and out, to keep me from pushing him off. The one free leg was not free for long. The leader grabbed my thigh and forced me open. I thought I would tear in half with the force. I knew what it felt like to be drawn and quartered, with the added suffering of violation.
Each of the onlookers waited, not so patiently for their turn, shouting encouragement and hooting in triumph when they completed the vial act.
From where I was looking, I could see a girl being hurt. The thrashing about had finally stopped and the screams had subsided. The only movement visible was that of the attackers, as they took what they felt was theirs. The only sounds were the grunts from the boys and a small barely audible whimpering from the wounded girl.
Back in the car, the boy that went last had a horrified look on his face. I could see his desperation as he tried to live up to his friend’s ordering him to “be a man”. I felt his tears on my face as he whispered his own regrets in my ear. He refused to hurt me, but did not have the strength to fight back the [hanging mentality]. He feigned the act, as he gently held me and told me that I would be ok.
If it had not been for that boy’s kind words and actions, I don’t think I would have survived. When they were finished they huddled together to decide my fate. They gathered what was left of my clothes and threw them to me, ordering me to get dressed.
I was again to sit in the floorboard under the glove box. I reeked of sex, sweat, mud and swamp water. I could not wait to get out of that hole and breathe some fresh air.
On the way, the leader told me that I shouldn’t bother to report anything, since he was the son of a sheriff and I was just a dirty hippie chick. No one would believe me, they would think that I was just expressing my idea of free love.
I decided then and there that I did not want to go up against this guy. I had tried to report being molested in the past and that did me no good. In fact, when others found out I was molested they blamed me. This time I would not tell anyone. Ever.
I was ejected from the car, not too far from where they picked me up, but much worse for wear. I wandered around in a daze until dawn and found myself in a trailer park (there are tons of them in Florida). There was a young boy, around my age, maybe a little bit younger. He asked me what happened (I guess I must have looked a site!).
I told him I ran away from home. We talked a bit and then he asked me if I was hungry. I think he realized that something was wrong with me. It may have been the glazed look in my eyes, or the bruised face, or the way I reeked. Nonetheless, he seemed like he was trying to help me. So, I allowed him to.
He brought me a blanket and some food. He told me that I could stay under his trailer for a few days until I could figure out what to do. I was mostly comatose at that point and it did not take much convincing for me to crawl into another dark hole, but this one seemed like a safe cave. I was alone with my thoughts for three days.
I woke on the third day and when I say woke.. I mean really AWOKE. I knew I needed to get home. I bid farewell to my little savior and left the park in search of a pay phone. I called my parents and they came to get me. They seemed to have bought the story about me being mad and wanting to stay away for a few days. I think they were afraid to ask what really happened. I think they were very afraid to hear the truth.
Looking back I know that the kidnapping/rape was one of those defining moments in my life. It further perpetuated the victim role which I was becoming comfortable with. It would be many decades before I was able to escape the effects of that ordeal. I sit here, as I write this and am surprised at the profound effect it has on me still. The burden is a bit lighter, but my heart hurts for that young girl.
I wonder what happened to that gang of boys. I hope that the leader came to an early demise and a not so pleasant one. I would spit on his grave if I knew where it was…
I am sure that another life was changed through the events.. and that is the life of the boy that cried for me that night. I am forever grateful for his kindness, as he showed me that not all of those boys were animals. I am sure he has scars as well. I wish him peace.
And if my mom and dad were alive today, I would tell them what happened to their little girl a very long time ago. I would tell them that it was not their fault. That I forgive them for not protecting me.
Now I have to forgive myself yet one more time. I know it is ok. I know that it will pass. It is over and I am safe and they will not hurt me again.
So why, why why.. do I still cry?