I became friends with a guy I worked with, he also knew my father and worked on vehicles. I thought he was somebody I could talk to as a friend when things got hard. But he took advantage of me being younger and used my problems against me. He would always ask me for money for his kid and I would help, because that’s what friends do. Eventually, he was acting like he owned me and my money.
I told him we were just friends and nothing else and that I help because I felt bad for him. At the time I thought that we were friends he would listen to my problems and try to give me advice. But after I told him that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, it made him mad. I started noticing that he followed me, watching everything I did. When I would take days off from work, he would know. I told him that he needed to leave me alone because it was getting out of hand.
I worked at a bus service company and one morning I got on the bus when it was still dark outside. He was sitting on the bus and threatened me with a razor blade. I reported it to my boss and nothing was done except a warning. He started leaving teddy bears on my car with cards and flowers. I would leave them right where they were. I told him I could not accept those items and he said he was just being friendly. I told him to please not send me stuff like that because that is how people mistake things. He got into an argument with one of my bus drivers and I got upset because I didn’t understand why he was harassing people. He said he wanted to talk. I had a feeling that it was a bad idea, but I went anyway.
It was in the middle of the night. He took me to some dark park and asked me to perform a sexual act and I told him no. He grabbed me and I pulled away from him. I was afraid because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to get out of the vehicle - the door was broken or taken apart, whatever he did to the car. He got very aggressive and got out of the driver’s side and dragged me by my hair from the passenger side out of the driver side. That night I was raped.
The next day I went to my doctor and reported it, but no police report was made. Months after that I was harassed and stalked every single night. Every time I told somebody, they didn’t believe me. I changed my phone number and he would get it out of the office from where we worked. He would call and just breathe into the phone at night. I would be in my room and there would be a phone light at my window. I had enough of being harassed and stalked. I already blamed myself for the rape - if I wasn’t so friendly, I wouldn’t be in this situation. If I would have stayed home, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I held this guilt and blame over the months and I finally felt that it was time to put an end to this. I reported it and got an Order of Protection.
Ways I cope: I have accepted what happened to me and I just live life and try to be happy. Are there days when I think about it? Yes, there are and I get sad, but I now have a beautiful family and ever since I had him arrested and an Order of Protection against him, I haven’t seen or heard from him. You don’t forget that type of trauma, but you do learn to get through it and how to deal with it. And it makes you stronger!!!!
My advice to others: Do not be afraid to speak up and stand up to somebody because you will always have that thought of, “Why didn’t I speak up?” Always follow that gut feeling…if something doesn’t feel right, then it most likely is not! Pay attention to people and their actions and always your surroundings. If somebody starts showing signs that they are abusive, get away ASAP and do not look back! I know they say second chances, but sometimes you just got to move forward without them! And lastly, don’t blame yourself because no matter what happened, you did not deserve any type of abuse!