At age 14 I was just learning what self-expression was as I was going through full-blown puberty and preparing for the transition to high school. I thought I had finally found a safe haven where I could go to be myself, the local music scene. I had made a bunch of friends on Facebook and was so excited to finally meet them and check out live music.

It was all wonderful and I had a blast. To make things even more exciting, or so I thought, a cute guy who was at least 18 or older signaled for me to leave the room where the bands were playing in. He told me he wanted to be alone and away from the noise so we could talk. He led me to one of the other rooms which was part of an abandoned movie theater. He immediately kissed me. Stunned yet flattered, I kissed back. I had never been kissed before. But then he put his hands on me and forced me down on the ground demanding I perform oral on him. I kept trying to get up but he told me to not worry and to just go along with it. I kept saying I should go, glancing and trying to move towards the door. When he realized I wouldn’t comply he took me to the back of the room where the screen was and forced me behind the curtain.

He held me in place as he forced his hand down my shorts. I was trembling and shaking and in shock. He pushed me onto my hands and knees, and there was broken glass all over the floor. My hands were cut up as he forced himself on and in me. I was in so much pain and I cried. Finally he was tired of me being stiff and telling him to stop that he let me go. I went to the bathroom and he had the audacity to follow me and tell me not to tell anyone. He watched me as I washed the blood and glass from my hands and wiped my face. I had to lie to my friends and others who questioned what happened and where I was.

One nice couple bandaged my hand that wouldn’t stop bleeding. I said I fell on concrete outside. I went home and showered for over an hour. I felt disgusting. I didn’t realize at the time it was rape. I didn’t even fully understand the concept of sex then. It wasn’t until last year that I spoke out about it. The year of my rape I moved to a different state. But last year I moved back for college. I started going to local shows again, made new friends, and even fell in love.

I was happy and confident. I was recovering. Until I went to one show and my rapist was there. He kept staring me and my boyfriend at the time down. He kept his distance so I kept my panic to myself. A few months later at a house show that my boyfriend was playing, he was there again. This time while moshing he decided to go out of his way to where I was standing against the wall watching the band, just so he could repeatedly hit me in the head until I was on the ground cowering and crying. I went outside immediately after. I was talking to my boyfriend as he was calming me down (he was well aware of everything) when other people came over to check on me and I ended up venting everything.

Well, that just started drama and it led to my boyfriend being punched in the face by my rapist. A nightmare. We left and by the next morning my life was ruined. Words were twisted, lies spread, names confused, my story wasn’t heard correctly, and everyone was calling me a liar because my rapist was their friend. I got threats. I was no longer welcomed at local shows or else I would get hurt. My boyfriend left me, even when I needed him the most. I already have been dealing with mental illness but all of this almost led me to suicide. But I went to a psychiatric ER just in time. Now I’m getting treatment for my PTSD and now I’m able to openly talk about my story with my mother, my friends, and with other survivors.

A huge amount of people still will not ask me for my actual story and I still can’t go to local shows but I have freedom in knowing and telling the truth, and I am so thankful for the therapy I’m getting. Now I know my true friends and now I know that it’s not my fault and that I didn’t deserve any of the trauma.