I want to share with you my summer of 2015 and why it was the worst summer of my entire life.
But first I want to talk about a little bit of what led to these events. A little bit of how I am as a person and the things I had gone through before and why I was so upset this all happened to me.
In 2007 I volunteered at a Haunted House for the very first time. It was towards the end of the season, so I only volunteered for about a week as an actress. I absolutely fell in love with it.
Growing up I had always loved horror movies. My father would take me to blockbuster and let me pick out a horror movie as long as it was pre-approved by him. This sparked my love of horror. So, as you can imagine being able to actually act out my favorite horror movies became a hobby.
In 2008 I didn't volunteer much because I was so wrapped up in my high school relationship and partying just like any 17 year old girl does during October. I think I had to get that out of my system.
Then came 2009, one of the hardest years of my life. Just before 2009 I had found out that my high school sweetheart was sleeping with one of my best friends, and he broke up with me for her. I was incredibly heartbroken and furious. I went back to hanging out with all my friends.
I loved my friends. I had known these guys since 2007 and I was finally hanging out with them every day again. I used to hang out with two friends in particular outside of the group itself and I am grateful that they were in my life at the time. They were both best friends and incredibly respectful. I'll call them Wayne and Colton.
Wayne and Colton were awesome. We'd stay up and watch Adult Swim and laugh. Discuss movies and music we loved, them introducing music to me because I was younger. I felt appreciated by these people.
In late May 2009 Colton passed away in a drinking and driving accident. It was incredibly upsetting. I was just so sweet, naive, young and I had lost one of my best friends, so I was crushed. Unfortunately his best friend Wayne was crushed as well, but I didn't understand how crushed he was. I was too young, too abused to see what was happening to others, and I think I scared him away because I was irrational. Throughout my teenage years I had struggled with severe depression due to my mother being a severe alcoholic. Her lack of love, lack of validation, and gaslighting left me in a broken mental state growing up. I cried a lot. I was depressed a lot. I felt helpless. I had lost a friend who had helped me see that good people do exist. I wasn't in the best mental state.
A few months after, Wayne who I had been off and on with because in my neurotic teenage brain I couldn't decide if I saw him as more than a friend. But, in July 2009 I had decided to date him. We were together for a few months. I had known him for a few years, so I felt that I could trust him.
He enrolled in funeral school to become a mortician in August 2009. After that he had no time for me. We lived in the same city, but I would see him for weeks even though we were still dating. I chose to brush it under the rug regardless of the warnings of my friends that he was probably up to something.
Come back around to September 2009 still little contact with my "boyfriend" (little did I know my "boyfriend" was engaged since September 2009 and slowly stopped talking to all of us including his best friend's parents regardless of the fact his best friend passed away in the accident, I found out in March of 2010) and after everything that had happened that year I fully dedicated myself to volunteering at this haunted house. I channeled my pain, my anger, my sadness into this twisted character. I ended up being featured in 2009's Haunted Attraction Magazine and won Best Actress at my haunt.
I had to include that bit of my past, because it was a huge part as to why I put so much passion and energy into haunted house acting. It was my escape. The events of the summer of 2015 had ripped that passion from me and instilled fear of being in an organized group of people who share the same passion ever again.
I had made friends with all of the volunteers including.. let's give him a name... Jim. Jim was 16 and I was 18. Jim was a goofy kid, he was a little chubby, funny, and a good actor. We would team up and scare people. The next year Jim had developed his own character and evolved from just a High School punk nobody knows to somebody everyone looks to for guidance on how to scare in a Haunted house. I always saw Jim as a little brother. I watched Jim evolve growing up.
Throughout the years I had found out that the owner of the haunted house we worked for was stealing from charities. Or at least keeping most of the money she made for herself even though the haunted house was supposed to be a non-profit organization. Soon she lost sponsors, friends, and eventually volunteers.
Only the loyal ones stuck by her side, but the rest of us who knew what was good left to bigger and better.
A haunted house that was HUGE. You could even say it was the biggest! The owner had built this haunt up from the ground up. And the best thing about it was, he paid his actors.
In 2013 I applied for to be a paid haunt actor. I auditioned and got my spot. I saw some of the kids I used to act with. They were all over 18 now and it was a little strange to see how they all turned out, but I was happy and I felt like I was mostly in a familiar place. I loved my seasonal job. I loved to scare.
The next year in 2014 I made the top acting crew. When you make the top acting crew, you get more hours with a slightly higher pay. I was incredibly happy with my haunt family even though I still felt the cold shoulder from a few of the veteran actors, other veteran actors had made me feel welcome. They invited me to their parties. As I got older, I became quite the drinker. I loved drinking with my new friends. I felt accepted and welcomed, because I was.
2014 was a successful year.
In the summer of 2015 I was invited to a pool party with most of the actors of this huge haunted house we all worked for. The Night before I had spent the night at my friend's house and forgot to bring a bathing suit for me to wear to the party She was dropping me off at the next afternoon. She let me wear her old one, even though she was tiny and I was not tiny at all I was overweight I still wore it. I didn't think anything of it. I was a little embarrassed because I was overweight and I would've rather worn my high waisted big girl bottoms to hide my tummy, but I left them at home.
The party set up was in the backyard and it was awesome. Lots of alcohol, food, friends, they had a screen set up for a projector by the pool and played movies later that night. A tiki bar, lounge chairs, etc. I had been reacquainted with a friend who was a friend of the actor throwing the party. When i drink i can become a chatty Cathy. We were all chatting, drinking, laughing, swimming, eating. I felt more comfortable in the tiny bikini I was wearing. Jim showed up with his new girlfriend, she seemed sweet but she kept to herself. It was getting late, I was pretty drunk, still 100% coherent though. I just knew that I needed to slow down and nibble on some food, drink some water, pace myself. I think it might have been around midnight that everyone else was super drunk kind of winding down, in their own conversations instead of engaging with everyone else in the party as a whole.
I decided to go for a swim because it was hot outside. After all we do live in the South and it was Summertime. Jim decided to go for a swim too. We got in the pool and we were laughing. I splashed him, he splashed me back. It was fun. The splashing then got a little competitive, but I didn't think anything of it. Suddenly, Jim swam up to me really quick and fondled my crotch and laughed. He didn't penetrate, but he did fondle me and I was immediately upset. I acted on instinct because I was angry and I tried to push Jim down into the water. Although I was big, Jim was bigger than me. He brushed off my hand trying to push him down, then he took both of his hands and twisted my nipples violently hard. After that he pushed my head down into the water and held me there. I fought for my life to get out of it, I walked the steps out of the pool crying my eyes out and shouting for somebody to take me home right away. My "friends" rushed to my side. Jim got out of the pool came up to me asking what was wrong. I pushed him, I said "fuck you, you know what you did". I was hysterical, as anybody would have been in that situation. I was also drunk and on probation. I couldn't go the cops today and report this they would surely lock me up. And it was in a pool, how can there be any evidence? His finger didn't penetrate me. Chlorine probably washed all of it away. I would have gone to jail. Looking back I wish I would have risked this. The friend I was reacquainted with took me to my grandparent's house where my drunk mother was house sitting after he bought me a Gatorade and cigarettes. He was kind to me and empathetic that night. I was incredibly upset. I never wanted to work at that Haunted House again, and I let facebook know. I didn't release details, but I had made a post saying I didn't want to work there anymore because of Jim. The haunt coordinator (the owner's right hand woman) had reached out to me asking me what had happened. I told her everything. She believed me. She told me they would let him go, and that I could come back if I wanted, but that if i didnt want to she would understand.
Later a veteran volunteer actor who was close friends with Jim told me that it was wrong of me to make that post and that the owner was upset I was bashing the name of the haunt. I don't know if that was true, but the next day social media did support his statement.
I was still a part of the private group page on Facebook for the haunted house staff. Most of the older veterans who had taken a liking to Jim, even the women were calling my bluff, saying I wanted attention. Even the veterans who had invited me to parties blamed me. They favored Jim over me. They could never see Jim do that. My heart was broken. I was furious. That day after I went to my local police department and attempted to press charges.
When I told the policeman who was interviewing me that my attacker twisted my nipples, he laughed. Let that sink in.
A month after I pressed charges, I contacted the detective. I contacted my "friends" who were there at the party and asked them to give the detective a statement on my behalf. That it happened. NOBODY stuck up for me. Jim managed to get 5 witnesses to make a statement against me calling my bluff. The detective was too busy to handle my case. It fell through. I eventually lost hope and contact. It didn't help that I was also in a very verbally abusive relationship.
A few young women who had also worked with Jim came forward to me. Calling me brave. Telling me their experiences with Jim, and how he raped them or molested them. Made them feel guilty and told them nobody would believe them if they had said a word. Yet our peers defended this low life who I had even thought at one point was like a brother to me.
A month or two had passed since the charges had been filed, and i got a call from the detective saying that this case is a dead end. It crushed me. I was so heartbroken. You mean to tell me this person who took the ability of me being comfortable naked in the shower, in a two piece bikini at a local pool, got away with it? Yes, yes he did. He is probably still out there terrorizing other women too. Right now. Fuck you, Jim. You ruined everything.
I was reckless after that I did not care. I drank and drank and drank. My boyfriend at the time(Let's call him Joe)whom I was staying with was the worst.
Joe could not handle life, any little thing that went wrong he would immediately become furious over. I was with this guy for 10 months. In that 10 month span I learned Joe blamed everyone else for his faults, so he couldn't hold a job longer than 6 mos- 1 year. He was severely heartbroken over the girl he had dated before me for 5 years, who had cheated on him multiple times. Joe talked about her all the time. How great they were together, how similar their beliefs were, how they had tried to conceive a child together, how she understood him. For months he called me weak, told me I needed to lose weight, threw a huge fit that would result in things breaking when he could not get what he wanted. I felt stuck.
I told my mother about my relationship, she just told me, "Your step father says he was like that at that age, he'll eventually grow out of it." They were abusive too. My mother and step father do not care about me, but at the time I was holding onto the idea trying to convince myself that they did. Along with my mother trying to convince me that they both cared my entire life, but they didn't.
Abuse was all I knew for a long time. I thought that's what love was. Tough. But, it's not.
Joe had a friend. Let's call him Liam. I had known Liam through mutual friends of Joe, as I was introduced to Joe through mutual friends. I knew Liam as being a few years younger, he loved music, and he was also an alcoholic. We were all alcoholics, except for Liam's girlfriend of two years at the time. I'm going to call her Jennifer.
Jennifer was very sweet. She was a hard worker, a survivor, and she deserves better than Liam. I'll tell you why.
In the summer of 2015 on a day in August was the day I had found out I lost my case to Jim. I was severely depressed. That night Joe and My roommate were playing a gig in a local bar. Liam was in the band. Liam had a child from a previous relationship. Jennifer stayed at home while Liam went to the gig.
When we got to the bar, our roommate opened a tab, and I wanted to drink. That's exactly what I did. I drank a lot too. I had been drinking since 6pm(went with the band to the bar to set up). By the time it was 1am, I met some girlfriends beforehand and we were taking our last shot together before they left the bar for the night. It was Jose Cuervo. That was the beginning to me blacking out completely that night. Besides the very small bits and pieces I do remember.
I remember that night that Joe was reckless. He was all over the place, flirting with other women in front of me, talking down to me in front of my friends. A couple who I knew were there and they were concerned about me. They noticed how he had treated me and they didn't like it. They tried to get me to leave with them, but I think I was too blacked out. Liam noticed it too, and Liam had stuck up for me to his best friend Joe a few times, but I always thought it was because he had slightly known me before and that it was a friend looking out for a friend. I was dead wrong.
After 2am that night we left and went to a friend of the band's house for an after party. I was still slightly coherent when we arrived, but not enough to tell you where I was or who I was with. Little did I know, that Jose cuervo was only the beginning to my night.
When we arrived at the after party, I found the host and asked her for vodka. Being an alcoholic, sometimes even when we are at our worst we can still seem coherent because we want more alcohol. We will convince ourselves we're okay to drink more, as well as convincing others. The host was very friendly. I slightly remembered her mentioning she was used to late nights because she was an RN. By the end of the night she wanted me out of her house.
After the vodka she gave me, I was blacked out. The only times I came to was when I'd get a rush of adrenaline and anger I noticed. Joe was being awful all night, ignoring me, talking down to me as usual or making me look bad to other people. After more vodka, Joe was talking to somebody, and I punched Joe in the face. I dont know why I punched Joe, besides just punching Joe for being his inconsiderate narcissistic asshole abusive self, but I punched him. I remembering during me throwing the punch I came to and I asked myself, Why am I punching him? And then it was back to the blackout. Nothing. If I was having a conversation with somebody I'd be very surprised because I don't remember it. I probably wouldn't have been much to converse with.
Moments passed by could have been an hour, a few minutes, or 30 minutes, I wouldn't have known because that's how blacked out I was, but I came to and when I did I was grabbing a steak knife out of the block. I remember thinking to myself, "why am I grabbing this?!". After I grabbed it, it was back to being blacked out. I don't know what I was doing with the knife or how long I had it. I was so blacked out wasted even people at the party were confused on why I grabbed the knife. Another few moments has passed and I came to for brief moments. I heard the host's angry voice saying, "Not in my house!", I felt an arm around my neck and full body weight being dropped on me, I really came to out of the blackout for at least 15 minutes before I blacked out again just because that moment was so intense, and I was losing a little blood. When she took me down I had gripped the knife so hard in my right hand, that when we landed I stabbed my right upper calf right below the knee area on the right side facing out. You can still see my scar today. Nobody took me to the hospital to get stitches. She had screamed at Joe and I to leave. I was hysterical. I was bleeding. Liam drove us home, although I know for a fact Liam was also way too drunk to drive, but being an alcoholic Liam didn't care. In the car I was in the front seat and Joe was in the back seat. I was screaming and crying profusely. Joe was screaming at me. He was angry that I punched him. He didn't really care too much about the knife, which I don't know why he thought me punching him in the face was worse. All I remember is him screaming at me and me crying profusely, snotty nose running, my face all soggy. Not the most attractive in that moment, and I was not in the mood. Then I blacked out for the rest of the night.
When I woke up I was in the front seat of Liam's car and I he was eating me out. I thought I had slept, but when I came to I had this feeling of the worst hangover in my entire life and complete exhaustion. Fighting to stay awake. I told Liam to stop and my exact words were, "Where's Joe?!" I asked in panic because i realized we were on the side of the road still in his car in a local neighborhood at 9am .He didn't want to stop, but he did. Liam was still very drunk. Liam didn't know where Joe was, but he wanted me to come home with him. I had no control as Liam was the one driving this entire time and I had no idea how we ended up alone. I was furious with Joe I had thought he abandoned me with Liam. I thought he left me alone with Liam. Little did I know, come to find out later, that while I was blacked out crying in the car Liam had pulled over on the side of the road that night and physically pulled Joe out of the car, and then drove off with me.
While Liam was trying to convince me to come home with him, he started driving to his place where a very understandably angry Jennifer came outside with her hands on her hips and asked what the hell was going on. Liam was still wasted saying it's okay that he brought me here. I was fighting to stay awake incredibly nauseous as my phone was dead and Jennifer told me to leave. Luckily I had my purse on me with my phone charger. I charged my phone in an outlet on a random neighbor's porch, called one of my best friends to come get me. I blamed myself. I thought it was my fault that all of it happened the way it did, but it wasnt. I was also ashamed. I called my mom and told her what happened. My mom gives the worst advice, she told me not to tell anyone what happened with Liam. To keep it to myself. I felt disgusting. When I opened my legs I could smell him. My shorts were covered in blood on the right side, I had to throw them away. I bought some feminine wipes to get rid of the feeling of filth and disgust and the smell.
When I had got home Joe told me that earlier that night he and his mother were looking for me so that she could "beat my ass" for punching Joe in the face. They drove everywhere looking for me. By the time I got home they were no longer upset. I called Joe's mom to talk to her, because Joe told me to and she told me I needed to stop drinking.
Somehow Liam had convinced everyone that nothing happened and that he didn't remember anything. That was a lie.
After that night I never spoke to Liam privately about what happened. I avoided him. I was uncomfortable around him. I didn't want to speak to him. Even if he were to stop by while Joe was away and it was just me I didn't say anything about what happened. I wanted to forget about it. It had only been about a few weeks.
I was growing tired of Joe's abusive antics and his narcissism. But, I still convinced myself that I needed him.
I stayed with him until I got a text message from Jennifer calling me a home wrecker and a hoe. She texted me that while Liam was at the bar one night saying she called him and his pants answered(happens with touch screen phones), and she overheard him drunk bragging to a friend that we made out. I don't remember us making out, but I know that his tongue probably went in my mouth because he did in fact penetrate me. She told Joe. Joe wouldn't believe it at first. He brushed it under the rug. Luckily Jennifer wouldn't let it go. Eventually I was kicked out and blamed for all of it. Liam had told Jennifer that I was quite the seductress and that I lured him into having sex with me, that I took advantage of him! I didn't even defend that, because I knew from my last experience that nobody believes the girl. EVER.
I can say that for a fact I hate Joe. I don't care what Joe thinks of me. I don't ever want to win him back with this truth and I just want them all to continue to leave me the hell alone. I feel sorry for Jennifer. I liked her. I was so angry with her that she would believe I would do that. It didn't make sense to me. How could I convince somebody else who is in love with his girlfriend of two years, the step mother of his child, that I took advantage of Liam. I am short, 5'2". Liam is tall. About 6'. We probably weighed about the same. I weighed 145lbs. Joe told me I couldn't even throw a good punch. How could I have overpowered Liam? I was hysterically crying before he pulled Joe out of the car and drove off with me! How does it make any sense? As time went by I remembered a little bit of the penetration. I remember him being on top of me, not I on top of him. For a brief 5 second clip in my memories. I hate Joe, because he didn't listen to me. He never listened to me. He let this happen to me. He wanted so bad to be with somebody else. Somebody less fragile, less fat, more religious, that he chose to disbelieve me. Joe told me before we split up that he had fought Liam and they would never speak again. I was still tired of the accusations even after I had moved out and we had split up. He said to me on the phone that he couldn't believe what I did. I mocked him and asked him how ridiculous that sounds, me seducing Liam. He took that as a confession because he wanted to break up so bad. Screamed in joy that I admit it. Joe is very sick in the head. He's the kind of man to let his best friend drunk rape you then convince you that it's your fault. Joe is also the kind of person that befriends his best friend who raped his ex again after the big physical fight they had.
In April 2016 I met a friend at the bar they go to. I was sober of alcohol from November 2015 til then. I saw Joe and Liam playing pool together at the bar. I panicked and immediately left to go to the other bar, and then shortly relapsed that night because I was so distraught. I felt like a sick ploy in a sick game that they had played. Because, I was.
I had eventually met the love of my life in May 2016, but unfortunately shortly after that I was sentenced to 3 months in a private prison for violating my probation. I spent 6 weeks in the county jail before that. Joe had always told me I would never survive long lengths of jail time or especially prison, so did Joe's mom. To them being tough was handling your problems with physical violence and surviving prison. Guess what Joe? I fucking survived. No inmate have me issues specifically in there. I was fucking Switzerland and kept to myself. I became one of the many ladies in prison who discovered their gift of art. I drew portraits in trade for commissary. I would say I overachieved surviving prison. I finished double the community service while I was in there too. I worked my ass off and stayed busy. The city owes me community service hours if I were to ever get into trouble again, but I won't let that happen.
Joe tried to contact me to "apologize" while I was in there. He didn't know I was in there, but I'm glad my boyfriend now of almost two years told him to leave me the hell alone.
Joe still stuck to his story that I seduced his best friend. The summer of 2015 was the worst summer of my life. I'm excited for years to pass so that I can get this scar on my leg tattooed over. I know what is best for me now. Life had significantly improved once I cut everyone abusive out of my life, including my mother and step father.
I hope to be alive to see a day where a woman's words are actually listened to and that we are no longer being bashed for being sexy, or immediately blamed for an unwanted sexual advance or encounter, or rape.
As the days go by my PTSD gets better. I know if I would have stayed with Joe he would have eventually hit me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he had hit somebody he had been with since then, or got close.
I am a survivor of rape, domestic violence, alcoholism, and mental abuse.

K. Starnes