It has been a while since I have posted part of my story. I have many new followers who may not have gone back far enough in my posts to read my story. For those of you who are new, and may want to read my history, check here, and here, and here.
My relationship with Mark was always a turbulent one. Looking back, I can see so many warning signs. There were several episodes that in hindsight I can recognize as precursors to the rape that was to come. One of these was a Halloween party. So what better day to share this particular detail with you. This day illustrates so well the attitude that Mark had toward me–his lack of regard for my feelings, his controlling nature, his cocky self-assurance, and his complete belief that I would acquiesce to anything he asked. Sit down, get comfortable, and let me tell you a Halloween tale…
Mark and I had been invited to a Halloween party at the home of one of his friends. It turned out to be a very large party, and not at all the kind of party my mother would have allowed me to go to. Let me preface this by saying that Mark ran with a fairly rough crowd. There were probably 50-100 teenagers here, crowded into the house and the backyard. Yes, there was lots of drinking at this party. People were partaking of other substances as well. It was not a wholesome family affair. Mind you, I was not drinking. At all. I should not have to say this, but in light of recent current events I would not want to invite any “But you should have known better than to get drunk and hang around with a bunch of hoodlums” type comments.
Mark and about 8 others were in one of the bedrooms, listening to music and just talking and hanging out. None of my close friends were there, just acquaintances from school and guys that I knew through Mark. I was fairly shy back then and was staying pretty close to Mark. He excused himself to go get another drink and went into the main part of the house. I was having a fairly good time and continued chatting with the guys in the room with me.
When Mark returned, he started walking around and talking quietly with his friends. One by one, they smiled and left the room. Soon, Mark and I were alone in the room and he locked the door behind all of his friends. He came over to me and gave me a hug. He told me that he had gotten a condom from someone in the living room and that tonight was going to be the night we had sex.
Now, keep in mind that I was 14 and we had only been dating a short time at this point. We had not ever discussed the possibility of sex, and I certainly was not ready for this. And, there were FIFTY or more people just outside the door.
Who now knew exactly what Mark was planning to do to me in the bedroom.
I tried to tell Mark that I didn’t want to do this. Especially not in this place at this time. It was so public. So open. He kept insisting that he had locked the door so no one would come in. That wasn’t the point at all. They were all out there and I wasn’t about to do something so personal in this kind of setting. He got angrier and angrier the more we talked.
He was furious for the same reason that I was ashamed–because he had told all his friends what we were going to do. He had walked around telling any guy there that he needed a condom. I don’t even know how many people that was. Plus, he had told all 8 of the people who had been in the room with us. He now had face to save. They expected that we would be having sex right now. He couldn’t let me leave the room. It would have embarrassed him. He had no concept that I might be mortified by the thought of all those people thinking I was having sex in such a public place. That I might be worried about my reputation. I literally had to fight my way past him to leave the room. This was the first time he became physical with me…pushing me away from the doorway and grabbing my arm when I tried to unlock the door.
I ran out into the house crying. Everyone was watching. He followed me yelling. He told me that if I didn’t go back into the room, he would leave me there. He had been my ride to the party. It was several miles from my house and I had no other way home. And my parents definitely did not know I was there. I was supposed to be at his house, passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. Not at a keg party surrounded by drunk teenagers.
He left me there.
Luckily, by then one of my friends had shown up. He took me to a more private spot and helped me calm down. He pointed out (what should have been obvious to me) that Mark was an ass and I that I could do better. Then he found some sober girls to drive me home.
This is one of the points in my life where I wonder what in the world I was thinking. This night should have been the end of my relationship with Mark. His behavior that night showed that he only wanted to control me. Later, he said that he couldn’t understand why I didn’t find his actions “romantic”. He thought he was sweeping me off my feet by setting up this wonderful lovenest for us. Unbelievable. He never apologized for grabbing me, for leaving me stranded, or for trying to force himself on me. Abusers have this mindset. They are the only people who matter and they treat those around them as objects. I was an object whose purpose was to please him and enhance his reputation with his friends.
That night, I had not done my job and it made him furious. He spent the next several months whittling away that bit of strength and self-respect that I was able to show on Halloween. He couldn’t let me keep it.
Well, there it is, my “ghost story”. A ghost from my past that comes back to haunt me on occasion. Thankfully, this is going to be a much better Halloween. I’m going to hang around with many over-excited, sugar buzzed fifth graders. We will do Candy Math projects and write scary stories. I will do my best to reinforce proper grammar and punctuation, while keeping them from climbing the walls of my classroom. And then I will pass out candy to the goblins and zombies who live in my neighborhood. It will be a good night 🙂
Happy Halloween to you all! I hope your own ghosts stay at bay tonight.