The Haunting

*June, 1999*

It was a beautiful summer day and I had plans. I wore my new maxi dress, fluffed my freshly made curls, and excitedly went out the door. I was going downtown to meet some friends and nothing could stop me… Except the bus that was running late. I was at the bus stop pacing when a small sedan pulled closer. Inside, two guys I knew from the block – my older cousin’s friends – smiled and asked me where I was going. They offered me a ride to my destination and I was grateful. I hopped in the back next to the empty baby seat and off we went.

A few minutes into the drive I realized we were no longer going in a direction I recognized. The driver, Number 1, apologized and said he had to pick something up at home really quickly then we’d be on our way. I waited in the car while Number 1 was inside and started chatting with Number 2. As the minutes ticked by, Number 2 got more agitated. He suggested we go inside to see what was taking Number 1 so long.

Once inside, I asked to use the bathroom. Number 1 offered to show me where it was. What I thought would be a bathroom turned out to be a bedroom. When I turned to leave, Number 2 pushed me back into the room with Number 1 and closed the door. That’s when he pounced. I was thrown onto the bed with my hands held down. He began to spread my legs apart and tried to lift my long dress with his knee as he climbed on top of me. I screamed and kicked furiously until the pointy heel of my shoes made contact with something soft. I left him there doubled over as I fled the house. I ran to the nearest corner and took a cab back home.

I never made it downtown. I never told anyone what happened to me that day – the day I turned 15 years old. I thought people would call me a fast-tailed girl who should have known better. I felt guilty for trusting them. I felt stupid for not trusting my gut and getting out of the car once I saw we were no longer going in the right direction. That incident still haunts me almost 15 years later. I have since learned to pay better attention to my intuition and flee when something feels off kilter.

 

*February 2014*

I was out on a date at one of the best parties I’d been to in Korea. I danced for hours and was having a great time… Until I was haunted again. I entered the semi-unisex bathroom and could see a man standing at the urinal. When I came out of the stall to wash my hands, the same guy was standing in front of the door. I recognized him. I had danced with him for half a song earlier in the night and felt his eyes on me ever since. Maybe he’s leaving, I thought. I turned the corner toward the sink and took my time washing my hands very slowly. I fixed my makeup and re-did my hair in the mirror. All the while, I could still feel him there. Standing. Staring. Waiting. Something about this wasn’t right. It was time to go. When I turned the corner to leave, there he was in front of the door. He closed the distance between us with a smirk. “Oh! Did I scare you?” I pushed past him and got out of there because the truth is, he did scare me. Uneasy and shaking, I went over to my date and told him what happened with the creepy dude in the bathroom. When my date confronted the guy, he claimed he didn’t do anything and it was his “right to stand wherever he wanted.”

Creepy dude disappeared and later returned to talk to me. Sitting next to my date, he approached me with a half-ass apology. You know the type. It usually starts with an “I’m sorry, but” then diverges into what you did wrong to the person who is apologizing. I started to object, but knew it would only make matters worse. I just wanted the scene to be over, so I feigned listening – hoping that he would leave me alone once he spoke his piece. Creepy dude’s speech was coming to an end and someone called my date over to talk to them. With my date’s attention elsewhere, creepy dude came closer and put his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t touch me,” I gritted through my teeth while gently removing his hand. He came closer once again and smirked, “I can touch whatever I want.” He put his hand back on my shoulder and lowered his voice, “I can’t help it. You’re so beautiful.” I grabbed his hand and pushed him away while yelling, “Don’t. Touch. Me!” I told my date what happened, but the guy had disappeared.

I spent the rest of the night trying to put the mess behind me so I could enjoy what was left of my date. When I finally went to bed in the early morning, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the creepy guy’s face. In the first dream (nightmare), he appeared in the bathroom mirror when I brushed my teeth.  Staring. Smirking. Waiting. In another dream, he would chase me – repeatedly popping out of corners and dark hallways.

Much like I did at 15, I keep playing the events from that incident over and over again in my head. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Did I do something to encourage him? Am I still that naive 15-year-old girl? When will the haunting stop?

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13 thoughts on “The Haunting

  1. Honey, you did nothing wrong. In either case. Those people who hurt you, were/are evil. That creepy man is evil. You did nothing to encourage them. They are predators. Because you exist, they think they could/can do what they want and when. You are strong, vibrant, beautiful AND smart. Talking about what happened to you then and now will make you nothing but stronger. Know you are loved!!!!!!

  2. I wish I could tell you when it ends. I had a similar experience when I was 16. Followed by another at 20. Then years of being so scared of another that I didn’t date or hang with ‘manly’ men. Every man I dealt with during that time, I felt I could take if necessary. Thankfully, after I learned to trust men again, it hasn’t happened. But I’ve also turned into a mean mofo so at the first sign of discomfort with a man I get mean. I’m glad that you haven’t lost your faith in men altogether. I pray you realize that the haunting happens because those men are creeps, not because of anything you’ve done.

  3. You have done nothing wrong! Please tell yourself that you did NOTHING wWRONG! Wish you had shared earlier. These men or boys are creeps. You are definitely loved.

  4. I would have freaked too! Your date could have been more attentive. It seems that situation at the table could have been avoided if he was not distracted.

  5. So sorry you had to go through that experience, twice. Men should never feel they have the right to what they want with a woman no matter how they look.

  6. We always “teach” girls/women what to look for, how to behave, etc….but as a society, we don’t teach boys/men enough about what is appropriate. My nephew visited me a few months ago and I was all over his a$$ about his behavior because I don’t want him to be one of those men.

    We are so quick to victim shame instead of blaming the person’s actions.

    Wait…did that sentence make sense?

    I am so sorry this happened to you.

  7. You did nothing wrong. It is perfectly okay to loose it on these type of people and do not feel bad about it, nor are you required to sit and listen to said folks. You cannot be nice, nor play it cool with jackasses, perverts, and creepy folks. Sometimes, you just have to say leave me the…alone or back the you know what…off. And tell them to get lost or walk away after telling them to leave you be. You have to mean business.

    Dude was sick to even try and come talk to you again and he should have never put his hands on you. Folks like this prey on nice, sometimes you have to show them crazy because they can’t comprehend anything else and even call attention to what they are doing.

    Always, always go with your instinct. I’m so sorry of what happened to you. I learn very early on that grown boys (sorry I can’t call them men) will try violate a girls and women and that it is okay to take off the nice hat and go postal them. Never be afraid to speak up for and defend yourself if you feel violated and don’t let anyone try to downplay these folks actions including the perpetrator.

    When I was a teenager, we were in a store in Virginia. My mother, aunt, sister, and I. My mother was in a long line waiting to pay for her things and there were a lot of people in line because they were purchasing lottery tickets. Standing in line, some dude had the nerve to put his hands on my mother inappropriately. While standing behind her, he took his hand and slid it under her arm to feel her breast.

    That day I saw a side of her that I had never seen and she spoke like I had never heard. When he touched her, she swung her fist as she turned around and punched him and that man staggered and fell back on his friend who responded, “man what did you do?” In the midst of almost knocking him out, she told him, “I will chop you up like mixed meat in a bowl.”

    A line my aunt, nor I will never forget and that we now look back and laugh about to this day. But what she taught me that day is not to let anyone violate me. Dude was crazy to put his hands on her right there in public and for whatever reason he probably thought he would get away with it. But that day, he crossed the wrong one.

  8. I am SO angry right now I’m nearly shaking. This is exactly what’s wrong with our society: Victims are so quick to blame themselves, ESPECIALLY women, when we really should be concentrating on telling men THIS IS NOT OKAY.

    Hun, I am so sorry this happened to you. This is not your fault. You had every right to trust those guys you knew, and you had every right to dance with who you wanted and NOT be touched by someone you don’t know. What the hell is wrong with our world that this still keeps happening?

  9. Wow, I had no idea you had a blog and I had no idea you were sharing these things. I have to commend you for being brave enough to talk about these incidents. I know you’re back in the city now and feeling better but I just wanted to comment to let you know that I did read this.

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