Speaking now to rape and torture survivors. My own experience was a twisted mix of bad, abusive relationship and Stockholm syndrome. The first mistake was my willingness to experiment with drugs, and to trust the person who eventually became my attacker. At the time, I was only into party drugs, light stuff like weed, lsd and mdma. There was no way in hell I would have ever tried heroin. But this person gave it to me, telling me it was an all-natural work out enhancer. And I took it. By the time I found out what I was actually taking and confronted him about it, I was already in a situation where I was living at his house half the time. And he wouldn’t let me leave after that. My family and friends didn’t think much of it at first. I was dancing at the time and was forced to stop going to work. Wasn’t allowed to have a phone for a while. Every time I thought of trying to escape, I would be held back by my fear of everyone finding out I was addicted to heroin. How could I ask for help without telling the truth? I was trapped. Soon, our daily routine became wild and unorganized as he also quit his job in order to peddle drugs. And he would be constantly be doing them. The physical abuse was honestly there from the beginning, but at first there was a definite line he wouldn’t cross. Once he wouldn’t let me leave, it quickly escalated.

I remember one particular nasty day about half way through my time there. I was in his disgusting wreckage and destruction of a half-unfinished basement, duct taped to a chair, my hands duct taped flat together, and then taped to the right side of my head; tape winding all around the circumference of my head, covering my hair and mouth. He had beat the side of my head pretty hard that morning. And then taped my hands to the swollen area. I could feel the hard bulbs where he had pulled on my hair really hard, slightly lifting the skin from the scalp when he did. I could feel the spots bulging up against my fingers through the tape. He had been upstairs for some time. The hysterical sobs churning through my nose over my taped mouth and head had subsided slightly. Suddenly I heard him come through the front door and my breath froze. Heard his footsteps walk back to the basement stairway, my blood-pressure rising with each step. Watched him slunk down the stairs. He was audibly crying. He was carrying a gas can.

He proceeded to dump it’s contents all around the basement. It was one of the first times in my life that I really thought this might be the end for me. I started thinking about my family, my friends, how I’ve been blowing everyone off, how I can’t reach out because I’d have to admit I’m addicted to heroin. How I’m currently carrying my abuser’s child. And oh, sweet Jesus… my child. How is she going to survive? How will we survive? I deserve this. Omg I’m going to be burned alive and I deserve every bit of this for what I have done to my child.

I was stoic for a time as he was drenching the basement. In shock maybe? He noticed I wasn’t hyperventilating through my nose anymore and so he dropped the can, lunged up to me and slapped me on the side of my face where my hands were taped. I cried out through my nose, sending snot down my leg and cowering as much as I could against the tape. He screamed at me. I can’t recall the words now. I do remember the red tint of his face and the spit flying from his mouth… the crazy in his eyes. Once he was done screaming, he got this sick smile on his face as he pulled a zippo out of his pocket. And with that, I was hyperventilating again. I think that’s what he wanted because he eventually calmed down, cut me loose, and held me for a while crying before he started cleaning up.

The smell lingered for months.