A friend shared her story with me. It took a great deal of courage for her to write this. I am honored to publish this, and truly thankful for her trust.
Name has been changed to “Julie Sloane”.
My story begins in a very sweet and simple way. I was going to be a high school senior in September 1978 and have my 17th birthday in October. I was asked by my HS teacher to attend a program for those affected with disabilities at the State Vocational Rehabilitation Center for a 6 week period beginning in July. I agreed. I would concentrate on occupational and vocational therapy. It was a residential center but we could go home on the weekends.
One weekend in August I stayed. There was a gathering of young people (aged 16 to 21) in the “rec room” and we decided to use the pool facilities. One of the boys was a guy named Billy. He was an adult as he was 21, had some mental health disabilities but was on medication so he shared. The date was August 18, 1978 and it was a Friday. Billy flirted with the girls and I responded as girls do and he said he wanted to get to know me better.
We sat by the pool and talked and he started kissing me. I responded. I will say I did not have a boyfriend per se, but I had a boyfriend in the generic sense as he was my best guy friend. There was alcohol at this function which was completely sanctioned by the staff as long as someone was 21 or older. One thing led to another and Billy physically assaulted me – my breasts were bruised as well as my inner thighs and legs. I did not drink a lot – it was less than 8 ounces of beer. My height was 5’3 and I weighed 115 pounds, so my BAC could have been higher, but it was not taken.
I ran outside the facility to get away from Billy. My clothes were not torn and there was no intimate sexual contact. However, he did ask me to perform a sex act and I reluctantly agreed. When I returned to the dorm area, I noticed the bruises and scratches. I reported Billy to the authorities on staff. They said since I was underage it was my fault. I incited this bad behavior in Billy because I was a teenage temptress wanting an adult’s attention. I had fought off further violence by hitting him with a beer bottle which did not cause any marks on him. The cops told me I was “asking for it” because I wore clothing that stirred his male juices. I was wearing a tee shirt and a pair of jeans.
I was not raped in the traditional sense as no sexual penetration had occurred. I was a virgin. I told my best guy friend about this incident and never once shared it with my parents or anyone else as I was too horrified to put it into words. The people in charge asked me to leave the facility earlier than anticipated by a few days. I told another police officer on staff but no one did anything.
I returned to school in September, but walls had been put up – I did not want a boyfriend and just wanted to get my senior year completed without any further drama. I did not have an intimate relationship with a man until I was 25. The man involved was older and had been a trusted friend. My intimate relationships were not smooth or conducted in normal fashion as I believed all men would assault me as a sign of affection. The man I was involved with suggested I seek psychological therapy which I did. I admitted to him what had happened in the past and he reassured me that not all men were abusers.
This man and I had a loving and intimate relationship on and off for many years. When I got married, my husband showed signs of being an abuser – he was also a paranoid schizophrenic with bipolar tendencies. I stayed married to him until 2 spiritual advisers and a therapist said it was for my own good to divorce him. I started divorce proceedings and was planning on marrying the man I called the love of my life – Jake Ryan (name changed). Jake and I realized too many years had passed and we deserved to be happy. Sadly, he became ill with cancer and died before we could marry. My divorce was granted shortly after he passed away. But the time we had together were filled with love, passion, adoration and sheer happiness. It will be 36 years since my assault and I have gotten through it because I did not want to become A VICTIM. I did nothing wrong. I just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am sure that Billy by now is either dead or in jail.