I was 16 years old. One afternoon, I was at home with my nine-year-old sister and my two-year-old brother. My parents were out for a few hours and I was taking a nap. While I was asleep, I heard a BOOM and my bedroom door flew open. A masked man with a gun came into the room and began to jump up and down on the twin bed adjacent to mine. I was terrified; I had just woken up to a real life nightmare. He had broken in through my mom’s room, and for some reason had her swimsuit hanging from his face. It kept swinging from side to side as he jumped up and down, while still pointing the gun at me. He told me if I moved or made a sound he would go after my little sister. With a gun to my head, he blindfolded me, grabbed me by my neck, and told me to get up. He led me through our house, asking me when my dad was going to come back home. My entire body was shaking and I was so afraid I wet my pants. The man took me to a den near our kitchen and told me to get on the floor. To this day, I still remember the way he smelled, like sweat and death. With a gun to my head, he made me perform oral sex on him, and then he raped me. Afterwards, he took me to the kitchen, opened our fridge and drank a carton of juice. As he was drinking, I noticed his shoes through a peephole in my blindfold. I had seen those shoes many times before; they belonged to my next door neighbor’s Uncle. After he finished his drink, he told me to get underneath a pile of dirty laundry on the kitchen floor. Shaking, I curled up like a ball under the laundry and thought he was going to kill me. I laid there for a few minutes until I heard the door shut and a car start outside. He was gone. The moment I realized he had left I ran to get my siblings. With my sister in one hand and my brother on my hip, I ran down the street to my neighbor’s house. As soon as I got there I passed out and they called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, my friends that lived next door came over to see what had happened. I told them, “Your Uncle raped me.” I knew it was him because I used to go next door to hang out with them and he would always watch me. He was an older man and had just gotten out of prison. It was his shoes and his voice that led me to identify him. Later that week I identified him as my rapist at the police station and he was sent back to prison.
After I was raped, I blamed myself for many years. I only wore baggy, loose fitting clothes. It wasn’t until last year, when I first came to the Houston Area Women’s Center, that I realized it was not my fault. He did not rape me because of the way I dressed. It was entirely his fault, NOT mine. I forgave him and now I take any chance I get to tell rape victims that it was not their fault. The rapist is the only one to blame. I am a rape survivor and I hope my story will help other women know and understand that rape is never their fault, and that there is help.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing/has experienced sexual assault, call the numbers provided below for help or more information:
Houston Area Women’s Center 24/7 Hotline: 713-528-7273
(Crisis intervention, shelter, referrals)
HPD Sex Crimes Unit: 713-308-1180
(Filing police report and information about your rights)
Harris County District Attorney: 713-755-52888
(Information and help filing a protective order)
*If outside of the greater Houston area, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)