Especially after a sexual assault.
Not that there would ever be a good time for an attempted rape to occur, but the timing of mine seemed especially cruel because later that morning of my attack, my boyfriend and I were supposed to be going to Santa Barbara. We had been together for 6 months at this point and this was our first trip together. We were going to see Don Henley and Emmylou Harris in concert. It was for 2 days and 2 nights. And because we would not be getting to our accommodations until late, my boyfriend made a reservation for that first night at Motel 6. (The next day we moved to a lovely Bed & Breakfast in Summerland.) Let’s just say of all the Motel 6’s around, this one had to be the worst ever. I never knew they actually made sheets with a thread count of about 10.
When my boyfriend came to the crime lab, which, by the way, is in a secret location, to pick me up, I had not yet been ‘processed.’ That meant that we could only speak at a distance. He was not allowed to hug and comfort me because any DNA evidence that might have been on my clothing or skin had to be preserved for the rape kit. I remember telling him that I had not yet cried and thought that it would probably hit me a bit later that day or night. Kind of funny thinking about it now since it took me 15 weeks to come out of shock. That day, I truly had no clue how bad it really was and how hard I would have to work to get through it.
When we left the crime lab, we went back to Coronado to the Police Station so I could look at a lineup of photographs. It’s not like it is on TV, where they show a 6 pack of men who fit the similar description of your attacker. In ‘real life’ I was shown one picture at a time. I was not allowed to compare and contrast them. I eliminated those that I was positive were not him, and was then left with two. The one I ended up choosing was him. What I told the police officer was, although the picture didn’t look exactly like him, it looked as close to what I remembered him looking like. I also worked with a sketch artist when I at the crime lab. I would love to see that picture to see if it looked like him at all. When we finished at the station, Bill took me home so that I could shower and pack for our trip. All I really wanted to do was lie down, but as it was already 2:30p, Santa Barbara is a good 3 1/2 to 4 hours drive, it was Saturday afternoon and we had to get through Los Angeles, and we had to go to Bill’s house for him to pack, I got in the shower.
Driving to La Jolla, Bill asked me if I wanted to call my mother. I said no. What I meant was that I didn’t want to call her then, I wanted to wait until, oh, some other time, or maybe never. He said that I had to call her and thought that I should do it while he packed. So I did. First thing I asked was whether or not my step-father was in or out-of-town. He was out. Then I really did not want to tell her without him there for moral support. I really do not remember what I said to her except I tried to tell her in a way that wouldn’t be upsetting. I doubt I succeeded, because, really how can you tell your mother that someone tried to rape you and her not be upset by that?
I slept most of the way to Santa Barbara. It seemed easier than having to think about what I had been through. We left La Jolla a little after 3p, hit traffic in L.A. and finally got to the concert around 7p. We missed Emmylou Harris, but Don Henley had not yet gone on, so we at least got to see/hear half the concert. When I think about it now, I was pretty freaked out being around that many people. Really, I don’t know how I did it. I think I was just on autopilot and doing my best not to fall apart.
I remember the room being cold when we finally got to it at 11:30. And the blankets were just as bad as the sheets, so I slept in my clothes. The bad thing was that my hip bones both had big abrasions on them and hurt to have fabric touching them. Really, all my abrasions hurt. It was a terrible night. I had taken a pill (can’t remember now what it was, but my physician mother assured me it would be okay for me to take) that, instead of having the desired effect of helping me sleep, did the exact opposite and I was wide awake and having weird hallucinations. At some point I did fall into an uneasy sleep, and then woke up really early, as usual. I couldn’t wait to get out of that hotel.
We could not check into our B&B until late afternoon, so we drove to Santa Ynez to go wine tasting. While there I got a phone call from the Coronado police informing me that they had apprehended my attacker the day before. That was good news. They also told me I needed to come back in to have my injuries photographed again once I got back to town. It was all so surreal. Even now.
When we finally got checked in, I remember lying on the bed, telling Bill that I knew rape was not about sex, that it’s about power or lack thereof, but that for a while I was afraid that it was going to be messed up in my mind. He said he knew. So he just held me. And since I was in a lot of physical pain from the attack, we went in the jacuzzi, which both hurt my injuries, and felt good for my sore arms and neck. I think I slept a little better that night. When I woke up on Monday morning, I was so hoping it had all been a nightmare. No such luck. I told Bill he could just leave me there, that I did not want to go home. I think we stayed in bed until we had to check out. The drive back to Coronado seemed especially long. I cannot remember now if Bill stayed with me at my house or if we stopped in La Jolla and I stayed there. All I do know is that for the first two weeks I was unable to sleep alone. Either Bill stayed at my house or I stayed at his or my friend Laura stayed at my house. I wasn’t scared in my house, but I could not be alone.