2/3/14

My Story〜Part One


I decided to do a two-part blog series (maybe more) about two traumatic events in my life that have made me realize that I am a strong person......and I have been all along. I'm not sharing these stories on a whim. I rarely talk about these times in my life, but I feel it's really important to share my experiences because so many young girls are still going through what I went through. Relationship violence and date rape are devastating young lives. It's time to put an end to the abuse......it's time for young people to be given a realistic view of sex.......and it's time for everyone to understand that actions have consequences. 
I share this story in commiseration and in hopes of helping to educate and eradicate sexual/relationship abuse.
And to let girls everywhere know that you are strong......and you are not alone. ♥




I’m seeing stories all over the internet and hearing them on the news about young girls becoming victims of relationship violence or date rape......or getting drunk and making themselves an "easy target" for rape. It breaks my heart...and makes me furious. With the advent of the internet we get to hear a lot more of these stories......they become worldwide news in a few clicks of the keyboard. But this particular societal ill has been around for decades......sadly longer. Has it gotten worse? I don’t know the statistics, but they don’t always give a clear picture anyway. A lot of these types of assaults go unreported......again, sadly.  What I do know is that it hasn’t gotten any better......and that is completely unacceptable.  I sit and I read Facebook post after Facebook post about slut-shaming......young girls killing themselves because of bullying......men getting 30 day sentences for raping underage girls. My rage burns hot because I wonder who is supposed to be protecting these girls? Colleges turn a blind eye......even law enforcement. We as parents and a society in general are failing these girls if we can’t teach our sons how to treat a girl...how not to force sex upon an unconscious girl and then drop her off on her front porch, still unconscious......and then laugh about it with your buddies.  We also fail if we don’t ingrain in our daughters’ minds that they are worth way too much to ever put up with someone who doesn't respect them in every way. I get a pit in my stomach and an anger building inside every time I hear or read about stories like this......because they were my story.


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When I was a Junior in high school, I was not very focused on stuff like school and grades. I was more into 80’s fashion and partying on the weekends. I wasn’t one of the popular kids, but I was friendly with them......I was friendly with each of the cliques in my school. All of my life I’ve been a people-pleaser type. Even now, though I’m a lot less likely to put up with bullshit. Forty will do that to you. =) 
One night at the beginning of the school year, my parents went out of town. I stayed at a friend’s house with strict instructions NOT to go back to my house. My parents didn’t have a lot of trust in me......all those nights of sneaking out sort of ruined any hope of that. So to that effect, they took away my house keys......but I was way too devious for my own good. I made sure I was the last one out of the house, left the door in the garage unlocked, and snagged a garage door opener. 

Yeah, I was determined.
So in my infinite teenage wisdom, I decided it would be fun to have a party......just a small party where I’d invite a few friends from school. Does that ever happen? A “small party”? Not when you’re a clueless teen......and I found that out the hard way. It started off small, just as planned......but then somehow word got spread around after a football game and suddenly half the school was at my house......the house that even I wasn’t supposed to be in.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Sixteen Candles, imagine Jake’s party and you’ll get the idea of what my house looked like that night. People flooded every room of the house, including the formal living room where we weren’t allowed to walk because it would disturb the vacuum cleaner lines......the kitchen where people ate all our food, and made a huge mess......the backyard where beer cans were littered everywhere and random people were using the hot tub......couples making out and god knows what else in every bed in the house, especially my parents’ bed. They also stole my mom’s jewelry. The neighbors even called the police, but they didn’t do anything to get the people out of my house. Today I am truly disgusted by their lack of respect for someone else’s house and property.
I had clearly lost control and knew I was up a major creek......so what was my solution? Another display of my remarkable decision-making capability at such a young age.
 

I drank.

I drank a lot.

I drank so I didn’t have to worry about the consequences of that night......so that I could have a momentary escape. I had no idea that escape would lead me to the depths of my own private hell. It would set in motion some of the worst times in my life, ultimately revealing a strength I never knew I had......and that I wish I could have learned some other way.

In my drunken stupor, I was led into my bedroom by some guys from my school. I was already barely conscious, but that didn't seem to trouble them. As I remember, there were four guys, laughing and telling me to take off my clothes. My drunk mind thought they were flirting with me, but that was far from their intention. The next thing I knew I was on my bed being held down. I struggled and I remember saying, screaming, “No” over and over......but they didn't stop. They violated me right there in my own bed. In my own room. There wasn’t anything I could do to stop them. I was completely powerless. They started grabbing objects from around the room. They thought it would be a good time to stick them inside of me. I cried and continued to struggle, but it was useless. So I called forth my new best friend......escape......and I slipped into a groggy, unconscious state to avoid witnessing all the vile things they were doing to me. I don’t remember how long it was happening. I don’t remember when it all ended. I remember waking up to a trashed out, empty house......and my life that was now the same way.

I felt like death the next morning. Not warmed over...just death. I had to call my parents and tell them what happened. Not a shining moment for me. They flew home immediately. My friends helped me get the house into only semi-destroyed condition. To say my parents were furious is a gross understatement. But I was so low at that point, their anger and harsh words couldn’t send me much lower. The punishment they gave me was fair, but it was a pep talk compared to the punishment I had coming......from everyone else around me......and my own relentless mind.
When I went back to school the next Monday, I wasn’t expecting to be a pariah. None of my friends were talking to me. I’d walk down the hall and people would stare, point, and whisper......like something out of an 80’s teen movie. But this was real life. I soon found out that rumors were all over school about me gang-banging four guys at my party......and how kinky it was......and how I was such a slut.  I was in total shock. My life had been up-ended over the course of one weekend and I had no idea how to set it right again. I had no friends to confide in......I couldn’t go to my parents because they were so upset about the party......and my mom was not happy with me because she heard the same nasty rumors at the insurance office where she worked via a girl from my school that worked there part-time. I was all alone......the most completely alone I’ve ever been in my life. There was literally no one who would help me. One day in class I noticed the teacher, a good-old-boy coach, talking with a group of boys across the room. They would look over at me and chuckle to each other. It wasn’t hard to figure out they were talking about me. I was mortified. Even more so when the teacher leered over at me and spoke the name “Champagne Shannon” in front of the whole class. It was a nickname I’d been given in reference to the rumor that a champagne bottle was used on me. My teacher called me that horrible name in front of everyone......and now everyone was staring at me......some of them smiling......one of them my pervert teacher.  I couldn’t stop the tears and I had no intention of giving any of them the benefit of seeing me cry. I ran out of the room, tears flowing, and went straight to the only place I knew to go in that moment. My counselor. That’s what counselors are for, right?
Wrong.
I told her what that perverted asshole had done to me and she said there was nothing she could do. There was nothing anyone could do.
I truly felt alone......like I was the only one in my situation and I had nowhere to go. I waited in the stairwell until the next class. I was heading into a dangerous time of surrender. I wanted to change schools......I wanted to kill myself......I didn’t see an end to this nightmare I was living.

A few months later we had a seminar at our school about something that was plaguing teenage girls. Something I’d never heard about before......date rape. We were separated into groups of boys or girls to view the seminar. I sat in that dark auditorium......in the very back row......and watched as the girls on screen described the awful things they went through. One of the girls told a story just like what happened to me at my party. I sat frozen in my seat. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe. I was in tears realizing what had happened to me was not some fun time for guys at my drunk expense......it was date rape. It had a name......and it was against the law. Immediately afterward I stopped to talk to the ladies holding the seminar. I told them in brief terms what happened to me. They told me to call the police. I agreed, but I was so nervous. That day after school,  I called the police station and told them I had been raped. They told me too much time had passed to have any physical evidence against the guys, but that I could file a report. When the cop car showed up in our driveway, my mom was not happy. I sat down alone with the officer and gave him my story and all the names. He said there was likely nothing they could do after all that time, but they would be talking with each boy and his parents. At the time I was glad to get even that much......it gave me a sense of relief to know that their parents would learn what their sons did. But looking back, I now know that three months was not the statute of limitations on rape. Again my power was taken away......and I would never see justice for my rapists.


What happened to me that night set the stage for the most disastrous relationship in my life, which I will talk about in part two of this series. Being raped changed me. It affected my life, even to this day. I live with this skeleton in my closet because I have no choice, but I did get my power back. I learned what true love and respect are in a relationship......and I set my standards high for anyone I choose to let into my life.

Thank you for reading my story. ♥



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If you feel you have been sexually violated, please reach out to someone......a friend, an organization (RAINN), or you can send me an email.  No one should ever go through this alone......you have people on your side......and this is NOT your fault.



paxamo,

15 comments:

Heather Hill said...

A brave story to share, Shannon and very well written. An important subject, well done. Sending you much love xxx

Shannon Taylor Hodnett said...

Thank you, Heather...I appreciate your kind comments! <3 Much love back to you. ^_^ xoxoxoxox

michelle cooke (previously mouster) said...

Shannon thank you for sharing your story. This happened to a friend of mine in middle school. we snuck out went to a party she got totally wasted. We are no longer friends her parents kept us apart and then i moved away. I still hate that we snuck out that night. hugs xxxx

Dr. Marie Paas said...

Shannon, I am proud of you! Way to evict the skeleton from your closet and taking your power back!

It is beyond my grasp that all too often the ones who are supposed to be on the victim's side actually choose "the other side" - be it laziness or unwillingness to stand up to someone else or whatever! It is a setup for a downward spiral for many, that takes so much strength to stop. You found that strength, and you are helping others by talking about it.

Hugs to you!

Franklin Charles Murdock said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Shannon. I can't imagine how hard it must've been to invoke such a cruel experience even for such a selfless purpose. Your words are fueled by true courage and I hope they find their way into the hearts of all who read them because, you're absolutely right, a change must be made.

Tracie Nichols said...

Thank you for standing in your fierceness and telling your story. And for your dedication to keeping this much needed conversation in the public eye. The more of us who speak out and keep speaking, the better chance that we'll change the culture.

With tremendous respect,
Tracie

jessigage said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's a powerful story. I like your emphasis on your power. It's cliché, but knowledge really is power, and it wasn't until you learned that what was done to you was against the law that you had any sense of power.

I'm devastated for you that even then, though, you weren't able to see justice.

But you're making a difference by sharing this. Thank you.

God bless.

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