McDowell Technical Community College

SafePlace

It Happened to Me.

By Beth Davis

Mitchell County

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

I could easily write a boring, boilerplate article filled with enough statistics and generalities that would make your eyes glaze over…. yawn….and quickly turn the page to another, more uplifting story.

But because of one particular Facebook post by a woman whom I’ve never met, and because of the #MeToo movement, I’ll tell you a true story about sexual assault. It’s my story. To tell the truth, I hadn’t thought about it for years…. decades, really.

I was at home for summer break from college in the very early 80s; I was 20-21ish. I started dating a very dreamy, oh-so-handsome, very popular, clean-cut, well-mannered-from-a-good-family, every-parents’-dream guy. I’d known him for years; my parents adored him. His name was Paxton.

He was 3-4 years older than I. He’d been a Sargent in the Marines, and he was a boxer, too. He was a dreamboat!  And we had so much fun together those first few weeks that summer.

Late one afternoon, we met friends for a couple of margaritas before our “date”. Afterwards, Paxton said he needed to run by his house before we started out for the evening. No big deal. I’d been to his house several times, so I thought nothing of it. And I thought nothing of it when he yelled something to me from his bedroom. I willingly went to his bedroom, and stood just inside the door. That’s when everything went upside-down. Everything went terribly wrong.

He put his arms around me and hugged me. Then he kissed me. Nice, right? Sweet, right? No problem, right? No warning signs, right? WRONG.

Before I knew what was happening, he pulled me over to his twin bed in the corner – which had no bedspread, just ablanket, but you could have bounced a quarter on it.  He pushed me down, then he pinned me down, and, no matter what I said or did or tried to get him off me, I was trapped……it was game-over. I didn’t stand a chance against him or his strength. He raped me. It didn’t matter how much I fought him. It didn’t matter how much I demanded he stop. It didn’t matter how much I begged. Afterwards, he behaved like this was “typical”. This was “normal”.

When he was finished, he very casually got off of me, went to the bathroom to splash some water on his face….and splash on some fresh aftershave. And then he changed into a fresh, pink polo button-down shirt. AND he asked me if I was hungry. He was starving!

Probably you think I was angry, defiant, upset, and demand that he take me home right away.

Nope.

We went out for dinner, continuing on with our planned “date”, although I really don’t remember anything about it.

Even though we’d been dating for several weeks, we’d never had sex. I was ashamed of myself afterwards. I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation……after all, we had been drinking, and I did have a couple margaritas. What’s worse, I continued to see him until I went back to college!

I never told my Mom/parents what happened. He was a great guy; they really approved of and liked him, and I figured it was probably all my fault anyway. Maybe I led him on?

So, I bet you’re wondering whatever happened to the oh-so-dreamy-parent-approved Paxton?

A couple years later he married a beautiful, sweet, talented girl I went to high school with. He beat her throughout their marriage. Finally, he threw her through a sliding glass door, and nearly killed her. Probably she shouldn’t have put herself in that situation.

If you have been raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed, we would love to hear from you. Although we know it happens in our community, very few victims come forward to report…. perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of shame. We invite you to call us; your identity will always be anonymous, and your story will always remain completely confidential. Sometimes, just telling your story lifts a load off of you. Our compassionate, experienced Advocates are also here to help you if you want it. Please feel free to call the Mitchell County SafePlace 24-hour Hotline at 828-765-4044. And, above all else, remember: whatever happened to you is not your fault. You did not ask for this. You did not deserve this.

Beth Davis is the Resource Development Coordinator for Mitchell County SafePlace. She can be reached at 828-765-4015, or bethbdavis60@gmail.com.