CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Life is so unpredictable. Our happiest moments can, in the wink of an eye, be turned into our most scorned and regrettable memories.
This is the firm conviction of a woman who spent years trying to recover from being raped at her 19th birthday party. The party was a surprise one. But the teenager soon became staggered by the unexpected turn of events.
After decades of recovery, the rape victim has finally shared her story.
25-years ago, a young Briana (real name, withheld) was at home sleeping when she was awakened by her best friend Mara. Briana was awaken so that she can make an appointment at the salon. The plan was to get all fancied for the birthday.
Telling her story to Guyana Standard, Briana recalled that day like it was yesterday: She said, “I got up and I prepared, because I had no plans for my birthday. I don’t plan things. I like things to be spontaneous.”
Briana said that by 10:15hrs, she was at the salon with Mara where they spent just over two hours.
From the salon, the two returned to Briana’s home. But, Mara soon took off and told Briana that she would pick her up at 18:00hrs for them to go to dinner.
“I went home and slept, and around 17:00hrs my mom woke me and told me to prepare so that I would be ready for when Mara shows up,” Briana said.
“It was a little after 6 0 clock I heard a car blowing outside my house. The driver came out and said that he was sent to collect me because Mara was not yet ready as yet.”
Briana told her parents goodbye and entered the taxi which proceeded to Mara’s house.
“I was dressed to impress and I was smelling good. I was happy,” she said.
Briana said that when she arrived at her best friend’s home, Mara beckoned from the window suggest that she went into the house and wait because she was still getting ready.
“I exited the car and walked up to the door. As I pushed the door open, I heard loud screams of surprise coming from my friends,” said Briana.
She added, “I was really surprised because I hadn’t the slightest idea that my friends would throw a party for me.”
Briana said she was thankful for everything that her friends had done for her, after seeing all the extra work they put in to make sure that her 19th birthday was a good one.
“My friends were there. My boyfriend was there, I thought it was going to be an amazing night.”
Briana said that around 22:45hrs, the party was over and most persons were gone, but, she and her boyfriend decided to stay and help Mara clean up.
She said that after gathering boxes and cups left by the guests, she ventured into the backyard to dispose of the garbage in a “big barrel they had outside.”
Briana said that after throwing the garbage away, she went to the stand pipe in the yard to wash her hands.
Briana said that in retrospect, she thinks that she should have been more cognizant of the dangers since the yard was dark at the back. But, at that time she was under the assumption that she was in a safe environment.
Briana recalled that, when she bent to turn on a pipe, someone snuck up behind her and covered her mouth with a piece of cloth.
SHE SAID THAT SHE TRIED TO RESIST, BUT THE ASSAILANT WAS MUCH STRONGER. THE VICTIM REMEMBERED HEARING THE WATER LEFT RUNNING AS SHE WAS DRAGGED TO THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE.
“I tried to bite him but he was strong. He lifted my dress. He pulled my underwear to my knees and raped me. He violated me on my birthday.”
A teary-eyed Briana continued, “I tried to fight him but he cuffed me twice to my jaw. My body went numb.”
Briana said that the painful and unforgettable ordeal was over in less than five minutes but felt like forever.
Briana said that the rapist quickly fled the scene when he was finished leaving a stench of alcohol and marijuana behind.
As soon as she could muster the energy, the woman picked herself up and went inside the house. There, she told her friend and boyfriend what had transpired.
“I told my boyfriend and my best friend what happened and they called my parents. My parents arrived shortly in a vehicle and took me to the hospital.”
Briana said that a report was never made to the police.
“My boyfriend and best friend blamed themselves for not being there to help me. My parents blamed themselves for not being there to protect me and I blamed myself for being out there all alone.”
Briana said that, after the incident, she quit her job as a sales girls and began to isolate herself. “I was always in my room and I began hurting myself…I began cutting my hands, watching the blood drip on the floor in my room. I was ashamed. Words can’t explain how I felt about the night I would never forget.”
An emotional Briana said the reason for cutting herself was to distract from the emotional pain that she was feeling. “Cutting was a relief. I felt like I was in control and choose to do it on my own. Someone had already violated me so I just continued to violate myself.”
Briana said that she even broke up with her boyfriend because she had grown a hatred for men.
“I was scared of men. The only man I really trusted to be around was my father.”
She added that she was also scared of the dark and would normally sleep with her lights on.
Two years after the incident, Briana and her parents migrated to the United States where she started a new life.
“It took me a while to trust men but the right one came along and I fell in love. He was patient and understanding and I really appreciated that.”
The 44-year-old is now happily married with three children. But she said that the experience will always stay with her.
Briana said that she would encourage anyone who was raped to speak up and get counseling, because no one deserves to experience life with so much pain.