From Mel: Beautiful Nadia was interested in this project because she wants others to know that they're not alone. During our session, I asked her what she wants others to most know about her experience, and without missing a beat she said "it's not my fault."

It's not her fault. It's not your fault.

I am so grateful for her willingness to share, her story below may be triggering for others...It may be healing. We're not alone.  

From Nadia:  

In 2005 at 19, I went to a party with a guy that I had been around a few times as his date. Due to the fact that I lived pretty far, we drove separately and I met him at the apartment where the party was being held. I was so excited to be there, with HIM, this guy was my dream type, killer rockstar voice, tall, dark hair, a beard, tattoos, and an amazing kisser. 

There were a few people there that I had met before, but mostly new ones. I remember standing out on the balcony and him wrapping his arms around me from behind and giving me a kiss on the top of my head. Like I said, he was tall. We went inside and he started drinking. He asked me if I wanted a drink and I said sure but just one since I had to drive home. He and his friend went to the kitchen to make their drinks along with my rum and Coke. I remember drinking it and thinking it tasted so good so it couldn't have had much rum. Little did I know, it wasn't just rum and Coke. 

My mom had told me the "never put your drink down at a party" but I was never told don't let anyone else make your drink. 

Next thing I remember was lying down because I was feeling really drunk. After one drink. Then, it went black. I woke up, naked, sore, and surrounded by people I didn't know and so very dizzy. I gathered what I could find of my clothes and stumbled out the door, down the long hallways of the complex, and into my car. I knew I shouldn't be driving but I knew something was wrong and I didn't feel safe staying. So I drove to my ex boyfriends apartment and knocked on his window until he woke up and let me in. 

I remember him being so mad at me because "I smelled like sex and alcohol" but I kept telling him I was just so tired and needed to sleep. So I slept. 22 straight hours. I woke up a couple of times to him bringing me water and checking on me but other than that, I slept. 

I woke up and he and his roommate were both very persistent that I wake up and try to eat. I finally had the energy to make it to the bathroom and that's when it hit me, I was so sore that it hurt when I went, and still so dizzy. I called my ex into the bathroom while sobbing and he checked and said I was so swollen and scratched up. It took everything I had to convince him not to go find the guy and "kill him" because I felt like it was as my fault for going to the party, my fault for letting them make my drink, and my fault for drinking even. I thought I would get in trouble. 

It wasn't until years later after I had been married that I had gone to bed after a long few days of dealing with a sick baby and working nights, that I woke up sick to my stomach and felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I flashed back to that night... all of a sudden I remembered it all. All of it. I remembered their faces, how rough they were, how weak I was... I remembered them laughing. 

I remembered the night I was raped by three guys. 

The biggest obstacle that I've had is losing trust in men other than my father and brother. Despite how kind, honest, great looking... I don't trust them.  My husband knows it happened but not the details. Part of me wants him to know but I know he'll never ask. It's worse now because since I was raped, I've been abused by men, lied to, cheated on, and divorced. 

I definitely feel like my constant guard is always up and people think I'm doing it out of spite but really it's my only way I protect myself mentally and emotionally. Even now with a new husband and three daughters, I have such a hard time letting people in. The slightest action that leads me to think someone (especially a man) is being dishonest my walls go up immediately and are pretty hard to break back down. 

Honestly I feel like my childrens' and my mom's voice are the loudest. My mom constantly tells me how great of a mom I am and how proud of me she is. Then the amount of love my children pour out to me makes me feel like I've managed to somewhat overcome my past fears of not being enough.