Kristen Aileen Santamaria
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My Experience         The Aftermath         Contacting Me
I would like to take a moment to state that this page could be triggering and should not be viewed if you do not feel safe or comfortable. I am only sharing the parts of my experience that I feel comfortable sharing.

Disclosure Statement
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My Experience

It was spring 1989. We were going to the junior prom. I was going with a friend of my friend because the guy I was dating thought that proms were stupid and would not go. Me best friend really wanted me to go, so I agreed to go with this guy.

It didn't take long for me to find out that this guy expected more than just a friendly date. As we sat at our table talking, I could feel his hand on my leg. I tried so hard to smile and not get upset. I didn't want to upset anyone.

Later that night, as we danced, he put his hand down my dress. I pushed him away and ran to the bathroom locking myself in a stall. I didn't know what to do. My mind was racing. I didn't think that he would hurt me, but he was certainly making me feel uncomfortable. A friend of mine came into the bathroom looking for me and insisted that I return to the prom with a smile on my face and stop making up silly accusations. She stated that I was ruining her prom night. I didn't want to do that and always one to make others happy, I returned to our table with the biggest smile I could manage and made it through.

After the prom, it was a tradition for everyone to go to the beach and continue the party. We had agreed to meet friends up there but had to drive separately because we had taken our own car. We stopped on the way up and changed out of our prom clothes and put on more casual clothes. I was feeling safer. I knew we would be meeting friends and staying together so I thought I had nothing to fear.

When we arrived, I didn't know where we were. It didn't seem like we were in the right place. I thought we were meeting at a crowded center at the beach where there were rides, food stands and arcades. We were in a deserted parking lot right on the beach. I asked why we were there and he explained that this was where he was told to meet everyone. I said, I don't think this is right. He insisted. He thought we should walk on the beach and try to find our friends. I thought anything would be better than sitting in the parking lot, so I went along.

We were walking down the beach about halfway between the parking lot and the water when suddenly I was knocked to the ground. My head hit the ground hard and immediately filled with blinding pain. Before I could even figure out what was happening, he was on top of me, kissing me and touching me all over. I felt him pulling on my pant zipper. It hurt to think, but I frantically tried to come up with something. Finally I started telling him that police patrol the beach and we would get caught. I pleaded with him not to do this here and he finally agreed.

Relief washed over me as he pulled me to my feet and took me back to the car. As we drove back to town I thought to myself, I did it, it's going to be ok. He is going to take me home and everything will be all right. This night will be over and he won't hurt me. But I soon knew that this was not what was going to happen. I watched as he drove past my street. I could feel the anxiety growing. Where was he taking me? I remember the music blaring and my head pounding. I could feel my breathing grow more rapid. I didn't know what to do.

He pulled into the parking lot of our high school. I started thinking, where is the nearest phone. If I could just get out of the car, I could run to the nearest phone. I'm fast, I could out run him. I fumbled for the door but my hands shook so hard, I couldn't get it open. Then he was there, opening the door for me. He reached in and grabbed me by the hair and pulled me from the car. I grabbed at his hands and tried to get free. He pushed me into the back seat and hit my head hard on the frame of the car. I felt the world spinning and my mind was not clear. He told me that this would happen.

I kicked, I screamed, bit, scratched and even hit but every time I hurt him he would hurt me. He shoved my hands under the seat cushion to restrain me. He pushed until they hit hard against a metal bar. I could feel gum under the seat. I remember that so clearly. I would rather remember the gum than the cold hard metal my hands were crushed against. He repeatedly grabbed at my hair pulling my head back hard. I felt him tear at my shirt pulling all the buttons off. He tugged at my pants and shredded the nylons I had on under my pants.

I felt him push inside me. I gave up fighting, turned my head and left my body.

The next thing I am sure of is him driving up in front of my house. He opened the back door and tried to help me out. I yanked my arm from him and methodically picked up every single button from my shirt. I picked up the tattered nylons and gathered all my things. I started walking to the house and heard him saying something about how great it was and what a good time he had and he would call me. He started the car and drove away. I fell to my knees on the front lawn and cried into my prom gown that was rolled up in a ball in my hands.

When I gathered myself together, I went inside. I took the hottest shower I could stand and when the water got cold, I got out and waited for more hot water and did it again. Then I went into the basement and threw my clothes away. I dug deep into the trash and buried them. I didn't want anyone else to know. I never wanted to see those clothes again. I hung the prom dress up knowing that my parents would question if that were missing and tried to go to bed.

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The Aftermath

I tried to walk through my life as if nothing happened. I tried telling my friend the next day but she didn't believe me. I felt nothing. I stayed hiding in my room and slept in my closet at night. I kept thinking that he would come back and get me. I felt nothing, I was numb. Several days later, I talked to a psychologist who believed me and wanted me to go to the hospital but I didn't go. The next day, I took a bunch of pills and hoped I would feel something or end everything.

I did this three times and was hospitalized three times. Even when I finally felt well enough to stop hurting myself, I didn't feel good about what happened. I questioned myself because everyone around me questioned me. I blamed myself because some people blamed me. I still feel guilty and ashamed but I am working on that.

This will be a never ending battle. I share this story with you so you will understand that this happens to people you know, to good people. I want you to know because together we can do what we cannot do alone. We can heal and help each other. I don't want you to judge me, pity me or disbelieve me, I just want you to know, this still happens and at an alarming rate. Take care of your friends, sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces and all the people in your life because you do not know how quickly their lives can change.

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Contacting Me

I also participate in many list communities through onelist and can be contacted there. I moderate two lists and you are welcomed to join. You must go to onelist by using the link provided above and become a member, then you will be able to subscribe to my lists. I moderate This is a list for women who feel that they have health related problems from abuse they may have suffered, emotional, physical or sexual. I also moderate This is a list for woman with endometriosis or their friends and families to vent, get support, ask questions or share stories and jokes. Laughter is the best medicine. If you would like more info please feel free to email me at the above address.
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This page last updated on December 3, 1999.