Fears

by Meredith on January 14, 2013

What are my two biggest fears? Like, more than anything, what am I afraid of?

Tornadoes.

And?

Rape.

That’s it.

Well, and maybe tampons. But that’s not so much a fear. That’s more of just me throwing up, out of disgust.

I am not afraid of flying. I am not afraid of public speaking. I am not even afraid of death.

However, I am afraid of rape and tornadoes. And up until last week, I was hoping my fears were irrational.

Thursday night, I was at work very late, completing some tasks that I had to be there after hours to perform. The sales staff was still there since we stay open until 9pm on Thursday evenings. I really don’t like to be here alone (because I am afraid someone will come in and rape me), so when everyone was ready to go, I left as well.

Hey, Meredith. We’re going to Trotters to have a few. Want to tag along?

Sure! 

So off I went to Trotters Bar with four other managers.

Trotters had some dude on stage who sounded more like a cat being ran over with a car, than a rock star. After our ears bled for a beer or two, we headed over to another local hole in the wall, Center Court Lounge.

I have never, in my life, been inside Center Court Lounge. The place is a total dump. Which is fine, because that just means the Absolut vodka and Sugar Free Red Bulls (I switched from beer at this point) would be cheaper. As in, they were $3 each. Boom.

I like dive bars. I actually prefer them to super pretentious places that charge $15 for a well vodka. And the crowd at the dive bar is typically friendlier than the crowd at the pretentious bar. And the bartenders at the dive bars tend to be more my style than someone giving me a wine presentation.

After some more drinks, I had to pee. Any woman, who has pushed three children out of her tiny cookie, can tell you… when you have to break that seal, you’d better find a bathroom fast. Like, now.

Of course, the bathrooms were just one stall each, and five women were in line for the ladies room. I chatted it up to the woman in front of me.

Oh no! I am going to peeeeee my pants! I’ve waited way too long to break the seal. I have given birth to three kids, and I do kegels all the time, but I have about zero bladder control. It’s terrible! Like, sometimes, when I sneeze or laugh too hard, I pee a little. Like an excited dog. I pee like an excited dog. ALL THE TIME.

That’s a lot of information.

I know, I am an over-sharer. Sorry.

Just use the men’s room. I will watch the door.

Really? Thank you! Thank you so much!

That was the first mistake. Besides the fact that a men’s restroom is totally disgusting, going in there while drinking is just a terrible idea. You draw attention to yourself. So even though I locked the door, and no one could physically come into the restroom, I was in the men’s room, alone, hoping that someone was watching the door outside.

The second mistake made was the line suddenly disappeared for the women’s room (or that lady just forgot about watching the door). When I opened the door to go back to my group of friends, I was grabbed by some guy in a leather USA jacket, who had rotting teeth, and was stumbling around.

Scary-USA-Guy pulled me out of the bathroom by the arm and onto the patio (which is right next to the restrooms). He then shut the patio door.

The patio was closed in. You can tell it was added as an afterthought, back when Ohio went smoke-free in bars and restaurants. This means, there are no windows.

So Scary-USA-Guy closed the door, and on the patio were two of his equally scary looking friends.

Do you know what we do to bad girls who use the men’s room? We treat you like a bad girl.

*the three friends begin to laugh*

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed.

It was like one of those slow motion dreams, and you’re trying to scream or run, but you can’t. You are stuck. Yeah, that’s what my body did in that moment.

I was stuck.

Are you a bad girl? Do we need to treat you like a bad girl?

*he was still holding my arm tightly*

Again, nothing from me. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I was terrified stiff.

I was, for sure, about be gang-banged by these three men. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. Call it women’s intuition, call it every hair standing up on my arms, call it what you will… I was getting raped. Right there, on that patio, with four of my friends inside that bar and thinking I was still in line for the bathroom, I was getting raped.

And just like that, one of my friends pushed open that patio door and pulled me back inside the bar. He asked them what was going on, told them this wasn’t going to happen, and took me back inside.

The three men left.

I’m forever grateful to him. He saved me from getting raped. And he saved me when I was doing nothing but standing there shaking.

You’re shaking like a leaf! You’re okay now. You’re okay.

Did you see that?! Did you see what just happened?! I think they were going to gang-bang me or something! I have never been so scared in my whole life!

I know! They were! I am so happy I went looking for you!

So here’s my advice for you, ladies. Never, ever, ever… under any circumstances, you never go to the bathroom alone. I don’t care if people think it’s weird for women to use the restroom in groups. I don’t care if they think your boyfriend is whipped for standing by the door to wait for you. You never put yourself in a situation where you are away from your friends at a bar. It feels like common sense, but if you are out and feel secure, sometimes common sense flies out the window.

You make certain someone is with you at all times. I cannot stress this enough.

I am still shaking like a leaf as I type this.

I almost got raped. And this makes me more scared of people than ever.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Danielle

You know, you don’t have to apologize for not always being funny. That shit is scary. It’s important to share this stuff too. Women need to look out for themselves! Boo hiss to those men and super huge kudos to your coworker for looking out for you. Thank you for sharing!

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Ali

Oh Jesus! THAT is horrifying. I am so sorry this happened to you. Just goes to show it can happen any time, anywhere. Disgusting. Kiss your friend for me. He’s a hero and brave because he could have totally gotten his ass kicked. P.S. I’m shaking too. I’m so sorry. Hang in there.

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Shine

Wow. Just wow. You’d never think something like that can happen so quickly…but you’re right, it does. Thanks so much for sharing. Definitely passing this along to my friends.

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Patrick

You do know they have two cameras on that patio, right?

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Meredith

They should check their camera’s then. And no I did not know. And does it even matter? If no one is paying attention to them…

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Patrick

You should go back with the police.

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Kelly

Agree, the police should be notified. These creeps should be on the radar.

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Jill

That is the scariest thing ever. I’m so glad you are ok.

Your blog post should be read by every woman out there.

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Jennifer

That is so scary, and some great advice.

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Untypically Jia

OMG I am so glad you had friends with you (who went looking for you!)! That is terrifying. ((hugs))

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Rae Ann

Totally crying, imgining the scene and the fear. Hugs to you.

I’m sharing this with my world. God knws who it might save.

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Elinor

I am so sorry this happened! thank you for sharing. I am so glad it had a happy ending.

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Erin

This is absolutely beyond terrifying. I’m so glad your friend came looking for you. I’m so glad it wasn’t worse…but I am so sorry and SO ANGRY that you had to have this experience.

I hope everyone can learn from it – that some good can come from you having to go through something so awful and having to deal with the emotional scars this has left you with. I’m so sorry that even more than ever – we as human beings have to be fearful of each other. Thank you for sharing your story – I’ve definitely let my guard down further than this in the past and won’t let you sharing your story go in vain.

Sending you lots of hugs and healing. xo

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AngieM.

holy shit…wow!!

i am SOOOOOO glad you are ok…i mean other than being scared shitless!! omg.

hugs and kisses Mer

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Campbell

I can’t believe this happened to you! I’m so glad that you had someone watching over you. I am sharing this with my daughter so she knows it is somportant to stick in groups, even when going to the bathroom!!!

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Nuala Reilly

I really want to hug you after reading this. Holy crap that is insanity.

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Kristi

I am so glad this had a happy ending and so sorry you had this experience. I am going to make my teenage daughter read this right now! Thank you for sharing.

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statia

So scary! I’ve had that exact horribly bad feeling before. Glad nothing happened.

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Margarette

Meredith,
You are a very brave young woman. Firstly for sharing your experience. Secondly for going through your experience and surviving. This was not your fault. It was the fault of those men who were trying to hurt you. You did nothing wrong. Trusting people is not wrong. You trusted some one and they broke that trust. I am very happy to hear you are intact and only scared and shaken. My thoughts are with you.
Bravery is facing that which scares you the most.

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toywithme

I had a similar experience years ago. I was with a girlfriend at the time, so there were two of us, and yet we were over powered. Over powered by men who didn’t even know each other. Pack mentality I guess. We were lucky, like you and managed to escape physically unharmed. I say physically because to this day, 25 years later, the fear of that moment is embedded in my mind. I’m so sorry you had to go through such a terrifying experience.

Thank you so much for sharing this. It seems like such an innocent idea at the time, especially if you’re a trusting individual. But it’s not. Ladies, please use Meredith’s situation as a reminder that you always need to air on the side of caution no matter what the circumstances are.

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Anja Mottern

As a rape victim myself after reading this I have a brick in my stomach. I am SO GLAD that your friend came to look for you! I am shaking myself reading this and I think it is very bold of you to share. Your honesty and candidness is something that I admire about you. You have no idea how impactful your blog is. Yes, most of the time it is hilarious and bashing Shaun:) but moments like the above incident bring awareness to your readers. Thank you for your honesty.

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Janet

I have a horrible habit of wandering about alone. Just today I was driving around East Cleveland armed with nothing more than a cell phone and a camera…and never had the sense to worry about my own safety.

THANK YOU for sharing your tale.
You are a BRAVE and AMAZING woman.

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stephgas

thank goddess you’re okay. and for friends who worry. i’m going to link this on my blog because women need to remember that it doesn’t matter who you’re with, where you are, or whatever – it can always happen.

i agree with a previous poster who mentioned the bar has cameras – go back to the bar, ask the manager to review the tapes from that time of night and if there is anything on the tapes go to the police. it takes courage to share a story like yours, and it takes even more to press charges if the option is there. but the option isn’t there for many women – i always hope women who have the option take it. (((((hugs))))

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Mari

Like everyone else, I’m glad you’re alright.
Next… if you are EVER in that situation again, don’t you ever be silent. If someone grabs you, be indignant and try and jerk away.
Make noise, I know for a fact your voice carries and is distinct. Dive bars are usually small enough you can get someone’s attention.
The lesson, never still and never be quiet.

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Belle Vierge

Meredith, I am so so so sorry this happened to you. I am very vocal about sexual assault, to the point that some people think I go to far. But I’ve been sexually assaulted before (never almost raped, but sexual assault is a broader term), and the only thing I can do is endeavor to keep it from happening to other women.

I’m praying for you, Meredith. This is one of the worst experiences anyone can have, and I’m saddened that it happened to you.

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Tracie

I’m so glad your friend came looking for you, and got you out of there.

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Cindy

Thank you for being brave and sharing this advice you learned the hard way. I am so relieved that you are okay, that your friend came to look for you. I am so sad that this happened at all. Continue to talk about it because that experience was really traumatic. Remember though, try not to cross the line between self protection and living in fear. You ARE safe. You WILL BE safe. You will protect yourself in the future by keeping aware and in groups.

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kenny

I am very glad you did not get raped!!!! I Now I don’t have to spend this weekend killing people and disposing of their bodies~!!

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Meredith,

I’m reading your post as I have been traveling alone in San Francisco, and it made me wonder how close I’ve been to being in those shoes having done a lot of traveling and walking around by myself. It’s scary. I’m a trusting person as I know you are too. This is also the reason I don’t go to dive bars in general. It’s just a bad move.

I’m glad you are okay.

JMM

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