The Hike of My Life

The Hike of My Life


Today I decided to face my fears head on. I laced up my moccasins with my heart in my throat and I drove to a hiking trail I haven’t hiked in over a year.

It’s called Wildflower Park and every turn on the path is covered in happy flowers that appear to smile and tell you they love you. I cherished the trail so dearly that I hiked it religiously for two years. I even “checked-in” my hikes on Yelp (bad idea, girls). It wasn’t physically challenging, but journey lifted my spirit supreme.

Then everything changed.

A little over one year ago, I was finishing my hike about noon and I was so close to the trailhead, I could see my car in the lot. And from behind, a man came up behind me.

He put his hand on my mouth and the other was tearing off my leggings as he tried to drag me up into the wooded area off the well-traveled path by runners, hikers with dogs and the Police Academy cadets.

At first I was in shock. Was this someone I knew? What was happening?

Then I knew I had to fight. No one was going to save me and shit got serious. I screamed, I scratched, I bit his hand and I struggled as he pulled me up into dense brushy area. He ripped my panties and I could feel his erection against my skin. It was the most repulsive, violating feeling in the world.

I’d taken some self-defense classes, but you never know how you will react until you are in the moment. I could hear the voices of the women in class, "Eyes. Ears. Nose. Groin. Knees, Ankle. Throat."

He ejaculated and I thought my ordeal was over, but he as soon as I began to surrender, he had my neck in a grip, choking me and dragging me up to the dense wooded forest. I knew he would kill me if I was taken off the trail, so with all the strength I could muster, I twisted my body while my head still in a lock and I tried for the ankle, but kicked him on his foot and he let go of the grip. I ran as fast as possible to the car park.

No one saw or heard anything. I called my best friend and she was a champ! She helped me call the police; speak with the most bad-ass sex crimes victims unit women (who deserve their own tv show).

The trauma was over. Or so I thought.

They asked if I would come to the hospital to do a rape kit. Of course I want to stop this creep from assaulting other women. It was “Law in Order: Special Victims” and I was the star. My bestie sat in the police car and stayed with me through the whole arduous process: collecting DNA, photos, taking STD tests, counseling. Humiliating is being generous for what I experienced in the hospital.

 The next day, Law Enforcement requested for me to do police sketch – which was more difficult than I expected. The artist had to ask every detail about his eyebrows and every single feature before he revealed his final sketch. After 4 hours of recalling in vivid description his facial features, I had all the officers hold hands with me and pray before I could look at his face.

Then the investigation took place. The police were infuriated that this guy had the nerve to attack me in broad daylight…right next to the Police Academy where they trained. They vowed they were going to catch this perp. I looked at countless 6-pac (photos of 6 men, one possible suspect). I rode around in the police car for days looking for him.

The fact that the police were sincerely there to serve and protect initially felt empowering. I never had a protector as a child – or even someone that believed the things that adults were doing to me. But then it felt like too much attention was on me and the investigation consumed my entire existence. I was scared all the time, I did not feel confident and even when they caught him and he was prosecuted, I still felt damaged. Permanently.

His trial was over and mine had just begun.

It is no surprise that rape is a grotesquely under-reported crime. The assault doesn’t just happen once, but over and over again. 

The biggest shock was how certain women treated me after the assault. I was living with female roommates and there was a regular weekly gathering of girls. It all began when the police came to our house to take the report. There were whispers, stares and glares that all stopped to painful silence when I entered a room or look over my shoulder. I was no longer included in event invites or even meal time. It wasn't long before the treatment I got from these women felt worse than the rape. I felt judged - that it was MY fault; what I wore, et al. None of these women talked directly with me about my assault. No comfort. No support. No discussion. As much as my therapist and trauma group told me that rape and sexual assaults are common; that this a female experience, I felt excluded, marked, separate. They were superior to me because they had not been assaulted. They blamed me for anything that went missing or broken in the house.  As if because I was raped, I was now a criminal.  It can make the strongest woman break. This was not all the women in my life, but this clique soon felt like high school and I was being slut shamed.

I know women around the globe are violated daily in varied degrees. Most don’t have the resources or the will to fight back. Perhaps a stranger or a loved one has violated some of you. I took that hike today to reclaim my power as a woman and for all the women around the world who do not have a voice or the strength to know that they too can heal.

 To all of you out there...keep on hiking!

49 comments (Add your own)

1. April wrote:
I knew where this blog topic was heading before I even began to read it.....

I felt a knot in my stomach as I began to read your words, it brought up traumatic memories from my past. With tears in my eyes, I kept reading. I applaud you for sharing these very personal details. I know that it may have been scary at first but by the end of the blog, I could sense your personal strength and power!

I know personally that I have allowed events from my past rob me of peace, joy and happiness. I know it even affects my weight and my dancing...the fear of being too sexy. I know I can do better and I am continually healing old wounds so that I am no longer in this state of mind.

You have inspired me in ways that you cannot imagine. I feel so empowered at this very moment! THANK YOU!!!

Sending love to you! Hugs!

April

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 1:58 PM

2. Amy Goodman Wohl wrote:
Thank you for sharing this post. You are brave and so strong. Courageous for sharing. Continue being strong for yourself and for women everywhere

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:30 PM

3. C.c. Earthly wrote:
I am so sorry you went through this but proud that you have survived. Thank you for sharing this.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:31 PM

4. Nicole Carpenter wrote:
powerful! thanks for sharing

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:35 PM

5. erome Fortin wrote:
You are truly strong and powerful too.
I'm sorry that you went through this terrible ordeal.
You are a true inspiration and keep being a mighty light too.
Thank you for sharing this.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:36 PM

6. Dee Johnson wrote:
Thank you for sharing your story , Dolphina. I'm sorry you had to go through this. I truly admire your bravery in sharing and in taking your power back. It's never easy but taking the steps and keeping positive helped me through so much of the healing process and reading your story, I know you will help more women take their power back. Goddess bless!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:37 PM

7. Valerie Martillini wrote:
You're so strong. Sending a big *hug*

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:38 PM

8. usanne Cawley Staal wrote:
Oh my goddess. brave girl , thanks for sharing. As always my muse and inspiration!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:39 PM

9. Amie Nogrady wrote:
your strength humbles me and yet, gives me strength in turn. I adore you, you are an inspiration.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:39 PM

10. Anna Celestria wrote:
you are an inspiration. love you, wifey!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:41 PM

11. Marife Jeffries wrote:
I got teary eyed reading this. It takes so much courage to share a horrible, god-awful, traumatic experienced like that. You're brave & amazing, truly a Goddess. May the healing process continue on positively. Much love & prayers!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:43 PM

12. Patricia Garling wrote:
You are incredible and empowering!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:45 PM

13. Jill C. Prinster wrote:
You are a strong woman

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:45 PM

14. Rebecca Lynn Zili wrote:
You are a badass.
I am so inspired by the openness of your heart.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:46 PM

15. Susan Jannone Boston wrote:
This was a wonderful article. I know it must have taken enormous courage to post it. God bless you and thank you for doing it. There ARE probably many women out there who will be heartened by your generosity and bravery. I'm one of them oxoxo

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:47 PM

16. Suzy Sells Gardner wrote:
I agree with everyone else's adjectives: brave...strong...badass...Goddess. And now, you are even more so for sharing your painful personal experience to enlighten and empower other women. Bless you on your journey of healing.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:49 PM

17. Dorothy Lowry wrote:
Omg!!!! I had no idea!!! I want to give you such a hug right now!!! Sweetie. Oh man. I would crash FB with all the words I want to say, so instead just know I am holding you in my prayers and heart, trusting that the entire universe is cheering on your sweet soul.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:50 PM

18. Brenda Orr wrote:
You are such an Amazing Woman!! Thank you so much for sharing your terrifying story. You truly are a Goddess! I am so Inspired by you!!

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:50 PM

19. Venus Theresa Fitzcharles wrote:
When something horrible happens to you, it's up to you to choose to NOT be a victim.

Having survived sexual assault not once, but twice, I know what it means to be afraid of an area. Even one that you loved.

You're so brave to share your story. You're amazing to own your experience and using it to reach out to other people.

Sending you love and light. Thank you for sharing with us.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:53 PM

20. Christian Colombo wrote:
a braveheart. and thanks for keeping it a loving heart on your path

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:54 PM

21. Eleri Jane wrote:
Sending love to all the women in the world!! Thank you for sharing your strength with us. So sorry you went through this.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:55 PM

22. Juliana Powels-Crouch wrote:
Thank you for sharing. You are incredible, beautiful and brave. A goddess for sure.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:56 PM

23. Lori Rubenstein Fazzio wrote:
Blessing abound--you are an angel in so many ways and you are strength and a beautiful warrior woman.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:57 PM

24. Nancy Wepunkt wrote:
Have no words for that. My heart is with you.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:58 PM

25. Anne Puckett wrote:
i'm sorry for what you went thru, and what you are still enduring. you are not alone.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 4:59 PM

26. Anne Puckett wrote:
i'm sorry for what you went thru, and what you are still enduring. you are not alone.

Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 5:11 PM

27. Kim wrote:
You are not Alone. I was attacked as a teen. There will be dark days, but keep fighting for the light, and peace and hope. You deserve good things!

Wed, February 26, 2014 @ 6:07 PM

28. Terri wrote:
You are a brave woman indeed to go through such an ordeal and come out on top stronger than ever. I was molested for 4 years (from the time I was 3 to 7 years old). I told my parents what had happened and they turned the man in. It was an uncle. My trust as well as how I viewed my body was damaged for a really long time. It was not until I came across your belly dance instructional videos and started actively dancing that I started to regain love and respect for my body. So thank you for your bravery and for teaching belly dance because it has been such an inspiration for me and my life. Stay strong and know that you are not alone!

Wed, February 26, 2014 @ 9:37 PM

29. Romy wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing this . You have tremendous strength whether it's to go through what you have gone through or to just write about those incidents in your blog.
Although we have never met but I have admired you ever since i saw you dance on YouTube. Reading this entry has made me even more fascinated by you .
Sometimes, we feel that certain events break us and turn us into eternally damaged people but then looking at you reminds me of how perfect we are. There is always a way to picking ourselves up

May the beloved Goddesses keep on shining on us

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 9:42 AM

30. Jerome Fortin wrote:
It is I, who should be bowing down to your strength and fortitude as well.
Please take care of yourself and sending you some healing, encouraging and warm vibes your way, Dolphina.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:04 AM

31. Sharōn Ronen wrote:
Thank you for sharing your personal story to provide strength, inspiration, and hope for women everywhere. You are truly a goddess!

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:04 AM

32. Katalina Leon wrote:
Again and again you bring strength and healing to all of us. I love you

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

33. Karen Potter Fields wrote:
♡thank you Dolphina♡ Your posts give me peace of mind and so much encouragement to keep dancing. Going to my first class tomorrow. Six week's then my journey begins ♡

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

34. Rhani Zerimar wrote:
Oh my gosh! I never knew I'm so glad you are safe and alive.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

35. Sarah Rosenthal wrote:
to you Dolphina!!

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

36. Dawn Dirks wrote:
Wow. This makes what you do with GoddessLife even more meaningful.Thank you for having the courage to share your experience.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

37. Anne Puckett wrote:
love to you

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

38. Deborah Key wrote:
Thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration!! The world is a much better place with you in it.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

39. Vicki Capen Davidson wrote:
I love you Dolphie! This is the first time I have seen these details. I remember the time very much and you never cease to amaze me. xoxo

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

40. Vicki Capen Davidson wrote:
I love you, and wept as I read it, thank you fo bringing such a hard subject into the light. It's shattering for so many of us and you are indeed incredibly brave for sharing this. Thank you for also reminding people to stop checking in everywhere they go. It's so dangerous. You grow more beautiful in your hearings. To the one day all the girls and the woman and children of the world can stroll down any path they choose and do it in joy!

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

41. Holly Noel wrote:
Wow Dolphina I had no idea! Thank you for sharing your story, by doing so you are empowering other women to come forward with their stories and to begin healing. What a brave woman you are! A very wise woman once said to me " a goddess gets angry but never enrages she holds the power in and never gives it away to anyone". I'm grateful that you didn't let this break your spirit you are truly and inspiration and have made such a positive impact in my life and I'm sure so many other women's. All of my love to you--Holly (Acacia)

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:22 AM

42. Lilly Kaya Green wrote:
Thank you for sharing Dolphina reading this was heart wrenching at first, but then your empowerment and light shine through in encouragement and love. It was also lovely to hear how you had protectors to help find the person afterwards I agree that we must hike on! Much Love and Blessings to you Dolphina

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:23 AM

43. Jessy Mcl wrote:
Thank you for sharing 💕 I think you just just gave me a piece of my life back

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:24 AM

44. Megan Keteyian wrote:
Bless your heart. I had no idea you have been through so much. You have given me confidence and grace over the last ten years with your tapes. I pray that you will be well and strong for many years and many more women.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

45. Missy Smith wrote:
Love and hugs from one survivor to another x

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:26 AM

46. Gloria Hawa wrote:
strong strong woman. you're a warrior for sharing and living to tell.

Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 10:32 AM

47. Cecilia Burton wrote:
I agree with everyone else, you are very strong to put your ordeal on the blog. You are an inspiration to a lot of women. When I read what happened to you, not only did I cry but I got really pissed. How dare he!!! If you ask me, whatever sentence he got is not severe enough, they should cut off you know what-you know where. May the Goddess be with you.

Sun, March 2, 2014 @ 1:57 PM

48. Dr Pisces wrote:
Thank you for sharing this. You're a beautiful, strong, brave woman.

Wed, March 5, 2014 @ 1:15 AM

49. Wisteria wrote:
Like April, I too knew exactly what you were going to say in today's blog. My experience happened over 30 years ago but the pain is still there. As you said, the event is relived more times than I can count. I applaud you for sharing your ordeal. Your pain will lessen with time, but never leave completely. I am so glad you chose dance and choose to be happy despite the pain. You truly are an inspiration to others. Thank you for being the Goddess you are!

Tue, January 26, 2016 @ 1:18 PM

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