About Victoria

My name is Victoria and I grew up in Southern California, specifically Santa Paula, CA. I spent a time in community college and my interests ranged a bit. I changed my major from English, to Psychology, to Criminal Justice. I got my AA degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Life and love brought me to Portland, Oregon, where I am trying to adjust to adulthood.

Despite the distance, I am very close to my parents and friends, and I am deeply grateful for all they have done for me. I have bipolar disorder and I am a rape survivor. In my junior and senior years of high school, I won a variety of awards for my poems and stories, being published in Buena High School’s Pawprint Literary Magazine.

My Story

Five years ago, I was in high school, a junior who had just been dumped by a guy I never should have dated. When junior year started, I was still hurt from what happened with the ex. My friends invited me to a Friday night football game to make me feel better. Enter the new guy. He was a freshman and I was a junior and he was nice. He was interested in my favorite music and was funny.

Then he started displaying weird behavior, wanting to be sexual right away, lies out of nowhere and then saying “just kidding”, and mentioning how many girls he’s been with, as if to rub it in my face. We went to homecoming together and he had lipstick on his check from his ex-girlfriend. I was livid and he claimed it was nothing. I didn’t want to start any trouble and I was still acting as if I was in my previous relationship, which had these types of controlling behavior and more. I started blowing off my club presidency of Writer’s Ink, the writing club that was my passion. I started blowing off my friends.

Halloween rolled around. I love horror films. My parents wanted me and my little brothers to go trick-r-treating in my grandparents’ neighborhood, like we did every year. I blew them off to hang out with my boyfriend. We ate candy, I watched him play video games and then… it happened. We started kissing and petting and suddenly I was being raped. I told him to stop. I told him “hold on wait no” and still, it happened.

When it was over, he said, “I hate dating. We should break up.” I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t process what just happened and since he wasn’t a stranger in an alley I assumed that it was okay even though it didn’t feel okay. I begged him to stay with me and he did, and when I went home, I took a shower and cried.

A few days later, he disappeared. No one would tell me where he went and his best friend, who I knew did drugs, looked at me from afar with a sad expression.

Finally, my boyfriend texted me and told me that he had overdosed on “hells bells” and was in the hospital. He ran to the high school to see me and then, after kissing me and hugging me, he broke up with me. The memory of this moment is blurry, but what I remember was crying and running to my mom’s car and breaking down.

My Healing Journey

The rest of the year, I developed heavy paranoia, I didn’t care about my studies and I withdrew from my friends and family even further. I even got a note from a friend that told me that my depression was ruining our group of friends. My ex jumped from girl to girl. I felt alone.

I watched  Law & Order: SVU and came to the conclusion that I was raped. I knew I had anxiety and depression. I had been self harming and I was taking medications, but they weren’t working. I obsessed about my ex and his new girlfriend. I was in the counselor’s office almost every day and my drama teacher, who directed the play my ex was in, even said “Did you think it would last? Did you think you guys were going to get married?” I tearfully nodded and when he saw the cuts on my arm, he sent me to the office. Finally, after terrifying passerby classmates and friends, I graduated and disappeared.

That summer, I attempted suicide. My mother, not knowing what else to do, sent me to a mental health facility for five days. I learned I had bipolar disorder and was put on different meds. Therapy had more breakthroughs and I was different, not healed completely, but healing.

I started college, I still had some friends and we talked about what happened. They told me they forgave me and that they loved me and were there for me. I started dating someone I had had a crush on since my freshman year, and we are still together. I even moved out to Portland, Oregon with him.

Why am I writing this? Recently, I looked back at people from high school. A lot of my former classmates and friends are either parents, married or pregnant, excelling in careers or in the armed forces. I thought about what I remembered about them and how they have changed. Then I realized that what people remembered of me in my last days of high school were my manic episodes and breakdowns. They’ll always remember me as crazy. My ex will never know why I acted the way I did in and after our relationship. And if I saw my rapist today? He would think we’re friends.

I’m not out to get justice. It happened too long ago and it will be hearsay. There’s no evidence and I have blocked out a lot of what happened. I’m writing this to clear the air. I don’t want my legacy to be a manic maniac.

I missed out on so much, that I want to get out of this nightmare. I have made my peace. I have come to terms with the fact that I will not get my best friend back or be able to fix the pain I have inflicted on others. Mental illness makes us do crazy things, but I know that doesn’t mean we are exempt from responsibility of what we do, even in the darkest of times. I know who I am and I know that I wasn’t “asking for it” and my Slipknot t-shirt and jeans didn’t provoke a stranger. It was someone I loved and someone that I thought loved me and I want people to be aware that this happens a lot and if it happens to you, you don’t have to submit just because you’re in a relationship with them.

I have been on a steady medication regimen for almost four years. I am happy. I have ups and downs, but I am stable. I still write, I still love horror and Halloween. I have a support system, a job and a cat that I consider to be a therapy animal. I play video games as a way to wind down after a hard time. I am free.

“You are beautiful. You will blossom and grow. You will find love and peace. I promise.”

To My Younger Self

Dearest Victoria, If I could tell you what would happen to you in order to save you, I would. I can’t change the past. I can’t go back and stop you from making certain choices. I can’t save you from the pain. But I can tell you this: you will be free. I know it feels like your heart is shattered glass and your pain feels like you’re on fire, but just know that it will get better. It will take time and it will hurt, but you will learn to move on. I can’t tell you that I’m fully healed, or that I forgive the people in my past that hurt me, but I know we will. I know I will. Please love yourself. I know we have a problem with low self esteem. But you are beautiful. You have loving friends, loving parents and a loving family. You will blossom and grow. You will find love and peace. I promise.