I was in my twenties and had begun to work as a Juvenile Institutions Officer at the Juvenile Hall in my hometown. It was to make a little extra money while I worked as an evening supervisor at a group home. I loved to work, and it was something I was good at. Because the facility saw both boys and girls, 18 and under, there were two male supervisors and two female supervisors. Jodi already worked there, and she gave me the rundown on how everything went down and who was who. By that time, I had been experimenting quite a bit sexually trying to find some sort of feeling in it. I had been assaulted in college but blamed myself. I was out drinking with a male friend and a friend of his. The friend of the friend and I decided to walk home together. There was a park on the way to my house with a little bridge over running water. I swayed back and forth not really listening to this guy. He asked more loudly “do you want to hook up?” I just looked up at him unsure what to say. He moved towards me and pushed me down on the bridge pushing up my jean skirt. I didn’t object, I couldn’t figure out how. My voice was frozen. You see I came from an upbringing where you took your hits without complaint. He finished quickly, helped me wipe my skirt off and sent me off to walk drunkenly home alone. Fast forward three years I had amassed sexual partners hoping to find something but feeling nothing in the end. I took this as I was like a man and could sleep around without ever getting involved. If a man couldn’t love me before maybe he would fall for me now. Maybe he would love me and take care of me and make me happy.
The first day on the job I met Nate and Ed the male supervisors. They were complete opposites. Ed was a large white male, close to 6ft and over 220 pounds. He was in his forties and his hair was receding, but he found enough to pull back into a ponytail. This was his domain and he was in charge. He had already been in trouble for placing hands on female inmates but that wasn’t talked about, he played football with the superintendent, so things were swept under the rug. Nate was average height, wiry and black. He always had a baseball hat on and was irritated when anyone talked to him. They both had the look a wild dog gets in its eye. It’s this ever so small glint when they see something they can’t wait to have. Something they have been hoping for, are hungry for. Their eyes never leave yours even as they take you all in. When I worked I would be on shift with them and at night it would only be the two of us. Ed immediately saw my work ethic and how the inmates responded to me, deciding that I would get the majority of my training with him on nights. In the stockroom is where Ed would choose to harass me. I would climb the ladder to stock and often find him standing right below the ladder just watching me, never saying anything. I was weirded out but didn’t say anything. He upped his game and began to slide himself against me in the hallways or lean on me to reach up and get something on a shelf. I could feel his penis on me. Eventually he decided to verbally make sexually suggestive comments. “I’d like to see you in that later tonight”, “What if I bought you something pretty for later?”. I knew it wasn’t okay, but I also knew I was a woman in a man’s world. This was a good ol’ boys club which was certainly not going to let me in, especially if I said anything about its ringleader.
During this time Nate was biding his time. We had worked together a handful of times. He too was in his forties, so I considered him a cranky old man. Jodi dated him at one time which made him harmless in my eyes. I had begun to bond with the staff and we were going out a lot to drink and hang out. Nate was never one to join in with the group, but he had begun to come out much to the entertainment of the other group members. Not only was he a cranky old man he was a cheapskate too. I laughed along with them, having no idea what role this old man would play in my future. For clarification, as I am now pushing forty I don’t consider it “old” anymore but at 24 I sure did. One night about five of us headed out of our little town and to the biggest hub around us. By the end of the night three of us stood strong; Nate, Cesar and me. I gave Cesar my drink and headed into the bathroom. When I came out Cesar had disappeared (later I found out Nate had told him to leave) and Nate was waiting. As I walked around the corner to Nate, he grabbed me and forced his mouth on mine. I was shocked and a little disgusted but not frightened. He pulled back, looked at me and said, “I’m your boss” and then grabbed me by the elbow and walked me out to the parking lot. He asked me where my car was and guided me that way. I knew what he wanted but I just didn’t want it. Nate took my keys unlocked my car, opening the back door on the driver’s side. He guided me there and bent me over. With one hand on the back of my neck he skillfully pulled down my pants and then unzipped his. Want was no longer an option. He was taking me because that’s what he believed he deserved and I couldn’t say a word. The word no escaped me. I didn’t deserve that word. I wanted a man, didn’t I? Well here is one. In a matter of minutes, he was done. He wiped himself off on me and walked away. I just sat in my car unsure of what to do. When I went back to work a few of the guys smiled at me and teased me about being left alone with Nate. While he was married he was still well known for cheating and for me it was now clear I was now the other woman. Nate continued to interject himself in our nights out and ended them in the same way. He knew I was scared and he had made it clear that he was the boss. That statement was twofold. He had become the boss of my life and he was literally my boss. I was then placed as Nate’s partner as often as possible, he was allowed to make that request. When supervisors found good staff, they wanted them on their shift simple as that. Nate wanted to have sex in the stockroom. The home visits soon started. I had never given Nate my home address, but it was easy to get, all he had to do was ask one of the other staff members. I lived with a roommate and letting a man in to see me was not out of the ordinary. She let Nate in one morning at 7am on her way to work after I had crawled into bed after the night shift. I heard him walk in and stand in the doorway. I didn’t scream, it wouldn’t do any good. I just laid there and waited. If I waited it would happen and then he would leave and go back to his wife and kids. As he crawled in he pried my legs open. It was time. It wouldn’t take too long before he jumped and left. My drinking increased at this point, and I became sloppy. I would call or text Nate and taunt him. Tell him I was out with someone else and that I was going to get fucked by that person. He would still go out with the group which put us together regularly. Even though he had hurt me I was drawn to him. He would show me affection. My self esteem was in the gutter and I craved and hated it at the same time. I did not want to be hurt physically or mentally but I believed I called it upon myself so I took it. My body also felt pleasure sometimes, further confusing me. Everyone took it as a relationship and I guessed that I should as well. Even though I resigned to that fact I still refused to give him my new address. I moved to a cute little house that had a small window facing the outside. I couldn’t completely lock it, as it was an older house, but I didn’t worry because the window was higher up. Nate got my new address easily enough. I poured myself into bed one morning after locking the door and my bedroom door. I could hear metal moving but I lived close to a shop, so I made nothing of it. I became louder. I woke up and through groggy eyes realized Nate was crawling in through my window. He had one leg through and his hat had fallen on the ground. He managed to jump nimbly down without any difficulty. He slid the window closed and walked towards me. I assumed my frozen position, but he was smiling this time. He has something in his hands. It was smooth rounded metal. I made a move, but he was on me in no time and he was strong. He took the metal piece and pushed it in me repeatedly. This brought his great pleasure and he yanked my face around, so I could see his. He wiped it on me and I would later see that he had wiped off my own blood. One day Nate came over during the day and my landlord was present. I was able to get Nate to leave and less than a week later I had lost my job. Not long after I moved away and didn’t ever return. I found out later Nate had been asking for my phone number and I for a while I received the occasional email from him threatening me. In my mind I had closed that chapter until I saw a man that looked like him and I peed my pants. It was not him, but it caused such a visceral response that my body responded the only way it knew how. The thought of him brings up a feeling stronger than fear. It’s a feeling of being caught, trapped. And the idea that I would see him again, that I would feel trapped again makes me cower. I would like to think with time I can move forward to hating him. To wanting to slash his tires. To telling all the people that thought we were in a mutual relationship that it is was a one-sided power struggle. Even now I want to say “he’s not a bad guy. I just didn’t tell him what I wanted”. Randi, you should have been clearer. Randi why did you call him? Why did you let him touch you? But I know I was being groomed by a sexual predator. He knew I was vulnerable and craving someone and something. He decided he would give it to me whether I would like it or not and eventually I would conform. I was an unwillingly but desperate participant in a relationship he had created to suit his needs. I didn’t want it but I stayed quiet because he had smashed my voice. It has come back slowly now and many years later I finally feel able to share with you. You are not alone.