January 16th, 2005.  The Colts were playing the Patriots in the play-offs.  There had been a huge ice storm and the roads were awful.  It was a Sunday, but I was supposed to be waitressing a late party.  I needed to be at work around 10pm and I had an 8am Monday morning class.  It’s a date that sticks in my head.  It’s the day I was raped.

It’s easy to say that I regret everything leading up to that night.  I would love to wish away the job that introduced me to a woman, who I thought to be a new friend in a new city.  I can regret whatever was slipped into my drink as we sat around eating chicken and asparagus, watching the Colts gets beat.  I can regret being a Colts fan, which was the reason for the get together.  My new friend and her boyfriend were having a dinner party so that I could watch the big game.  I regret my lack of TV channels in my dorm room.  Hell, I can regret my entire college choice, for bringing me to a city where these people lived.

I’ve spent a lot of time regretting every choice that brought me to that night.  But those aren’t my deepest regrets.  Those are peripheral “I wish it could’ve been different” regrets.

My real regret, the one that I had the power to change and didn’t, is that I never got help.  I never reported my rape and I never spoke with a counselor.  I spent weeks locked in my dorm room, letting my voicemail fill up and my e-mail go unanswered.  I spent months out partying, trying to pretend that nothing had happened.  I spent years refusing to admit that I was still hurt and petrified and ashamed. Years later, I looked up Rape Crisis numbers online, but I figured that it had been too long to talk to anyone.  I thought that about reporting it, no matter how long it had been, just so it was on the record.  I would like to think that I would’ve reported it back then, if one of my rapists wasn’t a police officer.  But I have no way of knowing that.  The fact is that I woke up in a shower, searched for my clothes and ran home.  I don’t know that I could’ve spoken to anyone for days, let alone a nurse or detective.

As time goes on, I’ve opened up a little about my experience.  I finally admitted it to my mother, who thought that I was on drugs during my trying-to-forget stage.  I told my boyfriend, when January 16th rolled around and I spent the entire day in bed.  I haven’t sat down to talk to a professional, though someday I think I will.  But my real regret is letting one day, admittedly a horrifying one, take control of my life for such a long time.  I let that day change me and I didn’t fight to fix that.  That those people might have hurt someone else, that’s a regret that I could’ve changed.  That’s so much worse than all the others.  If I had to pick just one, to declare that it’s the deepest, it’s that I never got help for myself or for anyone else.