I was so excited when my law firm sent me to Europe for two weeks to attend meetings at a couple of our European offices. I met colleagues from different parts of the world and made some new friends.
After a long day I went to the hotel gym to work out. There were only a couple of other people at the gym and I welcomed the quiet. I put my headphones in and got in the “zone” on the tread mill. I was startled when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned my head around to see who it was and that is when he attacked. He was wearing a balaclava and held a knife to my throat. He said if I screamed he would kill me. I frantically looked around to see the gym was empty.
I froze in terror. He ripped off my jogging pants and raped me. When he fled I pulled up my pants and laid on the gym floor in shock. I don’t know how long I stayed there before I made my way back to the room. I was flooded with self-loathing. Why didn’t I try to fight? Why did I freeze? I was horrified someone from my law firm would find out. I felt they would judge me or think I was weak or did something to cause it. I didn’t know what to do. The firm has an EAP, counseling and an emergency number to call but I was so afraid to disclose the rape to anyone in my firm. Then I remembered seeing a presentation about Pathways To Safety International. I found their information on the internet and called internationally toll free.
I spent three hours on the phone with a case manager. She listened while I told my story in my own words and talked to me about my options guaranteeing me confidentiality and anonymity if that is what I chose. I know I didn’t want to make a police report but I needed to get prophylactics. She arranged everything for me including transportation and a translator and stayed on the phone with me the whole time.
That was three months ago. I still call my case manager almost every day. She helped me navigate the most horrible experience of my life while I was abroad and after I returned to the USA. I am seeing a counselor locally but my case manager at Pathways has been my lifeline. She has been with me every step of the way.