Atlanta, GA
This story contains a graphic recollection of rape.

Kimberly: I was eighteen and had a regular job working at a temp agency in Conyers. My mother danced for fifteen years so I started dancing. I was a Barbie Doll. I had all the confidence in the world. 

This guy and his wife would come through [the strip club]. He was a bounty hunter. They would bring a lot of money to the whole club. I mean a lot of money. These [girls] depended on them. That was their payroll. You didn’t want to fuck that up. [The couple] really liked me but I never went home with them or anything.

One day, his brother got out of prison. His brother sat back in the corner by the stage and he watched me all day long. I worked double shifts so I made a lot of money. [After the club closed that night] He said, “my brother told me to make sure you got home safely.” Something didn’t feel right about that. 

He rode in the cab with me down to 710 Peachtree Street. He said, “Listen, let me come upstairs and let them know that I’m on my way.” I felt weird about that but I let him come up anyway. We got upstairs and I told him where the phone was. I had a one bedroom studio. I should have recognized something was wrong when he came out of the bedroom with the phone. I thought maybe he was going to plug it into the living room. 

I look over by the [front] door and there was a note [from building management]. I picked up the note and he walked up behind me and bashed my head into the door. He put my arm behind my back and he said, “I’m going to break your arm if you don’t give me all the money.” I kept looking for the money. It was about $500. I gave him the money and he took me into my bedroom and gave me some head. He made me [have sex] the first time without a condom and the second time with one. While he was raping me I was telling him, “Please stop. I won’t tell anybody. You really ain’t got to do this.” I was just trying to rationalize with him. It went on for so long. He had me by the throat and strangled me until I passed out. I guess he thought I was dead. 

I woke up screaming at about seven in the morning. I ran into the hallway screaming. My door was wide open. I picked up the phone and called my mom. She called 911. When the police got there I was still butt naked and screaming. 

They had his DNA all over the tea cup [he had drank out of], the condom with his nut in it, they had his fingerprints. They had everything but Fulton County didn’t send my rape kit to the GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation]. They lost it.  

But, they knew who it was. They knew that he knew me from the club and that meant they started investigating his brother. By them investigating his brother, it put heat on the club and put heat on his family. His wife pulled me into the bathroom and put a gun to my head. Told me I better drop the charges or they gonna kill me. The heat from the investigation had fucked up everybody’s money. I no longer cooperated with the investigation [after that].

[The investigators] found me about [thirteen years later] in jail on some child support [charges]. They said they found him and he was in Connecticut. They said they wanted to prosecute but they said that my lifestyle could go against me since they lost the rape kit. Because he was already in jail, it would go concurrent. He wouldn’t serve no extra time but at least it would be on his record. 

[Tears] They wanted me to relive that shit. I said, “You know what? Fuck that. Y’all lost the rape kit, you didn’t offer me counseling and now you’re telling me my lifestyle is going to go against me? It’s because of that situation…” 

My life has been fucked up ever since that day. Ever since that fucking day.” [Crying hard] I’ve been hiding behind people and things so nobody can see, so I don’t stand out anymore. I don’t want anybody to see me. Not even my own family, my children. 

I didn’t drink or nothing back then. No drugs or nothing. Seriously, nothing.

I started drinking and smoking and it hasn’t stopped since then. I pray to God everyday to make it go away. I just can’t stop. All this time, it’s been twenty years.

I lost me. I lost my will to try. I feel like I don’t want to live anymore. 

Part of these collections: Sex Work

Ariel Part 1 of 3

Ariel Part 1 of 3