Into The Light

How getting raped helped me overcome my past

By Meghan Walsh

I woke up to cold, grainy asphalt against my face. Almost six years later, I can still feel the hardness beneath me. I didn’t know where I was. Or what had happened. I just ran. From my recollection, I traveled maybe a block. Retracing the route later, though, I found it was closer to a mile. Barefoot I ran through the North Phoenix suburban neighborhoods, a grid of identical stucco homes with gravel yards. The streets were still and the sky was dark.

I began pounding on doors. The panic in my chest tightened with every strike. Finally, someone answered. A man in his pajamas came to the door to find a young woman trembling on the wooden deck of his manufactured house—without any pants. And without any underwear. It was April, and a desert chill lingered in the early-morning air.

Spring in Arizona is my favorite time of year. I had already begun working on my annual tan and was eager to wear something light and feminine. So that Friday night I wore white linen pants, a white lace halter top that crossed in the back, and nude cork wedges. My blond hair fell in waves at my shoulders. I was 20. I remember feeling pretty and confident.

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