Saturday, June 29, 2013

Over Amped

"After looking at these pictures Ms. Helton, can you identify the man who you say assaulted you from this lineup." There is that face. He is staring at me as if to dare me to pass him. "This one. This is the man." I slowly breathe out the pain of secrecy and breathe in a cleansing realization of freedom. "Are you sure?!" I could not be any more sure if my life depended on it. 

I had accumulated so many belongings. I had a large steamer trunk full of all my treasures. So much more secure than a shopping cart but so heavy. "Here- let me help you." When a horrible thing has happened to you, the human response is to ask yourself why did this happen to me. The second part is to replay what could I have done to make this horrible thing. It was me. If I only would not have let him help me. I never let anyone help me. I was tired and alone. 

I have no idea why I went anywhere with him. He said we would be right back. He asked someone to watch my things for just a minute. I had been up for days, months, years. My mind was crashing to a stop. I usually stayed with a small group of people. There was safety in numbers. I was dealing with a predator. He found a way to separate me from the group. That few minutes turned into days. 

It started to lightly rain outside. Yes, I am wiling to go in some where for a little while. I can not see very well. I haven't had my contacts for at least a year now. I could not see much beyond my hands and a needle. The world was full of shadows. I had completely surrendered to the elements. A brief time off the street sounded appealing to me.

As we walked down the various streets of the Tenderloin, my internal compass began to pull me back towards North. Rain or no rain, I hated leaving my stuff. I'm so tired. I wish I could just lay down and rest. On rainy nights, homeless people fight over the best doorways. Keeping dry is a luxury. I had some seniority in my little group. I am going to miss out on the dry spaces if I don't get back soon. 

As we were buzzed into the apartment, I was not sure what to think of the place. The apartment was completely empty except for two people sitting getting high on the floor. Come with me. Do you want to do this hit. I'm tired. What about my stuff. No. I'm not sure. At that moment, I realized this was not an offer. This was what was going to happen. I was going to take these drugs and I was not going to say no. He was mixing them. God. I am so afraid now. I feel the tears coming but there is no point. I cannot scream. I cannot speak. I cannot refuse. In my entire using history, I was always very careful not to use too much. Now this man might actually kill me or make me unconscious and fuck my corpse because I owe him for a hit I never wanted. The crystal has gotten quite clear. He has brought me here to give me so much drugs, there will not be a struggle or a sound. Just a violation.

The condition is known on the street as being "over amped". It was generally done to ply younger addicts into sex that they would never agree to in their right minds. I had been so careful. I was not young or new to the game anymore. He got me though. He had me. This was going to happen. 

As the drugs hit my system, it was if a bolt of electricity had gone into my system. I was rushing and I could not stop. Then he hit the lights. He had all the power. I could not see then. I will not die here. I will not. He started ripping at my clothes. What the fuck is going on. He is trying to put me in the shower. The water will make me pass out. I cannot let this happen to me. This guy has AIDS. Think. Fucking start thinking. 

I'm turning the tables here. Then I remembered an old hooker trick. Stop this train I want to get off. He is grabbing at me. He is not going to fuck me. This is not happening. I gave this man a blow job that became a vice grip of teeth. Not enough to be obvious of course. Just enough for him to say damn bitch I am not fucking interested anymore. In fact, I am not interested in fucking you because you are fucking crazy. He got me some clothes. He took the clothes he ripped off of me, the evidence. He had washed me up. He thought of everything because this was not his first time. Except this time, he had to let me go. 

That is him. That is him. In the pictures. That is him. I know that face. He gave me so much speed, I wandered the city for days until I eventually ended up getting locked up the psychiatric ward of San Francisco General Hospital. I worked in that same department many years later. I was wandering the street in a stupor unable to put together anything but a paranoid delusion. I told them someone had tried to rape me. They told me I needed a detox. They discharged me to a detox center two days later. When they wrapped me in blankets and restraints in the quiet room, I had felt safe for the first time in years. Yes, I recognize that face. I knew him. 

I confronted this man years later, still in my addiction.  "Stop talking about me." I was screaming now. "Do you deny what you did to me." I could not make him acknowledge what he did to me but his lack of denial spoke volumes.  He stared right through me. "Just stop talking about me". 

When I had five years in recovery, I made that police report. It was more symbolic that anything at that point. The statute of limitations had run out on my case. I made that report because it was part of my recovery process. I had regained my voice. I was not going to be silent. Yes. That is him. That is that motherfucker right there. They wanted my statement. Why? It was not the first time he had done it. They would not let me see the case file but he had a stack of cases of violence against women. I was the only one who was willing to point him out. They wanted my statement on record. Yes. You can call me a snitch or a survivor. Either way, I had my voice. I will not be silent. Not now. Not ever again. 

No one is hurting me today. My recovery is a story of my survival. I am not afraid to speak my truth. This is my life today. I am in charge. I am free. 


  1. This is a powerful story, one for the book? could u expand on this hooker trick, sounds like something worth knowing!

    1. You use your teeth giving the guy head until he doesn't want it anymore