I hope this website and my story can help you deal with your own personal tragedy. While whatever occurred may have changed your life, it has not ended it. You still have the opportunity to be happy, to live a full life, to define yourself as you chose to, not the way other people or situations want to define you. While this site is not the place to report a crime, if you wish to share your story, knowing there’s no shame and that we care – feel free to do so here. We hear you and bear witness to your journey. This is my story.
It happened June 18, 2011. As a 23 year old I was ready to have as many adventures as I could, which included a trip to the Boundary Waters with a few of my girlfriends. We were on a rigorous 5-night, 19-portage backpacking canoe trip. Each day I struggled through physical and mental exhaustion to make it to our pre-determined campsite, signalling the end of another day. On our last full day in the Boundary Waters, we came across 8 men fishing. They beckoned us over, offering shots of alcohol. They told us that they had stayed at the same campsite for the past 4 days (I found out later that it is unacceptable to keep a campsite for more than a day in the Boundary Waters), and they wanted us to join them. I immediately told the other girls “No!” It didn’t feel right. They agreed and we went on our way to our nearby campsite.
We set up camp, and before we started our dinner, we noticed two of the men wandering around, apparently looking for us. Despite my opposition, my friends waved them over. Upon arrival they made themselves at home by making a fire and trying to attract us, as the opposite sex, with the use of crude language and gestures. One of my friends decided to succumb to this, and went off with one of the men. Upon their return, the 2 guys left. Relief flooded me.
This reprieve didn’t last long as two different guys showed up, soon followed by another two men. They casually mentioned they had a gun and asked us if we wanted to see it. We all said, “No!!”
They brought out booze and pot, trying to entice us. I’m not interested in anything involving drugs and I’m not much of a drinker, so I stayed by the fire.
Before I knew it, it was just me and two of the guys around the campfire. One of the men wrapped himself around me and thrusted a shot of alcohol into my hands saying, “You haven’t had one all night, take the shot. “ I declined. But, he wasn’t about to give up that easy, “One’s not going to hurt you” he told me: famous last words.
After consuming the shot of alcohol, I became so dizzy I thought I was going to pass out. Beside me I heard the guys ordering me to follow them. I was cold. “No. I want to stay by the fire.” I replied. I was lifted up by the arms, barely able to feel what was going on around me. “Come with us.” a voice demanded as they dragged me into the woods.
It was a long way (I later found out it was over a fourth of a mile away). We came to a stop. That’s when it started. Portions of my clothes were removed. They teamed up on me, and before long a third guy showed up to join in the “fun.” I kept saying, “No. I don’t want to. Stop.” In final desperation I yelled out, “I’m on my period!” This seemed to at least catch their attention. They stopped briefly. The one behind me stated coldly, “Then we’ll do everything butt…” And he entered me anally. Meanwhile, another one pushed his junk in my mouth so far I threw up. The third helped hold me and fondled me. Then each one kept rotating on me like it was a game that they each needed multiple chances at taking.
I don’t know how long it lasted before my friends came looking for me. I’m told it was 20-30 minutes. The rapists knew before I did. They stopped. One running, one hiding, and one standing behind me repeatedly threatening, “You better fuckin’ tell them you’re fine!”
Terrified by the implications, when I saw my friends I pleaded with my eyes, but I put a contorted smile on my face and with a “deer in the headlights” look, as ordered, I told them I was “Fine.” I was walked/carried back to our tents. Once inside the tent I felt the bile that was continually at the back of my throat for the past half hour starting to come up. I left the tent to throw up, only to be grabbed by one of the men and thrown back into the tent by one of the attackers. He climbed inside carefully closing the tent before removing my clothes once again to continue where he left off.
This time my tentmate came to the rescue. She literally had to throw her body on top of mine to protect me from him. With the three of my friends working together, they were able to finally herd the men off our campsite. As the rapists paddled away, we could hear the sounds of high fives and congratulations being shared for their “triple score” night.
I continued to throw up all night, remaining in fear on the island with no call box, no cell phone and no way to get help. Their threats of “You better fuckin’ tell them you’re fine!” were ringing in my ears. In the morning, I found a handful of bullets left by my head.
I was a different person in a different world.