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How I Survived an Attempted Rape in My Bedroom

Surviving an attempted rape doesn’t make it easier to talk about…but it does make me feel strong. Here’s the story of how a guy broke into my apartment in the middle of the night and tried to rape me.

surviving sexual assault in your own bedroom

Me (Laurie)

Even now – years later – those words choke me up. How did I survive without getting raped? I’ve been writing and blogging for almost a decade, but I’ve never written about how I survived the attempted rape. I prefer to blog tips-based articles that help people achieve their goals, not personal stories about my life.

But, I’m changing the focus of my blog to She Blossoms, and inserting more of myself into my articles. I still have to offer practical tips because that’s who I am, but I also have to give more of myself.

Here’s how I survived when some guy – a stranger who had been stalking me without my knowledge – broke into my apartment in the middle of the night.

The Attempted Rape

I was 17 years old, living on my own, waitressing at Smitty’s Restaurant in Edmonton, AB, and going to high school. I didn’t have a boyfriend, and had only been living in Edmonton for a few months.

I didn’t know a rapist was watching me.

In the middle of the night, I opened my eyes to see a guy kneeling at the foot of my bed. He was gently moving my quilt, which is what woke me up.  I squinted, not believing it was really a man’s head and shoulders at the end of my bed. I wracked my brain, trying to convince myself that I had piled a big jumble of sheets and blankets at the foot of my before I fell asleep — that there wasn’t really a man at the foot of my bed.

But then he shifted to pet one of my cats (they were both curled up on my bed, near my feet and the rapist. Traitors. My dog Georgie would NEVER do that! I still love cats, though. Just not as protectors or defenders).

I screamed. I was worried no sound would come out like in nightmares, but I screamed loud and long.

He jumped on top of me, shoved his hand down my throat. He was definitely a smoker. I couldn’t breathe; all I could think was “I won’t scream, I won’t scream. I can’t breathe, you’re suffocating me.”

He withdrew his hand, and we wrestled for a second or two.

How I Got Away

I remembered that a possible rape escape involves humanizing yourself so your attacker realizes you’re a real person with feelings, just like his mother or his sister. So I asked him not to hurt me, and said I was a virgin.

He said, “Yeah, right, you bitch.”

Humanizing myself didn’t work. I needed a Plan B.

On my nightstand was my clock radio. I turned the volume up to full blast, hoping the neighbors would hear and come to complain. It was 3:09 a.m.(Later, the cops looked at me suspiciously when I told them the exact time of the attempted rape. Evidently I was too precise, causing them to wonder if I perhaps had more involvement with this “stranger” than I claimed).

The would-be rapist dove for the plug in the wall, sliding off the bed headfirst. I jumped off the bed and had to step over him to get to the door.

He grabbed my ankle and said, “Oh baby suck me off.” (That makes me chuckle now because I was nowhere near his privates, and wasn’t about to stop my escape act to do what he wanted).

I kicked away his hand and raced upstairs to my landlord’s suite. He was awake, sitting in his armchair, watching TV. He heard me scream, but thought it was the show he was watching. We called the police and went back down to my apartment.

My big kitchen knife was on the floor by my bed, along with an Exacto knife I didn’t recognize. The rapist had put them down to play with my quilt, pet my cats, and watch me sleep.

Surviving a Rape That Happens at Home

When you’re almost raped at home, you change your definition of “safety.”

I used to think I was safe at home, but now I figure I’m usually safe at home most of the time. I’m always aware of the possibility that someone is watching or following me, even though I know the chances of that are low, statistically speaking.

Surviving an attempted rape in my own bedroom changed my perception of danger and life itself, in both bad and good ways. I stopped living alone and sought male roommates, believing they’d keep the house (me) safe from rapists and prowlers. An unexpected bonus was establishing strong relationships with men and letting myself trust and know them – and be trusted and known. My self-esteem ripened with the knowledge that I survived an attempted rape and got away.

I learned to trust myself in a whole new way. I traveled ‘round half the world and lived in Africa for three years, finding safety and comfort in the knowledge that bad things happen everywhere, even in your own home in the middle of the night.

Adventures were easier after I survived an attempted rape.

I’m telling you my story because I hope I can help you survive something, too. Maybe a rape, maybe a chronic illness, divorce, loss, disappointment, any one one of life’s downs.

How Will You Respond?

If you’re a rape survivor, I encourage you to tell your story. You can share it here, or with people you know and trust. Expressing yourself is one of the best ways to heal and bounce back from terrible experiences. If you were raped, remember that it was not your fault.

Read books like Resurrection After Rape: A Guide to Transforming From Victim to Survivor. Learn how other women survived rape and other types of sexual assault.

If you know or think you’re being stalked, read Are You Being Stalked? 19 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Stalker.


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12 thoughts on “How I Survived an Attempted Rape in My Bedroom”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Lauren. I also started to live on my own and go to school since I was 18, but I had many roomates living the same house so I never have any problem with strangers sneak into my bedroom or anything. Now, I’m 22, relocate and living alone in an apartment for job. I would never imagine such thing can happen at your own home. Not many people would be that lucky to escape a psyco like that, but you amazingly did. Now you even make more believe more about every event happens in life will be a reason for us to seek for something extraordinary to do later.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Tina – we’re soul sistas!

    My attempted rape happened almost 20 years ago, and I too am still scared when my husband is on business trips.

    I have a dog, which the RCMP said is the best alarm system. Better than an actual alarm, because dogs aren’t easy to bypass.

  3. ps

    Get a male roommate AND a German Shepherd. Even if your roommate is a gay guy, I think this will keep you safe. Just having anyone around is helpful, but I believe that a guy in your place will make any stalker think twice.

  4. I am the one that Ray is talking about.

    I had to move out of my apartment. After the break in, back in the 70’s, I moved in with three guys – who were platonic only! That was the only way I felt safe.

    I had been living with a female roommate when the guy broke in – in a similar situation – when I awoke with a knife at my throat. Very scary. It changed my sense of well-being forever. Nothing worked when my rapist broke in. No one heard me. I’m just happy I lived.

    Like you, I had been stalked and I didn’t know it. I’ll never live alone again unless I have an alarm. Fortunately, I am remarried and having a guy and a big, barking dog helps me sleep at night…thirty-plus years later.

    Laurie, I am so sad to hear that this same thing happened to you. Get a German Shepherd. Those dogs will take good care of you and anyone who tries to hurt you!

  5. How horrifying – but so glad you were so brave, and so quick-thinking! Thank you for sharing this, and inspiring the rest of us to be vigilant and be prepared! (And get a big scary dog or large male roommate)

  6. Thank you, Ray! It is shocking and sad how many women have experienced attempted and actual rapes. It makes me sick — and the emotional pain does not go away. I, too, still have nightmares about it.

  7. I did not realize how common rapes were until I dated after my wife died. It seemed like most of my dates either were victims or one of their children were.

    One lady who was a victim still has nightmares about it 40 years after the rape. She lived in total fear as the rapist although caught and prosecuted was only given probation and was released.

    These perverts should be locked up for life as their victims or near victims are sentenced to a life of fear.

    God Bless You Laurie

  8. Thank you for your comments! Lynda, I’m so glad you survived an attempted rape as well, and thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes, a car full of young men ARE up to alot of good 🙂

  9. Dear Laurie – your story compels me to share one more action I took, that is to pray “help God!” and then yell. It was what I did when a man tried to grap me on the street during an early morning walk commute to the restaurant I worked at over 35 years ago. He had evil intentions and thank goodness for a group of young men driving in the early hours on the adajacent road (probably had partied all night with lots of courage to spread around) saw the struggle and assumed the worse and took action. I still think of them and consider them God’s angels for that moment in time. They stopped their vehicle and chased the guy on foot for several blocks. Unfortunately, he got away, yet fortunately, without any phyical harm to me. It took quite awhile to fully trust male strangers walking near me on streets. Your courage is wonderful – good on you!!! We are meant to live life with joy, adventure and courage and not operate in fear!!!

  10. Good article! Took a lot of “intestinal fortitude” to share. Good sense of detailed description. I agree…writing helps healing.

  11. Laurie! That is amazing! Good for you…and thank you for sharing your story. So frightening but you were so brave then and now.