Everyone watches terrible stories on the news and secretly thinks, “This would never happen to me”, “I would never do anything so stupid”, and “I’m way too smart to be in this position”.
Yet in September 2004, staff at a British hotel found me gagged and bound with leather belts after spending two days alone, trapped in my hotel room, naked, raped and beaten until I’m bloody and black and blue all over.
Left alone dead or alive, it didn’t seem to matter. I was alone in a foreign country with no money and a ticket back to the United States that wouldn’t be good for a week.
I was so sure I did everything right and never imagined something like this could happen to “A sharp girl like me who had been there and knew how things really were.”
I may have been smart, but he was smarter and I was set up from day one to end this way.
It all started when I met a lovely Englishman online on a dating site. I can see you there, already rolling your eyes, but I was well aware of the dangers of online dating and took every precaution to make sure I wasn’t scammed.
I sent him lots of photos: him in his house, with his dog and his family (a nine-year-old girl named Emily from a previous marriage), to make sure he wasn’t using the image from someone else. I asked him to show me his passport photo so I could get his real name and ID.
I knew where he worked and confirmed it by googling his name and public records. I even met his friends online, months before we got seriously involved.
But when I finally fell, I fell hard. And he claimed he did it too in a very non-scary, non-harassing, and perfectly reasonable time frame. (And in a way that seemed perfectly normal, after months of chatting online for 3-4 hours a day.)
We had a steamy online affair for almost two years, with smoldering calls late at night. We’ve become experts in erotic self-photography and X-rated webcam action that should still hold a world record in the Perverts Hall of Fame.
We couldn’t have been more intimate – not just about love and sex, but about our lives and our feelings.
He never gave off a single bad vibe or warning sign and believe me I was watching for anything even slightly suspicious. He never asked for a penny and sent me lovely little gifts…nothing too extravagant or inappropriate, so when he asked me to come and spend a week in London with him at his expense, I didn’t. couldn’t have been more delighted.
He was even booking me into a nearby hotel, so he felt no sexual pressure or responsibility until we were sure there was physical chemistry in person.
We were making plans for me to start visiting more often to see how things were going. If things continued to go well, I was considering moving there.
To this day, I can’t think of anything more I could have done to be sure it was legit.
When I arrived in London we had a wonderful first few days exploring the city. We made so many plans for all the wonderful things we were going to do together.
He looked even better in person and on the second night, instead of kissing him at the hotel room door, I invited him to my hotel room where we had amazing sex that lasted overnight and into the next day.
It all seemed too good to be true, so of course it was.
It all started to go wrong when he suggested a small piece of bondage. I had been flirting with the idea of trying it out one day so I volunteered and didn’t fight or struggle when he used his leather belt to tie around my waist and tie my arms at my sides .
I was not afraid; everything had been very affectionate and playful so far.
When I was completely tied up and helpless, he pulled out a huge leather strap with a big metal buckle. His voice became cold and factual, as he gagged me against my will and began beating me brutally and viciously for hours.
I still don’t understand the twisted monster’s motivation. It certainly wasn’t sexual frustration, or some kind of violent rape fantasy; we had been making love for two days.
He had carefully created this person over the past two days, knowing all along that it was for no other reason than to beat me savagely (while I remained unable to defend myself) until I was bruised, bled and unconscious.
He then disappeared with all my money, leaving me with no money, no accommodation and no taxi to even get to the airport to go home… which didn’t leave for eight days.
The hotel owners were very nice and respected my decision not to deal with the police. They let me eat and stay one more night for free to calm me down. The next morning, I headed for the airport, determined to say or do whatever it took to get home.
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When I explained my situation, the airline made me wait until they called the police to question me “to see if there was anything I thought they needed to know.”
I stared pointedly at my body, too bruised and bruised all over to cover it. But they made no demands or protests when I insisted that everything was fine and just wanted to go home.
The police and the airline decided the best thing to do was to put me on the next plane I was coming from, no matter what my ticket said. I returned home that day.
I racked my brain trying to figure out how and why someone could do such a thing. And that’s because they are sick individuals. And there are many others, just like him.
It doesn’t matter how careful you are; to an intelligent predator, everyone is prey and no one is ever truly safe.
I still get chills remembering what he said the first day we met on the internet. I asked him why he joined the dating site.
He said, “To meet a girl like you.”