I know what it’s like to be held against my will. I was a naive young girl barely eighteen years old when someone I knew, although not really well, a man who was much older and whom I trusted, asked me to help him with a psychology paper he was doing for a college class. I thought it would be fun even though I didn’t really know much about psychology. So I agreed to help him.
He wanted us to meet at a local park that was located in a bit of an isolated area to help him with his experiment. First, though, I was to buy a pair of shoes and observe the sales clerk for any signs of frustration. I was to give absolutely no details concerning what type of shoe I was interested in purchasing. However, I was told to buy a grey or dark color shoe that was flat with no ties, no buckles, no opened toe or heel. It sounded simple enough and I had some money so I thought a new pair of shoes sounded like a wise purchase and headed for a local shoe store. I was given one hour to complete my mission.
Once inside the store I told the clerk that I wanted to purchase a pair of shoes. She asked me what type and I said I was undecided. She asked what size I wore and I told her I wasn’t sure so she measured my foot and then suggested I look around until I found something I liked. It didn’t really take long until I spied the type of shoe I was to buy. So much for frustration or any signs of emotion from the clerk, she was happy to help me and pleasant to work with. I noted all of this and then went to the park where we were to meet.
I never gave it much thought as I reported the behavior of the clerk and the trusted man I was meeting wanted to see the shoes so I showed them to him. He asked me to put them on my feet and I did. It seemed like an odd request, but not really harmful.
He then asked me if I had time to help him with another psychology experiment. I was reluctant but he was persuasive and said that he really needed my help. Since I had never been to college at this point, I thought his paper was legit and because I respected the man I wanted to help him so I agreed. This time he wanted to tie my hands behind my back and take me to a local drive-in to buy a Coke and see if anyone noticed that I was tied up. Hmmmm, kind of weird, but I was young and dumb and adventurous so I agreed.
He helped me to get into the car and then buckled my seat-belt…safety first I guess. But I noticed that he took a little too long to buckle me in and in the process he pushed my skirt up a little too high. This made me feel a tad uncomfortable. I decided not to show my discomfort as I could tell he was waiting for a reaction and I had a gut feeling that I should not react. As we drove to the drive-in he was rather chatty and I replied in like manner. Soon he had purchased the Coke and was holding it and helping me to drink it. So far so good I thought.
I had asked him to take me back to my car at the park and he said that he would, however, I noticed that we were not on the correct road. I asked him where he was going and he said that he knew a shortcut to the park. I knew there was no shortcut but remained calm and looked out the window. It was then that he began to tell me some weird stories about buddies of his who were in law enforcement and cases they had investigated. Some of the stories were really unbelievable and they were filled with violence and bloody details. I just remained calm and prayed silently that God would protect me from this lunatic and replied casually as if the conversation was normal. It seemed the more calm I remained the weirder his stories became as he described certain sexual body parts that had been mutilated in accidents. It was obvious that he was trying to scare me…..it worked only I didn’t let him know that it was working. I knew that we were out in the country near our local airport but since my hands were tied behind my back I felt helpless.
How could I have been so stupid? That was my main thought. Where was he taking me? That was my second thought. What is he planning to do to me? That was my third thought. It wasn’t long until he came to a fenced pasture with a gate and got out to open it. He was taking me off the dirt road into a field that had no road through it. I could see a small building ahead of me and thought some pretty scary thoughts. I prayed even harder that God would protect me from my stupidity.
He got back into the car and drove through the gate then got out and closed the gate and returned to the car once more. Before long we were stopped in front of a small shack. It was a double-seated abandoned outhouse (outdoor toilet) and I was being led into it. For what purpose? I remember the obnoxious smell and the heat that made the smell even more potent. I complied with all he asked with a cheery smile as if what he was doing was the most natural thing in the world. I played the part well as an innocent and I took extra care to make certain no fear was showing.
He sat me down on one of the lidded holes and took off my shoes. He said that he didn’t want me to get the wrong idea and start running away from him. He cautioned me not to scream and warned me that no one would hear me anyway. I knew he was right. He then returned to the car and was getting something from the trunk. I tried to assess my situation and think of what to do next, but the truth was I couldn’t do much with bare feet and my hands tied behind my back. After all I was in the middle of a pasture and there were sand-burrs, stickers, thorns and untold dangerous animals slithering around. I knew I couldn’t run to get away from him.
He returned with a rope and watched me closely for any reaction. I remained as stoic as a statue and would not give any reaction. He took the rope and tied my feet together and then tied that rope to my hands that were still tied behind my back. He told me he was going to leave me now and kept reassuring me that I would be alright if I didn’t do something foolish like try to get away or run. He then left and I could hear the car driving slowly away. I waited, not really knowing what I could or should do. I prayed too and I felt stupid and scared and embarrassed.
Some bit of time went by, perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes. He had shut the door to the outhouse and locked it or blocked it. Either way, I was unable to push the door open. I remember wasps flying around and flies…and that disgusting odor! I tried to see if I could get my feet untied…no luck. I tried to get the ropes around my writs loosened but still no luck. I found a knot-hole in the side of the outhouse where I could look out if I squatted down into a rather uncomfortable position. I could see the direction toward the gate. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.
Soon I heard a car and it sounded like it was driving really fast. I looked through the knot-hole and I could see my captor returning at a high rate of speed. I feared that he wouldn’t stop as it appeared as if he were going to run over the outhouse with me in it. I screamed, “God, please help me!” The car stopped just inches away from where I sat. I could feel the heat of the engine through the knot-hole. He was getting out quickly and running toward the building so I sat up and tried to look calm.
The door to the outhouse flew open and in stepped my captor. He grabbed me and was asking me if I was alright, as if he were rescuing me. What kind of weirdo was this guy? I told him I was fine and he untied my feet and helped me walk barefoot back to his car but he didn’t untie my hands. He leaned over and buckled me into the seat and I asked again if he would take me back to my car and he appeared to be genuinely caring and agreed to do so.
Once back in the park and back at my car, he untied my hands but only after cautioning me not to do harm to him. He wouldn’t give me back my shoes and said that the next time I helped him with his psychology paper he would return them. He did, however, give me back my purse which he had placed inside his trunk. We parted ways and I was never so thankful to God than I was at that moment to be alive and relatively well. I drove home. I never told a soul what happened to me because I was too embarrassed and ashamed. I felt that it was my fault because I was so stupid to have believed an older man whom I had respected and trusted.
Through circumstances I won’t go into, some people found out about what happened to me and I had to speak to a lawyer and the police and tell my story. The man had committed no crime as the laws were written at that time. I had gone willingly with him so he couldn’t be charged with kidnapping and sexual harassment laws didn’t exist at that time. I felt so ashamed that a level-headed person like me had been so gullible and trusting. It was through this experience that I learned there was no psychology class or paper. He was just a weirdo playacting out his twisted fantasies and I was but one of his victims. I made a promise to never trust anyone until I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt they were being honest with me. I am so thankful God heard my cry for help and saved me that day.
Why do I tell you this true story from my past? To let young readers be aware that not all older adults you meet have good intentions. Things could have been so much more serious for me. Instead of just wounded pride and humiliation, I could have been raped or killed. God protected me, of that I have no doubt.