Facing Her Past
At 17, during the summer of her senior year, she was raped.
Christian rock artist Tracy Dawn Klaiber—who goes by Tracy Dawn—can't exactly remember how they'd met. Maybe it was at a football game the previous fall. She's not sure. But she'd seen him here and there a few times. There seemed to be a mutual attraction. And it was cool that an "older guy"—21 years old, to be exact—was interested in her.
So one day in late summer, she drove over to his condo in a neighboring town. The plan was to take in a movie or maybe go out for a nice dinner. But the guy had different plans.
After the rape, she shook uncontrollably and her screams-turned-to-shrieks became unbearable to her rapist. He decided to leave her there, alone in his condo.
With her attacker gone, the girl's pain and fear spiraled into rage. She felt like she'd explode. Then she spied a collection of empty bottles. She grabbed one, smashed it. Then another. And another. She smashed every single bottle, leaving the apartment trashed with shards of shattered glass.
She got back in her car and started driving. She stopped somewhere, changed into the jogging outfit she kept in her trunk, and ran. She ran long and hard. She ran until sweat soaked her clothes and exhaustion drained her of any remaining energy. Yet as hard as she tried, she could not run away from the fact that she'd just been raped.
Tracy Dawn is now able to talk openly about the horrible attack. The singer/songwriter even wrote a song about it for her debut CD Poetic Aftermath (Atlantic), a rock album packed with gritty testimonials about the life-changing power of God. But when the rape took place, and for several years afterward, she kept her secret buried deep down inside.
"I was a virgin when I was raped," she explains. "I didn't know anything about sex. I really didn't understand what had happened. I just knew I was in pain. …
"I was afraid to talk to anybody about it. I thought I'd be blamed for what happened. I figured I was so stupid to trust him. I should have known better. I should have seen it coming."
So Tracy Dawn decided to pretend like the rape never took place. She now realizes she should have gone to the police. She should have told somebody. But she didn't. She simply tried to hide her pain by throwing herself into her role as head cheerleader and lead soloist of many high school choral productions.
But her performances at sporting events and music programs were simply that—performances. She couldn't perform away the bitterness and anger that festered inside. Her self-worth wasted away, as did her faith in God. While she'd grown up in a Christian home and made a profession of faith at age 5, she decided God had abandoned her. So why not abandon him?
"I'd gotten coldhearted," she says. "Not long after the rape, I said that's it. I don't care about any of this Christian or church stuff anymore. This is meaningless. I only kept going to church because my parents made me."