IN HER WORDS: MSU spring break rape victim details abduction, attack
Lucy Gradolph while on spring break, 2014.
By Lucy Gradolph
Spring Break - the typical college student's week of no class, binge drinking on the beach, and the idyllic week to do whatever you want, with whomever you want.
A week free of no professors, no exams, and no term papers. The week every college student counts down the days until departure, and plans for months and months ahead of time. A week filled with the nights you don't remember, with the people you don't remember.
This is exactly how my spring break had been, up until the spring break of 2014.
RELATED: Gradolph talks to FOX 2's Taryn Asher about what every spring breaker should know, CLICK HERE for the story.
Spring Break is the time that breakers are the most vulnerable and naive people ashore; in their tropical destinations they desperately begged their parents to book them a ticket for.
The locals of these spring break locations, however, are planning for their arrival as well - but in quite a different way.
Spring Break 2014 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, one of the most chosen and vibrant destination locations for college spring breakers, changed my life forever.
March 3: The first official day of my spring break and last one as an undergraduate, I thought would be the best trip of my life. Unfortunately, the ending did not match the beginning.
March 7: The last day of spring break, before heading home from the sultry paradise of Cabo San Lucas to going back to the post-winter chills in Lansing, Michigan, was the worst night of my life.
On March 7, I was kidnapped, raped, and almost killed.
A simple, 30-second mistake, led me into a real life nightmare from hell. I was abducted by two men, raped, and threatened to be killed, limb-by-limb. No one knew where I was, no one knew what was happening to me, and worst of all, no one could save me, except myself.
I was leaving the nightclub, "Mandala," where everyone went almost every night on spring break. At the end of the night, cabs would wait in line as the club was closing, and we would get into the cabs to go home to our hotels, as simple as that.
It took one corrupt cab driver and his accomplice, to try to take my life away from me everlastingly. One of the men from Mandala hailed me a cab, identical to every other night, and as I was climbing into the cab, the same man who had hailed me the cab, climbed in behind me.
It officially set off in my brain at that moment that something was off, and the cab driver and the other man were in cahoots together. I did not know where I was going to be taken and if I was ever going to return. The man in the back started assaulting me, while debating to the cab driver in Spanish about whether or not to murder me.
I had never felt so small and insignificant in my entire life. Minutes felt like hours, as I was lying in the back of a taxicab, being sexually tortured.
Finally, the cab stopped, I was thrown out of it after attempting to run, and it was the cab driver's turn with me. I was then assaulted by the cab driver and was held back by the other man because I was "moving too much."
I was then assaulted by both men at the same time, and was beaten from the attempts I made to escape. The movies "Alpha Dog" "Taken" and "Savages" began to take over my brain and I believed I was going to die a painful and lonely death.
All of a sudden, as I was preparing myself for death row, another van pulled up to the crime scene and my abductors got spooked. They quickly threw me on the ground and drove off.
At that moment, I felt freedom. I was a survivor and had experienced a miracle. I quickly dashed to the closest resort I could find and got a legitimate ride back to my original hotel to safety.
I am sharing this story not for any sympathy or pity; I am sharing it to save the next spring breaker and next woman. So many of us, including myself, believe this will never happen to them and these types of stories happen to one in a million. Unfortunately for our society, that is not the case.
One out of every three women are taken on spring break each year, and two out of the three taken, never survive and are never found. I am the blessed statistic that did survive and was found.
My main message to you is: Don't be a statistic, don't be a survivor, just don't be in the equation at all.
Take more careful precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Always use the buddy system even if it seems cliche' or tacky. You are not invincible. Horrific events like this happen everyday, especially on spring break. I was lucky, but the next woman may not be so lucky.
From this experience, I now know what it feels like to not be accounted for not only as a woman, but also as a human, and as merely flesh that can be used up and washed away.
The men who did that to me on March 7th, 2014 tried to strip me of my humanity and tried to destroy my life…thankfully, they did not succeed.
Because of them I am a stronger and more powerful person I have ever been before, thus enabling me to share my story and spread the word of prevention.
I suppose God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.