SACRAMENTO -- For more than four decades, Victor Hayes has silently fought through his pain and trauma.
"It's not something that as a proud young man that you really want to go around and openly talk about," Hayes said. "It's pretty much the nightmare that never ends that keeps on giving."
Now, at the age of 63, the first man victimized by the East Area Rapist is opening up about his darkest moments.
"It's a little bit of therapy for me, that I can purge some of this and don't have to keep it inside," he said.
Aware the East Area Rapist was terrorizing Sacramento in 1977, Hayes slept with a handgun and used a two-by-four to lock his sliding glass door. But one night, the armed intruder broke in as Hayes and his girlfriend were sleeping.
The East Area Rapist forced Hayes' girlfriend to tie him up and put dishes on his back so he couldn't move as she was raped.
To this day, he believes he was targeted.
"He said, 'I'm going to party with Sharon,'" Hayes said.
Sharon is his mother's name.
"I sleep with a loaded handgun for the last 41 years so no one will ever get that jump on me again without a fight," he told FOX40.
The East Area Rapist is suspected of raping more than 50 women and murdering 13 people. Decades later, investigators made an arrest in the case in April. The man suspected of being one of California's most infamous serial killers, Joseph DeAngelo, was a former police officer.
Hayes still has so many questions about the type of evil that caused so much pain. He hopes, with time, he gets answers.
DeAngelo is due to appear in court Thursday.
Hayes says he wants to be there, but he's not sure he will go inside.