Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Rape Victim's Personal Story

This was written by a friend of mine as a response to my previous post about false reporting of rape. I wanted it to have better exposure than it would get in "comments" because, frankly, it's far, far more important than what I had to say.

My friend speaks so very clearly, without the filters society makes most of us absorb. She’s honest, direct and often fearless. Rape, however, brings the boogeyman out of the closet for many of us because of the perceived shame and the extraordinary invasion of privacy and physical presence. Here’s her story. I love her for telling it.


God forbid this ever happens to me again, but would I immediately say something to someone of authority next time?

You bet your sweet ass I would...

I was 15. He was about 45. He was also a family member, by marriage.

I was violated, and felt nothing but shock and filth. Oh, the filth.

Immediately after this life changing experience, I was overwhelmed with, "what do I do?" The movies about rape and assault didn't exactly match what I had just experienced. Let the denial BEGIN!

  • I shouldn't have been so happy that evening ... I've heard that laughing at men’s jokes makes them think you're flirting.
  • Why in the world would I have been wearing make-up that evening? It was just a holiday weekend with family. No wonder he did all this.
  • He's always funny and witty... there's no way he could have just attacked me. No way he meant any harm.
  • Why in the world would I have been wearing make-up that evening? It was just a holiday weekend with family. No wonder he did all this.
  • Why am I overreacting? I don't want to be a trouble-making drama queen. I'm just a dumb kid, they wouldn't believe me.
  • I need to learn to stay quiet and keep to myself. Blending in, or avoiding being noticed at all would be the safest way to prevent this from ever happening to me again. 
Problem solved. Let the new life BEGIN!

Being quiet to avoid being noticed ended up being easy. I mean, depression doesn't exactly make you a ball of energy.

The quiet left me with flashbacks that were absolutely relentless. I confided in a handful of people, swore them to secrecy, but it never helped. I was hoping that I'd feel cleansed and that someone would say just the right thing to help me process everything differently, to where it'd just go away. No dice.

Too consumed and stressed with everything, I started to drop body weight and didn't realize it. Friends, teachers, family and coaches actually brought my weight loss to my attention, and they all gave me compliments on it.

Let the perfect distraction from reality BEGIN!

Anorexia set in and every single day, my weight loss was my priority for over a year. Avoiding food, weighing myself, and altering my appearance drastically, had replaced the flashbacks and filthy feelings, for the most part.

Take a second and imagine this ...

Emotional pain being so terrible and powerful that the painful and deadly effects of starvation actually feel good.

We know your body can only go so long without nourishment before shutting down. Mine did. Dammit. What's going to keep me from remembering the scariest night of my life?

My very first night in the hospital, I was interviewed by a nurse. Lots of questions of "have you ever" and I was getting irritated that all of my answers were, "No." I was either a very boring teenager, or a very good teenager. Then the nurse asked, "Have you ever been sexually abused?" My answer was, "I don't know." Her next question was, "By whom?" I said, "A family member." She continued with her other "have you ever" questions.

The next day, first thing in the morning, some people I've never seen before let me know that we needed to talk. After I told my story, I learned that I was a victim of sexual abuse and social workers would be involved and my family member would be arrested. I felt safe. I felt saved!

The best part? After his arrest, other family members started to speak up with similar stories about him. I also had other family members share their own experiences with me. They were either exposed to it, or comforted others who were victims of it. But every single one of them kept quiet about it, just like I did.

But, what if they HAD said something? Would I have been protected from him? Did that nurse reporting my answers to authorities prevent others from being abused by him? I hope so.

God, I hope so...

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