Post Traumatic Stress...Due: To Rape
It has taken years to make it to this point. My decision to share my story comes after years of denial and post traumatic stress that bled into every aspect of my life.
I began to realize that, what had happened to me at age 16, was starting to bare it’s weight on my reality. It started with me watching Law and Order: SVU, but only at certain times; it was never a show that I put on daily, but when playing, captivated me. After a period of time, I started wondering what my attachment to this TV show was, until one day, when I was questioning my own rape.
I was watching that TV show to try to disprove to myself that my rape was not rape, that what had happened to me could not have been rape. There were stories of women who suffered far worse...far, far worse. I felt selfish for calling what had happened, rape.
But it was.
I was 16 and naive, better yet foolish. I let a man by the height of six foot two with arm muscles as large as my thigh, lead me out of the safety of my friends, the club, and anyone else with ears and eyes. Standing in the dark, surrounded by trees, my last plea was “...my period, I’m on my period, please, no”. After feeling him rip the tampon from my body, I knew that I ceased to matter as an individual at that point.
Left to pull my own pants up, I trailed his pace, reentered the club, and watched him high five three of the friends he showed up with. All I remember was feeling lifeless, but there were more important things going on, like my friend who was too intoxicated to stand on her own. She needed my help. I needed no one anymore.
That night, upon returning home, I confided in my best friend, at the time. Nothing came of it. Life carried on. What had happened to me was not important, it was time to begin forgetting that event if I was going to keep this a secret.
It took me years to tell my own mother and upon telling her, I did it so that she would have no choice but to not react. I was so ashamed to know that I was going to tell her that I did it in a public food court, quietly and just long enough so that I did not break down into tears. It took years after telling her and her trying to convince me, that it was time to see a therapist.
In the year since, I thought that I was becoming more accepting of my past and although I did not share it with everyone, I did verbally share it with some. These people included my ex boyfriends, my family, my closest friends….but only if I saw fit to them knowing. For the most part, I lived largely in denial to my rape.
The rape was not gruesome. I am not physically scarred or damaged. See, the rape was almost the easiest part of everything that’s come of it. What an awful thing to think, right?
I want something to be very clear, that has been drilled into many peoples’ heads, and yet somehow, it’s still happening….NO MEANS NO.
No matter how it is said, no matter how loud or how softly it is spoken, no matter if it comes as only a head shake from left to right.
When no stops meaning no to someone, they’ve created a monster, not in themselves, but in their victim. A monster that creeps and crawl, that haunts and taunts. You cannot walk in a stairwell without feeling like you’re moving so slow that you might as well be melting into the ground before you make it out, what if you’re not alone?
You cannot be in a house by yourself without locking every door and refusing to look out of the windows at night. You lose your sense of humor towards crude jokes. You cannot walk by yourself, in a public place, without constantly searching for a potential way out, just...in…case. You lose the ability to look males in the face because what if they get the wrong idea? You cannot let the person you love, love you.
This is also another, very crucial statement that I would like to be very apparent: if your partner was raped, do not expect a normal sex life.
Laying in bed and eleven months into a relationship, my partner was not listening to my words. As my "no" became me pushing him away and pulling up my underwear that he had taken down past my knees, I was blinking through so many tears of disbelief that someone who I thought loved me, could ignore me. It was the peak of what had been happening for over almost the past year: the pressure and guilt into having sex every day otherwise we were "not connecting correctly", having to mentally prepare myself for it having to happen so that it wouldn't hurt as bad, and knowing the mood and aggression I would be met with if I did not comply.
See, my PTSD reached a point that I shouldn’t have let it. Owning a female rabbit and female dog, I watched each of them be unwillingly mounted by a male rabbit or male dog, upon which I became so furious and sickened that I would shut down for days after. The only thing I was proud to ever see, was when my female dog turned and nipped at the male, doing so to her.
My entire perception on males has been altered and has only increasingly become more distasteful as the years go by. My thoughts have become so paranoid into believing that sex is a tool, it’s a weapon, it’s control. Domination over another. Sex is not love, not to me.
The last thing that I wish to convey into extreme importance is this: if it happens, talk to someone...aka go see the damn therapist. Far easier said than done and very hypocritical of me, but I speak based off of the lessons that I have learned and am continuing to learn. Quiet honestly, I am not sure when I will overcome the internal battle that resides, however, I do know that it helps. It gives you the shield to hide from the bullets until you’re ready to fire back.
I, admittedly, have many more fears now as my PTSD has spiked. I fear that I will never find the comfort that will allow me to open up to my partner in life. I fear that, any children of mine will go unprotected from such a horror. I fear that D.F. will never comprehend his actions, that he will forever see what happened as a “quickie at the club while overseas” trophy, better yet, I fear that he has forgotten it entirely.
Everyday I wake up to a brief moment of the memory of him. I have flashbacks during intimate times where suddenly, what is supposed to feel right, immediately becomes wrong.
He robbed me of my peace of mind.