It has been almost 8 years since I was date raped. I have moved on and am fine. Okay, that’s a lie. I am not fine and for a very long time I thought that I would never be fine again. But lately that is starting to change. I had a session with my therapist a few weeks ago in which we spoke about the incident and for the first time ever, it hit me that I was not the one to blame. I realised that it was not only me in that room. There were two people in that room and one of them did not respect the word no.
After it happened I spoke openly about it, having decided to not be a victim. Unfortunately I shared my experience with the wrong people and ended up being gossiped about and feeling even more guilty and rejected. One of my friends actually asked me where I was that it could happen, as if I was acting all slutty and that’s why it happened. I wasn’t in a club, I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t wearing revealing clothing. I was watching DVDs at my place with someone I thought I could trust. I just got more than I had bargained for.
For years now, I have doubted myself. I have replayed it over in my head and wondered if it actually happened like I remember it. I have wondered if maybe I was wrong, that it wasn’t date rape. Maybe I had been overreacting all this time?
But something went open for me in that session. It was real. It happened. It wasn’t my fault. It’s not who I am and I don’t need to let that incident define me as a person. I also realised something else that, it turns out, is quite important. Even though I had convinced myself that I wasn’t a victim, at that moment, I was. And unconsciously I have adjusted my life to fit around one traumatic event.
I don’t like crowded places. I don’t like social events where there will be people I don’t know. I don’t trust people anymore. And I am filled with fear. Up to now, I wouldn’t have described myself as fearful. But in the past few weeks, I have realised that I am. I am terrified of so many things that I will not even try to name them all. In trying to be brave and fearless and putting on a mask of efficiency back then, I have suppressed emotions that needed to be dealt with. This has led to bad choices in many areas of my life, choices that I regret and have to live with.
But I think I am finally ready to let go and climb out of this box that I have holed myself up in for so long. I am ready to take back the power I unconsciously gave away. I am ready to accept that my attacker is not worth me suffering for another day. I am worth a lot more than I give myself credit for and starting now, I am going to do my level best to start living that way.

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