Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Post on Rape

I don't know if you know this about me, but I was raped. I was raped just after my 19th birthday; without getting into the aspects of it, I'll explain that it was one of the darkest and most traumatic times of my life. I never saw the guy again, thankfully. Let's be clear though: he raped me at gunpoint, acknowledged that he did it, and may well have killed me that night.


Subsequent to my rape, I ran away to the university from which I would eventually graduate; however, in the time between my fleeing as far away as I could then stand and college graduation, I drowned in a pool of emotion. I became self-destructive. I was depressed and suffered terrible anxiety and panic attacks. I was imploding.


By graduation, I was rebuilt. Somehow, I rose above it all. I graduated with honors; in fact, I was the student of the year. I had the support of the people I cared most about, but they were not the people that most would suspect. Now, of course, the depression seems like a flash. It seems like I woke up one morning and with the blink of an eye, I am where I am. Having experienced the trauma, heartache, and internal death, I realize that the process of rebuilding was by far the most difficult struggle I've ever endured.


Moving back to the city which the rape occured was never part of a plan for me. In fact, since my graduation not-that-long-ago, I have been fortunate enough to travel about briefly, and it was just by chance that I landed back here with a career.


I implore you to understand, reader, that my life is very pleasant now. I hardly ever reflect to my personal experiences with rape. I don't want sympathy because I am a survivor; I fully acknowledge this experience and know that I grew to be a stronger warrior woman after it happened.


And so, my friends, life went on. Happily.


Very lately, I have been out and about and wondered if I would ever run into him again. I've been out and seen someone that looks familiar to him and had to process the idea that he may still be in the city. Call it intuition or something stronger, but I thought that I was bound to bump into him again eventually, and wondered how well equipped I would be to deal with the situation if it ever happened.


And it happened yesterday. I was in the market to pick up a can of peas, and I saw a man on a cell phone pushing a baby. Yet, he turned his head and I saw his face but he did not see me -- until I rushed to another isle to keep myself from having a mental avalanche. And he followed me. And I froze facing canned goods while he pushed a baby in a cart and spoke on the phone. And I could feel him slow down, and even though he hasn't seen me since I was 19 years old and a completely different person, he recognized me. And I felt sick to my stomach and disgusted. And I trembled as he spoke a 'hey, (my name)!'


I didn't look at him. I said 'hey' and ran to the other side of the market for check-out, feeling naked, terrified, vulnerable, and angry. What gives this horrible excuse for a human being the right to live, have children, speak to me as if he didn't -- in everyway imaginable except for the literal -- kill the 19 year old me?


I don't know. I don't have the answers. I am safe and collected; yet, I wonder why the universe is injust. It was a hassle to contact any person for any support; it was a struggle to avoid an internal whirlwind, and an external explosion. And I still feel like my internal London Bridge is falling down.


The thing that is keeping me going today is knowing this: I am better than him and that he does not/did not/will not get the satisfaction of seeing me fall apart.


Finally, my first of several counselors post-trauma told me that I was numb and unemotional. (I still hear this very often today when I don't react to situations the way that people anticipate I should. I am rational and reflective, and that does not make me unemotional. That does not mean I am not reacting, it means that I have my own system to process emotions and it is right for me). The counselor explained the concept of "righteous anger" to me; and I tried to be angry that he raped me then. It was not right for me. I truly learned and experienced, only years later, just yesterday, what righteous anger feels like. I don't feel like I am betraying my true self in being angry. I don't feel like I am a coward, or that I am less strong for being emotional yesterday and at this instant. I don't feel wrong in questioning why the imbalance in the universe resulted in the theft of my life, my virginity, and why he is allowed to live. And I recognize that I'll never know or understand, but I feel it.


And I also feel thankful for the few people who were able to help me breathe and process.


Be Righteous(ly angry with me).


The first counselor I saw is the actual reason I end my posts with "be righteous". Whatever I do, righteousness minus a connotation based in religion, is my motivation.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for having the courage to share your story, your thoughts and feelings. I am truly sorry for what you experienced. Though I have not been raped, I have been in situations where that could have been the case...more than once. Thus, I do not fully understand your experience as I cannot directly relate to it. I do relate to the fear that comes before such a thing occurs and being in a situation where it was highly probable, and the fear that every woman lives with that it can happen at any time.

    While it is thoughtless for people to question victims and try to tell them what they "should" have done, I realize that some people do this because they do not simply want to process the trauma that is rape or respond to the feeling of they themselves possibly being a victim. It is easier to condemn victims than to really realize what has occurred and process it for what it is. People think that siding with the aggressor in a way, or siding with no one is somehow a psychological shield for their own potential victimization. It is not. This is why people, even women, are quick to blame victims. 

    Truthfully, no one 100% knows how they will react to a trauma until it occurs. I've experienced quite a bit and reacted softer and harder than I thought my actual reaction would be. I've been more aggressive in self defense or more passive in self defense depending on the situation than I assumed I would be. 

    So when a person says they will shoot their attacker, most know that they may not even have a gun when it happens, and if they see the attacker later, unresolved emotions may prevent them from actually doing something again. I do feel that the only justice I would receive would be to make sure the person cannot harm me again or anyone else. I do feel that I would want to execute what I feel is justice. But again, until the exact situation occurs, I cannot say with 100% certainty what I would do.

    I am so sorry that you had to see that trash again. That is the absolute worst. I hope that you continue to move forward through reflection and expression the way you seem to be doing and that that garbage gets what he deserves somehow even if not by your own hands. 

    I understand why someone stating how they would respond to an attacker upsets you as you have already had to confront that. Most people do not seek to be naive when they say it. The dangerous situations I've confronted made me realize how I feel about what I would have to do if what negative has happened to me actually became worse to be rape.

    I wish you lots of peace and continue to share and teach others through your story.

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  2. you are a warrior my dear friend and that animal couldn't take your spirit away,  he had the audacity to speak to you  after what he have doe to you,  that alone makes my blood boil. 
    He clearly not remorseful and lack of it  is clear indication he would not stop , Why haven't you reported him to the police?  

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