It’s been six years since I first came forward about being raped. As the years go by, I grow stronger and braver. But those days will always haunt me.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we are lucky enough to understand the reason, but often we are left in the dark praying to one day understand. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand or accept what happened to me.
But I believe what happened to me is because I was strong enough to make it out, help others, and help change the system. I have taken a lot of time to look back at all I’ve done since those days and all the things I’ve learned. I want to share what I’ve discovered with others who may be going through something similar.
Trauma lasts a lifetime.
No matter how many years go by, that pain will always linger. I don’t feel as angry and sad as I did six years ago, but things still trigger me and bring me back to those days.
Reliving trauma can be exhausting on your mental and physical health. When those bad memories make their way back, I focus on regrounding myself. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and tell myself I am safe right here right now.
Aftereffects can feel worse than the rape.
Initially, after I came forward with what happened, I thought it was finally over. Little did I know things were about to get a lot harder.
I had to deal with police interrogations making you relive every moment over again, the school who tried to take things away from me, like going to prom and walking at graduation, and people who I grew up with suddenly bullied and threatened me daily. They made me feel like what happened was my fault.
My abuser would verbally abuse me daily, threatening me if I spoke out he would make sure I regretted it. He made statements that no one would believe me cause he was a teacher and firefighter/paramedic in the community and people thought he was a “good” guy. Others wouldn’t suspect he could do something like this.
The toll these things take on a person can be brutal, but I am so glad I came forward when I did because if I didn’t, my life might not be where it is today.
Trust is precious.
You don’t realize how much you trust someone until you can’t.
I was raped by a teacher in a program I was in, a teacher who was also a firefighter and paramedic in the local community. We are supposed to be able to trust these people and have them to help guide us, but he took that away from me. He made trusting others really complicated for me. I have had a high guard up to this day.
Everyone’s story is different, but all are valid
I wish rape didn’t exist, but sadly it does. There are so many different ways a person may be attacked.
My rape story is a teacher using his authority to rape me. Your story may be a date gone wrong or a family member taking advantage of you. Yours may have been one time or happened multiple times. Everyone’s story is different, but we all share one thing:
We have to live with our stories forever.
No matter your story, know you’re not alone. Take your story and make the life you deserve. You will never be the person you were before what happened to you and remember that it’s okay.
The new you is so much stronger, braver, and a survivor. The new you is even more beautiful. Rape is a terrible tragedy. Being raped is a lifelong trauma and pain you live with. You can make it through. I did and I believe your story and know you can do it. Take each day as another day you have survived. Stay brave, stay strong, and keep fighting.
Feature Image by M. on Unsplash