CW: discussions of rape, sexual violence, and trauma.
Let me preface this post, I’d like to invite people to read my bio. I feel that learning more about my feminist/humanist perspective will help readers understand where I’m coming from and hopefully reach a larger crowd.
As I said in my previous post, I will be talking about how victims of rape can navigate sharing their story to eventually heal from this trauma. As a victim of rape myself, this path to recovery is the one I’ve chosen to take. By no means am I saying that this is the only path to healing, but it is the path I’ve found to be incredibly empowering and freeing…something every victim deserves.
There are many feelings that victims of rape feel: shame, fear, anger, violation, loss of emotional, physical, and mental control, loss of innocence, disconnection from the body and soul, and much more. When it happened to me, I was a junior in high school. I was at a party where I was drugged and gang raped by guys I knew. I was dealing with many emotional issues before I was raped, so as a subconscious survival technique, I buried what happened to me. I didn’t let myself face it and I didn’t tell a soul. For years, my body and soul knew what had happened to me, but my mind was not able to face it. Deep down I think I knew I would break. About 2 months ago, there came a point in my life where I knew I was ready to face it. This process was incredibly challenging, and I’m still in the midst of it. When I was at the gym this summer, I suddenly got flashbacks from that night and an immense rush of emotion came over me. Anger, fear, shame, and a deep pain in my soul. These feelings radiated throughout my whole body and I started shaking and hyperventilating. I ran outside and called my best friend. I told her what happened through tears and painful screams. Later that night, my mom sensed that I was acting strange and she came to my room to talk. I couldn’t say the words “I was gang raped” out loud so I waited until she guessed. After she found out, my brother and father were told a few weeks later.
It was difficult to find a proper time to tell my loved ones something that disturbing, but when I did, the love and support I received was overwhelmingly positive.
I have never felt more accepted and comforted. However, I thought after telling them the secret I had been holding onto for years, I would feel some relief. But I felt none. Not yet. I actually felt worse. Looking back, I know that I felt worse because I let this monster, the monster that the rapists planted in me, free. It was free roaming around my mind, body, and soul. I couldn’t control when it would make me cry, shake, have flashbacks, or scream. At this point in my healing, I felt like I’d never feel normal again. I was struggling with the person I was and the future I envisioned for myself. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. I felt like a stranger in my own body. However, there was a voice inside me that told me there was something bigger than my issues.
I decided to view my situation as something positive. I’ve realized that the mind is incredibly powerful, much more than you think. My story was just recently published in The Breeze because the path I’ve chosen is one of exposure. This exposure has allowed me to begin to free the monster in me in hopes of inspiring others to release their monster as well. I’m speaking to all victims now: If you feel that sharing your story isn’t the right path for you, that’s totally fine. To each his own. But I believe there is one thing, one foundation, that will heal us all, no matter what path you decide to take. And that is people. Tell at least one person you trust. That small release will spark the beginning of your healing. More noise about sexual assault equals more awareness. And more awareness means less victims. Hang loose and rock on. Part 2