When you hear stories of sexual assault and rape, for some reason you often think of unknown men in deserted side streets in the dodgy area of town. Sure, they do still happen but the statistics for actually knowing the person are far higher at 65 to 85%. The second thing you often think is that it won’t happen to you.
Last year I had the experience I never thought would happen and yes, I’m one more statistic in that range of 65 to 85%.
I think in this case the hardest thing to deal with is that this was someone you trusted, cared about and in many cases, even loved. For me it was someone I had been in a relationship with. To try and comprehend that someone who you were once sexually intimate with will drive you mad. You will question every look, move and thing they said and wonder whether any of it was genuine. Worst of all you will question yourself, feel disgusted you got sucked in and wonder if you had done something differently if it would have turned out this way. You will also feel disgusted at yourself that despite what they did to you, that even now, sometimes you find yourself wishing that they could touch you like they did before all that happened.
On the other end of the spectrum you will at times also want to do the same thing they did to you, to them, to make them feel pain, shame and belittled. You may even feel like killing them and imagine how you would do it and the pleasure you would get from that. All of these emotions may be experienced in the course of one day and I assure you, they are normal reactions. They will pass.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and try to forgive those who don’t understand and who say things like , “Get over it,” or “You need to move on.” There is no time frame for something like this and only you can decide when you’re really okay.
Perhaps my biggest insight is that it doesn’t matter how many times you rehash the scene or the memories. There is no method to their madness. You did nothing wrong and you cannot think about this logically. It defies explanations and any type of reasoning.
The person who did this if you’ll pardon my French (oh, this is more ironic than you’ll ever know!), is fucked in the head. They are mentally ill and nothing you did or didn’t do will change that. You cannot reason with a madman (or woman) and even though this may sound strange, you cannot keep blaming yourself because truthfully, that is what we do. In most cases you cannot and should not try talking to them about it because they will shift the blame onto you and will justify their behaviour. This of course makes you feel worse than you already do and you will wonder if maybe they are right after all. It is a major waste of your time, energy and breath. They are beyond your help and remember, you cannot save or help someone who doesn’t think they are wrong or need it in the first place.
On the other hand what you can do is surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends and live each day. You will be surprised at the support you do get and realise that you are worth more than you ever thought you would be. You will also see that you actually love and respect yourself because you didn’t allow yourself to see this as the end of your story, but as the beginning of something new where you emerge stronger and more beautiful, just like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. You will smile and even laugh when you realise the person who did this is weak and doesn’t have any power over you because you are stronger and wiser than they will ever be. And you will go out and tell your story in the hope of healing yourself and others and maybe even be the voice for all the silent women who cannot yet speak their truth.
Love to you all. xxxooo