I know this isn’t a personal blog and most of you are not following me for this. But I feel like this is important. At least it is for me and I hope it can help someone out. Please don’t read this if you’re easily triggered or not into personal posts.
365 days ago approximately, I was lost, I was afraid, I was hurt. I was lonely. I was also drunk and alone at my place, trying to reach out for help and find someone who had been through the same thing as me because I needed to know if people had survived this. I needed someone to teach me how to survive this. Someone like me. Someone who had been raped.
I will not give details on what happened exactly. Rape is rape. Wether it happened in the street, in the sheets, when single or in a relationship, it’s rape. I try to have no shame in telling that story and only a few people that I trust know every single detail of what happened to me that night and that’s enough for me (but this is just me and the way I want to handle things and everyone is different).
And so, 365 days ago approximately, I was looking for help and I came across the same kind of text post as this one. It had the same title, the same purpose even if written differently. I remember crying while reading it, feeling like I could never survive a whole year, like I would never make it through 365 more days. I felt like the truth would eventually kill me, like I would never be able to write this, like these words would never be read.
I was spending a lot of time on Tumblr, asking my questions anonymously to other rape survivors. I would spend hours crying on my bathroom floor because that was the only room in which nothing had happened to me. I was on AIDS medication, just in case. I had rashes all over my body and face due to the side effects which made me feel like anyone could see what had happened to me. I had two jobs to keep me from thinking too much about it, and I would buy wine every night on my way home.
I had told three of my closest friends and that was it. I was spending most of my time pretending to be okay, pretending I wasn’t drinking daily or cutting myself. I stopped eating, I was either spending hours in the shower or not showering at all because I couldn’t stand my body or feeling guilty whenever I would touch it even to wash myself. My friends didn’t notice anything because one of them is in the military, one of them was abroad at the time and the last one had recently moved far from where I was living. I cut myself off from everyone, including my family and I lost a lot of “friends” (which turned out to be for the best to be honest). All of this made me believe that I wasn’t needed anymore.
In January, one of my sisters decided to pay me a little visit on her way home after attending a party and found me lying drunk on the floor of my apartment. She called our older sister, and I only remember crying for hours and admitting that I didn’t want to tell our family because the man who had raped me had been a friend of ours for more than a decade and I was afraid they would all be on his side.
We went to the police station a few days later. That was the first time I ever said I was raped, the very first time I ever used that word (before that day, I used to say that I was just “not totally okay with everything that happened to me that night” because I was afraid people would not believe me if I had said it differently). A woman officer was sitting at her desk, asking what I was here for. I was shaking and speaking low, saying I wanted to press charges. She asked me to be more specific. I remember the look on her face when she heard the word and I felt like all oxygen had gone out of the room. Luckily enough, one of my sisters was by my side.
The officer took us both to a small room. We were joined by a man officer who asked me what had happened to me. He didn’t take my deposition since he was only making sure that my story could be somehow valid. The real deposition was taken a week later by a woman who was answering the phone and talking to her co-workers while hearing me, referring to me as “the rape case”. I had to give details on my lifestyle before and after my rape, which included the names of my past lovers and the things I would agree to do with them in order to prove that this was not usual sex for me. My ex-fiancé had to come and testify and was only asked about our former sex life. My sisters and boss also had to testify. All of them were asked if they believed in my story and if I was the type of person to ever seek attention by telling lies.
After a month of investigation, I was assigned a lawyer for the confrontation. I faced him and heard his deposition. He basically claimed that I had teased him and that I was dressed as someone who was definitely asking for it. During this confrontation, I also found out that he had raped me several times that night since he mentioned assaults I couldn’t remember at all.
He was released due to lack of evidence because I never clearly said no since I was paralyzed and too afraid to speak, even when I actually had a medical report to prove the violence of his acts and also proof that he had been harassing me since then.
I’m not asking for anyone’s pity. I’m just telling the world that this happened to me. It sure as hell is not something that defines me now, I’m not just a victim and there’s more to me than being a survivor, but it is indeed a part of who I am now. The point of this is to tell you that I made it. It’s been a year already and I’m proud to say that I am still alive.
So if you’re reading this and it also happened to you, please stay strong. There are still great days to come. You can make it too. You are beautiful. You are strong. Please don’t harm yourself, people have harmed you enough already. Worship your body, it’s your home. This isn’t your fault. You didn’t ask for it. You are loved. If you feel like cutting yourself, grab a sharpie and draw lines on your body, you don’t need other scars to remind you of what happened to you. Don’t be ashamed to open up. If you need to talk about it a lot or write about it a lot, then please do. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed for using the word rape because that’s what happened to you. You have every right to use it. Don’t ever feel ashamed at all because you did not ask for this. You can still feel pretty, you can still go out. You can still have fun. Don’t pressure yourself and please remember that it is okay to cry and scream and stay in the dark when you need to. Get professional help if or when you feel ready. Eat your favorite meals. Listen to your favorite songs. Listen to songs that will make you feel stronger. Don’t feel guilty whenever you are happy. Don’t feel guilty whenever you are attracted to someone. Don’t feel guilty to be touching yourself, your body is yours only. Don’t feel guilty for still wanting to have sex, wether it’s now or someday. Please, don’t feel guilty because this isn’t on you. Focus on your goals, whatever they may be. You can make it. We can help you get through it. Don’t ever feel alone because you are not.
If anything, please remember that your are definitely not alone.