Grief, Guest Posts, healing, Inspiration

You Did Not Cause Your Rape.

February 3, 2014

Note from Jen: Trigger Warning within this post. This post is not written by me. There is graphic mention of rape and sexual assault! I am posting this anonymously, per the author’s request. I think this is such an important step in her healing, but also, this needs to be talked about. This is not your fault, whoever you are. In light of so many recent discussions about the rape culture we live in, I wanted to share this powerful post with you all. Please do not stay silent. Please find what you need, even if you start here with this post and this community on this anonymous blog post. You are NOT alone or at fault. I have been in contact with the author for many months now and this is the first time she has talked about this, let alone written about it. It is beautiful and brave and I bow to her. May you all find the healing you need and the community you need. I hope this is a start. Please post comments to the author as she will read them all. 

***

I never knew going for a run was something I could regret so much.  That I could regret for so long.  That one choice, one night would change the way I look at myself, the way I interact with people – my basic identity and self-esteem so much.  But it did.

I wasn’t even a runner; I was a soccer player.  I played soccer almost every night of the week, year round.  Once every couple months, each team had to take a hit and play in the latest time-slot – kick off didn’t begin until eleven o’clock.  It was a brutal time-slot for most; the moms who would have to get up with their kids in the morning, the twenty-somethings who had to go to work – but I’m a nighthawk and I was a student, so it didn’t matter to me.

My week had been particularly stressful and I was gearing up for a stressful weekend.  It was a long-weekend and all my local family was heading out of town to be with the rest of my family.  I wasn’t able to attend because I was shooting a wedding that weekend and hosting about six people at my place who were coming to the wedding from out of town.  I’m not a great host, I didn’t know the people very well and the wedding was going to be widely attended by guests from a part of my life I was trying to disengage from.

So when I got home from soccer late that night, I was totally wired.  I decided I needed to run off some more anxiety and frustration, so I took off in my soccer gear straight from my driveway and headed to the trails near my house.

The neighborhood I live in is safe.  It is one of the safest in my state.  There’s not a lot of crime here – and the crime that is here is usually frauds and domestics.  Needless to say, crime was never really at the forefront of my mind when I was trying to make choices or discern whether I should do something.  That was probably another mistake.

There’s a half-mile stretch of well-lit sidewalk on a main road when you leave my driveway.  Then you have to go through a parking lot and through a clearing in the woods and down a dirt path to get to the hiking trails of the local nature park.  Once you hit the parking lot, that half mile separates you from the nearest houses.  Once you’re through the clearing, the trees shield your visibility from any passing traffic.  Really, it’s the perfect place to hide.  Or to commit a crime.  But again, that wasn’t on my mind at the time.

Now, I could launch into an explanation about why those things should have been on my mind.  I could talk about my background, my education, the fact that my best friend is a decorated police officer – all the things that should have made me stop and think.  But I wasn’t thinking about those things; I was thinking about other things.  I was thinking about how great the soccer game I’d just played was.  I was thinking about how much cleaning I had to do to prepare for the wedding guests.  I was thinking about how screwed I’d be if it rained that weekend and how that would screw up my photo ideas.  I was thinking about how I wouldn’t get to see my two baby nieces that weekend because I was stuck doing this wedding on a long weekend.

So while I was totally wrapped up in all that, I forgot to be smart.  I forgot to think about myself.  And I made a stupid choice.  Like I said, it’s a choice I am always going to remember.  And it’s a choice that some part of me, even if it is the smallest part possible, is going to blame myself for for the rest of my life.

Because I was raped that night.  Twice.  All those specifics about what would make the area an excellent spot for a crime that I wasn’t thinking about – someone else was thinking about.  And they were waiting.

Which is crazy.  Because… I mean, it was the middle of the night.  And who goes on trails in a park in the middle of the night?  Trails with no houses around?  So who would wait there in the off chance that someone does?  But they did.  And I did.  So it happened.

I think I would have been able to get away if there had been one guy.  My high school made all the girls take self-defense every year in P.E.  I was the most fit I’ve ever been.  I’m strong.  I’m resourceful.  So, if there was just one, I think I would have gotten away.  But there were two.  And I couldn’t get away no matter how hard I tried.

The thing that surprised me the most – and still surprises me today – was how not violent it was.  It was sexually violent, but it wasn’t violent; they didn’t beat the shit out of me, they didn’t try to kill me.  They just restrained me and took turns with me; I had a few bruises from their grasp and a few scrapes from when they pushed me up against a tree or forced me to my knees; one of them hit me once, not even very hard, when I bit him from said position.  But my face showed no signs of violence.  And no one I knew would even bat an eye at scrapes because of my intense soccer schedule.  It’s like they knew exactly what to do to keep me quiet.

If my face had had a bruise on it and someone would have asked me what happened, I probably wouldn’t have been able to hold it in.  Not in the few days following the attack, not while I was still grieving and processing.  If my best friend, the police officer – or my mom – or my sisters, had asked what was wrong, or what happened, I wouldn’t have been able to keep it to myself.  But my family was already gone for the weekend, my best friend didn’t see my until after the wedding and… even looking at photos from the wedding now, I don’t know that I can even tell something terrible had just happened.  So no one asked.

They didn’t ask and I didn’t feel like I could tell them.  Because my best friend is a cop, I know exactly what “rape victims” go through when they report.  You go to a hospital where you strip all your clothes and let a stranger examine every inch of your body for evidence, do a full vaginal exam and give you a bunch of pills to fight unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.  Then you sit in a room with a cop, either male or female (who you already know because your best friend is a cop so you know all her co-workers), and answer questions, explain your story, say the same thing over and over again, so they can see whether you’re lying or not.

And then you try to explain to your cop best friend, who was told what happened by the cop who interviewed you, how you let yourself get raped.  And then no one… ever… looks at you the same way again.

Then they look for the guys but because they’re strangers and they wore condoms, odds aren’t good to begin with.  If they do find them, if they get charged, if they make it to court – everybody knows what happened.  Everybody knows what they did to you.  It becomes a completely public record and the proceedings are open to everyone.

And I cannot speak for other people who have gone through this, but when I was laying on the cold ground in the middle of the night after something like this happened to me, I was only thinking about what other people would think.  So knowing what I knew and knowing who I knew and not really yet understanding the gravity of what happened to me or how my choices following the attack could weigh just as heavy on me as the choices leading up to it, I got up off the ground, composed myself, walked home and sat in the shower in the hottest water I could bare for as long as I could bare and tried to get the feelings I was feeling to wash down the drain.  That may sound like such a clichéd “movie of the week” thing to do, but that was my experience; telling a rape victim not to shower until they’ve sought medical attention is ridiculous.  I understand why they tell you that, but come on; I’ve never felt so dirty and gross and disgusting.

I hadn’t had sex before that.  I was eighteen and “waiting” or whatever (I’d never even had a PAP).  Obviously, I knew what was happening to me; I didn’t grow up under a rock.  But there were so many things I didn’t understand – like whether all sex hurt like that, or whether they were making it hurt more because of what they were doing to me.  Personally, I think they were making it that way because it hurt significantly more after I bit the one guy and pissed him off than it did before.

Six months later, after I started having meaningless, random sex with a meaningless, random guy a bunch of times to just try to get these guys off me and out of my head, I felt guilted into getting my body checked out because “I could knowingly be giving someone something I caught from the rapists” and blah blah blah.  So I did.  And I’m healthy (and I went back for the appropriate follow-up blood tests, etc).  I also stopped having sex because it was hurting me in my current state way more than it was helping me.

Around the same time, I told a friend what was going on.  Coincidentally, it was the friend whose wedding I was at that weekend (a detail I left out when I told her).  She has since completely severed all contact with me.  Perhaps me telling her has nothing to do with that, but it seems like curious timing – so that experience hasn’t led me to open up to more people around me.  In fact, I am afraid that whoever if reading this right now, if they know me, will do the same thing.  I’m terrified of people not loving me.

Long term, I question every day whether I made the right choice after the attack.  I don’t really think I did, but I think it is much too late to change those choices now.  No one around me knows.  I went to see a counsellor once; I don’t plan on going back.  And everyday when I look at the people around me who I love and who I think love me, I always wonder if they know.  If they can tell by looking at me.  If there is some silent signal that this happened to me.  And I wonder if they’ll continue loving me if it was ever confirmed.  If they ever read this.

I’m sure I give off red flags; I’m sure there are things I do that have just become part of my personality that I do because of what happened; I hate being touched by most people and even my closest friends recognize that I want to initiate and be in control of any physical contact.  I am neurotic about locking doors and windows when I am in my house or any other.  I insist on the buddy system when walking anywhere after dark.  I had never really cared about these kinds of things before; I guess I thought I was invincible, and now I know I’m not.

And there’s always this internal battle going on.  Part of me just wants to be another statistic, because nobody notices a number; but if I am just another number, my experiences can never ensure that someone else doesn’t have to have the same experiences.

~Anonymous.

**Hateful, mean or snarky comments will not be approved.

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

Next Manifestation workshop is London July 6. Book here.

Jen works with many young women like the brave author of this piece on her retreats and workshops.

You Might Also Like

32 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer February 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Whomever you are. Know you are not alone. I am so sorry you had to experience this. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You did not cause this to happen. You are brave to share your story. I got in the car with my rapist. Willingly. Healing happens. It does. You have to know that you can heal from this and you deserve to heal from this. With all tragedy comes the light of hope. Get as much support as you can. DO EVERYTHING and anything you need to, to heal. Once you get to the other side…you are free. You are loved. Keep reaching out. You will get the support you need. Do not give up.

  • Reply Mary Tracy February 3, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I can’t actually read, as I’m afraid of triggers, but I’m sending love and healing to the author. I really hope writing about the experience helps her heal.
    And thank you for sharing your story, in the name of everyone who can’t. And in the name of society, which needs to open its eyes to the truth.
    *Sends love and healing*

  • Reply Laura Alonso February 3, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Well, here’s this: I do not know you, and I love you. And I am wishing you peace and will keep you in my thoughts and heart that you find that peace in the way that is best for you. Sending much love and light to you, soul sister – and thank you for this brave, empowering step you have taken today — thank you on behalf of the people you will help (and you WILL). Namaste, dear heart. xo

  • Reply Stephanie Seiler February 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Thank you. I’m a 63 year old, white, divorced grandmother. And probably not much in common with you. I wasn’t raped. But I’m a mother. And my mother’s heart is reaching out to hold you right now. Not fix you. Not take away the facts of what happened to you. Not to give you trite messages about time and bravery and strength. Just holding you. And wanting you to know you’re loved.

    • Reply happilyyes February 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Stephanie, thank you for your response to the author. As a survivor, your love brought me to tears. There were so many times when I wanted just that for myself. Thank you for holding her and for sharing your love.

  • Reply Erin February 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I am so proud of you for writing this piece. You are brave and, in some ways, it doesn’t matter what you chose to do at the time…tell or not tell. You had only yourself to depend on at that point. You had to do what you felt you could and could not do. What matters is what you are doing now. In this piece, in your life, in your ability to love and trust the rest of us who will tell you that this was NOT your fault. I understand how your friend’s reaction wounded you and it was a shitty reaction – whether it had to do with what you told her or some other issue. You don’t cut people off after they’ve just revealed their wound to you.
    I wish I could persuade you a way to give therapy another chance. There are good therapists out there, and it really can be helpful if you have the right person.
    I knew my rapist. I’d already had consensual sex with him, I hadn’t been a virgin for a while. It took me a long time (and a good therapist) to realize that someone having sex with you when you are saying “no” and trying to fight them off (whether you’ve already had sex previously) is rape. I was left with an STD as a “deserved” souvenir of what I considered my bad judgement in associating with such a person. It took a long time to be convinced that it was NOT my fault.
    You are loved. There is a community of us who love you and will never look away from the hard truth of what was done TO you. Not what you did…what was DONE TO YOU…and was not deserved, not ever.
    You have my love and support…

  • Reply stephanieseiler February 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you. I’m a 63, divorced, white, middle-class grandmother of 5. I probably have nothing in common with you. But I’m a mother. And you’re a child. And my mother’s heart reaches out to hold you. Not fix you. Not take away the facts of what happened to you. Not to give you trite (but perhaps true) sayings about time, courage and strength. Just to hold you.

  • Reply Marianne Rice February 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Please keep reaching out sweetheart. So we can all reach back.

  • Reply Heather M February 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Oh sweetheart. I feel such deep compassion and empathy for you.. This never should have happened to you or any one or me.
    Mine was different. It was my friend’s boyfriend and we had been drinking and I was passed out cold. I awoke to him having sex with me. I tell myself, if I had not been drinking it would not have happened. I blame my friend for dating a rapist. I went to trial and he is in jail. I fear the day he gets out every day. My life, too, will never be the same.
    I told my boyfriend what had happened about a week later when I couldn’t behave normally anymore. He told me that I had to report it, press charges, tell everyone that I know. I didn’t want to do any of that. I did it anyway. And the more people I told the more support I got. It was amazing and awful but every woman I told had her own story of molestation, harassment or assault of some kind. It is shocking. You are not alone. Know that if you reach out and share your story with your friends, most of them will put their arms around you and will cry with you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
    Rape Crisis helped me a lot. That may be a place for you to look. Every one has their own process and only you can choose yours but their is tons of support out there for you if you should choose to seek it out.
    If you ever want to talk via phone or email, you can get my contact info from Jen. I am here for you and would love to have the opportunity to listen to you or to share with you or whatever you may need. Feel my love girl. It is the truth.

  • Reply barbarapotter February 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    You are so brave and did what you had to do at the time. Please know that people who truly love you will never leave your side. If they do you did not need them anyway. You are stronger than you know and yes you are not alone. Thanks for sharing this. Jen’s mom:)

  • Reply Sara February 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Your story felt so free, so joyful and full of living until your rape. It seems as if you knew what you wanted and were moving in directions to create those dreams come true. You are young and have such a lot of time still ahead of you to live this amazing life you had before you were raped. One night that changed everything. I understand. It’s awful to be locked in this prison. From what you wrote, it sounds as if there are a lot of people in your life who love and support you. The one you told didn’t deserve your trust. I beg of you, try again with some one who has your back, who really loves you. Counselling works wonders when you find a good fit in a counselor. Kind of like shoes – sometimes you have to try a few before you find the right fit. You deserve it!

  • Reply Courtney Galloway February 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    It’s been a decade since I was raped. And even though all my trusted friends and family, and a therapist, have told me – even though all the logic in the world tells me – it wasn’t my fault, I still struggle to accept that I’m not ‘damaged goods’. I had those things said to me that you fear hearing – by the same person that was, at least in part, responsible for what happened to me. I know the pain, the fear, the shame – of knowing what’s happened to you, knowing all the education you had, the knowledge of how the system works only serving to keep you silent and add to the self-recrimination. I’m not sure it ever fully goes away – however much you heal from it. But I will tell you, just like I have to tell myself. IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. You are NOT any less for what happened to you. And yes, while you might send red flags to others who have gone through it – those who haven’t, probably don’t see them. Not unless they’re looking for them. I wish I could take away your pain, or even carry some of it for you. I know that I can’t. But if you ever want or need to talk to someone who’s had a similar enough history to “get it” my door (email) is always open. And if you want to know my experience, to understand why I can claim to empathize and even being to understand… my own story is on my blog – just click through on my name. You’ll find it. I can’t say you’ll ever forget, but I can promise, life itself does get better. There is life after rape. And no matter what anyone says, or who tries to tell you otherwise – it was NOT your fault and you ARE loved and cared for.

  • Reply happilyyes February 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I am sending you love and healing and compassion. I’m a survivor as well. I also didn’t report it, and I also worried about what everyone else would think. I have started to speak out about it, and I commend you for your bravery and your words. Thank you for sharing them with us and for trusting us with them. Much love to you. xo

  • Reply Natalie February 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I am celebrating that you are still alive! That you are still incarnate! What an accomplishment after a traumatic experience like that. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and incest and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here, and so are many others who are awakening from fear. I am sending you prayers and love and light and healing. I am sooo amazed that you had the courage to write this piece. I am sending you a giant aura hug (because I can understand not wanting to be physically touched!). Lovelovelove Natalie in Philly <3

  • Reply viewsplash February 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Leaving a comment as I can’t really like the post… it isn’t something worth liking but only worth admiring the courage with which it was shared!

    • Reply JenPastiloff February 3, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      By liking or leaving a comment, it’s a way for the woman who wrote it to feel heard. So thank you. May her words resonate. May her courage inspire xx

  • Reply jennie scott February 4, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I am so very very sorry this happened to you, and please know, this was NOT your fault in any way. I don’t know why the friend that you told about this severed contact with you – but that really is a despicable thing to do, to add more hurt, to your hurt. Please do continue reaching out to people and confiding in them, and it certainly is worth trying another go with a different counsellor or to confide in your family. My heart goes out to xx

  • Reply Andy Barwick February 4, 2014 at 5:22 am

    I know so many friends that have gone through this sadly. It is staggering how often this happens and really upsets me how some men do this to another human being. Speaking up like this is incredibly brave and healing for those out there without a voice. I commend this wonderful soul for her bravery. I will be sharing this!

    My ex wife went through this several times before we met. I can tell you that from a relationship and marriage perspective, it can have a profound effect on your intimacy unless it is openly worked on, talked through and patiently hope for healing. I went into our marriage knowing about this and I still loved my wife for who she was inside not from what happened to her. It did not define her.

    Marriage was tough in the area of intimacy even with counseling. Sadly, she chose not to continue counseling like I encouraged her to do. When I became stricken with a rare disease in 2008, things started manifesting that I didn’t know what to do with. We tried seeking help for her and I encouraged her in every way I could. But she held everything inside and let it destroy our marriage with her actions. She chose to leave me for other men. It was very painful. I wanted to help but I felt helpless against the powerful force of shame.

    Since the divorce, we are becoming friends again slowly and she is getting help. I wish that she would have read this article many years ago and also realized that her past was not her fault and not let it define her future.

    I commend this author not only for her bravery but for her honesty, perspective and openness on this devastating life changing event. I encourage her to keep being her and not letting the past define her. I have so much to share with her on this subject as I’m sure many do here. Just know that you are loved as you are not corrupted or unlovable because I your past. I have learned this as well through my battle with disease. My heart defines me, not what I cannot control.

    Be Strong. Take Heart.
    Andy Barwick

    #beautifulsoul #pureheart #strongspirit

  • Reply Barb February 4, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I bit my dad when I was 4. He hit me, beat me. I remember puking & moving all night long because I would wake laying in a cold wet spot. My mom knew & told me not to let him do those things to me because it was nasty. I didn’t remember until almost 55 yrs later. When I was remembering, I told my siblings & one decided I was delusional. Another wanted to personally pick out my mental health professional. While in treatment, I remembered the other one, the one that wanted to pick my mental health professional had also raped me, starting at about age 8-9 yrs. My husband knows & sometime, I’m fine, other times not. I still take the hot, hot showers because I still feel dirty & shameful. I don’t see my family anymore, no family get together’s, I’m never going back to his house, where the nightmares happened on a regular basis. I told one friend, at work. She had been in an abusive marriage, so she was very supportive. Little by little, as I remembered more assaults, I told another friend & another & then another. I lost weight, 20 lbs in 2 weeks. Remembering the rape was a wonderful weight loss plan for me. I went to a wonderful counselor, off & on for 5 years. She would call me on Sunday evenings if my session had been extremely difficult. She saw me on Labor Day after I remembered being held down & my knees wretched apart & a baby was aborted, my brother’s. I couldn’t take communion for awhile because the wine tasted like my brother. BUT I have survived. Little by little, baby steps, my husband would say. Baby steps & patience with myself. I learned to be selfish in doing what I needed to do, when I needed to do it to heal. Healing is difficult. Sometime, I care what people think. Other times, I say to Hell with them. I don’t know if I will ever be healed or normal. I do know that I am more caring, more empathic, more understanding with others. Please don’t give up. Baby yourself, pamper yourself, take care of yourself. When you find one safe person to share this with, it becomes easier. Every time that you say it out loud, the intense pain eases a little. Soon hopefully, you will have a small group of loving, supportive, special friends that will love you when you cry, when you make sarcastic, graphic remarks, when you tremble from the inside out, they will still love you, because you are very loveable & worth loving. I have a wonderful supportive husband, who puts up with my craziness, when it comes. I couldn’t remember until I felt safe enough-55 yrs after the fact. I try to focus on things that make me feel good about myself. I try to avoid the things that make me feel awful-family. But, I have survived & seriously I have thrived. That is the best thing,I realized. They may have raped me, beat me down, but I have survived & I will continue to survive to the best of my ability. I hope you find someone special & loving to share your pain with. I suggest that you ask around for the name of a good counselor. When asking, ask about alcohol & substance abuse counselors, not because you have a problem with substance abuse but because sexual assault is so common with substance abuse. No one has to know that the counselor is for you. You’re asking for a friend in need. Don’t give up, every step forward is progress. Some days, you have to set in a puddle of despair but you’ll get up again. I don’t mean to ramble. There’s so much to share, so many survivor tips & I want to help make the process easier for you. If you want to share, you can contact me, if you wish. Please remember, you are not alone & you have survived.

  • Reply annie February 4, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for your courage. Thank you for sharing. Sending healing.
    *Thank you Jen for creating the space to make people feel safe.

  • Reply alexandra1333 February 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I will pray for you as you continue your journey through this life. I know it is hard to believe but it wasn’t your fault. I have went through something similar and have often blamed myself. I have only told one person and we never talked about it after I said it out loud. I want you to know you are brave and it is hard to talk about things like this because it feels so surreal after the fact it’s almost easier to pretend it didn’t happen. You will be in my prayers and remember you are brave, beautiful, and you deserve only good things because you are worth it.

  • Reply Sexual Assault Prevention Month | The Ugly Ducklings April 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    […] The Manifest Station; we’ve shared Jennifer Pastiloff’s stuff before and recently, she featured an eye-opening story about sexual assault followed by a powerful essay regarding the culture we live in and women […]

  • Reply Trista Norton May 3, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Thank you for this beautiful and courageous piece.

    When I read these words I was floored, “…after I started having meaningless, random sex with a meaningless, random guy a bunch of times to just try to get these guys off me and out of my head…I also stopped having sex because it was hurting me in my current state way more than it was helping me.”, because I thought I was alone, until now.

    Thank you! xo

  • Reply lisa June 19, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened to you and think you are so courageous for sharing. Please know, you are among friends. Besides all of the awful things that happened, I’m amazed at your strength in retelling it. And I’m saddened that your friend turned her back on you. I’m sending you a friendly, loving hug and healing.

  • Reply Paula De Vilbiss June 20, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Please know that you are not alone. All too many of us, women and men, have been the object of abuse. You did not create this and none of this is your fault. You are a survivor. You are an inspiration, and you have given the gift of your voice, your experience, to the world. Your voice need not be recognized by any one name because it could easily wear that of any number of us.

    Healing begins within. First, consider forgiving yourself for the guilt you feel. This is not your fault.
    You may also benefit from nurturing yourself. Be good to yourself. Do the little things that restore you and light you up: a bath, writing in the glow of candel light, meditation; be gentle with yourself. Be good to yourself. Cry. It takes strength to let the memory seep from your body in the twilight of your tears, let them flow. It’s cathartic. Cleansing.

    Know that you are a gift. You are perfect in this moment, in every moment. Each of us have our perfect imperfections that open within us a perspective from which we experience life with new eyes. Focus not on the experience, rather the new sense of strength within you for having risen above it. The beautiful vulnerability that it took for you to write down your experience, and the courage it took to share. You offer a new perspective that will surely inspire others who have also had life flip upside down in one way or another.

    As you greet each new sunrise, simply know this:

    You are safe
    You are perfect
    You are loved beyond measure…

    Wishing you every happiness,

    Paula

  • Reply Lynne Walker June 20, 2014 at 3:34 am

    a s i read the initial story, i started getting a feeling of panic in my stomach which grew as i read some of the comments – while empathising with everyone, i flashed back to the fifteen year old me that was raped by four young men. As a qualified counsellor, i have talked about the experience but only briefly and even then i talked more about the worry i had being late home, didnt even think of telling the truth, because in my mind, i felt it was my own fault for accepting a lift from strangers. So i kept it to myself for a long time until a friend was sharing her own experience – so i shared mine. Her reaction confused me ; she was angry at me for talking about it so casually !!! Looking back now, i had put the whole experience in a box and shut the lid firmly, thinking i hadnt been been badly hurt so i should just get over it. and this line of thought continued for many years until i started training as a counsellor and had to have therapy myself as part of the training.
    And it was there,as a thirty something year old woman that i began the healing process and began to realise ; it wasnt my fault, i didnt have to keep it secret, no one would judge me.
    Well done for telling your story – you will heal ; keep telling your story, do not worry about friends that cannot hear your story ( its sad but some people cannot deal with others pain) move forward with your life, it was never your fault xxxxx

  • Reply fourfeeteleven June 21, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, was sexually abused by 3 different men that I trusted when I was 7 or 8 years old and my life was never the same after that experience. I am almost 26 now and it was just weeks ago that I was able to tell my mom and my partner about it. I never thought that I can actually share my story to someone let alone be accepted for being ‘damaged’.

    I am on my way to 100% healing and transformation, as well as being FREE. I stopped playing the victim. My experiences, both good and bad, made me the woman that I am today. I am just grateful that I have best support system.

    I praise you for being a strong woman. Always remember that you are not alone.

  • Reply John August 3, 2014 at 2:44 am

    To all who have been abused, I speak to you.
    I am SO sorry for you to have to have pain where none was asked for. You didn’t do anything to deserve it. Walking around with nothing on still does not give permission for anyone to touch you without your consent.
    I wish that I could take your pain away, and yet being a male you probably don’t feel like trusting me. I can understand, and I certainly don’t blame you. Not all men are jerks, most that I know are very nice. Of course I wouldn’t count jerks as friends. For any males that I know that would speak or act improperly, I would tell them so. IF they didn’t change, they wouldn’t be a part of my life.
    I teach. I teach by doing and saying. I guide. We all teach in life by what we do, how we act, and what we accept into our lives. The sooner we realize that what we do WILL help others, as much as it could hurt, the more we will try to do “that good sort of thing”.
    Since you wrote the above so well, why not use that as a vehicle for healing, and in so doing, help others to heal along with you. Hang around the type of people who will support you, don’t hold back YOUR LIFE because of some low-lifes! If you didn’t write the above, continue to let the person who did help speak for you. Shout and write out your pain, anger and fears which have taken a part of you away. In so doing you will grow a new part of you that is stronger.
    Peace and understanding be with you, your friends, and family.

  • Reply sunny February 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Oh my God. So young. I just want to hug you for a long time. Not everyone will react the way your “friend” did. Please find the support you need. Search it out. Go get it. Please. Do this for yourself. Ask, seek, get help. You are way stronger than you can imagine. Sending you love, anonymous.

  • Reply Carrie Crocker January 4, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    I am a survivor too. I understand that “choice” thought. I chose to accept a strangers help when my car broke down. He wound up being a third level sex offender who had just been released from prison. The cop had me sign a do not prosecute and she was female.

    I will never forgive her for that. She didn’t do her job. And the truth is, I have had people say that I have lied about my rape. Even been harassed by my ex-fiances new wife he cheated on me with. It’s a long story.

    The victim blaming and shaming has been the worst experience about it. My best friend from college said to me “I hope for your sake you got raped.”

    There has never been a good experience with any sharing this with new boyfriends. They run and hide.

    It’s been rough. the recovery process. It’s been rough. But I go to therapy once a week. And I am getting better, I go to a support group, and it’s getting better.

    But I am always afraid now. Every situation that most people would be grateful for, and trust and believe “it’s all better now.” I know deep down inside, I can’t trust it. And that is the part that drives me nuts with anxiety and fear. It’s not that I think it will happen again, it’s the fear that life will fall apart again. And people, I discovered, are eager to let you go if they have to make efforts, or be there for you when YOU need them, otherwise, they manifest a new person to take your place.

    You are replaceable if you have been raped. That’s the horrible experience I have had. To discover I was replaceable, but every single friend, and my fiancé, and his family. Replaceable. As if to confirm the rapists desires, to treat me as an object.

    And that isn’t true at all. It’s not real, it’s their reaction, but it’s not right. I am not less than because I was raped, nor am I better than. I’m just me, and I am a good person, and I didn’t deserve that, or the emotional pain I went through when I “Came out of the rape closet.”

    I am deeply saddened that happened to you. And I am sorry for the struggle you are experiencing.

    I can only speak from my heart, and experience. I am not a statistic, I was victimized, I am surviving, I breathe, I see, I touch, I think, I feel, I am not a number. I’m a person. And I did not will that rape to happen in my life, it was not fault of mine. It was of no fault of yours. I did not choose to get raped, there was no choice, it was taken away. And that to me is and was frightening, to have no power. It took therapy to help me realize that. It took blood, sweat, stitches, and tears. I am so tired of being tainted by people abusing this information, and using it as if it gives me a voided warranty. It’s useless. It’s inhumane.

    I live in the South, and people here have that southern way here that is old school traditional, and I struggle being treated like a piece of property already. Saying patronizing things like “I’ll pray for you.” with a pat on your back and that smile that says “But if you need me, I’ll be avoiding you.” And then you never hear from them again. You just hear about what they said about you.

  • Reply Frances Peters February 18, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Dear lovely beautiful girl, it’s just not true, that horrible thought that you’re any less lovely or beautiful or treasured because of what those brutes did to you. I know it’s easier for me to say than for you to believe it but when you can’t believe any more you can still make believe that you do. It’s actually a very useful stand-in until your belief grows up into it and takes it’s place back.

    I know this because it’s something I’ve learned to practice in my own life for all sorts of different ways my mind can’t accept loving truths that would heal me from the various abuses that the world brings.

    We were born, we got here and we’re passing through, and each one of us is an un-copiable, irreplaceable treasure whatever happens to us. You were raped but your rapists are not the winners or last word! Not better, Not stronger, Not entitled to have done what they did as if you in any way deserved it. Nor does any non-raped person have any right to shun you as if it couldn’t happen to them. We’re all equally capable of being the brutalised or the brute. Only Love is God and raises us to a different level. And that Love will heal you Precious Girl, no pressure to be well, or ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ or any kind of anything. That is God that says it’s ok and actually the best thing ever, to be as little as you were in a moment when you were ever safe or happy. To be tiny enough to imagine, step in there again and play pretend with God who is your best friend also covered in the dirt of wicked humans who don’t listen to their consciences. You will grow up together out of the ground of dead hopes and dreams up into a garden which you’ll find to be real, in which you are both the purest of beautiful flowers. It takes time, but keep going. It will happen as surely as trees grow, bear their winter and turn back into spring.

    God bless you forever, brave, strong and beautiful woman. Your life is wrapped around a tiny invincible seed that’s got everything you need to grow healing and joy. It will never die because God who made it lives in it, and holds your sacred secret immortal name.

    All my love,
    Frances

  • Leave a Reply