‘You asked for it’. ‘You sure you didn’t lead him on?’ ‘You shouldn’t have been drinking anyway’. ‘Well you didn’t say no so…’
All too often, we see that statements and questions like these are thrown around and said, but let me ask you a question instead: if someone close to you was raped, perhaps a younger sibling, parent or best friend, would you say these things to them? (The answer should be no.)
Also, please get used to seeing and saying the word rape, because the sooner you get used to it, the better we will all be about discussing it.
This is my story…
My friends invited me to a kickback (gathering) at one of their friend’s houses, so, I went. We were all having a good time, talking, playing games, drinking, the usual. Finally, later in the evening, I felt the impact of what I had been drinking and thought it would be a good idea to go to the bathroom. It was a relatively small house, so, I didn’t feel the need to take a friend with me. I went in the bathroom, but before I got the chance to lock the door, a guy had followed me in. And that is when it happened. I won’t share all those details with you though.
It felt like time had frozen or maybe it was just me that had frozen. Everything within me was telling myself to scream, kick, fight and claw my way out of there, yet I couldn’t do anything. After what felt like an eternity, I remember repeatedly saying “no”, but I honestly don’t know if I said it internally or out loud.
For a few months, I told myself that nothing happened that night and I wasn’t raped. I had separated myself from the incident and I didn’t mention it to anyone. Of course, I had a lot of pent up emotions and they started manifesting and they broke me.
This was all a few years ago now, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still affected by this (even a little bit). I will say that recently I have been able to accept my rape for what it is, and I am working on not letting one night dictate the rest of my life.
Everyone heals at different rates and I believe it has taken me this long to get to this stage of healing, because I am still hurt by how the people who were/are supposed to be the closest to me reacted to my rape. Instead of being there for me, my boyfriend (now ex) was furious that I had waited so long to tell him. I understood that he felt I should have confided in him, but what I will never understand is why all his anger was directed towards me and not the incident itself. Although, it wasn’t his reaction that hurt me most. The one that still pains me to this day is my mother’s reaction. I was crying to her on the phone and was trying to explain what had happened and she said, “please don’t tell me what I’m thinking”, this made me cry even more. She let me calm down a bit and then asked, “why were you at the house?”, “why were you drinking?” and she said, “you shouldn’t have gotten yourself into that kind of position”. At this point, I zoned out as she continued to interrogate me. Was this really my mother I was talking to? I am her child! Of everyone in the world, I would have never expected her to react in this way and blame me for my own rape. The worst part of it all is that four years later and she still is yet to talk to me about it.
Of course, if I hadn’t gone to the kickback it wouldn’t have happened, but I did go. Are we not meant to go out to new places because of an irrational fear that we will be attacked every time we leave our homes? To me, the drinking is neither here nor there, because even if I had been sober, I still might not have fought my way out of the bathroom.
What do I want to achieve by sharing my story? I want everyone who has been raped, assaulted or anything else to know and believe that it is not their fault. The blame lies with the perpetrator. Also, your journey of recovery shouldn’t be done alone. Seek outside help if those around you don’t understand your struggles and won’t give you the support you need. Lastly, healing takes time and it is more than okay if it takes you longer than others. Your journey will have many ups and downs, but you will feel good again one day. I promise.