Another day passed, I still remembered my rape. It’s been 7 years. It still hurts, it just hurts a little less now.
It took me 2 years to tell my family. 3 years to voice the words “taken advantage of”. It took 4 years to even say the word “rape”. Finally around the fifth year, I started telling my story. I didn’t really know how to bring up something as heavy as rape without the mood of the room dropping. I still remember dropping the bomb on my roommate at the time, Kendall (who would later become one of my closest friends). She was standing in the living room and I was standing under the door framing next to my bedroom. “Yes, well I was raped so I don’t know if I’m still considered a virgin.” I said something along those lines. I remember she just stared at me and her mouth fell open. I kind of laughed it off, and reassured her that it’s fine – Jesus healed me.
And honestly, he has, and he continues to heal me every day. Every day, it’s been a little easier to tell my story.. Every day, I find my identity in Christ and rest in the fact that God uses even the darkest of times to turn into something beautiful. It’s been amazing meeting other girls who have been through similar situations and helping them tell their story and being there for them. I love that.
But it’s a little like a roller coaster. Some days I can tell my story and it doesn’t feel painful. Some days I can listen to others and comfort them, as I’ve been through it and here I am, happy and healthy, with a loving fiancé who respects me. But other days, it hits me out of the blue and it hurts in the deepest part of my being.
Tonight, I was setting up my bullet journal and schedule. I got to the part where I was writing the days down, and my hand paused at 17.
17. “Did he really rape me?” I questioned in my head as I continued to write the next days.
20. “He was 25..” I’m thinking in my head as I continue to write.
23. “Maybe he was 24.” I remember his drivers license and the time I asked him why he lied to me about his age.
I stopped. My stomach turned as I saw the distance between us.
He was 25. Did he really rape me? Was it rape?
I still ask myself these questions 7 years later. And I still come to the same conclusion every time.
See, “rape” is such a confusing thing. I watched this movie the other day on Netflix called “Trust“. It was about a 13 year old girl who got sucked into a relationship with a 35 year old man who ended up raping her. She denied to her parents that it was rape, she convinced herself that it was mutual. Finally, *SPOILER ALERT* at the end of the movie, she broke down and could hardly breath out the words “rape”. She fell into a ball on the floor as she accepted what had happened. That movie, particularly that scene, showed a perfect picture of how confusing rape can be to the one who has been raped.
So many people ask why and how a person can go back to their abuser. Just like in the movie Trust, the girl’s parents were discombobulated at the fact that their daughter wanted to protect the man who did this to her. People wonder why. In my experience, it’s part of the denial. You don’t want to be the one who was raped… so you pretend and convince yourself that it was your choice. You didn’t get to choose, but now you can. So you choose to pretend that you chose. See? It’s confusing. It’s easier to just pretend it didn’t happen and that you somehow chose it. I imagine it’s a similar situation for women in physically abusive relationships.
But let me tell you something. Not a single person enjoys saying that they were a victim of rape. It takes a period of denial, sometimes even years, as it was in my case, of denying that it was rape. It’s easier to blame oneself that we chose this, instead of accepting that someone took control over us and abused us to the core. I’d rather say I got drunk and hooked up with an older guy. I hate that that wasn’t the case for me. I could forgive myself for that. I forgave myself for making stupid decisions, and I know God did too.
But rape… It’s wrong. It’s not fair. I had no power. I had no choice. If that could happen to me once, I fear that it could happen to me again. And I still have nightmares occasionally about it. I’m there and I have no voice. No one sees me and I can’t yell. My voice is taken from me. I’m helpless. It’s sick. and it hurts.
Why am I still writing about this? Because sometimes when the memories come back, I don’t want to hide from them anymore. I want to face them head on and fight them. I want to give this pain and hurt to Jesus, because every time I hand over pieces of this burden, my walk get’s a little bit peppier. I smile a little bit more.
And maybe my story can encourage another person who went through being raped or abused in any way. Maybe my story can give a voice to the voiceless.