My Personal Independence Day
The following is something I posted to my friends on my facebook page on January 28th, 2012. It’s intensely personal and uncomfortable to read, but necessary to put the rest of my thoughts that follow into context.
(I am putting my thoughts down in writing on advice from a therapist. Sometimes it’s not very coherent, and I tend to ramble. Sorry. I want to share it because it makes it more real to me. I can’t really talk about it, but I can write. It is very personal, so feel free to skip it if you’re “allergic” to TMI stuff or really long vents. I won’t be offended, really. I’m doing this for me.)
December 9th, 2011. This is the day I was raped. This is the first time I have said those three words all together like that. I was raped.
I was on a date with someone I knew. We had been on one date previously, months before. He had sent me flowers at work after our first date, and then he got mad when he was talking about *the future* and I mentioned that I am not physically able to have more children. I was creeped out, and broke off contact.
He asked me out again after some time, and against my better judgment, I agreed. It was originally just a coffee date, and then he asked me to have dinner and drinks with him. I agreed, then discovered that he meant for us to go to his house. Again, against my better judgment, I agreed. We never even got to dinner. We had wine, and then it happened. He wanted to have sex, and I said no. I hadn’t had sex in over 12 years, and I was not looking to jump into bed with just anyone. He raped me. He kept hitting and shoving me, then he choked me and he raped me. I was ashamed and horrified. At first, I was in shock, and blamed myself. I’m a grown woman. What the hell was wrong with me? I should’ve known better. But, I KNEW this guy. Shouldn’t women be allowed to be alone with a guy they know without being violated?
I was in pain, physically and emotionally. I was on a roller coaster of hurt, degradation, and anger. How dare he do this to me? HOW FUCKING DARE HE?
I didn’t want anyone to know, especially my kids. It took me a week to find it in myself to get examined by a doctor. I was then told that I had bruised and cracked ribs. How lovely.
I eventually made a decision to report it to the authorities of the town it happened in. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to press charges or not, I just wanted it on record, just in case. They were less than helpful. I had gone to his house, willingly consumed alcohol, then went home and showered without preserving any evidence. They said they “spoke” to him, and he claimed it was consensual. That was all they needed to hear. They said there was no proof that my injuries had resulted from the “incident,” and that they could’ve happened “any number of ways.” They discouraged me from pursuing it. As it turns out, he is related to someone in law enforcement. No wonder no action was taken. No report was even filed.
I’m trying to get past it, but some days are better than others. Most of the time, I’m ok. Sometimes, I’m even pretty damn great. But I still have some really bad days. Little things remind me of what happened. Certain smells or even sounds can do it. Of course, it doesn’t help that I still see him around from time to time. He works out at my gym and he has shopped where I work. He even tried to *friend* me on facebook. I don’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that he bothers me, though. That belongs to me, and he can’t have it. He’s stolen so much from me… He doesn’t get to have my pride, too. He’s tried to talk to me a couple of times, but I just walk away, or ignore him completely. At the gym, it’s easy. I just crank up my MP3 player, and do my thing. At work, I suddenly get very busy, which is not difficult. There’s always plenty to do.
I know I should insist on pursuing it with law enforcement, but I just don’t have it in me, honestly. I can’t put myself through that. It’s just too much. I can’t do it. I don’t want to get dragged through the mud. I want to deal with this on MY terms, not anyone else’s. I have kids to finish raising, a job to go to every day, and great friends to spend time with. I want to feel like everyone else. I want to get on with the rest of my life. That is partially what I’m trying to do by sharing this. I’m trying not to wallow, but it’s hard. I’m thinking maybe if I get it all out, it will be cathartic in a way, you know? Maybe I will be able to deal with it in a healthier way, and not feel so dirty, used and broken… like I have something to hide. Why should I be ashamed? I didn’t do anything wrong. Wrong was done TO me, not BY me.
I know this is true, but I don’t feel it. I feel like an idiot. I feel like this is who I am now… the woman who was stupid and got raped. I don’t want to be her. I don’t want people to see that when they look at me. I know they don’t but I feel like they do. Like I’m transparent. Filleted wide open, laid bare. I feel like… I don’t know. I don’t know how to feel. No matter WHAT I feel, it’s wrong. I’ve been told that I’m shoving it away and not dealing with it, and someone else said that I’m dwelling on it, and to just get over it already. Holy fuck, I’m doing the best I can. Some days I can deal with it, and some days I can’t. I’ll get there, just don’t fucking tell me how to do it, how to feel, or how NOT to feel. Well-meaning advice is fine, but FFS, don’t tell me that I’m doing it WRONG. If you haven’t been in my shoes, well, you have NO fucking idea. And if you have? Then I feel sorry for you, because I wouldn’t wish this hell on ANYONE.
That was exactly who I was, for what felt like forever. A stupid woman. A naive woman. A raped woman. Not even really a woman, but an object. Not a particularly valuable object, either, but one that was filthy and contaminated. Disgusting and worthless.
However, that’s not who I am today. And that’s not who I will be next Tuesday, on the third anniversary of that day.
Today, I am a strong woman. A woman who WILL NOT let bad things that have happened dictate who she is, or how she lives her life.
I am a mother, a sister, a friend, a lover.
Most of all, though… I am ME. Not what happened to me. Not what some selfish asshole chose to take from me.
I am free. Free and independent to be whoever or whatever I want to be, without regard to shame that doesn’t belong to me.
Such a simple concept, that has taken me three years to fully understand, accept, and embrace.
I have worked long and SO hard to get to this space, and I want to shout it from the rooftops, because it feels absolutely wonderful! 🙂
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