Blog Entry IV: How to Help Your Loved One, Candid Response

The following is a comment I left on another’s blog. I tried for about a week to craft it into something I’d like to post, but it never came about. So here it is, for what it’s worth:

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I’ve often found that people start out wanting to help, certainly they are sympathetic, but they truly just don’t know how. I’ve been angry at everyone for not understanding, not knowing not ‘caring.’ I had to withdraw into myself — can’t demand something from people who don’t know what you need or how to give it. Likely, they’ve never been there.

Is it a bunch of shit? Yep. Are you really left alone? Yep. Will you ever find your way? Yes. Try not to be angry at those who genuinely are trying to help, but do realize they may back off (leave you more alone) if they sense they are not helping. Know what I mean? For me, it got to the point where I’d say something like “I need you to hold me, let me cry, let me vent, and don’t speak a word. If you could do that for me, that would help me the most. Let me talk, but don’t say a word in response.” Loved ones try to help, bless their hearts, they just don’t know how.

KEY: you must choose these people carefully. A lot of people truly can’t handle the heaviness of the heartache you have to deal with. They truly can’t handle the truth: it’s not a fault; they just are not equipped. Choose a person who won’t leave you no matter what. I chose my mom. My ‘friends’ couldn’t help; like I said, I think they wanted to at first, but it costs ALOT of time and alot of energy. And frankly, my ‘friends’ wanted to go out and do something more fun. This isn’t a ‘quick-fix’ situation either: It’s going to take time — as in years. I don’t blame them anymore. They just didn’t know how, and unless they are in a similar situation, they aren’t going to know.

I’m not sure if I’ve made things worse. I hope that I haven’t made you angry. I tell it like it is, good or bad. Some folks get offended, and that’s certainly not my intention. What’s the saying? You can’t draw blood from a stone? Something like that.

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Blog Entry III: How do you miss yourself?

I miss me.  It’s been so long, she’s like a shadow.  And I miss her.  How do you describe the feeling of being separated from yourself?  The question itself begs examination.  I was listening to the radio to “My Sacrifice,” by Creed.  Those lyrics seem to begin to describe how I mean ‘I miss myself.’  I don’t know if I can describe it today.  I keep waiting for something complete to blog, but maybe I’m better off just letting out what is in my head.

Here are the lyrics to “My Sacrifice,” by Creed:

Hello my friend, we meet again
It’s been awhile, where should we begin?
Feels like forever
Within my heart are memories
Of perfect love that you gave to me
Oh, I remember

When you are with me, I’m free
I’m careless, I believe
Above all the others we’ll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice

We’ve seen our share of ups and downs
Oh how quickly life can turn around
In an instant
It feels so good to reunite
Within yourself and within your mind
Let’s find peace there

When you are with me, I’m free
I’m careless, I believe
Above all the others we’ll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice

I just want to say hello again
I just want to say hello again

When you are with me I’m free
I’m careless, I believe
Above all the others we’ll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
Cause when you are with me I am free
I’m careless, I believe
Above all the others we’ll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My sacrifice, My sacrifice

I just want to say hello again
I just want to say hello again

My sacrifice.

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Blog Entry II: Surprise

Reflecting now, I am compelled to record the following:

The look on his face the moment, the very moment, I had outsmarted him was absolutely priceless. If I am proud of anything this night, I am most proud of that. Perhaps a bit juvenile — and in my case, extremely short-lived.  The look of surprise on his face will stay with me forever . . . as I’m sure it has stayed with him.

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Blog Entry I: What to expect the hours after your attack

The following was written as a ‘magazine style’ article — ie How to defrost your freezer in five easy steps — for a class assignment.  I added it here to the blog because parts of my story are here.


What now? What to expect:  The Hours After Your Attack

In my freshman year of college, I was kidnapped and raped by a stranger.

I had just left work at the local grocery store, and I was walking out to my car.  I never saw him watching, and I never saw him coming.  My head was too full:  I had college finals the next morning, and the cute boy had finally asked me out.  I was heading home to do some laundry and cram some biology and calculus.

He appeared out of no where and shoved me into the car.  I won’t recount what happened specifically, but I was driven around town and violated several times.  I was able to escape when he turned his back for the briefest of moments.  Had he caught me, I have no doubt I’d be dead.

Looking back now after much time, I thought it would be helpful to anyone out there who has also been raped to record my thoughts, observations, emotions.  Every individual scenario will be different, and every scenario will also be similar.

So, what do you do after something like this?  Where do you begin?

1) Contact a loved one. The first thing to do after your attack is to contact someone you trust, someone you can depend on, someone who will be strong for you.  You’re beginning a long journey, and you’ll need all the emotional support you can find.  I called my Mom & Dad and went home.

2) Contact the police and file a report. My Father called the police, and they arrived quickly. I was 18 years old when this happened.  I’d never had sex before, and I was so embarrassed recounting everything in front of my parents and complete strangers that this monster had done to me.  It’s necessary to be thorough, though, for the record. You’ll be telling your story many more times this night to many other people.  The police want to be sure your story is consistent.

3) Doctor examination. The police handled this part.  I was examined, they took pictures, recorded cuts & bruises, the whole nine yards.  I felt so humiliated being naked again in front of these strangers.  I was finally allowed to bathe after the examination.  They took my clothing for evidence.  I don’t remember where the change of clothing came from. Maybe Mom brought it.

4) Meeting the detective. After the examination, I met the police detective assigned to my case.  Since my case had an abduction involved, he drove me around different parts of town, to see if I recognized anything.  I was able to recognize places we’d gone, and the detective was able to piece together events of the evening.

5) Home.  After all the running around and paper work, I was allowed to go home.  I cried and my Mom held me. I don’t think I slept.  I don’t think you can sleep after something like this.

I had a few class finals the following morning and the following week at the university.  I think my Mom may have called to cancel them, I’m not too sure.  I started at every noise, and I could not relax.  I think I bathed three times, and I scrubbed and scrubbed until I was red.  I hadn’t yet begun to process what happened; and in some ways, I’m still processing.

Why did this happen?  What had I done wrong?  What am I supposed to do now?  Am I ruined?  Will the cute boy think I’m ruined?  Do I tell the cute boy?  Who do I tell?  Do I have to tell anyone?  How will this affect everyday life?  Why am I alive?  Why didn’t he kill me?  How can another human being do this to someone? These thoughts ran through my mind as I showered again.

Little did I know these thoughts and this event would plague every aspect of my life for years to come and shape the woman I have become.  Even now, like a drop of water, the ripples continue to radiate.

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The Beginning

It’s been many years since I was taken by knife-point and violated.  It was my first semester in college, and I was 18 years old.  I did not expect to live.  He made a slight mistake, and I took advantage.  Whether the glass not breaking over my head was divine intervention or the laws of physics, I’ll never know.  But, I escaped.  I was free, and  I was safe.  Or, so I thought.

No one ever tells you, but living after the attack is the hard part.  Getting on with normal things is the hard part.  There is no more normal; and you may be living, but you’re not necessarily alive.  Those events altered my path:  I was not free, and I would never be safe; and I would never be who I was.

Looking back now, in some ways, I would now welcome death:  no more struggle, no more pain, no more learning to trust, no more paranoia.  I could be truly free.  Constant vigilance and suspicion are heavy and exhausting.  The ones who die are the lucky ones, because they don’t have to learn to survive.

It’s been many years since that night.  It’s been many therapists and anti-depressants.  It’s been a lot of tears, a lot of screams, a lot of flashbacks in private.  I have become an expert at hiding my real emotions in public.  It’s become second nature to put that experience in the back of my mind, never to let it see the light of day, publicly.  But, something recently changed for me.

My beautiful niece graduated from high school this past June, and she’ll be entering her first year of college soon.  Watching her graduation, I was flooded with nostalgia of my own high school graduation.  I remember feeling so proud, so powerful.  I had the world at my feet.  I could do anything I wanted, be anything I wanted.  I saw those emotions reflected on my niece’s face, and I nearly fell apart.  She is where I was, a point frozen in time:  elated, excited, curious, can’t-wait-to-get-started.

In all odds, my niece will likely go along her merry way without my fate intervening.  Her graduation caused me to think about how far I’ve come, the blessings I have now, and all the pain I’ve learned to live with.  I also thought about all the emotions I have still hidden away, locked in a vault, fermenting all these years.  That is the key:  it never goes away.  It’s always there.  There’s a quote I came across that resonated with me:

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I made a decision:  I don’t want to carry it anymore.  I don’t want to hide it anymore.  I will grieve forever, the loss of my 18 year-old self; she did die that night.  I also need to let it go, let it all out.  I want to share my experience in hopes that maybe my sharing will help another person who is going through something similar.  Sadly, I know you are out there, trying to figure things out just like I am.

Every story has a beginning.  This is mine.

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