April is was sexual assault awareness month and I’ve wanted to do a rape awareness project every year for the last few years. I tried but no one wants to talk about rape. I get it; there is a lot of shame that comes with being a rape victim survivor.
I don’t want to talk about rape either but I’m going to.
I’m sure you read the statistics and come across the awkward awareness posters but have you ever actually spoken to one of those numbers?
I am a statistic. Here are some real life effects of rape I never see in the campaigns:
I don’t trust human beings not to hurt me. Nobody. There is a permanently damaged part of me that will never let its guard down. I will spend the rest of my life nursing that part of me back to life.
My body is the scene of the crime and that is something I can never escape. I don’t know the words to use to describe to you what it feels like to want to crawl out of your own skin. I’ve poisoned my body in black out drunkenness. I’ve cut my body. I’ve hated my body so much that death actually seemed like an option for an out.
I’ve been diagnosed with depression, codependency, and I have a tendency of putting myself in extremely dangerous situations.
I feel eternally tainted and broken.
I don’t trust myself all the time.
My default is low self worth. Every morning I have to remind myself that I too am worthy of happiness, respect, success and of love.
I know you want to know about its effect on my relationships and intimate life. That’s a whole post of its own.
Thirteen years later:
I still have flashbacks.
I still have post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic attacks.
I rarely do sleepovers because of the sounds I make in my sleep. Yes I still have nightmares.
I still feel ashamed for not telling anyone.
I still blame myself for being where I was.
I still don’t know how to allow people to love me without a little dysfunction.
I still feel nauseas when I see his name or remember his stupid laugh or his crooked walk.
I still I have hard days but I don’t feel sorry for myself.
It’s my struggle and its part of my story.
As these tears stream down my face I can honestly and wholeheartedly tell you that I’m ok. Right now as I sit here I’m broken open and I’ve never been so alive.
I used to think the problem was violence toward women. Gender based violence is a big problem in the world but it’s deeper than that. We live in a violent culture period. The problem is VIOLENCE itself.
Even though the top 3 countries by rape rate are in sub-Saharan Africa, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding the topic. It’s not monsters in dark alleys raping unknown woman, it’s our sons and brothers, and our CEO’s and church leaders.
I started the conversation.
This was for you, the ones who live it every day but can’t find the courage to release it. Your voice found its way through me. I know some days get dark but I promise the light will come back, it always comes back. I hug you and I salute you.