I am a rape victim.
Those five words were harder to write than I thought, let alone accept the fact that it happened. To me.
It’s been four long years and I am still trying to live with myself. Still trying to believe that this is what I survived, and not a movie I watched on a Sunday evening.
It’s been four years and this is what happens after rape.
Days felt like nights and nights felt like days. I could not differentiate between the two; everything from that point on was complete darkness. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I emotionally and mentally shut myself off and, as such, the days became one big blur. I was lonelier than ever. I was trapped inside my own head. All the “what if’s” and “what could’ve been’s” I tortured myself with when I was damn sure that it wasn’t my fault.
There was a constant battle between whether I should tell someone or deal with it alone. My head was screaming for help but I didn’t want people to look at me in disgust. I did not want to be anyone’s charity case. So I chose the latter.
A month goes by and I cannot recall where time went or what I did in those thirty days — I guess I just simply didn’t care. It’s been a month and I was still trapped inside my own thoughts. I remember looking down at a bottle of pills and having the urge to live inside the euphoric state of meticulously engineered chemicals. This was my first suicidal thought. I turned on the bath, and filled it to the top with warm water and lush bath bombs. I swallowed the remaining pills of Xanax — way more than what I should have — and slid into the bathtub, watching the water overflow onto the bathroom floor.
I woke up the next morning, still in the bathtub, my head ringing. I ran to the toilet to throw up what felt like my insides. I felt completely empty. I felt like there was nothing left of me but my thoughts – and of that, only one distinct thought that kept repeating over and over again: why was I still alive? There were a million ways I could have died, ranging from the obvious overdosing to drowning. But I didn’t. I was still alive.
A year goes by and I moved to an entirely different country in hopes of escaping this tragic event that should never happen to anyone, but I still had the same nightmares. Nightmares of how he pinned me against the wall, took my virginity away, and left me sitting there, crying with shame and anger and fear. He robbed my mental sanity but most importantly, my happiness. I would wake up crying and screaming. I hated going to bed. Those sleepless night where I would think of what it’d feel like to jump in front of a moving car. This was my second suicidal thought. How many bones I’d break and all the different approaches I could go about doing it, ranking them starting with the ones that would cause maximum injury.
Things do, as they say, get better. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and slowly learned to let go. I learned to wake up with a smile and sleep peacefully. All the nightmares slowly disappeared and eventually stopped.
There are still nights where I see flashes of his face and smell his cheap cologne mixed with sweat every now and then, but I’ve forgiven him. Not because he deserves it, but because I do. Because I owe it to myself to be happy. Because I could not hold onto my past any longer. But most importantly, because I needed to learn to love myself again. Every little thing — every pain, every scar, and every fear — has made me the person I am today.
The road to self-acceptance was such a long and tiring process. And it still is.
But oh God, trust me, I am so glad I’m alive.