A few nights ago, I was raped.
This isn’t a fictional piece. There is no thought-provoking ending. It’s my life, and it’s falling to pieces.
Rape is something you read about, something see on the news. Maybe you hear from someone who knows someone who knows someone else. But none of that information can prepare you for the terrible reality of it. Not when it’s you.
Out of principle, I avoid certain topics when writing, not because they aren’t important, but because they’ve been shoved down our throats so many times that it feels like the story loses its power.
And that’s why this is so difficult.
I’m lying in my tiny student apartment on a Tuesday night. I hear the neighbors coming and going, the wind slam against the door. I feel the warm air wash over me through the open window. I taste the freshly brewed coffee. And yet, despite all this, I feel unquestionably empty.
I have been ever since Sunday evening.
It’s something I never prepared myself for. It’s something that I never thought I had to deal with personally. I thought that maybe it would be something I’d deal with as a registered psychologist. I had no idea I’d have to deal with it as a first-year student.
I live in a beautiful country, but it is a country where thousands of women are raped each day. And when you read that statistic, you imagine something dark and cold and unfeeling.
I was raped in my own bed. Three times.
At first, I tried fighting him off, but soon realized he was much too strong. I repeatedly asked him to stop, but he just continued to push his cigarette smoke-infested mouth against mine. Finally, I gave up. I lay there while he had his way once, twice, and a third time for good measure.
That’s what scares me the most: not the fact that I knew him beforehand or that I used to have a crush on him or that he’s quite a few years older than I am or that we have a few mutual friends or, blindingly, that I was raped—but the fact that I didn’t fight.
Throughout high school, they taught us about self-defense and how important it is for a woman to take control of her own body. I used to roll my eyes, as if to ask “Who the hell doesn’t know that?”
The sad reality, however, is that I can’t change the past. I can’t change the fact that I couldn’t fight.
When I confided in a friend of mine, her first reaction was, have you gone to the police? The answer no simple: No.
I am fully aware of the importance of reporting crimes. That, after all, is the only way to bring justice to my community, and to the world.
But I feel like I can’t. Not because I don’t care, but because I’m incredibly broken.
It hurts when I walk. Every muscle in my body is tense and bruised. Every inch of me feels dirty. I close my eyes and see his face against mine. I sit on the porch and if I listen closely enough, hear his laughter.
It’s terrifying, heartbreaking, impossible to understand.
And I can’t even begin to explain it.