The Reality Of Life After Rape

Flickr / Alagich Katya
Flickr / Alagich Katya

I still think about it. Every time my fiancé touches my naked body the thought snags in my mind, if only for a second. Some memories hurt a little, they cause a little pain. The memory of him touching me burns my skin, it catches in my throat and makes in near impossible to breathe. Nearly three years on and a year of therapy later and this is my reality, this pain is my punishment for I’m not even sure what. What did I do wrong?

I’ve spent most of my life dealing with thoughts of self-hatred. I’ve spent years behaving badly because I could never work out what was going on in my head. I wanted life to hurt; I wanted living to hurt because I wanted more than anything to truly feel. Maybe I was trying to prove to myself that I existed, maybe I was trying to find meaning in my life; all I ever wanted was to see the world in all its brightest colours.

Rape fucked that all up. Rape made me want to die. I’d always sort control in my life in some way or another, usually through my relationship with food. At 16 I thought I’d had all my control taken away when my mother found out about my bulimia. At 19 I discovered what it was truly like to have no control, to have someone use my body without my permission, without my consent.

I felt ashamed but I also felt like I had no real reason to complain. My experience wasn’t that brutal, not like the rapes you see in movies or anything like that, and it wasn’t like stuff like this hadn’t happened to me before. So I just continued on living or existing I guess.

I now have an amazing job, a beautiful fiancé, a lovely home and friends and family. From the outside I have it all, I have the perfect life. It’s not enough. I have felt how cruel the world can be. My sense of self has been destroyed and I can’t get it back. I have learnt how to cope, how to be okay. I have survived and I hate that.

I’m a survivor. I should be grateful that I made it here, that I’m alive. I should be grateful that I have found the strength to not end my life when that is all I want to do. I don’t want to be a rape survivor; I don’t want to feel grateful or proud of myself for overcoming this tragedy. I just want it all to stop.

People tell you certain things about rape, that one day the memories will start to fade. Some days you will feel okay and you will feel normal. You will have sex again and enjoy it and then feel bad about enjoying. They don’t tell you that you will feel empty, that you won’t feel fear anymore, you won’t feel anything really but you will feel pain.

I love feeling pain. I truly love it, because at least it’s something that I control. The night I was raped I felt a kind of pain I’d never experienced before, in a place deep inside me that I didn’t know existed. This pain made me punch walls, it made me throw up and it helped me somehow. I crave that feeling, I need it. I want to create my pain and I want to feel it and I know how fucked up that is but feeling something is better than nothing.

I thought rape would just make me really sad and hopeless. I thought I’d cry a lot but that never really happened. The reality of it all is that I’m still here, still feeling pain because I don’t want to give the man that raped me the satisfaction of my suicide. I have created a painful hell on earth for myself. I’ve caged myself into a life I don’t want, only prove the man that raped me wrong. TC mark

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