It Takes A Real Man To Love A Woman Who Has Survived Trauma

Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive content involving sexual assault.
Brannon Naito / Unsplash

Trauma. A deeply depressing or disturbing experience. It’s not a minor memory to be wiped away with time the forever ticking seconds of time; it’s a permanent tattoo on your heart.

For us females, it taints us. It makes us unwanted by many. I maybe lucky, you see finding a partner after suffering through trauma is incredibly difficult. Fortunately other girls make better partners for those who have experienced this and I find myself with a girl who understands my pain and chooses to fight it out with me. But since about 97% of the female population find themselves heterosexual, finding a man to stay throughout the storms is incredibly difficult.

You see let’s talk about a hypothetical situation. Let our hypothetical situation have a name, let’s call her Claire. Claire was sexually assaulted by her older brothers friend at age 12. She was left feeling empty and tainted, for someone wrongly violated her temple. She refused to let anyone in and shut out the world while every night she cried herself to sleep imagining what it would be like to be whole again.

Five years later Claire falls for a boy, let’s say his name is Kyle. Kyle likes Claire, he thinks she’s pretty and fun to talk to. But he finds her too intense, because that’s what trauma does. It makes you intense and fully aware of emotions. Despite it, he gives her a chance- they’ve been going out for three months when they start to get more emotional. She starts letting her walls down a bit and he starts to peer into her mind where he sees the anxiety that years of PTSD have caused. He tells her he can’t do this and he leaves her.

She’s depressed once again and starts to blame herself like she did after her assault. She believes she isn’t good enough and that she’s broken. She begins to hate herself. Unfortunately there are more guys like Kyle: in fact she dates three more guys like Kyle. They make her feel special and pretty but the second they see a glimpse of the battlefield in her head, they leave. Because it’s too much for them. “Really? My trauma is too much for you?” She says to herself.

She gets used to being on her own and as time goes by she accepts her fate that no one will ever understand. Time passes by until she finds herself sitting in on a English Literature lecture. She sits by herself as she usually does until a boy asks to sit next to her. She looks up at him and notices something different about him, maybe it’s the fact that his glasses tilt more to one side than the other or the fact that his jersey is the color of candy floss or maybe that his eyes are kind with age. He sits next to her and glances at her from time to time but she gives it no attention, knowing that nothing will happen because they always run away.

After the lecture he asks her to coffee. She’s shocked by him insisting on paying and walking her home after without insisting on kissing her or asking for sex. This becomes their routine: lecture, coffee, walking home. For months he never forces anything romantic on her and one day he asks her to dinner. He tells her over a glass of wine that he’s in love with her and she is in complete disbelief. “You cannot love me, you don’t know me” she says, shaking her head furiously. “I do know you, I know that you like your coffee with two sugars and cream. I know that you secretly love books because it’s your escape. I know that you’ve been hurt before but you don’t ever have to tell me what you’ve been through because it will never change how I see you,“ he says grabbing her hand.

And she realizes that months ago she was wrong; it wasn’t a boy who had sat next to her… it was a man. It takes a real man to love a woman who has been hurt because she will push him away and always be haunted by her past memories. The nightmares will stay and she will scream in the middle of the night but he will hold her close and tell her that she is safe.

Boys will see her as broken or damaged but he will always see her as beautiful. It’s not easy to love someone who has seen the worst side of humanity. She will be a constant war and thunderstorms but she is a fighter and she is stronger than most. A real man will see that loving a woman who has survived this harsh storm will love harder than just any woman. TC mark

Andrea Sachs in training.

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