I still can’t escape my rapist. My rapist isn’t my boyfriend or husband. I don’t see him at the grocery store or at the mall. He isn’t a friend of a friend that I hear stories about sometimes. My rapist has been in jail for months. My rapist is safely locked away. But I don’t even think that I’ll ever be able to feel free.
When I found out that he was finally arrested, a few months after the attack, I felt an intense wave of emotions. I was happy that he wouldn’t be able to touch me or anyone else. Along with that relief was stress and worry. I was worried about having to go to trial and tell my story in front of lots of people, when it was hard enough to tell it to a single detective. I couldn’t even talk about it with my therapist and every time I tried and failed I found myself wishing that I had never involved the law. I was stressed out by the fact that I had made someone go to jail. As much as I told myself that it was truly a horrific crime and that I was actually raped I still felt bad. When I learned about the other half dozen women he assaulted that unnecessary guilt turned to anger.
The anger that I felt fueled a bit of self-empowerment. I decided that I was going to be proud of my decision to go to the police and that I was going to stand up for myself more. I told myself that I was going to reclaim sex as something that I liked (I wasn’t sure if it was anymore) and not something that scared me.
As much as I wanted to be someone who grew stronger from my struggles it just isn’t that easy. I started seeing a therapist who specialized in sexual assault issues, I planned on going to a support group, I got a lawyer and I was constantly researching anything and everything regarding sexual assault. But those things didn’t last long and I went back to wanting to ignore it and to getting depressed over it and the flashbacks that it brought.
I realized that I put my expectations for myself way too high. I thought that I should be over it, even though it had only been a few months. I thought that I shouldn’t be having flashbacks, even though it wasn’t something I could control. I thought that there shouldn’t be so many things that would remind me of it. Sometimes I felt like I was using it as an excuse to be lazy or to isolate myself. I know now that those things are far from the truth. I have decided to change my whole thinking about the situation.
I allow myself to be sad about it now. I have my flashbacks and then I cry into my boyfriend’s arms saying how unfair it is. I go online and make sure that he is still in custody while worrying how the case is going to progress. I don’t tell myself that it’s going to make me a better person in the end because the only thing that I know to be true about being raped is that it sucks. It sucks when it happens and it sucks to have to deal with it. I guess at some point I will “get over it” but for now it’s just going to suck. I’m going to go to trial at some point and that’s going to suck. The sentence will probably be shorter than it should (as usually is the case) and that is also going to suck. Everything surrounding this situation sucks, but I think I’m just going to take it for what it is and focus on the things in my life that don’t suck.