Do not consume with alcohol. Even after countless times of being prescribed Paracetamol, I never quite took those 5 words on the label seriously.
Well, they say you treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol and you treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol. I wasn’t internally wounded of course, I just thought I was, you know, being 19 and at the height of my impetuosity.
I was always comfortable on my own. To date, I wish I had brought someone along to the bar. For fear I would end up boring them with my “sad break up stories,” I decided not to.
But when I woke up from a nightmare, in a random hotel room in the red light district at 5 am, I finally learned what fear really was. I was shivering as I scanned the room for another soul. To be frank, I don’t know if it was a good thing that I found myself on my own in there. It didn’t help the confusion. I briefly remembered you approaching me at the corner of the bar. But you were faceless in my vision.
I couldn’t feel angry and I couldn’t feel sad.
Numb would describe it perfectly, but I know I couldn’t afford to analze this at that moment, considering I was 6 hours pass my curfew. 33 missed calls and a number of messages. I did the walk of shame as I exited that hotel, with a large group of men gathering outside, all suddenly approaching me. That was the lowest I had felt. I scurried back home to get ready for school.
That marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Tainted by a faceless man who apparently broke my hymen.
Days went by as usual at school. Nights never felt longer. As I retreat back to my fortress every day, I’d sit and pick apart every bit of that terrible night. The more I’d do it, the more I was painting you in a good light. Why did I wake up clothed? Why did you use a condom? Maybe you were way too drunk to. I don’t think you spiked my drink.
Like a bad case of Stockholm’s syndrome, I find myself justifying your actions. Constantly blaming myself for the entire thing. Why did I get so drunk? Why did I pop that Paracetamol? Was I dressed too provocatively?
I failed to realize the repercussions of that uneventful night.
The worst part of rape isn’t about that violent force that happened, but the emotional roller coaster that comes after.
It’s about losing your confidence. Watching your self-esteem plummet. It’s about trying to convince yourself that you’re not a bad fruit that nobody will buy. It’s about the depression. And the anxiety. It’s about trying to find a distraction or constantly be around people. I was not able to regulate my emotions well.
But amidst all that, I somehow became a less angry person.
I had lost my ability to be angry.
I internalized everything. Didn’t want anyone to see me at my most vulnerable. 5 years later, I first told one of my best friends. I cannot begin to explain how amazing it felt letting it out, but at the same time how terrible it can make you feel. The last thing I wanted was sympathy and that’s almost the first thing you get. They ask how come we didn’t tell them sooner.
People fail to understand that tragedy and silence have the exact same address.
But the thing about trauma is that even when it’s over, it doesn’t really go away.
Now, more than 6 years later, I’ve finally learned to shut down all these thoughts. I can go to bed with my head clear. I don’t even know if we have ever crossed path after that. I will never know. I hope life has treated you well all these years. You should be blessed I was your target. Too weak to stand up for myself.
You’re lucky you got to get away.