Life After Rape

Life After Rape

What its really like moving forward.
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It all starts the next day, you sit in a windowless medical office, while a lovely, empathetic woman with glistening eyes listens as you tell your story- or what you were told since you can’t remember one moment of it.

The worst part for me was my mom crying softly next to me… my whole life my mission was to make my parents happy, make them proud of how strong I was. Watching them like that is crushing. So I sat there with no tears, feeling completely numb. It sounds cliche and detached but that’s really what it’s like, you just feel nothing. The air around you almost seems still as death as you patiently wait for the next steps of reliving the nightmare you feel like you couldn’t have even experienced.

I sat there emotionless as they took pictures of my bloody knees and scanned my clothes with blacklights - the same clothes I’d come to in, inside out and on backwards. I didn’t have my underwear though, that had been torn off by one of the four.

I waited as they examined my whole body,felt nothing as they told me about the damage to even the inside of my body.

I listened and laughed along with my rapists as they called me a “slut” and a “whore” and told me that I came onto them. I apologized to them because I had embarrassed them. Even my bloody legs, torn body, ripped clothing and voided memory couldn’t save me from the shame.

I told myself I would be fine, reassured my family I would be fine. Lied to myself that I was fine because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 21 years it’s that no matter what happens, the world keeps turning and there are millions of people around you still living life. You have to just put your head down and keep moving.

So I tried to go to therapy, but told them nothing other than “I’m doing really well, I’m sleeping and eating no problem”. We would talk about my “feelings” and I would say exactly what she wanted to hear. So I stopped going after maybe 3 sessions. Another thing I’ve learned is that anyone who works for a university is very sensitive about the girl who cried “rape” so they treat you like a lost puppy, make you feel like there’s no reason to keep coming in for therapy, they even encouraged me to get a medical clearance on my classes so I didn’t have to finish off the year.

They didn’t know me well enough to know that having a purpose was the only thing that kept me going. In high school I was a merit scholar, an AP student and an avid reader so my intelligence was one thing I thought could save me.

That was until I didn’t even have enough energy to make it to classes. I would roll over to my alarm going off and immediately shut it down and go back to sleep.

And then the drinking started. Obviously being at a University makes this commonplace, but not as an every-night situation. I would sleep all day and spend my nights nearly always blacked out, downing vodka like it was water because it was easier to feel nothing than feel like I had been violated. It was easier to black everything out because I felt like people liked me that way, that I was fun and outgoing and the life of the party. It made me feel like despite the fact that four individuals had raped me while I was nearly unconscious, no one would judge me if I could party along with them.

The drinking also helped the nightmares go away. My therapist now says these nightmares happen from PTSD. That, even though my conscious state wasn’t active during the assault, my subconscious knew what was happening. So the nightmares came, me remembering how I was fighting back, how much it hurt. Little glimpses into what happened.

The worst part was the sex. As a woman, a large part of what you are is made up by how men view you. No that's not the feminist stance but this story isn’t about some superfluous understanding of feminism it's about truth. I wanted guys to find me attractive even though I had been damaged. No one knew what happened but I started using sex and the hookup culture to make myself feel more validated.

So I would get myself to a state where I could be ballsy enough to find some guy and make him believe I was the hottest thing he’d ever seen. Each next morning I would wake up, dreading the memory of each stupid decision I would make.

The worst part was seeing my friends judgement. They didn’t know the whole story by any means, I was far too proud to tell anyone. All they knew was something really bad had happened. They started making small comments that slowly tear you apart, even though they don’t mean to.

One friend, after a particularly awful night for me said “Do you realize what you did? This thing has ruined you”.

Another friend, when talking about a cute guy I was interested at the time said “Maddi, be careful, he's a really nice guy”. Implying he was too good for me. I know she didn't mean it like that, but it's hard to hear something out loud that you think about every day. I knew they were maybe right.

So I reached a breaking point and it all came crashing down on me. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family that supported me and since I have been spending a lot of time in therapy, growing stronger each day.

I decided to finally write all this down because unless you go through something like this you have no idea what it's like and it’s easy to pass on judgement. I know people look at me as what I’ve been called: slut, whore, drunk mess. I am sorry for all the people in my life who saw me like that, and I hope I can eventually be forgiven.

One thing I’d also like people to understand is that, much like an addiction, this is something I will likely have to battle with for a long time. The behavior I used to cope is still inherent in me and sometimes I take 3 steps forward and one step back. Some days are worse than others. Sometimes I don’t feel worthy of people’s love or attention. I don’t feel pretty, or sexy or kind- I feel ashamed.

I wanted to tell my story, not only to shed light to my friends, family and anyone in my life who may not know… but to help others understand what this is like. It is so easy to judge people for their actions, for what they do and what you see. Remember that everyone has demons, that we are all in different stages of a journey and that the greatest thing you can offer is kindness.

For me, I have grown so much, some days I struggle, but each day I know time continues to heal. To anyone else out there going through this, know you are not alone, and that this hasn’t ruined you, you can still be loved and cherished and that you deserve all happiness that comes to your life.
Cover Image Credit: Blogspot

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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If Your Shorts From Last Summer Don't Fit This Spring, Don't Panic Just Yet

Sometimes sucking it in doesn't even cut it.

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We've all been there — you put on a pair of shorts that fit you like a glove last year and they just don't fit the way you remembered. This feeling sucks, but there are plenty of solutions for when your favorite pieces can't quite fit over the love handles.

First off, there's nothing to be ashamed of! It's normal for people to pack on a few extra pounds during the cold months due to lack of outdoor activity, holidays, and overall laziness. Usually, people lose a little extra weight in the summer months by being outside and sweating and eating fresher and healthier foods. So who knows, by the time summer is in full swing, they may fit again!

The obvious answer would be to work out, but I understand that's not for everyone. For those who are looking into getting back into shape for bikini season, a good mix of cardio and lifting three to five days a week will help tone and slim that body down in no time! Make sure that if you start exercising, eat enough nutrients! Some people tend to think if they eat less and work out, it'll help you lose more weight, and yes this is true, but you'll also be losing muscle mass in the long run and this can be detrimental to your health. Getting sufficient nutrients is vital to making sure your body is functioning properly!

For those of you who don't necessarily want to do any formal exercise, eat healthier and go on walks! It's amazing what adding a walk into your day will do for your body! Not only will it help your heart health, but it will tone your legs and help shed some extra pounds. Eating healthy is also pivotal to getting rid of unwanted fat. Diet fads are definitely no way to go. It's not about eating less necessarily but eating what's good for you. Everyone's bodies are different and it will take some figuring out to find what works for you. There are plenty of yummy fruits and veggies in season in the summer, and there's plenty of opportunities to grill out and make some healthy options! Take advantage of this! Whether you're grilling low carb meats and fish or throwing on some veggies for a side dish, grilling is a great way to make healthy meals for you and your family!

For those of you who are fine with the little extra weight you've gained, buy new clothes! Picking out and trying on new clothes can be very fun, but also expensive. If it's not in the budget to head to your favorite retailer and pick out a new pair, head to a thrift store! There are plenty of second-hand options that are not only affordable and cute but environmentally sustainable as well! The fashion industry creates so much unnecessary waste year after year, and you can help cut down by buying second-hand.

With all of this being said, love your body! There are so many different shapes and sizes in the world, and not one person is the same as another, so be proud of what you look like! Whether you're a size XS or a size XXL, everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. If you're not comfortable with what you look like and wish you could change it, do it! The great thing about our bodies is they're so easy to make changes to. Whatever the case, the weather is warming up and it's almost time to trade those sweats for some shorts and bathing suits!

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