Haunting Memories

Today marks 6 years since the worst day of my life. On this day in 2011, I was raped at knife point by a man who made my life a living hell for months prior. On this day every year, I can’t help but feel sorrowful. I tend to have panic attacks, I cry a lot, sometimes, I can’t even bring myself to leave the house, and I hate it all. I hate that he has had that kind of impact on my life. I hate that I constantly look over my shoulder when I’m alone. I hate that I don’t trust people as much as I used to. I hate that a part of me looks down on other’s thoughts/feelings/stories because they have no idea what it’s like to suffer the way that I have. I hate how this day out of the year makes me remember things that I try so hard to forget.

There was a time when I thought I was pregnant by him. My period was late and I became frantic, so he bought me a couple of home pregnancy tests to take. He made comments about how he wouldn’t mind us having a child together and how I would make a great mother, as if we were a happy couple trying to get pregnant. Luckily, they were both negative and I got my period days later. In any given scenario when a woman thinks she’s pregnant (and not trying to conceive), it is one of the most surreal experiences of her life taking a pregnancy test. Imagine that same experience, but with your rapist as the possible father… no woman should ever have to experience that.

During my SANE exam, the nurse had to swab every inch of my body, but not just for evidence; she had to gather samples to test for STIs. Throughout the 6 months of being raped, it never once occurred to me that he could be infected; that I could have contracted HIV/AIDs, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, any number of diseases from this man. The nurse informed me that my results would come back in a week. Talk about one of the most nerve-racking weeks ever. Thank God my results all came back negative.

In an attempt at spending more time with me, he blackmailed me into ‘inviting’ him over to spend time with my family; during family gatherings and football games in particular. He would sit next to me and run his finger up and down my thigh where no one would see. He would grab my ass when we passed in the kitchen. He would talk sports with my dad, complement my moms cooking, and discuss video games with my brother. He made my family like him and I despised him for it.

There are so many memories from those 6 months that haunt me today, and no matter how hard I try to not let them consume me, they fight their way in and take over, leaving me feeling as helpless as I once was.

Part of me feels as though today should be a celebration of my freedom from him; he was arrested on this day years ago, thus ending my nightmare. But no part of me can feel joy; only fear, hatred, sadness… Will I ever be able to live life this day like any other? I have no idea. Does it at least get easier as years pass? A little.

When I was raped, not only did I feel like less of a woman, I felt like less of a human being. For the longest time afterward, I didn’t feel pretty; I didn’t want to feel pretty. I didn’t want men to look at me the way he looked at me. There are times that I have flashbacks to that time in my life and all I can do is cry. I hated the person he turned me into then: scared, insignificant, timid, constantly worried about his next move and how it would affect me. My life was so full of wondering what if…? And that is no way to live.

People who have come to know my story tell me that I am strong; that I’m an inspiration; that I am a symbol of hope for others like me. I don’t feel that I am any of those things. I feel like a coward who couldn’t stand up to her abuser; like a girl striped of her innocence; like a play thing that he took advantage of and tossed aside once he was done. Not in any way, do I feel like an inspiring figure for others to look to.

I’ve taken the time to write about my experience to shed light on sexual abuse. Not all rapes happen in the dimly lit parking garage or behind the dumpster in a dark alley. I was suffering in front of those I loved and they couldn’t see it. My abuser attended church and preached God’s word verbatim. I was a straight-A student working two part-time jobs and was in a monogamous relationship with my long-term boyfriend. I want people to take a closer look at the life happening around them. The woman sitting across from you on the train might be going home to an abusive spouse and is too afraid to say anything. The young girl you see at your favorite restaurant eating with her family might be sustaining abuse from her own father while the rest of the family is asleep at night.

This world we live in is a cruel place, even more so when you are being abused and feel as though you have no where to run. How about, instead of pointing fingers at the victims, judging their level of promiscuity on the way they look or the way the act, we start holding the abusers accountable for how they prey on their victim(s) and attack them. It’s never the victim’s fault for wearing a skirt and being fondled on the street; it’s the disgusting pervert who thought he had the right to grope an unassuming woman. It isn’t the victim’s fault for drinking one too many mixed drinks at a party and being gang-raped by a group of men she thought were her friends; it’s the group of despicable lowlifes who took advantage of a defenseless girl and blamed it on the alcohol.

Being sexually assaulted in any form will haunt you for the rest of your life. I’m lucky I survived my experience and that I was able to overcome it with the help and support of my loved ones. I want people in similar circumstances to know that they are not alone, and that you can say no. What you have endured does not define who you are.

Maybe later on down the line, I will be able to experience this day just like any other, but until then, I won’t blame myself for what happened. I will stop asking myself ‘what if’ and ‘why’ and instead, come to terms with the fact that: I am not a victim, I am a survivor. I will allow myself to cry about those horrible memories, because only then, will I find the strength to move on with my life.

68 thoughts on “Haunting Memories

  1. Writing that must of been one of the hardest things you have had to do but I have one thing to say to you, YOU SURVIVED! At times that may be of a small comfort to you when you remember whats happened but honestly you did the right thing and you survived. Now you are sharing your story for everyone and I can tell you that there will be someone out there who is going through something similar and they will come across your blog and it will help them x you are a survivor x

    Liked by 4 people

      • You are more than welcome. The truth is the hardest thing to do in abuse cases is survive and the best option is to go along. Doesnt mean that you accept it or want it, it means you want to survive. This is why in rape cases it is better to do as your rapist says, if you cant get away, as he is less likely to act out of anger that way. Does not mean you want it it means that you want to survive. That is what you are, like me you are a survivor and by sharing your story and continuing to blog you can help others x

        Liked by 1 person

        • I always hear different opinions on this matter. To fight or not to fight. There’s creating physical evidence of a struggle and collecting DNA versus ensuring survival. I don’t know what to think on this. Maybe it’s a case by case decision?

          Liked by 1 person

            • I shared some statistics and led a discussion with my middle school students yesterday about rape and sexual abuse, and I was asked that question by one of the girls. It wasn’t easy to respond to, but I try to be very open with them, knowing that not every parent is willing to have these conversations. I explained some of the different reasons for rape and the pros and cons of fighting your attacker versus not fighting. I told them that I can’t answer for sure, but that it’s a decision t be made in the situation. But it’s a good thing to think about the options before something happens. Let’s just say yesterday was a day of deep conversation.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Sounds like you handled that question very well. It’s scary to think about these kinds of situations, but if someone does give it some thought before it happens, maybe they will know how to react more appropriately.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. This is insanely powerful. I want to say you’re very courageous and strong for being able to write so openly about what happened to you. I know this mustn’t be easy at all for you to talk about. I think some things never get easier, but you get better at coping with them so they become easier. God bless you sweetie and may He deliver all the healing you need. I have to share your story, this is just too important.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You really are survivor. You have to remind yourself that it was not your fault at all because that is the truth. I hope that person rots in hell and I pray karma to be a real bitch to that loser.

    I vow to take a closer look around my surrounding to notice ANY kind of sign where I could be of any use. Thank you for being brave.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Haunting Memories – mytruthandopinions's Blog

  5. No words can console the amount of pain you went through,going through.But lady don’t say yourself weak,your weakness implies his win which can’t be.you are superwoman and you can shred off this bad memory very soon I wish.
    All the best.Much love and #respect.cheers to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. WOAH WHAT THE F***?! thats terrible! that must of been horrifying to deal with, i’m so sorry, this is one thing nobody can get rid out of there minds, i really wish i was there to stop the rape! i really am, from the bottom of my heart, sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are a beautiful human being – I wish you could see how this post shines to me so I could reflect it back to you and you would feel free to shine – I hope one day you recover your original soul and shake the crap off it this man left – you may feel like you have lost it – your soul – but you haven’t, it is right there in your writing and it’s beautiful – please keep writing – sending you love ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You are very brave for having shared this. I’m so sorry for you that you had to go through that. I’m sorry that it happened for so long and that nobody was able to see and give you a helping hand out of that situation. Do you have any suggestions for how people might keep an eye out to help any friends or family who might be in a position similar to yours? How can you broach the subject? Or should you? Is it better to just let them know they have your unwavering support at all times?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to give advice that would be beneficial for all situations. I actually tried to reach out to my BFF at the time, but she was so caught up in her own dating life that she didn’t get the hints. In such situations, if a victim is reaching out in any way, I suggest to just listen. Many people (especially women) listen to problems only to come up with solutions. Instead, they just need to listen and offer support. Victims don’t need to be bossed around; they already are when they are being abused. Instead, offer them love and understanding. They don’t want pity or to feel as though we are being looked down upon. If a victim shares any part of their abuse with you, show them that you care and that you want to help. Thank you for your comment. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know exactly what you mean by being bossed around. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and having my friends and family constantly (it felt like bombarding me) with advice felt very overwhelming. I stopped talking to them after a point because I knew it would lead to telling me what to do instead of just a listening ear. I did eventually take action, but sensing and hearing their frustrations that it wasn’t on the timeline they expected was hard to bear.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Boundless Challenge #4 – Confessions of a Reborn Girl

  10. Kudos for reliving it by deciding to write about and holding your own. You make an example for others to look upto. Reminds me of the quote from movie Coach Carter. By being your own light, you give permission to others to use that light and shine through in their own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Here is a virtual hug!!! Sounds like you are very STRONG and even though what happened was beyond words can describe in a way it has made you into the better person you are today. Mr. or Mrs. right is out there and you will learn to love again just don’t judge yourself on that other event. Not all men are creeps. -Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You are a survivor! You are very brave. Keep speaking out. Never feel ashamed or guilt or let any negative feeling try to tear you down. I pray for God to bring you healing and restoration as you overcome all of your past. God bless you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There were so many points that struck home and that I found so enlightening. It’s so difficult for victims to speak out. Maybe you didn’t do it as soon as you would have liked, but doing it is adding a needed voice to the world. It’s shining a light on something that often happens in darkness and in secret. Someone will find this post and hear their words and feelings expressed through you and they won’t feel so alone. It’s a small thing and a big thing. I was desperate for just one person who had my experience with emotional abuse to talk to and just understand me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. oh my…I cannot express the words I am thinking at this moment. I am so sorry. I feel so bad. Everything you wrote I could easily capture an image in my mind. This world is a cruel place, and being a woman is tough. We have to constantly look over our shoulders and we have to constantly deal with unwanted attention. It’s no joke. This sounds cliché, but you really are strong. I can tell you’re still alive in spirit. You have everything going for you. I’m sure most days are tougher than some. I am glad that man was arrested. Sad part is, most of the time they get away with it and we are stuck with the burden. I wish you years upon years of happiness. Thanks for sharing your story, there are girls out there suffering right now and I can only imagine how lost they may feel. How lost you might feel sometimes. I bet if others read this post they might feel a sense of hope, and find their way to becoming whole again.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My dear friend. This story breaks my heart and makes me so furious. I am so sorry that you had to experience this and to feel less than. You are one strong, beautiful woman and we are all blessed that you shared your story. This does help open eyes because not all happen in a “dim lit back alley.” You are so right, so thank you for opening our minds. I hate this so much for you but I am also happy to see you married to a wonderful man now. Treated with the respect that you deserve. I cannot imagine the anniversary every year but I am thankful that he was arrested….because I am sure many people would think that a man who can spew out God’s word – just could never be capable of something like this. As painful as this was, it is women like you who keep bringing awareness to this very important topic. While I have never experienced anything to this magnitude, it makes me want to fight harder for justice. Also, don’t feel bad for looking down on other’s stories… I know they all are important but you… went through a severe trauma and many of us would never understand. I am sending all my love to you and so glad that we became friends ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Holy crap. I had no idea. Which, I guess, bolsters one of your important points: we DON’T have any idea. I don’t know what else to say, this was just so gut wrenching. Thanks for liking/trusting me enough to send me the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh my heart goes out to you right now. I have never experienced what you did and I can’t begin to say I know how you feel. I don’t. I have however heard stories like yours and I know there can be healing. I pray that as you find peace that God will wrap you in his arms.

    Liked by 1 person

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