[Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault]
Last Friday, I was raped in a public park. I’m just going to come out and say it, loud and clear, again: I was raped. No uncertainties, no excuses, no tidy language, I was raped. After it happened, I was in a daze for about ten minutes, and then I texted three people in Victoria whom I trust above all others, telling them I needed to talk and needed help. One of them was awake and called me back, and I told him what had happened. He drove me to the hospital, and I had a battery of tests performed to make sure I was okay, and received emergency contraception. I’m still waiting to find out whether or not I have anything truly serious, like Hepatitis B or HIV, but I am optimistic that I will get a clean bill of health and I plan on getting tested every three weeks for up to three months now, to clear away any chances of false negatives.
That’s the technical, physical stuff. I can’t even begin to describe the emotional and psychological impact this has had on me. I wasn’t even sure if I could write this post, because of how raw, how vulnerable, how temperamental, my anger, grief, frustration, and fear are in this situation. I was feeling protective of my mind and heart, and I didn’t want anything shattering the fragile peace I’ve established since that horrible night. I knew that writing about it on the Internet, in a public space, would open me up to victim-blaming, criticism, and questions about my intentions, my integrity, and my decisions from before, during, and after the rape.
But I’ve decided to do it anyways, because I’ve realized that this is how I heal best. I’m one of those fools who wears her heart proudly on sleeve, even if that makes it more likely to be hurt and scrutinized. But I’ve built up a lot of strength in this method, and I feel now that I’m stronger than ever, because I have newfound sources of empowerment and gratitude in my life which will be my sword and shield as I try to work my way through this, and regain happiness and satisfaction in my life. These sources are my medicine for the sickness of trauma and guilt which have tried to creep into my life.
My friends and loved ones are my medicine. The ones who answer that 3 AM phone call, the ones who hold me close and tell me the world hasn’t ended for me yet, the ones who give me money for groceries, the ones who open their homes to me because I’m afraid of sleeping alone, the ones who open their ears to my crying and wishes for a different scenario, the ones who make me feel beautiful and loved, the ones who remind me that I’m brave, and strong, and that I was moving mountains long before I knew I could.
My heart is my medicine. It’s stout and brave, and keeps me grounded when I begin to feel judgement creeping towards my mind, advocating on my behalf and reminding me that I don’t deserve it. My heart draws out the poisons of that inner critical voice and the critical voices from the outside who have told me things like “You don’t seem too upset about it”, or “You should have done xxx differently.” My heart is the one reminding me that I can take all of the time I need to recover from this, that there’s no deadline to healing, no “right” way to do this, and that I am doing this for myself. I’m not doing this to be a “role model” to other survivors, not to prove something to anybody, not to draw attention to myself.
My mind is my medicine. My mind allows me to explore the future and think of the possibilities that lay ahead of me. While my heart keeps me in the present, my mind goes to the future and shows me how full of hope and happiness it can be, if I let myself work towards that happiness and don’t hold back on whatever I need to do. My mind gives me the words I need to defend myself and to make proud declarations about how happy I am to have survived, to live the life I have now, to have the support I do, and to express the love I feel for all who have helped me.
I won’t be blogging too much about this. I have a therapist I can speak to, I have friends I can vent to, and I have a personal diary I can really bleed my thoughts into. But I feel better and stronger having written this, knowing that I can take back something I love to do after such a long absence. I will not lose anything I love about my life to this trauma. Thank you for listening.