My Responsibilities as a Survivor: Working through the Grey Areas
I was recently raped-- a second time. Never thought it would happen again as I thought I was stronger than that.I assumed that after years of therapy, finally admitting that what happened with my brother-in-law in a drug induced sexual encounter was actually coercive sexual abuse, and going on antidepressants that I was finally ok. Unfortunately, sweeping the truth under the rug prematurely not only didn't take it away, but it also made me a prisoner to my own thoughts. Turns out that post traumatic stress disorder is real and a very serious matter to a survivor of rape. Because I spent years not talking about it, suddenly when the flood gates opened, it was like the trauma happened yesterday. Even my sleep wasn't safe. There was a dark figure who haunted me nightly to the point that I wondered if there was a ghost in my bedroom. One night I woke up screaming because I saw the dark figure sitting on my chest. It wasn't just a dream-- I was awake and what I felt was very real. Then it happened-- again. This time I wasn't a 16 year old girl but a 32 year old woman.
The stories are essentially identical. I was smitten by a man of power and prestige. I was in a place of loneliness and discomfort. And there he was, a man willing to listen, tell my I am beautiful, and give me his attention. I took it. I let him into my precious realm. I always thought of myself as strong, independent, and a feminist. But for some reason, when he kissed me I froze. In each situation it was wrong, inherently in my being, it was wrong. Did I say no? I don't know. For 3 years of my life I lived in dissociation. It's so wonder that I didn't end up with dissociative personality disorder. I guess I am fortunate.