I met him through a mutual friend I trusted. He seemed polite and well-mannered. When we started speaking about our likes and dislikes, we started to find little connections. It seemed as though he was the nice, good-fitting guy my friend said he would be for me. It was with no hesitation after our blind first date that I invited him back to my apartment where we had first met that night to continue talking. I felt at that moment I had no reason to mistrust him.
It soon became obvious that I did have reason. A little after we sat down to talk, red flags came up that I did not know how to listen to at the time. It was too late by the time I tried, I was being raped. I was trapped in paralyzing fear, by his body and strength, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty of what to do. If saying ‘NO’ did not work, then what would? I doubt anything would have stopped what happened. I did what I had to do to survive instead.
In the aftermath, I took the rape-kit, did the report, and like many who report a rape, received a letter two weeks or so following stating that no charges could be brought against him since it was a “he-said-she-said” case. My heart immediately sank because I had a text message a day later of him quasi apologizing and admitting his guilt and I knew what happened that night. It truly broke my heart to know that I was about to face what had happened to me through therapy, in school (I was in college at the time), and even in the places and people I thought were safest.
Over the next several years, I struggled with my eating disorder that only worsened significantly after the rape. While still in college, I had friends who decided to walk away from the mess of a person I was becoming. And the friend who set me up on the blind date? She never spoke to me after I told her what happened. I struggled every minute I was in my apartment having to look at the places where it happened and live in that place. I was able to move only briefly into an open dorm on-campus. Therapy was few and far between at this time because of the limitations of living in a more rural area and I struggled finding therapy until after graduation.
So after those first several months, I learned not to speak about it. It seemed as though people blamed me, others shamed me, and it only hurt to bring it up. I kept quiet until this past year when I started to find my voice in recovery. I slowly spoke about my recovery, my struggles, and learned that together not only are we stronger, but we can make a difference. We can inspire each other through our words and our stories.
Today, I face the 5 years anniversary of my rape a different person than I was before. I am a stronger, healthier, and happier person. I have worked relentlessly to overcome one of the deepest wounds in my life. I have fought for this “recovery”, too. It still may hurt and I still may have quite a bit left to work on, but I am getting there and I am closer than I ever have been before. I know it is possible to heal from this.
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