You know how sometimes, out of the blue, in the middle of the day and out of context, you remember something that happened ages ago? Sometimes it’s a good memory, sometimes it’s so random we forget about it again, and some other times it’s like a ghost that never really left, you just finally know why it’s hunting you.
Well, that happened to me. About three years ago, in the middle of my day, in the middle of my meal, I remembered something, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. But then, the question began to appear in my head. Was that rape?
I’ve always been a family girl, I’m 17 to date and I still feel embarrassed to order food by myself, I still get nervous to get out of my house alone. When I was a little girl, I could never do what other kids did; go to the playground by myself, ride the attractions by myself, talk to other kids, I was extremely shy and reserved; I never had the guts to even enter the public restrooms by myself. But there was this one time, I was in the store with my dad, and I really needed to go to the restroom, so I asked him if he could take me, but there was a problem; he couldn’t get into the ladies’ room with me, and I was too shy to get into the men’s room with him. So he told me that I needed to go by myself, that I could do it, that I would be fine, and that he’d be waiting for me outside. So I did it, I went in by myself, and I was terrified; I quickly entered one of the stalls, but I couldn’t figure out how the lock of the door worked, so I sat on the toilet. I pulled the door inside so nobody would open the door and find me inside, but I had to let go to get cleaned up and pull my pants back on. In that exact moment, a woman opened my door. I was humiliated and so embarrassed, but I was pretty sure that she was just going to say sorry and leave. I mean, she did do it, but she didn’t close the door after, nor she walked away or anything, instead she asked me if I needed any help. I was so confused, and I really wanted to say “No, just leave me alone”, but I just nodded because I couldn’t figure out how to say no. The woman came in, grabbed a piece of paper and cleaned me up, but then she said a piece of paper had stayed there and that she would take it off. I don’t remember how it physically felt, but I was extremely uncomfortable and I just wanted her to go away. It sure did take her way too long to take the piece of paper out, and I just felt her hand rubbing me and unnecessary touching.
I barely remember it, and the next thing I know I was walking to my dad’s car and I just knew that if I told him I would get in trouble. I somehow know it was wrong. I guess I never thought about it again after years later, when I knew what rape meant.
It’s just so frustrating to be stuck like I am now. I just remembered I was raped, but I lived clueless my whole childhood, I barely remember a thing about it, and there’s just nothing I can do. I don’t remember her face, her name, who she was, I don’t even remember the store we were at or how old I was exactly. There is nothing I can do.
I’m not sure if I should tell anyone, I don’t really feel like I need to. It was like 12 years ago, there’s no proof, no witness, no details, and I don’t feel like it has affected me in any way, so why should I tell someone?
Does that make sense? Or does any other rape victim feels like they shouldn’t tell?
— Survivor, age 17