Hello fellow survivors. I want to share a key moment in my recovery process after I was raped by a stranger in a hotel because I hope that it will help you with the process of going through all the guilty feelings and the stages of grief (just like when someone dies), to come out on the other side. From the very beginning it seemed that everyone around me was more convinced that I was raped, and that it wasn’t my fault, than I was. Even with all the reassurance in the world, I still had nagging thoughts that it was my fault and I could have stopped it. My recovery process was like a roller coaster of extreme angry highs and deep guilt-fueled lows. I chose not to start on an antidepressant because based on my training in psychology and the advise of my therapist, I knew that this was all part of the normal process of recovery and I felt it was best not to dampen the emotions if I could stand it. I came to the conclusion that the only way to cope is just to accept that I will never fully understand why it happened and will always feel a little irrational guilt. Then I experienced a flash back. This flash back was definitely not my first but it came at a time when I was starting to feel the guilt and depression lift, with a peaceful acceptance about all of it emerging. By using the word acceptance, I mean just accepting that it happened and its not my fault; not accepting it like it was okay! Abuse of any kind is never okay! For some reason, instead of only feeling the fear associated with the flashback and running away from it like I did every other time, I chose to open myself up and just go with it. I think I was at a point in recovery where I was ready to experience what my mind was trying to show me so that I can fully heal. For the first time I remembered my thoughts! Each and every one! I know exactly why I made each decision I made when I was caught by the lion (rapist) and I understand that I was SURVIVING. I have reached a place where every body in the world could tell me the rape was my fault and I can be firm in knowing non of it was my fault. Non of it! The only way I got to this place of acceptance and willingness to move on is by going THROUGH IT. Trying to go under it, over it, around it, will only hurt you in the end and you deserve to be at peace because it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You all have to go through it because YOU DESERVE A LIFE without the burden some other asshole placed on you. Embrace the recovery process, even when it’s the most painful, and I promise you will come out a stronger person in the end. You also need to reach out to others to help you with the process, especially when you feel like being alone. I was so afraid of judgement but you’d be surprised by the instant support and caring you’ll receive from the people who know and love you. Please don’t downplay the power that social connection can have on your recovery and overall wellbeing! Never forget that you deserve to be well and truly live your life because it is not your fault and there is no such thing as damaged goods (even though you probably feel that way)!