It is after many many years that I have finally come to realise that I was raped. Not just once, but several times and with not just the same man. That is the guilt I carry with me, that I allowed it to happen over and over again.
One day just like a spark that took off in my head, I realised the truth of what happened that night.
It was someone I knew. Someone I shared a physical relationship with before. It was aggressive, but I did what pleased him. Until one night he held me down. I could usually wiggle myself out and take control of the situation but this time I couldn’t. This time he was adamant. He pinned me down, and this time it didn’t feel right.
I didn’t fight it; I didn’t scream. I thought if I let him finish, the pain would soon be over. When I went to wash up, I was scared of how swollen I was and the burning that I was feeling. But still not allowing the ‘word’ seep into my head. I didn’t want to be a victim. I went about my ‘experience’ and life after that, as a separate being, far from the incident.
Soon I was in other relationships, and he too was aggressive, not amounting to consensual sex for the most part. I let it happen each time that I went back to him. This is the guilt that I have carried with me for years. The shame and disgust at myself, at being me, eventually led me to fight battles within myself. Indulging in drugs and alcohol, whatever I could do to shut the other part of me that was fighting to come out with my truth. I had to begin to face my fears because there was no other way to do it.
Every day I have to fight to become stronger, at becoming the person I dreamed of being as a child. Before they broke my spirit. I wanted to be a strong, independent, capable woman who could take care of herself not needing anyone to do it for her. I live in a society where rape is all you read about in the news, and yet I never imagined it could happen to me, even though I experienced sexual abuse from the age of 7, in different hands of men.
It is guilt of not being able to take care of yourself and therefore finding it more accessible to slip into self-pity, depression and lack of self-worth.
I had to fight back.
It was a tremendous journey, one I have walked alone. I am married now to a loving man, and I understand now what trust, faith, security and love means in a relationship. I’m not sure if I’m ready to tell him my story. I know I will get there perhaps, but I am still on my journey of self-realisation.
I wish one day I can be as strong and beautiful as you are. I wish one day I can do my bit as you have. But before that, I must learn to accept the truth to myself and learn to live with it and to begin to tell myself, that I am worth much more. Thank you for reaching out to me through your efforts. Indeed you are ‘The Brave Miss World.’
— Survivor, age 32