I found my rapist on Facebook last night, he is using a common nickname for his name. Stalking through his public posts, I was able to figure out that he has not really changed, and probably believed that it was his right to continue having sex with me even after I had said no. The thing is, looking at all of his behaviour, I am able to say, perhaps he has not changed, but I have.
I have survived to be so much stronger than that. Of course, I carry some scars still, I always will.
But, I remember when I was in primary school with a young girl who had been badly burned as a child, and who had scars on her face thinking that they were beautiful…a wonderful pattern of lines that were completely unique. Of course, I was oblivious to the pain that had caused the scars, but the scars did not cause the pain. The scars represent having come through.
One of the things about a history of abuse, and some subsequent mental illness, is that the strangest things will trigger you. For example, one of the triggers for me about my rape, and irrationally believing that it is my fault is blackjack.
I am currently enrolled in an online course about programming, and it so happens that this week’s assignment involves writing a program for blackjack which has driven me absolutely crazy. Every few minutes I keep believing that my being raped was retribution for us playing blackjack.
Welcome to the bizaare world of guilt. Thank you Catholic upbringing for that. However, I have decided to tackle some coding, so wish me well on this journey…while I say to my rapist: You are not in control any more, I am in charge of this one.
This week has been a bit strange for me and I have been feeling a bit down. Not depressed, just having moments of down-ness. Today, I looked at the date and had an aha moment. I don’t know if I mentioned being raped previously or not, in some ways, the rape was relatively trivial in my life. It was a short spanned form of abuse against a backdrop of years of abuse.
I am not trivializing other people’s experiences, I am just saying how my particular experience is currently fitting into my life puzzle. Don’t get me wrong, it was traumatic, and I have a collection of feelings around it: doubt, blame, shame, secrecy, anger. But while it was a big thing it was not the biggest thing and in many ways it is just one of those things that happened to me. (Watch this music video of Oasis by Amanda Palmer, and perhaps it might make sense with what I am trying to say, maybe not). Perhaps, its something you have to live through standing on the cusp of adulthood when you have just turned seventeen.
But either way, it was at the end of May that it became real to me that I had been raped by my boyfriend, and that the relationship was over. This was the guy who a few weeks previously had spoken of me moving to the United Kingdom with him. Dear god, I was naieve, and desparate to believe that somebody could love me, that I was loveable. Either way, today is a mental health day. Tomorrow I have some things that have to be done, but today, I am taking the day off. Going to spend the day reading, and hiding away…being gentle with myself. Reminding myself that what happened, happened and it was not my fault.