I’ve posted the story before.

It’s the story of my virginity and not only to whom but how it was lost.  It’s the story of a girl with a lot of dreams and ideas about how the world worked, how love worked.  It’s the story of a young, stupid kid who changed all of that.

In 2001 the words “date rape” were trending, but none of the definitions seemed to apply to my experience.  It took me a long time to be able to say the word out loud, even longer to tell the story from beginning to end.  I just didn’t know.  He was sometimes a friend, because he spoke to me.  He sometimes more than a friend, because he was the only one who paid any attention to the fact that I was a female.  We were both seriously misguided and inexperienced in life.

“Technically what I did was rape,” he typed to me after I’d ejected him from my dorm room.  Technically? I thought to myself.  No, ACTUALLY, but I was not fully convinced.  Some friends told me I was overreacting.  Some told me I was underreacting.  I didn’t deal with it for days.  I couldn’t even begin to fathom how to do so.  The first time I spoke to anyone about it in person it took me 20 minutes to stop beating around the bush, and even then I spoke about it like it wasn’t a big deal.  I was afraid of sounding silly.  I was afraid of people being concerned for me.  I was afraid of being labelled or being accused of “crying rape”.

This is not the story of my rape.  We all know how that story goes.  I cave to the need for the only human contact I’ve ever known, and I go back to him.  I become what I am most afraid of, I am consumed by my PTSD, I make a decision that changes my life forever, and I hide for a long time.  I hide from sex.  I hide behind sex.  I cocoon, but I do not chrysalis for a long time.  This is the story of that chrysalis.

When I started writing this blog, I knew I would have to write about my experience.  There was no way around it, and it if helped one person get through his or her own rebirth, because that’s what we all go through once we’ve processed and decided to live after a rape, then I would write the story as many times as I had to.  The first time I did I had mixed feelings, but it got easier.  A few months ago I wrote a poem about reclaiming my sexuality after the experience.  To read the piece I had to give a backstory.  Aside from friends and lovers, I had never told my story out loud.  I was terrified of my own reaction to hearing it out loud.

I stood in front of a group of people, most of whom I only knew peripherally from our monthly readings.  I told my story, and my voice cracked as I began my piece, but then something amazing happened.  A trace of victory could be heard, then another, until I was triumphant!  I was  powerful!  I was flying!  By the time I was done I was yelling, my chest heaving as I tried to catch my breath, a smile of absolution spreading across my face.  I was free.

On my way back to the table people stopped me and hugged me.  Two people thanked me.  I was floored.  Not only had I talked openly about rape, but I was accepted.  I wasn’t judged, nor did I have to prove myself.  I was accepted, I was uplifted, and I was allowed to experience what happened to me completely and heal in any way that worked for me without any of it being questioned.

This experience taught me that I am often stronger than I let myself believe and that I never have to defend my emotions or validate my experiences.  Over the years I had let myself believe that I needed Hubby to take care of me, that I needed my friends and lovers to help me through the hard times, and while it helps, it doesn’t do all the work.  I needed to stand up there alone and finish my healing process.  I needed to be in front of all those people, knowing none of them were there because they felt bad for me or because I asked them to be.  None of those hugs were friend hugs, they were survivor hugs, and I had finally survived.


Go now, stand up and reclaim your self.