Rape is a trauma that lasts with you a lifetime.
This is her story:
About a year ago, my best friend was really into this older guy, and I didn't want to be around him; he gave me the creeps. But she always said, "Come on! I don't want to go alone," so I'd give in and hang out with them.
She'd always been a horrible friend, but I suppose I didn't care (don't worry, because thanks to my current wonderfully supportive, long- term boyfriend, I've since gotten her out of my life.)
She'd accused me of wanting him, which, for some reason, made me want to prove her right. He suggested, through text, that we have sex. I thought, "Hell, she deserves it," and went with it, even though I knew it was wrong.
He asked to hang out with me alone, and I said "sure," but to make it abundantly clear that I didn't want to have sex, I followed that up with, "I DON'T want to have sex with you."
He replied, "Okay, I don't have sex on Sundays anyway; it's a sin."
I'm so stupid - why would I believe such a bullshit excuse? I don't know, I'm young and naive.
We were watching the movie Saw, just as friends, so I wasn't expecting, or hoping for anything sexual. He was.
He started kissing me. I was semi-unsure of what was going on, so I went with it for a moment. Then, he rolled on top of me and started to unbutton my pants.
I was confused.
I pushed up on his chest and asked as quietly and calmly as I could, "What are you doing?" He ignored me. I must have asked at least five more times getting more and more anxious when he didn't reply.
Things got a little blurry - after he put on a condom, I accepted what was about to happen.
I knew no one else was home and I was afraid to run home and telling my parents because I didn't want to get in trouble. So I just laid there with my arms at my sides; I didn't really know what else I could do.
I thought I was okay. I really did.
I felt guilty and for a while I convinced myself that we'd just had sex. Soon, though, I began to feel ashamed and disgusted. The tears came and I realized, I had been raped, violated, assaulted.
After I realized I'd been raped, I went into a very deep depression.
I managed to keep both the depression and the rape to myself, though I came clean to my friend. I was happy that she believed me, because she's the type who thinks people get what they deserve. Soon, though, she began to use the rape against me in arguments. That hurt. A lot.
I told my dad about the rape.
We talked about the rape and decided together not to report it to the police as my rapist had just been arrested for raping and statutory raping a number of girls, so he was in jail for over twenty years.
I became suicidal and I didn't believe it had anything to do with the rape
I went to the psychiatric hospital for a five day stay. Now that I understand the stages of grief after a rape: depression, regret, anger, and guilt you go through it makes sense.
I'm currently working through the guilt stage following the rape. I know logically that the rape wasn't my fault; that he should have taken no for an answer the first time. But still, I feel I need to go back and change the past; like it was all my fault.
I was raped.
But I have a voice and I intend to use it to help myself and anyone else who has been through a rape.
Have you survived a rape? How did you cope?
Goodness, I sound like such a child.
"I feel left out," I told my husband recently. Slighted. Overlooked. Ignored, even.
Sometimes people I refer to as my friends go ahead and do things without me.
Then I see it. Showing up on their Facebook walls.
Dinner and drinks. Lunch with friends.
Am I not their friend, too?
What about me?
It's often rougher in the blogging world. You think you're connected to people. You've established what you find as SOMETHING. You think that maybe you're finding your way. And then you're the only one not included.
You know what?
That kind of sucks.
And yes, it's true that sometimes friends are not really friends. Does that even make a stitch of sense? I don't know. But Facebook friends are often acquaintances. And yet, when the community you think you belong to goes ahead and does a big bloggy thing without just you? You feel like crap.
You read into it. You withdraw.
You remind yourself that these are not the true friends you have made in this world that you exist in. The real ones, sadly, live too far away for the occasional lunch or dinner. But they're there, and they are real.
They represent the support you need and the circles you WANT to play in. The ones that open wide, take you in, and never ever make you feel left out.
It's true, some of them out there DO ignore. Not everyone who is far away is all-encompassing and that stings too, but in a different way.
Because you've learned to shrug it off. To unfriend, unfollow, stop tweeting at when you get no replies EVER.
But when it's someone you relied on to be a connection in this non-virtual aspect of the virtual world? Then it sucks. You're allowed to say so. Or at least I am. For now.
And then you move on.
I do. I did. Keeping that tie, but hiding that bullshit. Because there's no reason to torture yourself with people who don't care, or like you enough, to include you. The tie is enough for now, but soon you'll let it slide. You'll cut that string. Loosen the ribbon. Let it go. You'll feel a lot better. But for now you'll smile and just know. And take it from there.
If you can relate to this I'm sorry. I'm sorry you have felt it, too. Because it stings. And it's okay to say and feel so. You're not alone. I'm not, either. I just needed to say all of this anyway so I could feel better now.
At least just a little bit.
Last week was really special for me.
I’ve been With The Band for more than a year now but I’ve never gotten a chance to meet any of my Bandmates in real life. That changed last week when I got to meet Fallah, one of my fellow Team Leads, while she was in town for work.
We had such a good time!
We went to the Riverwalk and ate at a British pub that actually had a vegetarian menu, and discovered the joy that is curry mayo. I was nervous about meeting her, but we got on like a house on fire.
I hope that sometime this year I’ll get to meet more of my Bandmates because I just know we’ll have fun together too. I also hope I can figure out how to make that curry mayo because it was a happy all on its own.
What's your Happy?
Don't think you have one? Look harder. Something will make you smile today.
We want to know!
Share it with the world on your blog and then link up below, tweet it out (hashtag #DOHMonday #WithTheBand) or share it on Facebook. Whatever you want to do, do it. Just find a bit of happy in this Monday!
Most of us, well, we've been through some garbage in our lives - and we've given power to a lot of people who simply don't deserve it.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We here at Band Back Together are shining the spotlight on ALL survivors. Depression, Abuse, Trauma.
It's time to take back the power. Tell us how YOU have taken the power back in your life!
Everyone always says, "You are your own worst critic. You are your own worst enemy." I suppose this is quite true. For as long as I can remember, I've been harder on myself than anyone else has ever been.
Looking back on some of my past thoughts and actions as an objective third party is easier than looking back and seeing that person as myself. Putting that distance between the "main character" and myself helps me see how I hurt other people, but it really makes me see how much I really hurt myself.
I've always known how I look, or at least how I think I look - what I see in the mirror has never been close to what other people see. I wore baggy clothes while trying to blend in with the walls. I let my anxieties control me. Thoughts of never being smart enough or pretty enough or [fill in the blank] enough consumed me. I can't say that I never had thoughts of the world being a better place without me in it.
I'm not speaking of things from my adolescent years. I'm speaking of things from my adult years.
Those thoughts and anxieties are what kept me bouncing from guy to guy, almost all of whom were liars, cheaters, and abusers.
I let myself take my own power. I let those relationships take my power. Until one day when I had a conversation with a concerned friend: "Do you really think I don’t know you? I know everything about you. I know you because I am you. I have been where you are."
Her words are what helped me finally break the cycle of negative thoughts and actions; it is because of her words that I was finally able to be enough and strong on my own as a woman.
It has taken quite some time, and I'm still working on it. But I have taken my power back from my anxieties and thoughts. I have taken my power back from those who would use it to hurt me.
Separately, mental illness and chronic illness are difficult to deal with. When they occur together it can be even harder.
This is her story.
Why is it that a man can shave his head and have no one comment on it, but if a woman is bald it is a huge deal?
It’s just hair.
Most people I’ve run into since getting my new ‘do just ignore it. After all, if you don’t mention it, it isn’t there, right? The few who have commented assume I have some sort of cancer and start with the “I hope you’re doing okay. Is the chemo going well?”
I started by using a simple answer of “I don’t have cancer, I just got carried away with the clippers” and made a joke of it. Then I started giving a slightly more accurate answer of “it’s not cancer. I shaved my head because my lupus rash was spreading to my scalp and it’s easier to treat.” People don’t like that answer as much. It’s not funny, and lupus isn’t a “fashionable” illness like cancer is.
No one wants to think of rashes. Rashes are yucky and make you think of oozing sores and things like that. And my talking about it draws their attention to all the things they obviously try very hard to ignore, like the sores and scars all over my face that I am no longer bothering to hide with make-up.
Yesterday even that answer wasn’t cutting it for me and I went for brutal honesty. Part of it was that I was in a very bad mood and was too tired to go anywhere. Part of it was that I am sick of how our society completely ignores mental illness in all its forms. So, when confronted with the “cancer” comment from a former friend/acquaintance I haven’t heard from in years, I told the whole truth. “I don’t have cancer. My lupus rash - which you can see here all over my face - spread to my scalp and I had to shave my head to make sure it was just a rash and not worms coming out of my head. Being sick like this makes it hard to control my schizophrenia and I just had to be sure.”
Yeah, that conversation didn’t last long.
I’m not sure I really give a shit. It’s just hair. I should be able to shave my head without it being a public issue. I shouldn’t be shunned because my illness isn’t “fashionable.”
Friends and strangers come out of the woodwork to rally behind you if you have cancer, but most of those same people will turn and run if you mention schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This needs to change - and fast.
Unfortunately, those of us with mental illness are usually unable to stand up for ourselves. And our family and friends are too busy trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.
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