This post contains information of a graphic nature.
Please do not continue reading unless you understand that sensitive content about rape is contained below. That said, please support this brave woman as she shares her story.
Rape is more that just physical violation, it also has devastating mental and emotional effects.
This is her story.
What is it about rape that is so hurtful?
Is it when someone actually reaches for and enters the inside of your body you feel like your whole self - inside and out - is being exposed and violated? Is it the fact that your dignity is taken away as you are forced to stand or lie there naked, as you are stared at and calculated in a public area while being spied upon?
Is it that you're forced into feeling things you have never felt before without being asked just so they can watch your reaction? Is it that they knew you were extremely vulnerable yet still forced you into things you weren't ready for?
You didn't know enough to realize the impact of these actions.
Is it that your friend left you alone with seven guys, two of whom abused you? They had very little consideration for your needs. Is it the physical pain as one of them jams his finger inside of you causing some bleeding? Then he penetrates, not caring if you're sore, not even speaking to you except when telling you what to do or trying to make you react so you can be heard.
Is it being forced into positions you were uncomfortable with and being treated like a rag doll? Is it the fear or the shame because you're too afraid to resist? Is it the what ifs, like what if you gave the message to them that you wanted this even though you didn't know what was going on?
You thought it was a normal thing to do at 14 because your friend was doing it. Is it that the same friend was inconsiderately shouting about what you did that day? You denied it all and have been ever since until now. Even now you have to try and make yourself stop denying it so you can heal and move on.
Is it the fact that after you did walk away from the first rape he molested you and attempted to stimulate you in front of the rest of the gang? Your privacy and trust mocked? Is it the fact that only sheer luck meant you weren't forced into a situation of being a parent at 14? Is it the fact that what happened that day tainted what should have been a good life experience? Your trust in people is gone, especially of men.
Yes, it is all of those things and probably more.
But most of all it is the fact that I have lived with this as my life slowly ground to a halt. True, I did have a lot more going on that contributed but what happened that day made things an awful lot worse. They made me feel worthless - a feeling that grew with time as I kept that day locked away for nine years. The guilt because I didn't do anything to resist. The shame at the memories of having to strip in a public park. The guilt because I didn't run. The shame of the things I did and how it was broadcast to peers.
When you hear of someone being raped you never think of all these feelings that are attached. But they are, and it hurts.
Every day in the United States alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
This is Ruth's story:
i don't have any leather pants to strap on, as i have been invited to do on the homepage, but i'm gonna share my story. i'm 37 years old, happily married, and the proud mother of three (living) children.
last year, almost this exact time of year, i found out i was pregnant with our fourth child. the news came as a bit of a surprise, as i was on the pill, and we'd thought we were "done" - our kids are 12, 10, and 8.
after the initial shock wore off, we were thrilled. it was going to be so much fun this time around, knowing what we already know about having kids and whatnot. all the stress of just keeping the little buggers alive and well until they started school was behind us. we could relax and just enjoy having a little one to hold and snuggle.
at our 20 week ultrasound, we discovered that it was a girl we named ruth, and her umbilical cord had only two blood vessels instead of the usual three.
the doctor explained the problems this could cause, and after educating ourselves about the risks involved, we felt confident that we could handle whatever GOD chose to bring our way. her due date was set for january 11, 2013. because mine was considered a high-risk pregnancy, i had weekly ultrasounds scheduled for the last two months of the pregnancy.
on january 2, just nine days before our due date, my ultrasound revealed that there was no heartbeat. ruth was dead.
i headed to labor and delivery to be induced. early the next morning, I delivered my baby girl who had already left this world.
the pain and shock have been enormous. i am so grateful to my husband for being my strength over these last 4 months. he lost a daughter too, but somehow he manages to rise above his grief when i need him.
our families have been wonderful, letting me grieve in my own way, never judging, always loving. we never did find out what happened; why she died. now the big question is, do we want to try for another baby? we know we can't replace the one we lost, but it just seems so sad to end our baby-making years with a tragedy.
if anyone reading this is interested, Jason Collins, MD of knoxville, tennessee is an ob-gyn studying the causes and risk factors for stillbirth. i was able to get in contact with him after losing ruth, and discovered that this tragedy is all too common: every day in the united states alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
i'd become concerned during the last few weeks of my pregnancy that the baby wasn't moving enough, but when i contacted my doctor, i was told that it was fine; babies slow down as they get bigger.
listen up, everybody! babies DO NOT slow down. all pregnant moms: do a kick count. be a pain in your doctor's ass. drive the nurses at the hospital crazy. do whatever it takes for that little one.
s/he is counting on you.
GOD bless all of you who read this. GOD bless ALL the unborn babies.
thanks, the band, for letting me have the floor for a moment.
Sometimes, we at the Band know that part of owning who you are is admitting it to the world. It's one reason why we at The Band work tirelessly to break down stigmas and find the ties that connect us all, the ties that remind us that we are none of us alone.
Please join us in standing tall and proud as we tell the world who we are.
What are you, The Band, The Face Of?
I am fairly open, I am aware that the only way people are going to understand various things is to have people speak out about them to be the face of them.
I am fine being the face of things; I proudly wear my labels as an ACOA, rape/incest survivor, special needs parent, non-traditional student, and self-injurer. But, I have spent years hiding, pretty well denying, a label that I should be wearing. It's a label that gives me butterflies as I sit here getting ready to type it.
I am, in no uncertain terms, an addict. Yet, when asked what I am the face of or talking about me and my past I never use that term. In fact, I often comment on how my family has history (a strong history of) addiction, I just fail to mention I am part of that history.
But, I can't hide it any longer. And I am not even sure why I hide it; I mean I know why, I am scared of what people will think and say. But, why? I am not ashamed or worried about anything else in my past, though a lot of the dumb things I chose to do occurred or were a result of not being sober.
I spent much of my youth from about 14-15 using pain medication and alcohol. I mean pain medication was easy to get because I was an active kid who was prone to injury. I often went to the doc for an injury and they would write me a script. While I took them "as prescribed" I would take them too long when I actually no longer needed them.
I would find a way to get different medication so I could "alternate" and maintain the high longer. I would toss in alcohol when I could because my parents were open about alcohol, that it wasn't taboo. My parents didn't know about a lot of the drinking that occurred nor the extent to which it happened.
It made me numb, I made dumb decisions on it. I hurt myself and others, but I still doubt that many people of my youth realize what I was doing. After all most addicts are good at manipulating the situation.
Yet, still this label has been one I denied and disowned which in the long run did as much harm to me and my psyche as if I had denied my own left arm. Because this label, being an addict, is as much a part of me as my left arm.
What baffles me is when a friend slips or enters recovery I am the first to be there. Never saying a word about my issues, I offer to go to meetings and have a "safe space" at my home. All the while biting my tongue and not finding the camaraderie I could have, should have.
So, what brought me to the point of revealing this layer? Well, I slipped and fell HARD this week. We have been having lots of struggles, mostly financial, and this isn't an excuse just a telling of the events. I ran out of coping skills, ultimately that is what happened, I ran out of fucking coping skills.
I started popping again, finding a way to take the pain medication every hour. Never letting my feet touch the ground, so to speak, for about a week. I would pull into work and start calculating when I could leave and get home to take another pill. I would take a pill and immediately look at the clock and figure out when I could take another. This whole time rationalizing that I was "taking it as prescribed." Technically I wasn't taking any more pills than what the bottle said, never mind I wasn't in pain.
I finally told hubby two nights ago that I snuck a pill in yesterday morning, then he made them disappear (honestly, I wasn't here so I have no idea about the disappearance--other than I asked him to get them someplace I don't know of) and bought me pomegranate juice, which I love. I still have been holding close to my secret.
Ultimately I chose to peel open this layer because I can no longer be silent, because the silence is killing me. It's allowing my illness to fester and then allows it to be fed. And I know that's not okay. I need a support network more now then ever, one that I know "in person" doesn't exist but one that I know I have here "online" and far away.
I know many of my friends will recoil, wondering how it could be. I don't know how or why, I just know it is. I just know I can't go on denying such a huge part of me. I need to find the fellowship, I need to be able to reach out when I am falling down that black hole. I need help figuring out what this means for me, my life, and how this slip is going to color my world from now on.
Serenity from this surreality
I want freedom from my mind,
But the clock keeps ticking and tocking,
My thoughts being the cuckoo that never shuts up,
Smashing the side of my skull,
Scraping away at any hanging hope.
It never shuts up!
For you see the world is a stranger,
Callously creeping from a deep chasm in the darkness of a desolate alley,
Watching, but never comforting.
My cuckoo is the only thing I have,
As I desperately delve deep down
For any unconsuming consciousness or concupiscence.
The only thing I have!
Hitting like a hammer, on and on it hounds, hating and hurting,
Thump- You don't want to be
Thump- You'll never make it
Thump- You don't belong
Thump- You shouldn't be,
I am a big square box squeezing into a small circular bucket,
I am a person.
But not as I should be!
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
It would have hurt less had curled your fingers up and slammed your fist into my gut.
No. Oh no, you would never hit me. You claimed you would never give in to the urge to physically hurt me. You denied that the urge was there, but I could see it. Please. After nine years I can read you like a book.
On the good days we inspired each other, brought out the best in each other. On the bad days we would stand, six inches apart, applying the verbal lash over and over. Flaying one another to the bone, stripping defenses down until nerves were raw and exposed.
Even after all those years, all those fights, all the pain, I never threw that kind of insult at you. I never said anything that literally took your breath away, never dealt you a verbal sucker punch. Don't get me wrong, I'm certain that I hurt you. Intentionally or not, I know that it's true. I know we both bear scars on our hearts. But I never spoke to you the way you spoke to me. I never poured salt on the wounds.
You took every single self-doubt that I had, every aspect of myself that I hated, and threw them all at me. I sat there, wounded, in shock, seeing the rage and pain blaze in your eyes like wildfire.
If you had just made a fist, punched me in the gut, maybe we'd still be together.
No. You had to wound me and then grab the salt and just rub it in there, didn't you?
Fat. Lazy. Selfish. Mean. Bitch.
Those words hurt. Can't deny that. But I've heard them before.
Do you want to know what the last straw was? The word that hit me like a fist to the gut?
How dare you?
How DARE you throw that in my face?
You. You of all people. You who knew how I struggled with that diagnosis, who saw me weep every month, watched me grieve for another lost chance every time I bled.
Four years of a thousand tiny deaths. Every birth announcement, every baby shower, every happy family in a grocery store: they all left a scar.
Countless appointments, driving back and forth to clinics to undergo tests and invasive medical procedures. Always alone because your work schedule wouldn't allow you to join me. Trying to reign in my crazy mood swings from the drugs so that I didn't take everything out on you. Slogging through life on a second-string antidepressant because it would be safer during pregnancy. Drawing fluid into a needle and shooting myself up with hormones in the bathroom, alone, because you're afraid of needles.
If those scars were physical instead of emotional I don't think I'd have an inch of pristine skin left at this point.
You condensed all of that pain and anguish into one little word.
It took my breath away. I felt a chill ripple from the tip of my skull down to my toes.
And it was over. Over. In that moment, we were over. No going back. No patching it up this time.
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
Page 1 of 188