Letter written to a friend tonight, that I think sums up where I am at now ...
Your point of view - if it happened to someone I love, how would I feel? Would I want her to blame herself - is the way I think when I am thinking rationally. If someone had done something similar to one of my nieces, I'd want to rip his balls off and stab him. I would be so angry at the bastard who hurt her. I would be doing every thing in my power to show her that women get raped because men rape them. Not because they drink, or because they wear short skirts, or because they aren't "careful". Women get raped because some men are bastards, and all the shame and blame and guilt lies with the rapist.
But knowing that, and believing that are two completely different things after you've been raped. On my rational days, I know it's all on him. His fault. Nothing I did caused it. I didn't drink, get high, dress provocatively, I didn't "ask for it" - but even if I had, it still would not have been ok for him to do what he did. On my rational days, I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, that I was raped because he raped me and that was not my fault, in any way.
But there are days, or nights when the doubt creeps in. I met him last year when he did some work on my house, and re-met him in June this year on a dating site. On my bad days I think that if I wasn't so pathetic, if I had more self respect for myself, if I wasn't so desperate I would not have gotten myself in that situation. If I wasn't so willing to be used, knowing full well that he probably just wanted to use me for sex. My fault. My fault for being a pushover. For not having a backbone. For being a doormat. For not having any self respect for myself. I got what I deserved. That's what I think on a bad day. And I know thinking like that gives him the power, thinking like that means that he wins - but sometimes I can't help it.
I didn't report it at the time. He was angry when he raped me. It was the first time that I'd seen that side of him, and I was terrified of making him angry again by reporting it. I was so, so frightened. He also sort of started stalking me - showing up at my work, at my house late at night ... It was scary. I thought if I ignored it, ignored him, I could forget what happened. But it doesn't work like that.
So about four weeks ago, I started to think about reporting it. I know nothing will probably come of it - it's my word against his. But mud sticks. It'll get around. Oh, did you hear? Corey was interviewed about a rape. So I don't particularly care if it doesn't go to court. I spent three god-awful hours telling my story, giving my statement. And i lived through it. And by doing that, it's going to cause a tiny fraction of hell for him, because they will interview him. It will be nothing compared to the pain and hell I've been through, but hopefully his life is made a little uncomfortable because I had the courage to stand up.
On my strong days, I can cope well. I feel like I can face whatever is thrown at me. On my strong days, I know none of this is on me. Not my fault, not deserved in any way. On my strong days, I feel like I’m the winner. I’m the winner because I’m a goddamn survivor and he’s a pathetic little nothing. On my strong days I realise how strong I really am. I survived the horror of that night. I lived through what he did to me. On my strong days I can smile and feel like I’m finally getting my spark back. After the rape, my sister almost broke my heart when she told me that I’d lost my spark. It made me cry and cry. On my strong days, I feel like I might be finding that spark again. I know I will never be the same person I was before, but that’s ok. On my strong days, I know I’ll get through this.
On my strong days, like today, I can talk. I can talk about it, knowing that takes the power away from it, from what was done to me, knowing that by talking I’m taking away the shame and the stigma, and I’m showing my strength, my courage. On my strong days, I’m a survivor. On my weak days, on my bad days, I’m a victim.
Today’s a good day. Today I do feel strong, which is why I’m talking so much (sorry!). But I still have a lot of bad days, bad nights, Anxiety. Flashbacks. Nightmares. Panic attacks. Night terrors. Some nights I have to sleep with the light on! 29 and sleeping with the light on. Bit sad, really! I’m better than I was. So much better. Last night was bad, but it was the first bad night I’ve had for a while. The day after a bad night, I have to force myself to feel strong. I have to force myself to talk, to take the shame and blame away from me. I have to force myself to say, I am not ashamed. I will take a stand. It’s not always easy. But fuck him. He’s already taken so much from me, He doesn’t get any more. He doesn’t get anything else.
As for your comment in the first email from today - god I have probably just completely fucked up writing to you :( - not even close. Your beauty and humor and personality and passion shine through in your writing. Thank you so very much for writing to me, and for taking the time to listen. Thank you for your kind words, your style of writing, and again, for listening.
As for whether he is still stalking me – no, he’s not. I work in a male dominated work place, and I have told a few of the guys I work closely with in case he comes in again, but since I went on holidays August/September, he seems to have lost interest. He turned up at my place on a Saturday night (at 10:30 p.m,) just before I went on holidays, wanting to “talk”. That’s when I realised how pathetic he is. It was like he was fucking with my mind, just trying to get a reaction from me. The fact that I was able to stay strong and not give in – not show any reaction, any anger, any weakness – I think that’s why he lost interest.
Coincidentally, maybe ironically, I was walking to work last Thursday morning, after I spent three and a half hours going through every detail of that awful night the night before at the Police station, and he drove past me, twice. My legs went really shaky, my brain was screaming danger, and I felt like I was going to throw up, but then I started to smile. He doesn’t know they’re coming for him. He thinks I’m too much of a doormat, that he got away with it. Nothing about his life was changed that night, where as every single part of my life was changed. I let him get away with that. I let him hurt me, and I stood there and let him get away with it. The things that he did, that I flash back to twenty or thirty times a day, are things that he probably does not even think about. He probably doesn’t even think about how he hurt me, made me bleed, made me beg and cry and scream for him to stop. It’s not constantly in his mind.
But soon it will be. And like I said, maybe it won’t go anywhere, maybe it won’t lead to court, but somewhere along the line, somehow, he will pay. He will get what’s coming to him. He’ll get what he deserves.
Ok, so very sorry this is so long! Will talk again soon.