A Survivor's Story (Part I)

By Anonymous

At the age of eighteen, I was raped. By definition, it would be considered a “date” rape, but I would rather think of it as an “acquaintance” rape. After all, I wasn’t on a date. I was at a party with a friend… a guy I knew, a guy I mistakenly trusted. He was a couple years older than me, and lived in a college house with a few of my friends that had graduated before me. They always threw amazing parties, and this one was no exception. At the end of the night, the crowd cleared out, but I decided to stay. I had slept there a number of times before without any problems. I always felt like it was a safe place. After all, these were my friends.

What I thought was going to be just another Friday night turned into a night I will never forget. At about 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by a grave force on top of me. I felt trapped and powerless. I realized what was about to happen and I screamed out “NO!” I tried my hardest to push him off of me but his weight was too much. Again, I begged and pleaded for him to stop. I screamed out for his roommates to hear me, but my efforts were futile. The details beyond this are too painful for me to reveal, yet very much imaginable.

I left his house as soon as I could, but didn’t get very far. I felt completely immobilized; I wanted to get as far away from that place as I could, but I couldn’t move. I guess I was in shock. So there I sat, alone in my car, crying from the pain and humiliation. Thoughts were racing through my mind… How did I let this happen? How could I be so stupid to trust this person? How could a person I believed to be so wonderful and kind turn out to be so hateful? Could I have prevented this?

After a person has been raped, you always hear people say to him or her, “Don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault.” Over the years, however, I have struggled with the recurrent thought that this was, in fact, avoidable. After all, I didn’t have to stay there. I could have left with other friends. It was not until recently that I finally was able to believe that despite my decision to stay at that house, the rape was not my fault.

I was terrified to tell anyone about what happened that night. Not only was I scared, I was extremely embarrassed and plagued with feelings of shame as well. I refused to tell my friends, and I was too scared to tell my parents. I felt extremely alone. I didn’t talk to anyone about that night until a year later during my freshman year in college. One night, I was left in a room alone with a guy who I had just met. I began to have flashbacks of that awful night the year before. I began to panic, started crying, and ran back to my dorm room as quickly as I could. That poor guy… he had done nothing wrong! He liked me and simply wanted to talk.

It was that night when I realized how much my rape had affected me, and how my reactions were affecting other people around me. I began talking to a couple of friends about my rape, and then made an appointment with a counselor. Meeting with my counselor and talking to her about my experience and my emotions was an enormous relief. After some time, I was able to free myself from blame. I began to see myself not so much as a victim, but as a survivor.

I certainly feel better today, but I have to admit… I will never forget that night. I have not seen him in a number of years (and most likely will never again), but he still remains a part of my life. Even today, I am haunted by him. He lives on in me as a recurrent nightmare, as the devil in disguise. In my mind, I know he’s there… always there.

 

See also: A Survivor's Story Part II