Healing from my rape, which occurred in April of 2001, has been one of the most difficult and rewarding journeys of my life. At first, I thought that I would never be able to survive what was done to me, intact and whole. Now, as I embrace life and joy again, I see the gifts I have found through navigating such a difficult and necessary path, even while acknowledging their terrible cost.
When I was raped, night descended and stayed. Fear overwhelmed me. I doubted myself, the safety of the world around me and the motives of its inhabitants. Leaving the house provoked terrible fear. In fact, a horrible panic attack at work left me having to defend my ability to perform my job. I was angry at the man who shattered my sense of safety. I knew that I could kill him and the fury left me breathless and frightened. I was in the darkness of my soul.
Slowly and painfully, I emerged from the shadows. I met survivors, other men and women who had been through similar events and they promised me that healing was achievable. I, however, had to find the path on my own. They did not walk beside me because they were on their own paths, but I could hear them as we struggled to find our ways. I met my friend Jackie, through Pandoras Aquarium message board, and we spent many nights talking about things almost too painful to voice. Other people supported me, including my counselor, my parents and my boyfriend. I reassembled my world, which had so suddenly become entropic.
After my own rape, Kurt Cobain’s song, “Rape Me,” sent me into a dizzying spiral of panic and anger until I realized what his lyrics meant; do anything to me, but you’ll never reach my soul. I know that this is true of me and I now inhabit my space with a new sense of confidence. Talking to other survivors now brings me a sense of purpose and by telling my story here, I hope to reassure readers that healing is possible; if you work hard at it, you can find redemption, even in this terrible suffering.