A little over six years ago, I was raped. Twice in the span of four months by two separate people. I'm not going to go into the details but before I go any further I want to say this - people have this image in their head that rape occurs only in dark alleys, with someone holding you down, with your screams reaching deaf ears. I can't speak for all rape victims/survivors, but I will say that in my case none of the above was true. One of the occasions, I was at home. During the other, I pretended to enjoy it in order to have it end faster. And I did not scream either time. This does not make what happened to me any less valid or any less traumatizing. It is only now, six years later, that I'm somewhat comfortable discussing it.
I'm writing this post from the warmth of my bed, with my beautiful and infinitely patient husband snoring softly beside me after a wonderful session of lovemaking. I took a moment for gratitude because how. Fucking. Lucky. Am. I. Yeah, some awful shit has happened in my life but look at where I am now. My friends are ride or die, we know each other better than our blood family and their support is unsurpassed. My mother is so kind, so patient, so giving and thoughtful. I have such an incredible job, one that I never, EVER would have thought I'd have six years ago. And of course, my phonemonal husband of almost five years. Fucking hashtag blessed y'all.
But it was not an easy road to get here. And my recovery after my trauma took a really long time. In the first few years after, I would sometimes burst out sobbing in the middle of sex, accidentally triggered by a certain position or sensation. Nicholas has been nothing but completely understanding, always tender and never resentful. At first, I had no desire to have sex which was a stark contrast against my early relationship with Nick which often included sex at least once a day if not more. I felt so incredibly guilty for depriving my then-fiance from something he could easily get with any other woman. But he never pushed, never shamed. It was all at my pace.
After a couple years, my desire to have sex returned. But the guilt did not go away. Now I felt guilty for desiring sex, thinking horrible things like how I must have deserved it since I'm such a promiscuous whore or how maybe it wasn't really that bad since I was willing to have sex again. These thoughts were obviously totally wrong and I knew this logically but the act of constantly calling out these negative whispers and refuting them was no small challenge.
It has only been in the last year or so that I've finally made my peace. Those moments, not even a full twenty four hours of time, ruined my life for a while. They tore me apart from the inside and made me more fearful and ashamed than I've ever felt in my life. Those maybe sixty minutes collectively (this is being generous), soured over 5,000,000 minutes. Okay, maybe not the whole five million but too much of it.
How glad am I to be rid of those feelings of worthlessness and trepidation. What a liberating feeling to finally be able to make love with my husband and truly be able to connect with him without some tiny voice in the back of my mind whispering, "Keep it together. You're safe. Stop freaking out." I never thought I'd get over it, that I'd reach the end of that torment, but I finally did.
I wanted to write this to say to anyone who's struggling with the aftermath of sexual assault: someday, you'll be okay too. I promise.