Though I can’t change what happened, I can choose how to react. And I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being bitter and locked up…For many years, I shut down that place inside myself that needed to rage, cry, ask questions and basically just express herself. I made a conscious choice when I put ‘Me and a Gun‘ on the record not to stay a victim anymore. –Tori Amos
Tears poured down my friend’s face as I told her what had happened to me. Her sadness and emotion caught me off guard. Sure, the previous night had been rough, but I didn’t think it deserved tears. When I asked her why she was upset, a look of shock greeted me. I don’t remember what she said to me in the next few moments, but I do recall realizing that I would be furious if someone did to her what I had just experienced the night before. However, numbness is the only thing I felt in that moment.
I don’t understand why I had a difficult time calling what happened to me ‘rape.’ Sure, I said ‘no,’ cried, and was held down against my will. My entire body ached and was covered in bruises hidden from the public eye. But in my mind as I replayed the events, I thought that I should have fought harder. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe it wasn’t so bad.
During the days following that night, I hardly slept. I desperately wanted to sleep, but nightmares invaded my slumber. Every time I closed my eyes, the events of the assault continuously replayed. My roommate would hold me at night with the hopes that I would fall asleep. After the few hours I did rest, I woke up panicked and on edge. Anxiety was a constant companion I could not escape. I could not make myself get out of the bed in the mornings, so I took off a week from work. When I tried to go back the following Monday, I had to leave early because a loud noise caused me to have a panic attack.
Knowing that I have the tendency to isolate and keep things to myself, I reached out to a few people. And I am so thankful I did. A group of people surrounded and walked with me as I sought to piece my life back together. They found me crisis counseling, prayed for me, and allowed me to process my thoughts without any judgement.
Time has passed since the assault. No longer do I see it as something that’s my fault or that I could have done anything to stop it. The shock and numbness is still slowly wearing off, and I am beginning to feel the rage, grief, and pain. I can sleep now, but I occasionally have nightmares about that night. Still, I am trying to sort out why I had a hard time calling the assault rape. You see…my perpetrator was a woman. If a man did this to me, I would have no trouble calling it what it is. Why? Why did I have a difficult time believing that a woman is capable of rape? I wish I had an answer, but I don’t.
Women who have been sexually assaulted by other women face even more hurdles in coping with their rapes than do women who have been raped by men. “Women are told conflicting things from ‘this isn’t really rape’ to how could you accuse another lesbian/bisexual woman of rape.”
– Janelle White, executive director of San Francisco Women Against Rape. SFWAR,
Although I was raped, I refuse to see myself as a victim. I am a survivor, and I desire to bring light on women/women sexual assault. It does exist!
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please check out these resources!
RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. This nationwide partnership of more than 1,100 local rape treatment hotlines provides victims of sexual assault with free, confidential services around the clock. This number will route you to the nearest rape crisis hotline based on where you are calling. www.rainn.org
1 in 6
“One in Six” is a national resource for male survivors of sexual assault. Their mission is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. www.1in6.org