I Was Raped as a Child, and There's No Going Back


Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I was raped as a child.

There’s no going back.

I’ll relive the whole thing every day, because trauma affects the way the brain works.

I’ll have nightmares most nights about my abusers coming back to find me.

My mind will trap moments and thoughts in deep, primal parts of itself, hiding and then boiling over. It’ll store up bodily sensations and throw them at me at random.

I’ll make mistakes. I’ll break down. I’ll have panic attacks. I’ll have flashbacks. I’ll forget whole days, whole weeks. Sometimes I’ll be hyper-vigilant. Going out will scare me. There’s people out there. People hurt you. Duh.

I’ll never be the same.

I’ll wonder what it’s like to be “normal” and not raped.

I’ll bear the guilt of doing whatever they said, taking it and not telling, feeling complicit for what happened to my body.

I’ll say “I’m fine” because describing what I’m going through, and what’s happening in my head, will be deemed inappropriate. Taboo. Nobody wants to hear that shit.

I’ll feel like I’m never going to be who I was meant to be.

If I’m a man, I’ll feel less like one. I’ll feel silenced because it’s a “woman’s issue.” I’ll feel responsible because most rapists are of my gender.

If I’m a woman, I’ll be seen as the slut, the one who caused it. I’ll fear normal intimacy. I’ll fear pregnancy.

I’ll always be “different.”

Sometimes I’ll meet someone and just know they’ve been through it. Something about their bearing, the signs of struggle in their eyes. A certain self-deprecating manner. An increased empathy. We may bond, we may not.

I’ll be sensitive. I’ll want to stand up for women being abused, for victims being blamed. I’ll want to stop the ignorance.

I’ll be awkward. I’ll have issues. I’ll break down. I’ll snap at people. I’ll be a pain in your ass, I’ll be a burden.

Managers won’t hire me. I’m too unstable, they’ll say. Too much of a risk.

Friends will ditch me because I’m too complicated.

Co-workers will attack me. Bosses will fire me for being flaky or emotional. I’m a walking liability. A problem that breathes. Nobody wants a problem.

The healthcare professionals will juggle diagnoses.

The insurance companies will claim I’m making things up. That my illness isn’t legitimate enough.

I’ll be rejected. I’ll be terminated. I’ll be unemployed. I’ll be denied. I may eventually be homeless. And if I have a family, I may fail them.

All because a society we live in holds me responsible. Because the big, tough, Darwinian world “don’t make no room for snowflakes.” Because “only the strong survive.” “You need to deal with your issues.” “It’s not my problem.”

Because “she was asking for it” or “he had it coming.” Was my abuse a pre-existing condition to you?

I’ll wonder what the point of it is. What the purpose is. Sometimes, I’ll wish I’d died. Sometimes I’ll want to. Sometimes, I’ll wish I’d never existed, so I could take away the hurt and pain I cause others with my problems.

Sometimes I feel like a sick animal that should be put down.

I didn’t ask for this.

I was raped. There’s no going back.

Getty Images photo via Archv


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

child

What It's Like to Hear 'Be Grateful' as a Childhood Emotional Abuse Survivor

Gratitude is popular in self-help and spiritual circles, and it’s easy to see why. Grateful people are easy to be around. Gratitude spreads to others and offers perspective. It feels good and puts positivity in the world. It can also be a huge obstacle for those healing from trauma. In this season of my life [...]
young girl preteen outside school

How Child Abuse Made Me 'Allergic' to Living at Home

Editor’s note: If you have experienced emotional abuse or domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. You can also contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by clicking “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233. Half my lifetime ago, at 17, I was thrown [...]
A mother with her hands around her young son, looking out a window at the water.

How to Handle Fear After a School Shooting, From a Mom Who Worries Every Day

Mass shootings in schools instill fear in parents and students, and rightfully so. No parent and no child should ever have to worry about child mortality. With the rate of school shootings recently, for those who have this fear, it never has the chance to fully subside before it rises up again. As someone who [...]
woman with nose ring looking down

How #MeToo Helped Me Say, 'I'm a Rape Survivor'

I am a rape survivor. And it feels weird just writing this sentence. I simply never have before. I only recently got the guts to say this out loud. And maybe someday I’ll have them to write down or tell the story. But what I know now, is that I am a survivor. Survivor — in [...]