3 Ways Rape Has Affected Me (1 Year Later)

It has a been a year since I was raped as of March 20, 2020. When I wrote my first blog post it was about two months after it had happened. I was still very shaken up and upset. Over the following summer and fall, I spent most nights crying. Blaming myself and feeling disgusted with my body. Late January, when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, they also diagnosed me with PTSD (post trauma stress disorder). I am still learning how to cope. However, a year (and some medication) later I am more aware of how it affected me.

1. As you can imagine I hate being touched, but I hate talking about being touched even more.

My Theory: It is premeditated. I don’t think rapist do it impulsively; it is an act of power. It is controlled.

Trigger: Even something as simple as someone saying, “I want to wrap my hands around you.” I feel worried and anxious that if they got their hands around me, it would be hard for me to escape.

Reaction: I either get very angry or laugh it off and cut the conversation off. Common phrases I use when I am uncomfortable: “Silly,” or “Leave me alone,” and I am not always nice about it.

  1. I became a “yes” man.

My Theory: It stole my confidence to say no. Why say no if people will take it anyway? Will people still like me if I say no?

Trigger: I will not highlight the questions that I have been asked.

Reaction: Anger first and if I get past that, then guilt. What did I do to invite this attention?

              I have had to change the way I move and stop doing things I love (pole dancing), so that I could prevent some unwanted attention.

Side note: No one should ever have to stop doing things they love because of other people’s opinions on a subject they know nothing about. But I also know, firsthand, this is easier said than done.

  1. I hate being touched.

This used to be a lot harder even before I was raped. I am not sure if it had to do with my overall irritability that came with my anxiety and depression or from my job.

My Theory: This goes without saying.

Trigger: It really does depend on who is touching me and the intention of it.

Reaction: If I feel trapped, where I cannot escape a hug or an arm around me then I panic. I am not one for big scenes though, so I have a bad habit of suffering through it and letting them know afterwards. If its subtle and someone I do not feel comfortable when someone moves towards me, then I step back and ask for space.

How I HAVE healed.

                To me it seems so minor, but I finally realized that not everyone is evil – especially men. I spent some much time being angry and shutting out a lot of people. It cost me to put an umbrella of hatred over men even if they did not deserve it. I hated to be complimented because I thought it came with ulterior motives. Time heals and I am glad I no longer cry myself to sleep. I am glad that good people exist.

What I Wish Other People Would Understand

                It is no one’s business about what happened to me. I write about it for other survivors and family to read. I am still healing and boy, is it a process. However, I know that I will continue to be triggered because not everyone is aware of my past.  

Some things I wish people would understand is that if I tell you that I was raped; I do not want to answer questions about it; I do not want to describe the event; I do not want your pity.

Some people need to just not touch strangers. Working as a waitress, I have realized that there are a lot of “huggers,” out there. Coworkers and customers just love giving hugs and putting their hands on my shoulder. I warmed up because I love my coworkers, but when I first started it really bothered me. Please ask beforehand if you can touch them at any point. You do not know their past, and they do not owe you an explanation for any reason (ex: germs, victims of physical or sexual abuse, just because). Understand boundaries. Understand consent.

Some people need to just not touch strangers. Working as a waitress, I have realized that there are a lot of “huggers,” out there. Coworkers and customers just love giving hugs and putting their hands on my shoulder. I warmed up because I love my coworkers, but when I first started it really bothered me. Please ask beforehand if you can touch them at any point. You do not know their past, and they do not owe you an explanation for any reason (ex: germs, victims of physical or sexual abuse, just because). Understand boundaries. Understand consent.

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