Warning – May contain triggers.
I wrote in my last blog post about the person who had messaged me via my Friends Re-united page asking how I was getting on and what I was up to. This had dredged up old memories and stirred up a whole whirl of feelings and emotions which, again, I had never really dealt with. It also brought up the question that I could never quite confirm with an answer….. was it rape?
He was the first person I had lived with whilst in a relationship. He was supposed to be the man for me. He was supposed to look after me.
It was whilst I was with him that I started to suffer the horrific nightmares that plagued me most nights for the next 15 or so years – several times a night. Always the same nightmare – me hovering above an 8 year old girl in her school uniform, pinned up against the front door as an old man groped her, forced his tongue into her mouth, hands all over, everywhere, inside, outside, everywhere. Except it wasn’t a nightmare – it was a flashback. It was one of the most memorable, repeated acts that my first abuser carried out. I just dreamt it again and again and it resulted in me waking in cold sweats, panicking that I was still in the situation and it used to take me a fair amount of time to “come to”.
Except, with this boyfriend, I would wake up and the dream became reality – with one huge difference. When I woke up I would still be watching that child, becoming the child, but I was being entered sexually. I was forced into an act I did not want to do. I had the mind of 8 year old girl, in the body of a young adult and I was being raped.
There – I have said it. I have never confirmed before that that is what it was but I discussed this in my counselling session today and C asked me if I thought it was. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to give it that name. In my mind rape was something done in the street, by a stranger, an act of dirty power by an unknown not someone who was supposed to love you. Call me naive – I don’t care – but that was always how I “thought” rape should be. It wasn’t supposed to be the person you thought you loved. I never wanted to give it that name. I was already the victim of sexual abuse and I didn’t want another label – as a rape victim – a multiple rape victim. She confirmed that, sadly, I was.
After the first time I explained to him what had happened and why I didn’t want him to do it again. I talked to him about how I needed to be fully awake with my “sex” barriers in place to protect my already fragile mind from further damage. He listened – for all of about a month and then did it again – and again.
By the third time I was begging him not to do it. The flashbacks were lasting longer, the dream was becoming a reality, the fear was becoming solid. I would go to sleep at night with visions of my original abuser at the forefront of my mind, I was dreaming about him, I was waking up and the dream was real. I was lost.
This made no difference to him. He carried on waking me up in this way. He carried on raping me. He carried on ignoring me – always promising he would never do it again.
Then one day I did something I had never done before. I said no and I walked. I walked away from a situation that was and had never been safe for me. He begged and pleaded for me to stay. He rattled a box of paracetamol at me and told me he would kill himself if I left. I am ashamed to say I told him to go ahead and make the world a better place. I didn’t know what had happened to him after that – I sort of hoped he had carried out his threat of committing suicide and that is an evil thought that I have never quite forgiven myself for thinking. He hadn’t though, it was all just manipulation on his part. I recognise that now – just like I recognise than when my first abuser gave me a pound or a bar of chocolate making me feel I was a prostitute was also manipulating me.
And now he has the nerve to send me a message asking me how I am. Well I survived. I struggle with every day things, I am often very changeable in my moods – almost manically so sometimes, I can be over-dramatic, I can be over-protective I often suffer from depressive states but I survived and I continue to survive. No longer a victim but a survivor.
So you want to know how I am doing and what I am up to? Let me tell you – I am surviving. I am living. I am being. I walked away and I picked up the pieces and slowly but surely I am putting them back together and I am becoming whole.
Part of me wants to post the link to this in my return message to him on Friends Reunited. Part of me wants to tell him that, despite his best efforts to break me, he failed and I am alive and I am loved by people worthy of loving me.
Finally I can underline the uncertainty, I have clarification. It was rape but I survived.
This is actually a good thing – it means I can deal with certainty rather than vagueness and I can process it accordingly.