The Aftermath of Rape - Healing your Mind

Personal story of being raped, the impact, and how to heal from the trauma of rape.

I will not deny that rape is a horrible thing. It is an invasion of your senses, it can leave you scarred for life. I know, my first sexual experience was rape, and I was gang-raped two years after that. I will never forget what happened to me, or how it made me feel. What I did choose to do, is not let it ruin the rest of my life, although it almost did. Maybe telling my story will help some of you stop from making the same mistakes I did.

I was raped on the 21st of September 1977; two days after my sixteenth birthday. I consider myself fortunate that my boyfriend at the time did not want to be convicted for 'jail-baiting' and waited until I was 16. We had been dating a month.

I did not even know what was happening, it was over quickly. I remember that, and the fact that I don't think I was there (in my body). I just floated off to get away from the shock of it all.

Unlike many girls my age, I did not have a clue what sex involved, and my only impression of it for a long time afterwards was numbness and pain. I did not have a close relationship with my family, although I still lived at home. I remember getting to a girlfriend's place after it happened and ringing my mom to ask permission to stay there the night. I told my girlfriend what had happened, but nobody else. I never saw my boyfriend again - obviously he got what he wanted. He did make a point of spreading around talk about "how lousy I was in bed." At the time, I did not think this had affected me in any way, except it started an anger against my parents for not being there for me, which only now at almost 40, I am learning to deal with.

At 17, I moved away from home and went to a city about two hours drive away. I could only be termed as 'loose' in those days. I had no respect for my sexuality and it never crossed my mind I could say 'no' to sex. I never actively pursued sex, I just never said no to anyone who asked.

I was also drinking every single day, yet as I still held down a full time job, I just assumed this was how every other teenager lived.


 


Just after my 18th birthday, I found myself in a situation in a van with three men in their 20's. The woman that I was boarding with was going out with one of them, on the sly. When her husband came home, she sent me out to the van, down the road, to get rid of them. I was so stupid to do this, but have always been willing to help anyone out.

This husband was an aggressive person and I was happy to get out of the house. I wish I hadn't. I was raped by all three, numerous times over a 6 hour period. I was not allowed out of the van until daylight. Again, I didn't tell anyone except the woman I was boarding with and she was more concerned that I would have to miss a day at work than what had actually happened. I just went to work as normal and continued drinking at night. Shortly after this, I started getting really depressed. A doctor put me on , which I quickly got addicted to, and by age 21 I was a mess.

I was lucky. By this stage I did have a few good friends who helped me quit, cold turkey from both the valium and the drinking. I have never had a problem with either since. My sexuality was another matter. I did, what I have since learnt was a particularly destructive thing to do, and made the career change to lady of negotiable virtue. This was my warped way of taking control over my sexuality. My personal slogan for years was that "I only have sex for love or money, and I never love anybody." I worked this way on and off for 13 years, never once realizing I was hurting myself. The work did enable me to pay for counseling which I attended infrequently, but it wasn't until after three children and two disastrous marriages that I realized my rape was the cause of all my anger and hurt, and that I was in a position to change it all.

And that is the heart of the matter. The simplest way to change your life is to change your mind, change your perception of how things are in your life. I did that literally in five minutes. In one moment of clarity, I realized it was not my fault that I had been raped, that my anger was natural and to be expected, that I was okay and I could move on with my life.

YOU have to want to make that choice. You can heal from the trauma of rape, or you can choose to let it affect you for the rest of your life. I figured that my rape cost me almost 20 years of my life. That is such a tragic waste. But I can live with that because as both my partner and I have often discussed, if it was not for what had gone on before in our lives, we would not be where we are today.

What I would hate to see is anyone else going through the same thing, unnecessarily. You can choose to move on with your life at any time in your life. You can choose to love yourself and take care of yourself. You can choose to keep yourself well and safe. You can choose to live life.

You will never be able to forget rape. It will always be a part of who you become. Writing this has been hard for me, even after all this time. But rape does not have to be the negative factor that ruins your whole life, but rather a catalyst you can use to be the best you can be.

Be Well.

next: Regaining Your Sexuality After Rape

Last Updated: 06 April 2016

Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

Related Articles

Follow Us

Mental Health Newsletter