TW/CW: Rape, sexual assault, mental health
I’ve never really spoken about rape and sexual assault here much, even though it’s something very important to me.
A few years ago now, I was raped. And believe me, I hate the drama of that sentence.
I didn’t tell anybody really about it for a long time. It affected my mental health (obviously), university grades, and my ability to feel like I can stay alive. This blog post has been in my drafts for quite some time, just waiting for me to hit publish. It seems fitting to publish this article on rape whilst so many popular celebrities and now, the future President, are being put on trial for exactly that.
I’m writing this because it’s not something I’m ashamed of. I’m an incredibly honest and open person and I’d rather lay my cards bare, so to speak.
There’s something quite humbling about confessing something and frankly, I’ve had so many people contact me about these frank and open discussions, it’s worth it. Knowing that there are other rape and sexual assault victims out there gives me comfort. It’s just quite haunting and unfortunate to know quite a few. It’s not something I would wish on anyone.
Is it hard to deal with?
Of course, yes, it made it very difficult to stay alive at one point. But my life is not ruined. There are a few stereotypes surrounding rape victims I want to clear up. I’m naturally not speaking for every rape victim/survivor in the world, only the ones I know. The rape victims and women I do know share similar feelings about this whole topic.
Firstly, you’ve probably met several people in your life that have been sexually assaulted and/or raped no matter what your age. Please bear this in mind when you speak so cavalier about it in public spaces. If you look around the women (and men) you work with, chances are it’s happened to at least one person in your environment. It’s estimated rape and sexual assault effects 1 in 4 women.
My life isn’t ruined because I’ve been raped or sexually assaulted. I can’t stress that enough. Yes it took me a long time to recover. Yes, sex took a long time for me to do. And yes I will never live in a flat filled with men because I still don’t fundamentally trust them. (on a whole, not individually) FYI I don’t think the last one will change.
There’s still a part of me that sees men as ultimately dangerous and predatory. I’m scared that that part of me will never truly go away unfortunately.
My point for this blog post is that I’m kind of getting sick of people speaking rape victims/survivors, as if every one of us is the same. Rape is getting spoken about and discussed more openly in the media, but I don’t like that the victims themselves are getting drowned out by commentary from others.
Rape victims aren’t just characters in a book or film. We’re actual people as well. We have lives, hobbies and relationships, we’re not just a punchline for a joke or an ‘enlightening’ storyline in a film.
I don’t talk about rape/sexual assault a lot on my social media accounts. Mainly because it’s a very difficult thing for me to talk about online and in writing. I also find it quite overwhelming at times logging into social media accounts and being overwhelmed with commentary on it. (which I’m not necessarily complaining about)