The Trauma and Aftermath of Rape and Sexual Assault

Earlier this morning,I watched a documentary about a serial rapist and his survivors. He had over 30 survivors who all met after he’d been caught and before his actual trial. When talking to each other they would ask what victim number they were. One of the women said,”I’m #31 and so is my husband”, initially I was thinking that he had raped both of them but then I realized that she was married when she was raped and therefore her husband became a victim as well. This got me to thinking about just how deep the affects of S/A(Sexual Assault) and rape can effect a person.

The 1st time I was raped was the most traumatic for me because I thought I was going to die. I was a teenaged girl who was violated by 6 grown men. These men punched me into submission and proceeded to take what didn’t belong to them. I was and still am,a fighter but men by nature are stronger and so my battle didn’t last long. All I could do was close my eyes,allow it to happen,and pray that I would live to tell my story. When it was over,I went home,wept, showered,and went to the hospital. Seems easy enough, right? Little did I know that the trauma of “what happens next” would be worse than the actual act.

Secondary trauma is what a victims goes thru after the initial trauma. It involves the actual rape kit exam,the interaction with the police,the attitudes with your friends, family,and loved ones,and it should also include how you will live your romantic life from that point on out. I’m going to talk about mine,openly and honestly. I was young when I was raped so I can’t remember if that was my first time having to deal with a speculum and having so many people in the room as I’m dealing with such an embarrassing and humiliating experience. Then I was asked what felt to be 1000 questions by nurses and doctors that I could barley answer because I was so overwhelmed.

Then I had to deal with a relative being more embarrassed that I was seen at their place of employment rather than caring why I was being seen in the 1st place. I was then told that I was lying about being raped to cover up the fact that I had sex!! (Statically women are letting the truth about their experience than those who are lying.) To hear someone so close to me tell me I was lying in my most vunerable moment,is a pain that even now,I still have a difficult time processing. I was a teenager who had just been violated by 6 men only to have someone I loved dearly turn around and question my pain.

Then here comes the police to bring me justice only I didn’t get justice,I became case number ABCDEF/123456 and I felt every bit of that “just another case” vibe. They came to my school and met me in a private office. I tried to explain the what’s, where’s,how’s and everything else they asked. I told them I didn’t know the address or the street but I could show them where it happened if they took me. They never went with that option. Instead they told me it was nothing they could do because I didn’t provide them with enough information. As a black kid from the projects,I already had a distrust of law enforcement and their behavior and treatment of me definitely solidified my opinion of them. Having someone else question my truth was another hit to my trauma.

The trauma of S/A and rape,if not addressed thru therapy, definitely gives you a different outlook on future relationships. The things that didn’t bother you before,now make you cringe. The behaviors you didn’t have before can also change. Since I’m using my life as an example,I’ll tell you how I dealt with it. Since,I wasn’t believed and was looked at as a slut,I started acting like one. One night stands became my thing. Freak em and leave em was my mentality. I had no issue being a homie lover friend,nor did I care about just calling them when I wanted some sexual relief. I didn’t want food,I didn’t want long conversations,we didn’t need to know each other on a deep level,I just wanted the D. I begin to have two different personalities and when I had sex,I didn’t have emotions. It was just a body that I needed at the moment. When my 1st love came back into my life and we became intimate again,it was a certain position I wouldn’t let him do then or now because of the loss position of power I was put in when I was raped. Before that incident,he could put me in that position and I wouldn’t think twice about it. He couldn’t figure out why until I told him and when I did I was expecting him to make me feel like everyone else had but instead he held me and I finally was able to cry it out. This didn’t stop my path the self destruction because he wasn’t the one who made me feel less than but it felt good to finally have someone believe that I was a victim and not a participant. That I had been violated and hadn’t just had sex. My healing didn’t come till years later thru life and most importantly therapy. After S/A or rape you either become very reserved or you begin to have a reckless attitude. Trauma of that sort has a way of changing your life more than you know.

That experience was very traumatic for me,in fact when it happened again,I didn’t tell the police at all and I didn’t tell the guy I was with at the time until about a yr and a half later because I didn’t want to go back down that road of doubts and blameful questions. When they raped me,they didn’t just take my right to decide, they took away my innocence from myself and from others. I was no longer a sweet person to the world,I was a lying hoe. A young woman who just didn’t want to be honest about having sex. I just wanted sex without strings attached,I wanted to be that slut that everyone thought I was. I no longer cared about who I gave my goods to because it no longer mattered since it had been taken from me anyway. As victims we lose our innocence and gain our trauma. Life is never the same and the people most close to us have the potential to destroy or resurrect our outlook on life. How will you react to the person who tells you their truth?

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