Strength is blooming like a tulip in the spring

I went to therapy on Thursday to deal with what is probably the most stressful and traumatic thing I ever went through. This person that I trusted had just raped me.  Both of my parents told me not to tell anyone that all my friends would blame me. That his wife, a sister to me, shouldn’t know that her husband was a rapist.

I was raped the first Sunday of August 2010.  My parents were on their 25th anniversary trip to the mountains.  We went to church and he is a Sunday school teacher of 6-7 year olds at that time.  My parents had dropped us off and hit the road like a bunch of giggling teenagers.  We were all so excited about their trip and the fact that we could go camping for a whole week. I was upset to know that I would have to spend a week with my uncle, but he promised to leave me alone.  That night I was sleeping when he came in the room I was sleeping in and raped me.  Afterwards, I had to spend a whole week in the backwoods with him.  He begged me to have sex with him, but I always said no.

After my parents came home, I started hiding knives around the house when I was at home alone.  I even told my mom that if he tried it again I was going to stab him before he could do it.  I was terrified, but my mom told me that I had to get over it.  My dad even told me that I just needed to drop it.  My dad who people claim is a good man, he looked his daughter in the eye, his daughter that he adopted because he loved her.  He looked at his daughter who was in pain and crying and told her to stop talking about it.  They would later call it an affair, but it wasn’t.  An affair doesn’t entail coming into the room of your trusting friend, ripping their pants off, when I tried to get away, he grabbed me by the ankle and pulled me back to the other side of the bed.  Sometimes, I can still feel his hand on my ankle.  The next morning, I had to throw away my pants because they were torn too bad to wear.

I move off to college and come home for my younger sister’s birthday.  She had a party at the church gym and my uncle invited me to go to a football game with him.  So, my parents told me that weekend that I needed to spend more time with him and that I should go to the game with him to spend good family time together.  So, he brought two of his daughters and we had a blast. I got to talk to some of my school friends and find out about their college experience.  I felt like I could finally trust my uncle.  I felt like maybe I could get better.  I felt like maybe I wouldn’t be afraid of being alone anymore.  I was wrong.

What happened next is the single most traumatic event that I experienced.  We loaded up the girls in the back of the truck.  They were talking about how good the game was and I was laughing.  Suddenly, it started again.  I tried to take his hand out of my panties and cross my legs, but everything I did, he made me participate.  His daughters were in the back seat the whole time.  I was terrified.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.  He took the long way home and stopped at the lease.  Which is where we had camped a month before.  He said that we could have sex and no one would know.  I felt sick.  I was terrified.  Most people have the flight or fight, but I freeze.  I freeze like a deer in headlights.  All I could think was that his kids were in the back seat asking if they could go swimming.  It felt like forever and I was in so much physical pain from what he was doing with his finger.  I just said no.  I found the last shred of common sense and refused to have sex with him voluntarily.  There was no way I would do that to myself.  On the way home, he kept his finger in me.  He dropped me off at home.  As I walked in front of his truck, he rolled down the window and said these haunting words to me. “I had a great time.  I love you, Goodnight.”

For years that was just like a broken record in my head.  Like a scratched cd that keeps skipping to the same lyrics, my mind would play this instance.  Every time it would traumatize me even more and it got to the point that I couldn’t drive.  I would have flashbacks every time I got behind the wheel of the car.  It was always so vivid and I would have horrible panic attacks just thinking of driving.

During my therapy session, my therapist asked me to talk about how I felt.  I was speechless at first.  I put myself back in that situation and the emotions came pouring out.  I was angry, outrage, furious, saddened, betrayed, used, sickened, disgusted, vengeful.  The list went on for a page or so.  Every time I said an emotion out loud and it felt so good to let it go.  I trusted my parents to keep me safe and protect me from people like him and they just put me in the position for me to be raped again.  I didn’t even tell them about this because there was no point.  I couldn’t trust the people who claimed to love me more than anything in the world.

After therapy, I cried.  It was only a few tears, but it felt great.  I was worried about the dry sobbing in the shower, as I turned the water as hot as I could stand and scrub my skin clean.  A clean that I would not feel as long as I had flashbacks and panic attacks kept happening. A clean that only would come when I could finally let it go.

Letting it go, is there really such a thing? Maybe.  I once read a quote, that I may have put on here, it said that the mark of a true survivor is that they can say thank you for making me a stronger person.  I don’t know if I am at that point, but I feel like I am close.

What I can say to my rapist and my parents is, “Thank you for giving me a passion”.  Thank you for giving me a burning passion that no matter what people will think about me, I will stand up to abuse and violence.  I will not standby and allow abuse to happen around me.  I am stronger because of what happened to me and for that reason I refuse to let other kids or women or men to lay their heads down at night and feel how I felt.  No one deserves that.  Thank you for opening my eyes to the evilness of the world, because you gave me the weapons and know how to step out and stop it.  Perhaps I am at the point where I can say, “Thank you for making me who I am today.”

I am talking with the local Center for Rape Survivors.  I feel like my calling is helping others who are facing the same things I am.  Every day is a struggle, but for the first time in a while, I can breathe.  I know that I am healing.  I know that the strength that got me through that horrible time is still there and that I can only get stronger.

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