As the site owner , I am also a Rape Survivor. I decided to start this site in 2007, primarily as a cathartic process. In helping others, I was helping myself. I also wanted to create a single place where Survivors could come and read stories of others, find helpful information that was not only related to seeking counseling or going to court. Yes these things are important, but for many the need to remain anonymous or seek individual help is stronger.
It's been almost 18 years since I was raped. Almost half my life ago. I've managed to retain anonymity - which I prefer. Most people that know me still don't know that I've been raped. Only those really close to me are remotely aware. As sad as this sounds - I've shared my story below. I'm fortunate that I can post my story, without having the terrible flashbacks I used to get. That's called being a Survivor ! It's been a long journey, but one I'm glad I took as I'm a much better person for it.
I was 18 years old. I had just graduated from high school and was ready to begin my life. Still in a mild state of confusion on what I wanted to do with my life, I enjoyed the new found freedom of not having to go to school and simply being. Little did I realise that soon my whole life was about to change...
It was a Saturday early evening. I was alone at home with our maid and listening to music. A smoker, I soon ran out of cigarettes and decided to walk through the veld at the back of our home to the shops nearby. Something I had done dozens of times before without fear.As I returned from the shops clutching my cigarettes and bubblegum in my hands, I was about 2 feet from our backyard gate. I suddenly turned upon hearing the rustle of the tall grass. Thinking it was our neighbour, I laughed and called out his name. As I turned my head to proceed through our gate, I felt someone grab me from behind.I felt a hot sweaty arm around my neck, in his hand a long knife which looked like a grass cutter I had seen on TV.
Not comprehending what was happening to me, I asked him what he wanted. I heard myself pleading with him not to kill me. As I said the words, I imagined that knife slicing across my throat. The thought terrified me. I imagined what my parents would say when they found out, what my boyfriend would feel. In an instant, everyone I loved and who loved me flashed through my mind. What would they say. Would they blame me for walking to the shops alone ? Would they be upset ? In retrospect, how naive and childlike I was.Suddenly he raised the grass cutter and my arm shot up to protect my face. He had hit me with the bottom handle of the grass cutter. It pierced the skin on my forearm, leaving tiny incisions which would remain scarred until today.In a low voice he told me to walk. "Please!" I pleaded "please don't kill me, don't hurt me, I'll do anything you say", I went on. Hoping that he would let me go. As we walked, he guided me with one hand, the knife close to my leg. I could feel it.
He was shorter than me. A scruffy old looking man. I could smell that he had been drinking. I wandered where we were going. Subconsciously I think I knew what was going to happen. What I didn't know, was whether I was going to die that night.As we walked I realised that we were walking towards the train station. I looked around searching, hoping that someone could see. There were a number of people in the distance waiting for trains. I tried to secretly summon them with my arm, screaming in my mind for them to look at us. They didn't.
I thought I heard someone shout "Hey" in the distance. But there was no hope. As we approached the train station, we diverted into a patch of tall grass. He ordered me to lay down and take my pants down while he held the grass cutter above his head and loosened his own pants. "Oh God no" I thought silently. I had my period. I could feel the blood gushing out as I lay there. Hope ? "I have my period", I said hoping it would deter him. He didn't care. He didn't say a word.Then it happened. It didn't hurt at all. I thought it would. As sick as the thought was, I was glad I had my period. As he raped me, I told myself that I was being raped. I tried to think how I could try to grab the grass cutter, but was immobilsed by fear.I looked up at the stars that were now shining brightly in the early Summer sky. I asked God why this was happening to me. I asked God (who I still believed in at the time) to please help me. I asked him for this man to not kill me. I wanted to go home. I pleaded for it to be over.
And then it was.
He slowly got up and dressed. I watched him as I pulled my own pants up. Again, I pleaded for him not to kill me. He was suddenly nice. Nice ? A rapist nice? But he was. He acted as if this was a normal. A normal mating between a normal couple. He casually mentioned that he had brought another girl here before recently. I secretly hoped that I could one day meet her. I'm not sure what made me start talking to him in a friendly manner, but I did. I started asking him questions. Where he lived. He told me. What his name was. He told me. (Though I doubt it was real.) Was he going to take me home? Yes, he said. Yes! I couldn't believe it. I had the nerve to tell him to please walk me home as I was scared. I didn't know what else to say. Anything to get home. And he did. This "nice" rapist walked me home, left me at the gate and said goodbye. Going inside, I was in shock. I could not believe what had happened. Was this real?
Our domestic worker came into the kitchen and asked me what was wrong. I said "nothing" and slowly walked to my room. I looked at the cuts on my arm. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw through it. I stood there forever. In the days before cellphones, I could not call my parents who were still out. I didn't know what to do. I was numb. Eventually I called my boyfriend from our home phone. He wasn't home. I called his friend's house and he wasn't there either. I eventually left a message for them to please tell him that I was attacked for him to please come quickly. About a half an hour later, still in shock, my boyfriend arrived with his friend. I was angry. So angry. Why did he bring his friend? With the two of them there, I made the spot decision not to tell them I was raped. I felt violated and ashamed and embarassed for him or anyone else to know. If his friend was not there perhaps I would have told the truth. Instead I lied. I broke down into a flood of inconsolable tears. Eventually my parents arrived, and even then I couldn't say a word. I didn't know what to say...
When my father eventually called the police and they started asking me questions, I told them what my attacker had told me, his name and where he lived. I still didn't tell them I had been raped. They thought I had just been attacked. I didn't correct them. It took me four years before I finally broke down and told my mother the truth. Thereafter I eventually opened up to my boyfriend.
It's been almost many years since it happened and I am getting better at coping and dealing with the pain, and healing. I don't have any regrets about not going to the police or telling the truth when it happened. I sometimes think whether my life would have been different if I had, but I'm not sure. I still suffer from extreme depression, but am able to cope with more ease than I used to. Previously every disappointment in my life or reminder of what happened to me would send me on a suicidal thought journey. I would plan my suicide in detail, but never went through it to the end, obviously :) Though I have tried to overdose on sleeping tablets, slit my wrists and take every pill under the sun.
Fortunately I was able to come out of the self destructuve pattern I was constantly in. I will share the various mechanisms I use and still use to cope and hope that somehow this will help others. I have become a stronger person and am at the stage in my life where I can honestly forgive my attacker. I have forgiven him. There is no way I can easily forget the hurt and pain of the experience and still wonder how different my life and personality would have been had it not happened.
But at the end of each day, I am still here to live another day, to tell my story, to give hope to others in despair, knowing that I have been there...Peace.
(Update: April 2013, I have overcame the crippling depression triggered on the anniversary of my experience. I can finally say that I am free.)
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