Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Michelle’s harrowing tale of rape and the lessons she has learnt
He held both my arms and legs, so I could not move at all. I felt extreme pain — worse than birth pain — like someone was pounding a hammer into my private area, ripping it in every direction with each penetration.
I tried to kick and scream, but remembered that his body was holding me down.
It felt like it would never end. Then a flood of anger welled up; I was screaming for help. How come nobody was coming to my rescue?
Are you a Christian? I am, which is why I did not understand why God was just sitting there, watching.
You see, I knew my rapist or I thought I did. He was a completely different person on that day. I remember screaming my head off and crying: ‘Why? Why are you doing this?’ He just stared at me with an empty look and continued to abuse me.
I could not scream anymore, so I gave up. I realised that the horrific experience was only going to end when he decided to end it.
This is where I gave up on God and myself because I could not scream or fight anymore.
On that day, I lost my soul. I was left emotionally, mentally and spiritually empty. I did not have support from anyone.
To this day, one ‘friend’ does not even know why I called her. She never returned my messages even when I told her to call me back.
When I tried to seek help, a pastor’s wife from a healing church in Justin, Texas in the US, where I was, told me that I brought this on myself.
Then I had to come to terms with the pregnancy. I also lost my job and no one wanted to hire me because I was pregnant.
My gynaecologist asked me whether I had clearly stated to this man that I was not romantically interested in him. What did that even mean? Did it justify his actions? The doctor’s question made me so depressed, I became suicidal.
The only reason I was raped was because he was stronger than me. I have a taser that I bought after the first time I was raped by someone else, but could not reach for it from my purse because I was pinned down.
If you are raped
I have been raped twice and I can assure you that sometimes, nobody understands. Others, the kind you believed would run to your rescue or comfort you, may not even understand.
They might just shock you by blaming you for being a victim. Yes, the world is a sick place. From these two horrific experiences, this is my advice:
The top priority is to fight for your mind. More than ever, you need it to think clearly. It will try to disassociate from all kinds of emotions, but gather it together. If you do not, your disassociation from your mind may prevent you from doing the very things you said you would do “if it ever happened to me”.
When you can think clearly, immediately go to the Police and file charges, then go to hospital and get tested. Never take a shower first.
Do not allow anyone to question whether you could have led this guy on. If he has a partner, they will believe you did and may even attack you. Do not let her get to you.
Remember not to feel guilty.
If you have never been raped, never say what you would do if you were raped. You cannot project what you will be feeling. Do not degrade another person who has been raped.
If the rapist was known to you and starts texting, calling or following you everywhere after the rape, document everything and tell the Police. Also, surround yourself with as many people as you can.
If, after the rape, you try to connect with friends, but they are too busy and are not returning your messages, leave them a message indicating why you urgently need to get a hold of them.
If you are raped twice and someone has the audacity to say, “the only common dominator is you”, or “you brought that on yourself”, do not let it get to you. You are a survivor, not a victim.
I recommend that you keep the baby, but it will be tough. I lost everything, except my car during the pregnancy, and had to live in shelters for the homeless when I could not afford rent anymore.
Before my rapist struck, I was ready to get my master’s degree, but now I have no way of doing that.
My son makes some of the same expressions as the rapist and has his mouth, but it is very clear that he has a different soul from his father.
I have talked to children who were given up for adoption and they said they would rather be with their biological mother.
I have also talked to mothers who gave up their children because they did not have any money to raise a child (like myself).
But the experience of motherhood will make you want to fight for yourself, and go much further for yourself than you would when you were single.
Find strong support. There will be lots of advice from people when you share your experience. Your soul will recognise the genuine ones.
Do not let the bitterness change who you are, or let you stay in the past instead of moving forward. Find a good church that will help you eventually forgive the attacker.
If you have to move house more than once and change your phone number so your attacker cannot find you, do it. I did.