The 3rd time he raped me…

…or the 4th…who cares? After the first ones it gets a little confusing which was which.

Anyway. When I started this blog I wasn’t sure that I would write about each one here at all. But now, it’s time to tell the story about one more of them.

Writing about my issues with rape was enough, since it got me to getting back to my actual life and feeling better. Lately however, I have been going to regular jazz ballet classes. Dance has become some sort of a tool in recovery too, as well as a new home. It has constant challenges and it has let me grow in many ways during the 2 months that I’ve been going there. However, part of those challenges are that there are a lot of triggers. Some of them are small and I disregard; some of them are bigger, and it takes me days to shake off the feeling they leave and get back to the next dance class.

Two of those happened yesterday, and I will write about them separately. However, they brought some memories in my head, and unlike usually, I haven’t been able to shake them out yet.

So I decided to tell this one here.

*

My rapist was a guy in the house I was living for the summer. I was working in another country and was living in a house with a lot of other people doing the same, for about 4 months. This particular guy was always friendly, always flirting and saying that he isn’t, and always complaining about something I was doing. I’ve told about the first time he assaulted me before, as well as the second, so I won’t repeat myself.

After that point there were few more times. Each was different. I’d like to tell you that I was smarter and managed to protect myself better after the first times, but I wasn’t. I was in another country, without a job, and thinking if I’ll have food the next day. Dealing with something like a rape had no place in that. The brain protects us in strange ways. In mine, it was full or partial denial of what was happening, along with all kinds of excuses in my head about the physical evidence of it all.

And so that night came.

The first time had been in another room, and the second had been in my room. Despite my avoidance of the subject, the second time left me subconsciously very weary and afraid.

I resented the guy every time I saw him, and resented myself for not being able to tell why I feel like this about him. I avoided the parties he made with the other people in the house and they started looking at me like I was an outsider. He came to my door once each night, finding a reason to knock and talk to me- just talk. Sometimes he invited me to things, for which I always refused, sometimes he came to ask for a favor or bring something.

I awaited his coming to my room, and from the moment the day went towards evening, if I happened to be in my room, I was weary, jumpy, unable to concentrate on anything, waiting for the knock. I couldn’t admit to myself why I was scared. Despite my reservations with guys, in my previous world, such things like rape only happened in movies. I was still reluctant to call what happened to me rape (took me another year to really realize what it was). Each time he finally ended his talking at my door and went back to his party, I felt my knees weak and sat on the bed for a long time, staring in space. Those days, no matter how tired I got, or whether I slept for 2 hours only, I always re-checked if I locked the door, few times, just to be sure. Sometimes I checked it few times each hour during the evening before going to bed. For no reason at all.

Somehow, that night, I have left it unlocked- or so I assume… Continue reading

Getting through the Storm

“Right now, you aren’t making difference between fantasy and reality.” I look at the counselor, not so convinced.

The reality of what happened, it’s engraved in my memory, in every scar on my skin, in every night I wake from nightmares. What does she know?

*

That was 2 years ago, when I went to a counselor, to get help so that I wouldn’t want to drink all the time anymore. It helped, even though I never told her that the main reason that I want to drink is the broken memories I had of my rape, and trying to move on as if it never happened.

*

People are learned constantly that we need roots. Familiar things. That in a hard situation you have to try to contain your life in normal routine. When we get into a situation which is hard but we have no control over, we hold onto what we know, until the storm passes.

But no one tells you what do you do if the storm doesn’t pass.

*

Let’s rewind a bit.

That summer.  Continue reading

Lessons Unlearned pt.1

Note: That may be triggering, but I’m not sure. I may have to write it in 2 posts, so the first 1 may be okay.

For that summer, I am like a person with no learning curve at all. Every time I try something- finding job, getting better- something happens and I’m back down again.

I have no memory of that night at all, besides the beginning and the end, and I push that out of my mind in pursuit of finding a job and keeping my sanity at the same time. I’m like a broken clock, I remember and then forget again, and find good ways to explain all strange things and black holes in my memory.

There is no such luck.

Nevertheless, I keep looking. And somehow keep resenting that guy from my house, and avoiding him, and feeling stupid for not being able to pinpoint why I feel this way. The strange bruises fade and I very successfully manage not to think where they had come from. I put the clothes I was wearing then in a bag, and stash them away, so I don’t think about what happened to the zipper. Out of sight- out of mind. Continue reading

Rotten Pies and Sobriety

Sometimes in life, you know you are falling, only when you are already heading full-speed half way down the cliff…

Once upon a time, I lived in a different world. It was the first week I arrived in that foreign city, before I was abused. That first week constituted long streak of seeking (jobs, apartments), making payments(hotels, taxi, bus, food) and settling in the new place. I was living on borrowed money and fairy tales. 

See, I had spend the last 3 years in my own university bubble, where you spend 24 hours being thought new things, writing academic papers, meeting new people, and being convinced to express your opinion, take chances and be a leader. Or pretty much that it depends on you how successful you will be.

Then I was going back to home, where truth hit me on the head every time. My parents had not had the same chance as me. Whether I approved their choices or not was besides the point. But after spending one semester home for leave of absence, something was forming in my head, loud and clear.

I can not depend on my parents money(or lack of them) anymore.

When I started university I had thought my fight for making my own living would start after I graduate, but it was becoming more and more obvious it was time. And so I did what people around me did when they had university and needed to make money over the summer. I went abroad.

I borrowed money to go, certain in my success. To the last moment I wasn’t sure if I had borrowed enough to pay for my trip, and kept borrowing. It was all set. I was going to travel, work, pay back my friends. And for many people, that was how things went.

Oh, how naive of me… Continue reading

Aftermath: The first week after

Here I am, back, after what feels(or may be is, haven’t checked), a week since I last wrote. I had been doing well for a while with the recovery, so the natural thing happened- I slid back. And it took me a while to contain myself again. Another step forward, finally.

But before that, I finished a post that I never actually published, because it made me sick. Now that I feel better, it’s time for it. Here it is:

*

This post I have successfully avoided for a while, too. It wasn’t that I was scared of it or it was hard. Writing the reason I created this blog was harder, for sure. But, in the big scheme of things, the reason for all wasn’t on me. I had regrets about it, but mostly I didn’t feel I was to blame for how things turned out. The next 2 years, despite everything, despite me feeling it wasn’t so, were my choice.

And that’s a choice I’m not proud of.

I’m spending considerable amount of time getting okay with what I did and how I lived, accepting that for the sake of recovering I needed these years. But it was never easy to accept it.

The first week

I was in another country, and my brain knew that what my emotional state was, would be irrelevant if I do not have a job, and stay on the street. One was matter of grief and falling apart, while finding job was a matter of life and death literally, since I was on my last money, an ocean away from anyone I can ask for help. The morning after the rape, my brain had pushed the memories down so much, I remembered nothing- absolutely nothing. It was a missing memory of 1 night- but I was tired lately, and I really didn’t think about it- I had job hunting to conduct. Continue reading

{my} Africa

I was going to first do a post on what happened during the last 2 years before I stopped denying my trauma, but if I go chronologically, this post comes before.

This is about the reason I made this blog besides getting over the rape.

This is about who I became and the dream born that very same summer.

*

As I said before, when I went there, I needed to make money. In combination of things, including being in the middle of financial crisis years, I found finding a job increasingly hard. And with everything else happening that summer, in the middle of addiction, abuse, homeless people and gunshots I saw that summer, I knew I had to make choices for myself, and I was reluctant to let this world chew me up and spit me out. I knew I was smart and creative, and I thought I can change things around.

As it turns out, that was too naive of me. I was facing something bigger than the knowledge I had. Either way, I was there, and I had to do something to preserve my sanity.

So I thought- long and hard- of the life I want after I get out of that hell hole. I have been raised not really thinking that I can make a living out of creative things. Artist life was for hobbies, not for actual making living out of it. That summer assured me that life is too short to live it in a way you don’t enjoy.

I wanted to do something creative. I was going to try to do it part time while being there, to make some more money. At first I thought of the most obvious (for me) – making drawings and greeting cards, and trying to sell them to tourists (it was the middle of the summer, I loved drawing, and that made sense)…but in the middle of the emotional turmoil I was feeling, I couldn’t find inspiration to do that. Unlike some people, feeling low usually completely froze me when it came to drawing. I can draw only when happy.
I even tried pushing myself- I went to a crafts store and bought things for drawing in vague attempt to inspire myself. The fact that I spend some of my last money for supplies for something that I wasn’t sure would work, produced the opposite result. But I kept trying and praying.

Drawing did not work out for me. I stopped drawing that summer and none of my attempts to get back to it these 2 years succeeded.  But in my second visit in the store, I completely randomly stopped in the isle with beads and things for creating jewelry- they were all so different and colorful and I was fascinated. I must have been there for an hour, looking through things, materials, books with beading basics…that day I bought my first supplies for jewelry creating.

Later on I will create my own etsy store and decide to sell them online. And it will take 2 years for me to figure out that I want to take it and make it main source of living.

But for that moment, I just bought supplies, not even sure what my plan is, and not knowing much. But between different types of pliers, head pins, and my first pale pink crystal beads, I fall in love with jewelry making.

And 2 years later turns out, it isn’t a fling-it’s a life-long love affair.

p.s. yesterday I missed adding post for the day, but just like missing a day in a diet should now stop you from completing it, I’m not letting this one day derail me from posting each day from now on.

How it all began

*warning- for whoever has been through sexual abuse, this may be triggering. i’m not sure, which is why I’m warning*

I guess I should feel emotional, but for some reason I feel completely, unnaturally calm writing this.

I thought about leaving it for tomorrow, but I don’t think I will ever get more eloquent in this. I tend to write this story in chunks, and occasionally in bigger detail than anyone would want to here.

For now, here, I’m using the summary version of it. No useless emotions. Just the facts.

2 years ago I went to another country to earn money for the summer. A lot of things happened there, very little of which actually included making money. But the reason I’m saying this is because, among other things I got raped there.

I’m not sure the circumstances matter so much, although I do go back and forth with guilt.
When I arrived in that country I moved in a house with other people who were there only shortly as well. I was 21 years old, and I was a virgin. For some reason that made a difference. It’s not that I had any particular beliefs that made me wait so much, I just didn’t find the right person.

I could blame this on the way I acted- I was bullied in elementary school, and after finally getting over my trust issues in university, I wanted to show I can be friendly with strangers, without being threatened.

I could blame this on “victim mindset”. I read that somewhere, that if you perceive yourself in certain way you might attract certain things. I have been in abusive relationship, for very short time. I made sure I got out of it fast. I wasn’t a victim.

Either way, blame doesn’t change what happened. Ever since arriving there I made it sure to be known to anyone that I had a boyfriend. I had been dating on and off a person who was living in another city in that country, and I was planning to visit and see where we go from there. It wasn’t serious, but I wanted to let know the guys in the house that I wasn’t interested in anyone else, since each one of them tried to hit on me from the very start.

We supposedly became friends. Occasionally we had disagreements with one of the guy who continued to cross the friend line. We fought, talked, and I was sure that was the end of it.  I also occasionally visited and talked to the guy I was casually dating. A week after I had first slept with him, something else happened.

One night he started to massage my neck, and when I tried to get him to stop, he made no reaction, joking that I’m oversensitive and he is just good friend. I protested, tried to get up, and before I knew it he was hugging me in a very strange way that had my arms pressed in the elbows so I couldn’t move them, and my feet weren’t touching the ground. I tried jokingly to get him to let me on the ground, and when he didn’t, my voice became more pitch and trembling than I wanted. I began to be afraid, but that sounded ridiculous- as far as I was concerned these things happened only in movies, and I was paranoid.

When he still didn’t let go I threatened I will hit him. He was laughing. One of the other guys was in the room and I was sure he would do something, but he only locked the door behind himself and left. I gaped shocked at it for a second, not knowing what the hell was he thinking, but I was too overtaken to know what to say. I threatened to hit him if he didn’t let go. I somehow freed one hand and hit him. Twice. I was surprised to discover, it didn’t make difference. He only laughed and said that before he wasn’t planning to hurt me, but now he was.

The rest is clear. I said no. In fact I must have cried no all the time the first time, begging him to stop until he put hand on my mouth. I didn’t have breath to scream because I was crying so much I was choking. I was not sure what to do in a situation like that when fighting with all my force had not helped. My body had betrayed me, so I just cried, wanting it to stop. The rest doesn’t need details. For everyone who has been through this, you know how easily it makes you feel like you mean nothing and you want to die. For everyone else, I guess it will be gruesome to add details.

The rest of that night was the end of my life as I knew it.

I fought the ripple affects of it for the past 2 years, mostly being in denial of the reason for these changes. For a short period of time I was even blissfully happy. Then a few TV shows where it was mentioned later, I was getting sick and throwing up all the time.

2 more weeks of denial and I had to get out of that. Denial wasn’t an option anymore.

I guess I should mention, for these 2 years I remembered only what I mentioned here, and the moment I was getting out of there. For the past 2 months, I slowly remembered. Everything. To the very last detail. Even how I felt after, and the weeks that followed. The blissful fog in which my memory was swimming was gone, and I had to deal with it.

I made this blog to share my journey to recovery, in a way, to vent, and I guess in the hope that I might help someone else in the same position.

p.s. I wondered about mentioning the “v-word”. I guess it shouldn’t matter so much if I had or had not been a virgin, and clearly, I wasn’t. But when things went down(yes, the word does occasionally makes me uncomfortable, still), it had just been a week. I was still not sure what I think about it. I was still in the awkward stage of first having started to explore things and feeling extremely uncomfortable still, but willing to change that. And then…all my beliefs crashed down in one night.