Recovery Dictionary: T for When Should I Tell?

 One of the most basic, daunting questions you ask yourself, if you were ever raped and got through it: when(or if) should I tell this person?

It could be your partner, your family, a close friend. There are people that don’t tell anybody for decades. In my experience, holding the hard things in myself only ends up blowing up in my face later.

Anyway, I never had much of an answer to this question before, but I do have a tip now. I am in no way an expert, but if you need an extra opinion while you consider what to do, here is mine: relax, breathe, and follow your intuition. You will know the exact time.

* Disclaimer: this is not for those of you considering to press charges officially. Obviously this is a fully different decision that you have to make for yourself. This is for those of you that didn’t, for any reason, and sooner or later you do not want to feel alone in it anymore, and you want the people in your life to know about it. Some people anyway.

1.

For those of you new to my blog, I was raped 5 years ago. For the most part I have recovered, I believe, although there are still some sore spots to work through. There is also a lot of chaos I created in the way of dealing with it, in my life, things that I missed, and I am still trying to sort all that out.

In the time until now, I have told several people, including some guys I dated right after, selected close friends, my current long-term partner, and a few friends which I do not know that well, but I am already getting close with. It sounds like a lot, but I guess it was my way of dealing with things when there was too much that I couldn’t deal with.

But here is the thing: I didn’t tell my parents yet. I am pretty close with my mom and it’s an odd feeling that she doesn’t know about this part of my life. It also felt necessary at some point. Now, so many years later, and starting to actually catch up to my present, I am starting to feel I’d like her to know, and the reasons not to tell her are starting to feel more obsolete.

But still, thinking about telling her, there is the usual clatter of thoughts- remember that one?

You sitting across from someone you care about, and your stomach sinking at the idea of saying those words, telling that story. That inadequate feeling- is it really ME saying those things, ME that this happened to? The panic at the idea of how they will react, your brain going in all directions and over every scenario. The wondering if you can even get the words out…And the even bigger panic wondering how they will act after that. And whether you can handle their reaction, whatever it is. It’s a head spin, for sure.

And this is why, I’m going to say this once more:

Trust yourself. You will know when it’s time.

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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