The Personal Devastation of Rape

With all the recent attention in the world on this fascination mankind has with raping each other, I feel compelled this morning to speak about what it is like living in the aftermath of rape. Having been raped so many times as a child, not only by my father and his third wife but also by the men they sold me and my siblings too- that it is hard to distinguish who I really am and what is a product of the trauma that I endured as a child, as it has all seemed to meld together and become one indistinguishable mash of emotion.

The hardest part, I think, has been the shame and degradation that I have suffered as a product of my abuse. Knowing that I am not to blame and FEELING that I am not to blame is often two very different entities, and often there has been a part of me that has wondered what I did to suffer such indignation. Regarded as little more than a piece of meat, the rage that I have felt over my objectification has often dictated my emotional reactions, not just with others- which have been intense to say the least, but more importantly, with regards to myself. The self-hatred that I have for myself has been the worst residual aspect of my abuse, and I have spent much of my life trying to deal with the rage I have against myself.

Physically, I was left unharmed. Emotionally and spiritually- the devastation could not have been worse. My abuse isolated me mentally in such a way that I found myself completely cut off from my fellow human beings, I guess because I have never been able to overcome my fears of being hurt. Convinced that that there is something inherently wrong with me, reaching out and embracing anyone or anything has been hard for me throughout my life- and sometimes, as a result, I feel like I am just existing rather than actually living. Turning to God was oftentimes impossible- as the anger that I felt with my maker added to the separation I felt with my fellow man, convalescing into a type of spiritual coma that often made me feel like a deer in headlights. Wanting to just fade and disappear, but unable to escape God’s presence, I have spent a large part of my life secretly feeling like I wanted to implode , completely oblivious to understanding why I was treated in such ways and wanting to rage because of it.

For years, I was addicted to taking six and seven showers or more a day- not because I enjoyed them but rather because I never felt clean. Through therapy, I have worked though this- but the residual effects of my abuse have created and maintained problems in my life with regards to love and sex. Some blend the two together, I personally went the opposite way and am unable to see the two as intertwined, and thus, I have had and still have issues with expressing physical affection with those that I love. Sex, for me, has always been and still remains to feel dirty to me, and I have rarely ever come away from my sexual experiences feeling anything more than emptiness. Sad, I realize, but as hard as I have tried to deal with it in therapy, it still remains to be true today and it is due to the fact that I was raped repeatedly; which is why I feel rape is wrong.

One last thing- rape not only destroys the victim, but it also affects the rapists- as each act of aggression drains the humanity of the perpetrator and reinforces the fact that they are acting like nothing more than animals; filthy monkeys who are looking to get off. Often abuse survivors themselves, anyone who commits rape KNOWS what they are doing- thus they are guilty of consciously transferring all of the self-loathing they feel for themselves into another and, I believe, will be held accountable accordingly. However, those who sit complacently by and allow such things to happen, have even more accountability in my opinion, and may even be judged harsher than the rapist themselves. Rape won’t stop until we, as a society, stop allowing the promotion of such things as being considered just a natural fact of life. Until we collectively stand and MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, it is never going to get any better- and as a rape victim, it is this continued apathy that is perhaps the hardest thing for me to deal with emotionally on a daily basis. I just wish more people would be willing to “put their actions where their mouths are” and help to bring this deplorable, demeaning, and devastating practice to an end.

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