This is one story I hate to tell. It’s a story that’s hard to tell, but one that needs to be told not because I seek clout or validation or pity but because of that one person- that one person whose life has been changed forever as a result of rape; that one person who’s struggling with the trauma of rape, it is for you that I write this.
I remember seeing bloodstains in the bathtub. He had gone to wash my body after the heinous act. I still remember the room it happened. I remember how I trembled with fear as he pointed to me and said, “if you tell anyone, I will kill you, and I will kill your mummy and daddy”.
As I type this, tears are rolling down my cheeks because I remember everything- his body scent, his face, the sound of his voice, what I was wearing the first day it happened, the look on his face as he took off my panties, the pain I felt, the painting on the wall in his bedroom, the mattress…I remember every single detail. The horror I faced that day and the ones that followed changed my life forever.
Maybe if he’d done it once, I’d not grow up so broken, but he did it over and over and over again. Anytime he wanted, anytime he wished, I was his prey. I was only 5. Please tell me what I did wrong?
For years, I was a living corpse-so broken, so shattered. I looked good on the outside but I was dead inside. I went through life thinking it was my fault. I thought something was wrong with me. I hated myself for the evil done to me. I even tried to take my life a few times.
I got into all manner of things to deaden the pain and emptiness I felt on the inside. I had gone through this trauma and there was no one to tell. Who would believe me? Who? Who would fight for me?
Before you spew nonsense about rape victims. Think about this story. At age 5, what could I have done to attract a rapist? I could barely spell my name. Rape is a serious issue. It is not something you treat casually. It is callous to expect rape victims to just wave their ordeal aside like it never happened. Rape is traumatising, and it’s even worse when you keep it to yourself while you watch your abuser walk free. When you are raped, the pain actually never leaves. It stays with you. You might try to bury it or pretend like it never happened but the pain is still there. No matter what you do, no matter how much you try, you feel like you have lost something; like you have lost a part of you. Nobody should have to experience that.
I didn’t just lose my innocence to the man who raped me, I lost my childhood. I lost the innocence of childhood. I felt too dirty to play with my peers. As a teenager, I only saw dirt when I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t stop blaming myself for what happened to me. Maybe if I had someone who cared enough to listen to me, that guilt would not have destroyed me as much as it did.
Something died in me at 5. The little girl in me died. I lost the sparkle in my eyes. I was no longer that happy child who always had questions about everything; I became a grown woman in a child’s body. I was withdrawn. I’d cry at the slightest provocation. Nobody understood me. I had so many questions but there was no one to answer them. I kept asking myself, ‘why me?’. If it wasn’t for the love of God, I probably would have wound up dead as a result of suicide or locked up in a mental hospital. Oh, I was a broken soul.
This trauma…I battle it every single day. From the moment I open my eyes, I have to constantly remind myself that I’m worth something. I cannot get back my childhood. I can’t change what’s been done to me, however, I have the power to choose to not allow my past become a stumbling block to the beautiful future God has for me.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been a victim of rape, first of all, I want you to know that it was NOT your fault. I don’t care what circumstances led to it; it wasn’t your fault. Period. Don’t blame yourself. I also want you to know that you are not alone, and you do not have to bear the pain alone. Talk to someone. It’s hard, but it helps. Talk to someone you can trust. Rape is not something you keep to yourself. See a therapist. Confide in a trusted friend. Speaking out helps you heal. Please do not protect rapists no matter who they are. Report them. Rape is a crime and offenders should and must be punished.
You also need to heal. Your pain doesn’t have to hold you back. Resolve that you will become everything God has destined you to be regardless of what you’ve been through. I’d be lying if I told you that the pain will disappear immediately, but I can assure you that with the help of Christ, it’ll be easier to bear. This leads me to my next point.
Let God heal you. The reason I can share this freely today is because I encountered the love of God. My pain wrecked me. I lost my sense of self-worth. As a matter of fact, I had absolutely no sense of self-worth until I started to learn to see myself the way God sees me. It’s been a tough journey for me, but a crucial one nonetheless. God’s hands can reach where no therapist can; let him heal you. Let him take that brokenness from within you and make something beautiful out of it. You can do this.
I love you always.