I believe in inner strength. When there is nobody who understands where you are coming from, who better to turn to than yourself? I was 18 years old when I was drugged and raped. For the days following, I felt my life slowly falling apart. That night consumed my mind; everything I did, I felt he was watching. Everywhere I went, I thought he was there. Everything menial about my day had huge effects on me. I became paranoid. I was having nightmares. I finally realized I had to tell someone.
I had to tell my parents that I was drugged with GHB and raped by a 47 year old man. I had to tell them that I was barely breathing, and almost died that night. It might have been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, but I knew I had to help myself. I wasn’t quite sure what it was I had to do, but I knew telling someone was the first step. Or so I thought. My parents were completely devastated. I thought by telling my parents, somehow they would magically fix what had happened, and I would be okay again. I thought I would not worry that every time I picked up a drink, there would be something in it. Or that I would not worry that everywhere I was, he was there, waiting to get me again. It didn’t work like that at all. Instead, the months that followed were the hardest months of my life.
It started with talking to a rape counselor. I was in a room with my parents, and a lady I had never met in my life. I had to tell her what had happened in detail. She asked me questions that I was so ashamed to answer, and it only got worse after that. From the counselor, it went to the police, then the detectives, and so on. I had to tell tons of random people the most horrific experience of my life, and in detail. I had to answer questions that were embarrassing and vulgar, and I hated every second of it. Through all of this, nothing got better.
I realized how I had to make things better. I had to do it myself. There is nobody that understands how you think and how you feel. I started going out, and yes- I worried. But I kept going out. I told my friends what had happened. When I was upset and thinking about what happened, I wrote in a journal. Most of all, I kept telling myself, you cannot let him win. I was an innocent girl, and I had that innocence taken away from me. I was not going to let him consume my life as well. I knew that what happened to me was terrible, but I learned from it. I learned that you cannot trust everybody that comes along. Mostly, I learned that the power that you hold inside is stronger than you think. For awhile, I really thought that I would not be the same girl I used to be. That paranoid, scared girl that I had become slowly started fading away. The nightmares subsided, and I started being happy again. I even started talking to classes about what had happened, hoping that other people would learn from me.
Sure, I still get a little paranoid at times. I will never drink anything that has been left out, and I trust people a lot less. I worry about it happening to my friends and family. I would never wish what happened to me upon anybody, but in a sense, I am glad it was me and not anyone else. I dealt with it. I got over it. I did not let him win. I have learned that although I can be shaken, I cannot be knocked down… and I have myself to thank for that. I believe in inner strength.
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