Each day I seem to find something else that being raped has cost me. I share this not to be pitied, but to bring even more awareness to the problem, the aftermath, and possible ways that we can help each other when someone we know is sexually assaulted.
The first loss to grieve was that of self, then of security, confidence, pride, privacy, often virginity, peace, etc. Many of us have scars, not only emotional, but also physical that will forever remind us of what we hoped was just a nightmare.
I lost my place to call home as many women do. Living alone and being stalked made it unsafe for me to stay where I had felt most comfortable. The ever-present reminders in my home that can trigger anxiety and panic attacks also made moving a wise decision.
Three of my very good friends simply cannot handle the knowledge or the pain and have backed away from me. I know they still think of me and that they pray. In the absence I search for ways to help them, sorrowful for the strain this ugliness has brought them.
In the waterfall of emotions, which causes craziness and loss of cognitive abilities, I believe I have forgotten to pay every one of my bills at least once. I have worked hard all my adult life to keep my credit score at a premium and yesterday my credit card was declined. I also got a collection call from another credit card and all I can do is apologize, then hang up the phone and cry.
I try to remind myself that all of this is common to survivors. I vacillate between being irate at the perpetrator because I picture him going on with his life just fine, no losses and cocky that he hasn’t been caught; and then I am angry at myself for not “being able” to overcome these challenges and stay in control. I also realize that we often give grace to others much easier than to ourselves.
I have been told over and over that I cannot let him win, and rest assured I don’t want him to, and then the phone rings again…or it doesn’t.