I have been sitting here for hours trying to figure out how to get the thoughts that are flooding my head out. I have started and re-started this post several times. Someone might say that if it is so difficult that maybe I should take that as a sign that I should not post these thoughts, but that is not the case. I just have to figure out the best way to say what it is that is weighing on my mind. Its a touchy topic. Its a deeply personal and private topic. It is not something that I have shared with many of those close to me.
I feel compelled to share because I know that there are many people out there who have been through this or something very similar. Ah, who am I kidding? I mostly need to share because if I don't I'm not sure I can fully heal.
16 years ago, I was a single mom with 2 Littles to watch over. I was also quite the drinker. Not every day, but definitely binged on the weekends that I had no Littles to tend to. On one of those weekends it was business as usual. Go to the club with a friend, get good and drunk and then go home and pass out. That is usually how it ended up. Until one night when things didn't exactly go as planned.
Here's what I remembered the next day. I went to the club, I got separated from my friend and then I recalled standing outside after the bars had closed and having a complete stranger ask me if I was ok and if I needed a ride. The next morning I awoke to a severe headache, a large egg on the back of my head and bruises on my neck.
To those of you reading, it is probably very clear that I had been physically and more than likely sexually assaulted. To me, at the time, I had messed up big time. I had had sex with someone because I drank too much. I couldn't explain the bump on my head or the bruises on my neck, but I was pretty sure that I was never going to tell anyone what had happened. Everyone would know that it was my fault for drinking too much and for leaving with a stranger. Even though I didn't remember leaving with anyone.
So I filed the attack away and went on like business as usual. Went to work on Monday with a headache and faint bruises on my neck. I made it 3 days before a fellow employee finally cornered me and asked me why I had been acting so off. Apparently I wasn't very good at pretending. She was an angel. She had been through a date rape experience and she encouraged me to go the doctor and then to the police.
Some of the details of the attack had been coming to me over those 3 days. I remembered where the attack had taken place and I remembered who the person was. It was a friend of my friend's boyfriend. I didn't remember his name, but I knew that I could find him if I needed to. I kept that information to myself. I didn't want to find him. I didn't want him to tell everyone that I had willingly left the bar with him. I didn't want to get my friend involved. So I told her that I didn't know who he was. Just some guy from the bar.
My co-worked told me how I would feel so much better if I reported it. She said that I would feel more empowered and safe. She went with me to the police. I did not feel better. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. The police officer was very kind. He assured me that it was not my fault and that I shouldn't feel bad. Then he had me take him to the scene of the attack. All I could do is shake as we walked into that wooded area. More details came to my mind, but I couldn't share them. Too disgusted. He found some evidence and then told me to go right to the ER and get myself checked out.
At the ER it was determined that I had sustained a concussion. I was not pregnant and I would have to wait for the HIV test to come, but the attacker had used a condom, so I should be thankful for that. I went home feeling dirty and ashamed again. I never talked to the police after that. I couldn't even see that I had been viciously attacked even after I had been told that I had a concussion. In my mind I was still to blame. I asked for it. I filed the experience away and every now and then I would bring it up in one of my many stints in the counselors office. I even had been able to embrace the notion that it was not my fault and I thought I had moved on.
But today my thoughts kept turning back to that day 16 years ago. I found myself getting more and more emotional about it. I knew that I had some more healing to do. I recently began the practice of Reiki. I'm not going to go into what Reiki is right now, because this post is getting long enough. Simply put, it is an ancient Eastern energy healing technique for the body, mind & spirit. I knew that I needed some healing in the area of this past trauma, but I had no idea what that meant.
This afternoon, as I performed Reiki, the memories of that night came flooding back. Things that I had long forgotten and some things that I had no idea I even knew. I was finally able to understand why I could not remember so many details. I had been drugged and I had been mislead to believe that this person knew where my friend was and would take me to her. I had been a victim of a terrible, brutal crime. I relived all the pain and fear of that night. For these past 16 years any tears that I shed about that night were tears of shame and guilt. Today, for the first time, I let the tears fall freely for the pain that I experienced that night. I cried silently, so that I would not upset my family, but I didn't hold it in. I released the experience. I felt fear, pain (actual physical pain) and anger. I felt vulnerable and small. Nothing I felt tonight has resembled shame or embarrassment or disgust.
I'm shaken, but I am also healing. I am finally, after 16 years, feeling all that I should have felt that night. I am finally seeing what happened as the tragedy that it was. I feel safe and protected and I know that I am going to be fine. I am being guided through this healing process from a combination of sources. Both divine and human. I am not doing this on my own. This is bigger than me, but I am stronger because of it. I am a little freer today and little lighter knowing that I am loved by many and that I will not be judged by this event any longer.
There are people that I know that are going to read this and they will probably going to be taken aback and maybe feel awkward around me, but that is ok. Healing doesn't just need to happen to those of us who have experienced this. It needs to happen to those who are affected by it in any manner. I don't want people to look at me and feel sorry for me, I want them to look at me and think how amazing it is to heal from something so sad. I have more healing to do, but I know that I am up for the experience. I am ready to let my spirit shine and be fully free. That day is coming.
I don't know how long I'll keep this posted. I may decide tomorrow that I don't want to expose myself to others this way. For today I will hit the 'publish post' button and I will hope that what I have gone through can be a beacon of light for anyone who may have experienced the same thing and just wants to heal once and for all.
If you have gone through any kind of physical and/or sexual attack, please tell someone. Allow yourself to heal and to see that you are a beautiful, shining soul who only deserves to be loved and safe.
Just my thoughts.