Trigger warning… Recovery from Rape
I have read so many posts about people that have suffered a sexual assault in their lives. There are a number that happen in the BDSM realm. My own happened when I was fourteen, long before I entered the lifestyle. Mine was perpetrated by four men in balaclavas and I was also cut and stabbed. I was in an abandoned farm house and left for dead. I don’t know where I got it from but I found the strength to crawl out of the house to the road. An old couple stopped, covered me up and picked me up. They then took me to a local hospital and from there I was taken down to one of the main hospitals in my capital city. From that point on I don’t remember much but I woke up in hospital.
Please don’t pity me because I went from being a victim to a survivor but it took me a long time to get there and there are still things that haunt me but only small things.
The reason I am telling you this is because of that very reason I survived. I had to do a great deal to get to this place. Because of the nature of my circumstances the police were involved. I had all the normal swabs and photographs but I could not tell them much because I stopped speaking altogether. They were wonderful to me after the rape kit had been done. The sedated me and I could have kissed them for that. It was like falling into a great big cloud and it felt warm. It pushed away the pain.
Because I lived in the country a long way from the city where I would need a great deal of ongoing medical treatment I was taken in by a friend of the family and he was given the power to be involved in said treatment because my mother could not live in the city with me. Long story and one I have no wish to talk about except to say my home life was miserable.
The person who became my guardian was Steven, (not to be mistaken for my wonderful S. who is my partner now) Steven was in my hospital room every day, making sure I was fine. He became my Master years later but that is a whole different story.
During my healing time he was like a loving uncle. I had known him for years and he was the only man that I didn’t freak out with. Even so I would not let him touch me to begin with. By touching I mean putting a hand on my shoulder or to hold my hand for comfort.
He spoke quietly as did the nurses and slowly I began to talk again. A specialist councillor was appointed for me, I saw a psychiatrist and was put on the right meds (anti-depressants and something to help sleep). I was in hospital for a good number of weeks and gradually my wounds healed. There was a time I looked like Edward Scissor hands, sort of sad and cut up.
The police took my statement and kept coming back to see if I remembered any more. I hated those times because I wanted to forget what happened, which you can’t of course, but thinking about it made me vomit.
The one thing that devastated me was the nightmares and I wish I could tell you that I don’t have them now but I can’t. It has changed though, I deal with that a lot better.
You might think I am sat in my ivory tower spouting this stuff to perhaps garner your sympathy but I don’t want that, I don’t need it. What I want to do is tell you the following.
Immediately after make sure you can get to a safe place physically, home, hospital, or a friend’s place. Do not shower, wash or change your clothes until you decide if you are going to the police. Now this is a very BIG thing. It can seem daunting considering this simple thing. You can feel demeaned at the thought of being examined, have swabs taken and also the naked photographs. All I can say is it is much easier these days because they have special victim units that are trained to help you through it. They will ask you to relate what happened how many were involved, descriptions, names if you know the person/people involved.
Not all rapes are the same and a great number of consent violators are not reported to the police because they can say you got yourself into a BDSM scene, so how can you say you didn’t consent? You allowed them to tie you up or any other crap like this. I am sure there are police officers that might not treat BDSM victims as seriously as other rape victims. This is beginning to change but very, very slowly. You do have a right to have female officers take your statement and also for female nurses. You can decide to not go to the police and that choice is yours. Had I not been as badly hurt as I was I don’t honestly know if I would have gone to the police. You do what you can at the time. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t.
Because I was in hospital so long it became a place of safety and when it was actually time to leave I freaked out. See doctor, get pills.
I couldn’t sleep with the light off at night I freaked out. See doctor, get pills.
I didn’t like being at a group barbeque or social gatherings, I freaked out about the men I didn’t know. See the doctor, get pills.
See the pattern? I became addicted to sedatives and similar pills. Pills are not the answer. Sure, they have a temporary calming effect, ah but when they wear off the problem is still there and sometimes it is worse. Same with illegal drugs and alcohol. When addiction rears up it’s ugly head you end up with two mental problems.
I have come close to suicide a few times but never actually did anything about it. I will give you a story about this. I was feeling really bad and I had no pills to help me feel better and I just went to see my Doctor. I was called in and his eyes were red and swollen. I told him I felt bad and could I have something to help. He asked if I was feeling suicidal. I said yes and he sort of got really upset. He looked at me and said one of his other patients had died (suicide) that day and he made me promise that if I felt that way I must seek help. I gave my word and I have never broken it.
I don’t mean to sound preachy because I know what it is like to be in that situation because at that stage you just want a way to forget and stop feeling afraid. Believe me if I could have slept for years I would have.
Many, many years after the rape I met a therapist that just understood me and what I was going through. He said something to me that really reached inside me and made me want to fight back. He said, the men that abused me were still abusing me because I was still suffering the rape. Now they were raping my mind. He asked me if I wanted to find a way to stop that happening.
I was shocked and felt rather nauseous but it made sense to me. I said to him please tell me what to do. He said how about we talk about it together. He had some good answers to the problems that we found. I was afraid of men, the physical size of them. I am just a little under five foot and most men are bigger than me so I was scared most of the time when I went out. My councillor said then we had to find ways to empower me. So, I learned self-defence. It wasn’t the nice bow before fighting or making funny noises as you chop some wooden boards. This was grab them by the balls dirty fighting aimed at simply stopping a man and getting away. I carried pepper spray in my purse. In Australia you can’t carry a gun and I am not really the type to ever do that even though now I could. I have a baseball bat by my bed and I damned well know how to use it. That was what I needed to do to find some peace.
I kept going with counselling and I did many courses like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness and Dialectic Behavioural Therapy. All of those taught me more healthy ways you tackle my emotions.
I went to group sessions for self-harming. Oh yes, I did that too. I am trying to let you know where I have been and how far I have come. I still have nightmares but they are not so strong or devasting as they once were. I can also get over them much quicker.
Never give up and never give in. Fight every moment you can. Look for answers that mean something for you. Find your strengths and use them. I was lucky I found my amazing S. He is such a support with all of this. It can’t be nice to go to bed with a girl that kicks, screams and punches sometimes. Yes, there are echoes in me and one of the biggest is if I smell beer on a man’s breath and I can smell it a mile off. The smell of hessian makes me want to throw up. The sight of a Bowie knife sends me into a panic.
If you suffer a set back it is just a temporary thing so don’t give up. Take a rest but don’t berate yourself. Become a fighter again after you have rested. Never give up. You are worth fighting for.
Don’t let the bastards win and take back your own power. You are an amazing creature so never forget that.
Am I a victim now? Hell no, I am a survivor and my love goes out to you all and my prayers too. Find your solid ground and defend it jealously. You have a right to find peace and a right to feel safe.