Category: Rape


It’s been a hard days… month, or two

**Trigger Warning: Re: Sexual assault and s/h**

These last 6+ weeks have been kinda hellish. Med school in itself is fairly hellish. Being raped by a fellow student, pretty awful. The legal process which offered NO justice, at LEAST as violating as the act itself. But, I’m still here. (Which reminds me of one of my favorite poems, which I’ll post a little further down)

I can’t concentrate on much of anything, nevermind schoolwork. I haven’t managed to fail out yet, and I’m not sure how. I guess I’m catching enough to keep my head above the water. But the anger at what happened, my disappointment and anger in myself for my inability to magically get it together, use my skills (most of which I feel I’ve forgotten even though they were even more routine than breathing up until it happened)… is really affecting me. I have not self-harmed in 8 months and 9 days. Yes, so if anyone was still wondering, I am still self-harm free. I don’t know how. It has taken almost every ounce of my strength on some days to not self-abuse. It sadly comes so naturally. It’s an old pattern that I brought into adulthood, because I didn’t know how else to cope with pain other than to assault myself. Logically I know this is not the way one should be treated. However, I have been really triggered lately and feel quite often that I need to be “punished”. And I don’t, I just feel and think that I do. Unfortunately there is no fairy dust that I can sprinkle on myself to get me immediately back to where I was emotionally a few months ago. Luckily, there is similarly no fairy dust to get me back to where I was a few months before then and the many moons before then… because those were a scary time. Things are still frightening, but I have made a lot of progress. Considering what happened, I know that “on paper”, I’m doing very well. But my heart aches from the many feelings I have about the incident, nevermind how I feel it’s impacting my life. Things do get better every day, but they are still really rough. I can only logically acknowledge the progress I’ve made–I don’t feel it yet. I just want to feel it SO desperately.

My self-harm urges are more vibrant and intrusive than they’ve been in months. I think the stronger I fight not to, even though a huge part of me wants to feel that brief instant of relief… the stronger the thoughts and images are in my head.

I have made plenty of friends at school. And I have several really wonderful friends. But, I just don’t feel it. All I feel is loss. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life who I miss tremendously right now. The guy I was interested in is too sick (read: depressed and not making enough effort and strides to work with it and get better) for me to be in a relationship with, even a casual one, or friendship. His consistent inconsistency is entirely too painful. I do care for him, more than I ever wanted to, and you can’t help who you love and care about. I can, however, monitor my behavior and interaction with him though. We haven’t spoken in about two weeks. As deeply as it hurts, I think this was a very smart and healthy move on my part. I didn’t want to be further emotionally damaged by the people I allowed in my life, including him. It’s not his fault, I am an adult and I allow toxic people into my life. I’ve let quite a few people go in the past month and it hurts. I miss them, even the toxic parts of them. Perhaps MORE SO their toxic aspects. So while it hurts so badly that I can hardly breathe at the moment, in time, this will pass. Just like every flashback, the pain will stop and it hasn’t killed me yet.

I think some of my current pain comes from the strides I’ve made and the disappointment I feel as I am drowning in a riptide of depression. Depression at this point is totally understandable. But, I just really resent feeling so pained. I just want to live. I want to study and concentrate. I want to cook for myself and take care of my basic needs. As always I put on a really great “show” but I’m not ok. I have to be at peace with not being ok right now. And I’m not. I think it’s this resistance that is causing me so much anguish. I have so many feelings and thoughts to challenge, I feel really overwhelmed.

I don’t really know how pray tell to get my game face on and piece myself back together. I don’t think I’m supposed to. I think I’m supposed to take it day by day, and moment by moment… but that is not exactly my forte.

And the poem I promised:

Still Here by Langston Hughes

“I been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between ’em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’–
But I don’t care!
I’m still here!”

Love, Joy

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****TRIGGER WARNING****

I am getting pretty close to snapping. As though the stress of being raped on the third day back at med school, starting school, moving, still unpacking, studying and feeling like there are 2 million fireflies fluttering around my head distracting me at all times, having to see his nonplussed asshole self every day because all med students have the SAME classes together at the SAME time, and the fantastic re-traumatizing process of the legal system ALL weren’t enough, I think he gave me an STD. When I was last checked, I was STD-free. I have the pleasure of finding out the culture and blood work results early next week. He has “no idea” if he used the condom that was on the floor. I took Plan B during the rape kit, along with other prophylactic antibiotics for bacterial STDs. But, I was told that there were no prophylactics available for viral STDs.

I have been having a really hard time to begin with. I am dealing with school as best as I can. I’m doing better grade-wise with every passing week. But, I’ve got a long way to go before I’m satisfied. However, I couldn’t stand pretending like nothing happened and like he didn’t violate me. I knew I had to report it either internally to my school or to the authorities. I decided on the authorities after I heard from someone else from school that (even though I was extremely vague w details) that he had “heard my story of what happened before” and that he “knew who it was based on his behaviors”. I questioned him and didn’t give any information away. I asked like 5 demographic questions to which I got all the right answers. I stood up and screamed in the room we were in. I asked my friend how he knew… and he said it was because he had heard my story before from someone else who knew my rapist before med school started.

I finally crawled into the police station and made my report. I tried to escape the prosecutor’s office and statement, but the female officer had her own agenda because she had been raped at 12. I managed to escape having to do the interview and taped statement with the prosecutor’s office that day because no one was available. I went back after I heard that he had potentially done this to someone else already. I had a feeling, but I’m not omniscient. He doesn’t even think he did anything wrong. That’s a whole ‘nother story, though. I can’t even go there right now.

I have had the pleasure of walking into class to find the staff of the prosecutor’s office at my school because they couldn’t track my rapist down at home. I hid from him for 2 days after I knew he was interviewed. I am the victim, I was violated, and yet I was cowering. It is MY school. I shouldn’t have to hide. He should be ashamed, scared, and intimidated by me. He raped me, and I am fighting back. I may not get far legally, but I am speaking the truth, which is empowering (and horrific, and humiliating, as well–but I am proud of myself regardless of the outcome).

And now I have the pleasure of waiting a few days to find out my STD status. I went to the doctor yesterday. I didn’t investigate anything on my own prior because I didn’t want to obsess about it, especially while I’m trying to stay tethered from the planet and not totally tossing in the towel over school. However, I spent time last night and this evening investigating what I think I have. I have very classic symptoms of a primary infection in females. It has gotten progressively worse since yesterday. The only thing I can do is make a paltry attempt at being mindful and not letting my worries and the potential diagnosis consume me. Emphasis on paltry. Every time I think I’ve calmed down I start crying again. I just want to be able to dissociate on command again. People have stuff to say, but it’s mostly crying, and “we’re damaged forever”, etc. However, who I want to take over won’t. I can’t be on the phone with my friends, my mom, a rape counselor 24/7. I have nothing more to say.

~Joy

The beginning of the aftermath

**TRIGGER WARNING: This post is about a recent assault. It may trigger you and I hope you will engage in enough self-care to discern whether or not reading about this may cause you difficulties.**

I really wanted to write a post about Rape Trauma Syndrome. And earlier today and yesterday I had the emotional fortitude to do it, but at this moment, I don’t. So at a later point in time, hopefully I will be able to write about that.

I will admit, I’m in disbelief of what happened. I won’t go into any details because I would like to keep this as non-triggering as possible for anyone who decides to read this. But, I’m having a really hard time today. I got out of the house and went swimming, then went for ice cream w a friend and hung out at my house for a bit. The guy I like is coming home from vacation a little early just to hold me. Or so he says, but … I’m sorry, I expect nothing from anyone and don’t believe what people say, I believe what people do. (Note: He and my closest friends have been amazingly supportive… I’m just in a total funk right now) And now I’m alone again. I feel so unsafe when I’m alone.

I have so many supports; friends, family, professional, here. I think I’m doing as well as one can. I’m engaging in a lot of self-care, feeling my feelings, doing reality checks and thought stopping when necessary, keeping my routine and living my life, and reaching out… and I’m still here sobbing right now. And earlier today I felt so unsafe. I even felt unsafe for almost the entire time I was at the pool. I felt scared of everyone, even the (usually to me, adorable) little kids bumping into me.

I have so much to do. I have to prep for classes on Monday. I have to handle housing and tomorrow go sign a lease. I have to pack. I’m a former horder (I believe because many things were taken from me, tangible and intangible), most recently just totally overwhelmed by the amount of crap no matter how much I throw out, sell, and donate, donate, donate. I presently feel like purging my house of everything other than my furniture and clothing. I want to get rid of a lot of my clothing too, which is totally unusual for me. I know I need to get rid of things so I can move and be in a mindful, serene place emotionally, I just can’t believe that I was assaulted and now I want to throw out EVERYTHING.

I’m really trying to use distraction. I feel a lot of fear. I can’t isolate about specifics, but I am especially afraid when I’m alone. And the fear hurts my chest. Just like it has in the past… And now I’m listening to music and in a few I’ll get back to tossing things in the trash and setting aside worthy things to donate. I want it all gone. I want to start my return to school with strength and determination. But mostly, I just want a SAFE hug.

Wishing you serenity and that incredible feeling, safety,

Joy

I Don’t Know Where to Begin

**TRIGGER WARNING: What I say later may be difficult for you to read. If you are not in a safe place, or may be triggered by something that I’m going to describe–PLEASE take good care of yourself and DO NOT read this.**

First of all, I suppose you can gather that I still am, in fact, alive. Things have been INSANE lately, and not in a clinical sense. I have returned to medical school, am in the process of relocating, and a bazillion other things. I am ardently looking forward to settling into my new home, and in with classes, so that I can get my routine going again. I have been able to talk to my friends and see them, but not as much as I would like and is typical of us. I have a lot LOT lot of things I’d like to write about, and I’ll get to them eventually. But, I have something I would like to share.

********************This is where the possible TRIGGER begins********************

Over the past day I have learned to say the four-letter word of what happened to me a few days ago. On the third day after my return to medical school, I was raped by a fellow classmate. I have been taking extremely good care of myself and honestly, cannot believe how well I am handling what happened. I got the appropriate medical care and counseling/advocacy that I need to start the healing process the day after. I will be ok. I took a day off from school (orientation) and missed my White Coat Ceremony because I told one of the Deans in Student Affairs that I was purposely being vague; and that something bad happened the night before, and that I need to get appropriate medical care and counseling so that I am ok to start classes on Monday.

I have been doing what I think is best for me to heal. I have read information, spoken to my friends and other supports, and continued LIVING. I will not isolate and/or spontaneously combust because something bad that was not my fault and absolutely out of my control happened. I have been processing my feelings, and letting them happen so that hopefully I will have less repercussions later. I expect this will slightly disrupt my life, but I refuse to let it derail me. I have survived too much and worked way too hard academically and even more so, therapeutically to get through and reclaim my life. I won’t let someone else’s actions get in the way of that. This is what I have control over.

I have genuinely missed my online community between here and twitter. I hope you are all doing well, and I have thought about you very much despite the fact that I’ve been MIA. Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity. Namaste.

~Joy