I am a rape victim.
It happened almost 20 years ago. But I will never say that I WAS a rape victim. I will always say that I AM a rape victim.
That night, that short moment in time, and all the repercussions that came with it, will forever be reflected in my life. In my actions, my reactions, everything I have done and will do since that moment was inevitably altered by what happened that night.
He was my “best friends” older brother. He has never faced judgement for what he did. I was 18 and it was my first time.
Part of me wants to go into detail and explain what happened, but I have been trying to train myself over the years not to do that, and not to think about it because the circumstances weren’t important. What is important is that I said no, and I meant it, and he did it anyway.
No one believed me. I lost my “best friend” and the rest of that whole circle, they believed him. They harassed me intensely for several months, called me a slut, made harassing phone calls to my dorm room, made loud comments whenever I was in earshot to reference the event. I finally got them thrown out of the dorm for the harassment so at least I didn’t have to see them all every day or listen to the snide comments. But the damage was already done.
I had my second psychotic break ever.
I stopped being able to pay attention in class. I ended the school year on academic probation, I dropped out before they could kick me out the following year.
I got in a relationship with a man who beat me. I started doing drugs and went from a pack week smoker to a two-pack a day smoker. I drank way too much.
I never sought help, I wish I had.
Things continued to go downhill for a few years. My bipolar disorder got completely out of control. I would swing up and spend money I didn’t have, fuck whoever I wanted and was just generally out of control. At that point I had at least managed to make some REAL friends, who looked out for me as much as I would let them, and spent a lot of time doing my damage control. I made their lives hell, but they cared enough to try to save me anyway. I was and am still grateful for them, many of whom are still my friends to this day. Without them I would most likely be dead.
Ultimately though the spiral reached the breaking point. I finally completed the slow-motion mental breakdown and hit rock bottom. And I called my parents in Germany and told them I needed to come home.
It took… well… it took a long time to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. And if I want to be honest with myself, it still isn’t entirely there.
And I wasn’t the only victim from that night. Every relationship I’ve had, man or woman has been weighed down with the baggage of that one night. My family who had to deal with the psychotic stranger wearing their daughter’s face, they were victims. People I befriended later who tried to help me pick up the pieces of my broken life, they were victims. Some good men who fell in love with me whose hearts I shattered with my instability, they were victims. When a single person is raped, we are not the only ones who suffer, the consequences range wide.
Before that night I was a very… warm person… I gave out hugs like candy. I trusted instantly. I smiled frequently and without needing a reason to do so.
That girl died that night.
I trust very few now. It takes a long time to earn my trust and it can be lost in an instant, and once lost it never comes back, ever. Trust is too expensive. I don’t care for physical contact. It is reserved for close friends and close family members. I rarely smile.
That poor girl from Ohio isn’t just a victim today, or the day it happened. She is a victim forever, just like me. If she is able to get the right kind of help, and survive the immense emotional devastation and come out the other side, she will still never be the same person she was. Just like I will never be the same person I was.
My name is Megan. I AM a rape victim yesterday, today and for the rest of my life until the day I die.
It should never have happened to me, it should never have happened to that girl in Ohio and it should never happen to anyone.
And you will NEVER be able to tell me that it was my fault.