My Story – Pam
If someone would have told me long ago that my pain would subside someday, that I could begin to love and feel again, I would have walked away-sadly- with an even greater doubt. The battle inside me was too overwhelming. The reality of being truly alive-mentally, physically and spiritually-seemed only a fantasy.
Whenever something as horrific as rape occurs in someone’s life, the scars are so deeply rooted that the thought of recovery is non-existent. Here is my story.
It was twelve years ago in September 1984. I had begun another year in college. I was scared of men right to start. I was scared of their thoughts, attitudes and motives. My previous experiences with men taught me not to trust them. Seven years prior to entering programmed toward pleasing him. I came to believe that men over-powering women was just a natural way of life.
One particular evening while at school, I was out with a couple of friends. we had hit an unfamiliar pizza shop. I remember spotting a very handsome, older man, sitting a few tables away from me. My friends urged me to go over and introduce myself. I was actually a little timid, but wanted to live up to my reputation of being “Miss Social”. He seemed very pleasant. After a few brief moments, I was satisfied in knowing that we “knew” each other. It was all harmless fun, or so I thought.
Before we left the restaurant, he came over to me and asked me out on a casual date. I was beside myself and never expected it at all. Of course I would date him. I was thrilled!
Our very first date went well. We seemed to hit it off wonderfully. The conversation was light. It was a time to find out more about him, and him about me. The next date was little bit more intense. He told me about his past, that he had been married, divorced and was the father of a little girl. A few more weeks passed and my roommate went home for the weekend. I invited my new “friend” up for a casual drink and conversation. We talked a lot, drank some, and were on our way to a fabulous evening. I became a little tipsy from the wine and decided to stop drinking, but he persuaded me to have one more.
I started feeling sick, but continued to listen to him talk about his daughter and his past. My emotions started to get the best of me and I let my guard down. He took advantage of this and moved in closer. He kept coming closer and closer. I got real uncomfortable. At one point he got up and locked the door and I knew I was in trouble. I was scared and felt totally helpless. He took hold of me and forced me down on my bed. He stripped me and then raped me. I very quietly said “NO”, but was too frightened to say anything to say anything else, for fear of my life.
I didn’t report the incident. I felt very dirty. I too a long hot shower and then went back to my dorm room. I was confused and couldn’t sleep that night.
A short time later I tired to find him. I wanted to know why. I wanted an explanation. I did receive some counseling, but had difficulty telling my story. It wasn’t until two years ago that I was able to sort out my past feelings. I am currently in a marriage of ten years, with a marvelous man. For eight of those ten years I couldn’t tell him about my past for fear of rejection. Finally, I could no longer detain my secret and knew I had to tell him my horror and shame. I expected the worst scenario, but instead I received compassion and love.
I think the biggest help for me was to actually hear myself tell my story out loud. I am doing much better now, and feel that if my terrible experience can help just on person, then it will have been worth it. Anyone who has just been raped knows the depth of humiliation, the shattering of identity and loss of attractiveness.
So, how do we begin to pull away from darkness and onto a road of recovery? It is so important to be in touch with others who have been in similar situations. To be able to trust again takes time. It can happen, and, as I have found out, life can be full, rich and wonderful in so many ways.
For some the journey can make us stronger. As for myself, I feel good again. I like who I am and have regained trust. I love life and am happy once more. Thank you to all who have taken an active part in my recovery. And thanks to God-my strength and my comforter.