I know it’s been a year and a half. I know I disappeared for a long time. I know that some of you have missed my writing. I’m not promising I am back, but I felt like I needed to write this piece. Rather dramatic for my return but hey, would you expect anything less from the infamous Kiss of Beth’s?
So today I am going to cover a topic that isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest topics I think I will ever write about, for me personally anyway. This is your trigger warning for a difficult conversation about rape. Please click off this piece now. I’ll write again, but this piece just isn’t for you.
So I’m going to write about this. It’s not going to be pleasant, but it needs to be spoken about. The feelings after the incident are something that aren’t discussed enough. The fallout of the incident on my mental health needs to be spoken about, because I can almost bet I am not the only person that’s felt this way.
I’m not going to be outing the person in this piece. I’m not going to drag his name into this. That’s not what this piece is about. This piece is about how I coped, my feelings directly after and my feelings in the following months.
So, we will start at just before the incident. Have you ever felt powerless? You know what’s coming and nothing you can do or say will ever stop it. You lose control of your free will and your power. You are no longer in control. You become numb. You try to focus out of what is happening, even with tears rolling down your face. It’s a weird feeling; having no control over what’s happening to your body.
I cried the whole time. Tears rolled down my face as I dealt with what was happening to me. My body hurt, as if everything had suddenly tensed up to the point of no return. I just lay there and took it because at that point there was nothing I could do.
Afterwards, I sat in the bath and I cried. I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life. I wanted to grab the bleach that sat next to my bathtub and scrub my body with it. Get every feeling off of me, to feel less dirty, less used. If only a bottle of dettol could have fixed everything, I would have poured bottles of it into that bathtub with me.
For weeks after, my body hurt from touch. Didn’t matter who was touching me, even an innocent cuddle would make my body fall into a painful panic. Like someone was stabbing my every nerve ending. I still fear touch, bar from a few select people. It panics me, as if at any second I could be put back into that moment. Do you know how difficult it is; not even being able to cuddle some of your closest friends because your body can’t handle something as simple as touch?
Then comes the nightly anxiety attacks. I keep myself busy during the day, I keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about anything other than the task at hand. My brain does the majority of it’s processing while I am asleep. It copes with things by helping me process through dreams. Queue the super-not-fun flashbacks of the rape. This always ends up with me laying on my bathroom floor at 2 or 3 in the morning; crying my heart out and fighting through a mind shattering panic attack. I still get these months on, when I am having a particularly bad day. I wake up still feeling every touch and every comment and I instantly have to run and be sick, repeating my anxiety-induced bathroom floor routine.
It took me a long time to open up to the people around me because I had the constant feeling that I deserved it. That I deserved to be raped. I deserved punishment and that was the suitable answer. I tried to justify it in my own head, trying to make myself believe that I had in fact got it wrong. That I had just misremembered what had happened to me. No matter how much I tried to justify and make the rape make sense, I couldn’t. It’s exactly what it was, it was rape.
I’ve always struggled with self harm and this sent me very close to the edge of starting this habit back up. It made sense to me. I wanted to cut off the skin that he had touched. I wanted to punish myself for ever letting it happen. There were some nights where I wanted to end it all, just remove myself from this world completely. I felt worthless. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to ever exist as myself ever again. I am very lucky that I managed to keep those intrusive thoughts at bay, even if it was incredibly difficult.
It was sex I didn’t want. I said no, repeatedly.
It’s been a few months since the incident. Few people know every detail of what happened that day and what led to that moment happening. Let me get one thing straight, I was in my pjs. I was in my favourite set of comfort pjs that I used to wear when my day was shit. Now I can’t wear them without feeling shit. They now sit as a reminder, but I refuse to throw them out. One day, I will fully reclaim them and make nothing but happier memories in them.
I still feel numb. I still feel like I could have done more to stop it. I still dip in and out of the fact that I feel like I deserved it. I know deep down I didn’t, but that’s the funny thing about brains, they will try anything to help you rationalise what happened to you.
Many of you will wonder if I reported what had happened and the answer is no, not through the correct channels. I was scared and I didn’t want to hurt the people around me by airing out my dirty laundry publicly. If I had been stronger at the time, I would have 100% reported it but alas I wasn’t. Instead I broke down in private and shut myself down. I turned off my emotions and just became numb.
I am very lucky to say I have an incredible support network around me and I am getting specialist help from a great mental health team to ensure that I am dealing and coping with this in the correct way. I still find myself panicking at touch and around new people. I cannot wait for the day where I feel normal again. For the day when this doesn’t pop into my head and send me into an anxiety spin.
Most of all, I cannot wait for seven year’s time, after all of my cells regenerate – because it will be like he never touched me at all.