An internet stranger recently told me that no self-respecting man would bother with me given my history. In one sparkling second, I became grateful I’d advertised by trauma and chronic illness so widely on this site. If it scares away people like that, it does more for me than I’d realised.
A man who turns rape into a dating pitfall doesn’t deserve a survivor as a partner: not our resilience, our depth, or our spirits. Not the gold used to repair our cracks or the beauty of every mended scar.
Before trauma, I was vapid and ignorant. I couldn’t identify with those around me because my life had been made out of rose petals. If yours wasn’t made of the same stuff, I didn’t understand you. I didn’t know what it was like to exist on a metaphorical rollercoaster. I only knew the type of life that sailed smoothly on a dead sea.
I couldn’t connect with people unless they were as lucky as I was.
Then I fell ill.
Then I was raped.
So began a rollercoaster that took years and years to stop.
You know what I did? I climbed off that ride because rape is not a life sentence. Most of us heal, and when we do, we come out looking like kintsugi, with scars of gold where our brokenness once was.
My rape doesn’t reflect on me because I didn’t participate in it. I was just in the wrong place with the wrong person at the wrong time. In those days, I thought an act of violence connected the victim and rapist irrevocably. I was wrong. Once I understood that I was not a part of my rape, I began to separate from it. I healed.
And you, sir, are vapid and ignorant for thinking that rape is an inherent part of me and other survivors. It isn’t. It’s inherent in our rapists.
And by the way, I am no victim. Not anymore.
I emerged whole. I emerged having learned how to cope with the intolerable, how to accept the unacceptable, and how to exist in uninhabitable places. In short. I became what you might never be: a victor.