Trigger Warning: This piece discusses elements of rape, sexual violence, and sexual abuse which may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Questions. Thousands of questions fill the mind of a woman who has been raped by the man of her affections.
Why did you do it? What did you think when I kept seeing you after it happened? Did the thought of what you’d done ever go through your mind? But most importantly, why couldn’t you wait? Why did you need to have me at that exact moment?
These are questions that only he can answer.
He being both my ex-lover and rapist, holds the key to the answers that could free me. Or maybe not. Maybe the fact that he was an old flame makes me feel as though I could actually ask these questions, and that’s why I have them in the first place.
For years I wrestled between my heart and my mind as to who he truly was. Was he a rapist or an ex? I couldn’t seem to accept the fact that he was both. We like to categorize people in our minds. We want them to fit into nice, neat boxes for our own sanity and comfort. This question of who he was weighed heavy on my person, and leads to the ultimate question: friend or foe?
When I confronted Youssef about raping me years after he had done it, he was instantly apologetic. I had never received a text message so quickly, let alone an apology from a man. He owned it immediately and requested multiple times I see him in person to discuss it. I knew that I would have been too unpredictable if I had seen him right away, so I wanted to wait. Years later when I was finally ready to talk, he changed his tune. He went from his instantaneous “I’m sorry” to “we see things differently.”
I tried contacting him several times to talk about it. This led him to threaten me with a restraining order if I did not refrain from contacting him. I imagined the scenario of the authorities coming to my home to serve me with the papers. If the police showed up, I would have said, “Alright, that’s cool, now please give me a ride to the precinct, I have to report a rape.”
Most sexual assault victims don’t press charges. We know the system is not leaning in our favor. Just look at the Ke$ha ruling. The question of whether or not to press charges is a big one, and one that I have tried to avoid for quite some time. Would it really give me a sense of justice, if he was locked behind bars? His family is powerful, which means his lawyer will be better than mine, so then what? Am I willing to be humiliated on the stand just so that I can let a broken justice system teach him a lesson?
But that’s not the lesson I want him to learn. The lesson he needs to learn is not to rape. Will he really learn that behind bars?
When you’re raped by a lover, the break up is even more complicated than a regular one. Because while your anger and disgust at this person is strong as fuck – the love you once had for this individual is still there. My heart and my mind had a long, hard drawn out battle over this man’s existence in my universe. Only when I moved to a new part of town, did I finally realize that he was in fact haunting me.
I needed to exorcise his presence from my life-like a resident poltergeist that just doesn’t want to go away. When I realized how much mental energy he was taking up, I had to take action. So I wrote an article about the rape. This helped, a lot. Getting my story out there, so that other women who had been in similar situations would know that someone could relate, gave me more of sense of closure. But it was still not enough.
Although his spirit no longer haunts mine and I’m free of the torturous thoughts that went through my mind for years, the questions still persist.
The worst question of all was possibly, did he ever really love me? Did he ever really care? Or was I just the nearest warm body for him to pillage, possibly like many women before.
His quick or possibly methodical decision to rape me led me to be celibate for years during my 20’s. I removed myself from the dating world altogether. I couldn’t even think of a man touching me after what had happened, let alone trust one to do so. I was heavily conflicted, tortured, and traumatized. Too traumatized to let someone else in who had the possibility of doing the exact same thing.
When we close the door to a relationship, we’re supposed to leave the baggage in the past. Most importantly, we’re supposed to take away a lesson learned. But what is the lesson here? What did I learn from this relationship?
When someone shows you who they are, believe them. And if the person they turn out to be is a devil to your soul, don’t be afraid to run like all hell and not look back.
If rape occurs in a relationship, even just once, leave him. That type of disregard for your consent is evidence of a much deeper problem, one that you the, is under no obligation to solve.
I wrote and recorded a song about the rape and how I feel now. Listen to it if you want to hear what an empowered rape survivor sounds like on the mic.
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Featured image via Christopher Campbell on Unsplash
love your. Rap post. Lyrics
Why is it assumed that the rapist is always male?
That’s your comment? Numb nuts. She’s talking about a specific rapist who was male and 99% of the time rapists are male so shut it Michael numb-nuts.
I’m a woman and I raped my fiancee while I was blackout drunk. There is nothing I can ever do to make up for it. I have had panic attacks for the past 6 months because I know I hurt the person I love more than anything in the world. He still loves me and I can’t reconcile his love with what I did to him. You can’t tell me that what i did wasn’t rape because I was drunk. You can’t tell me that the pain he feels isn’t real. You can’t tell me that what I feel isn’t real either. I don’t believe I deserved to exist but instead I have to live knowing what I did when I wasn’t in control and knowing the lasting effects it has had on the one person I will ever love.
This happened to me… thank you. It brings me some small peace to know I’m not crazy for the conflict going on in my mind
I read this and this is exactly what happened to me. I fight a war in my head still all these many years later. Why did he do it? Was it planned? Did he ever love me? Joel, even reacted the same way, so apologetic and wanted to see me. Then a few years later I was ready and he was engaged and all of the sudden his tune was If you don’t stop emailing me or calling me I will get a order against you.
For the first time I feel like I am not alone.
Thank you for your story!
happend to me , his name was youssef too. the worst part is that i have too see him in college everyday.
Thank you. I was raped when I was 22 by the love of my life (not his) and it took me decades to really acknowledge the abuse of me and the emotional pain. Like you I have been haunted by this person, and can never discuss it with him, as he lives overseas and when he returns to our country he makes sure he never sees me. I am still pained and angry at what he did, but a sorry from him would change it instantly. I have decided to seek counselling for it.
Your beauty is yours to own and bless the world with if you so choose to. Don’t let shameless and entitled animals take that away from you. It’s your body, it’s your life and despite what’s been done to you the most important thing to restore, own and keep is the way you view yourself.
This has helped me alot We aren’t alone thank you for writing this truly
reading this brought me to tears, because ever since it happened i havent been able to admit to myself that i actually had feelings for him, as that felt like admitting what happened wasnt real. you can love someone, even want them, but that doesnt change the meaning of the word no. he chose to ignore it. my feelings for him dont change that.
Thank you for this article. I was raped by my first boyfriend, I knew it was rape. I took him on holiday for a 2 nights and I wasn’t ready to have sex, I just wanted to watch a movie, so he got angry with me and shouted at me until I caved in. I cried myself to sleep. We broke up a week later… the weirdest part? A large part of me was hurt about the break up and hurt that maybe I was making it up in my mind because I was angry that he’d broken things off. For years I didn’t date again, but in my mind I’ve always wondered if my crying and my fear of him was real. I’m scared that he knows I’ve told people about that night, that I have made it up and he’s going to hurt me when he next sees me when I’m on my own and we cross paths. But I’m now 20, I was 17 when that happened to me. I know now that it was rape. I know he was abusive, I know many times before he’d get me stoned and we’d have unprotected sex without my consent, I was too scared to admit he was sexually abusing me in the relationship because it might’ve made me look like a crazed ex . I’m still quite scared of him to this day. Your article came up on my search when I typed in “is it normal to still love someone after they’ve raped you?” And yours answered questions I had that I didn’t even know how to put into words. Thank you for making me feel sane, making me feel correct, and helping me understand that it did happen because we went through the same process of pain, confusion, hurt and damage. He also got with another girl 2 weeks after breaking things off, apparently he’d been seeing her when he raped me. He was using me, and I need to not be scared of the masculine world that wants me to be making it up because I’m bitter and want to ruin him. I blocked him on everything, and I know I’ve told people who wouldn’t want harm to come my way, so a rational part of me knows it’s safe and he doesn’t know that I’m aware of what he did to me.
Thank you for saving my life