This has everything to do with dating and relationships.
Perhaps this explains my past self-diagnosis of manic depression or panic and anxiety attacks. Perhaps really I had these unresolved issues haunting me that made it difficult to cope with life, much less relationships.
If you have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, having piece of mind in the trusting and security can feel never reaching. If you have been a victim of date rape, or not so much you dated the violator but instead was preyed upon by a predator, the anguish and doubt in ever being loveable, the lack of interest in being affection when you are dating someone, can lead you in a psychological tormented cycle. And if you are being domestically abuse, the shame you can feel for thinking the fairy tale romance is lost, that if you just did things better, that you are the only person that can understand your love interest, or that you must put up with it to have the children be protected, can feel as though only death can be your best friend at this point.
Notice the above did not have any gender specific details.
I decided to write this in light of the recent scandal surrounding Bill Cosby and the celebrities stepping forward to reveal their personal accounts of rape, molestation, and domestic abuse. (And Hollywood’s own sick and perverse way they choose the stars – victims reaching to children, especially boys, included)
It made me think if I should share my own experience of when I was molested as a child by the young son of my mother’s best friend, or losing my virginity to rape, only to be raped again by a different person in a different scenario two years later, again by another in different scenario (college) two years later, then several times after that resulting in a total of 8 separate times in eight separate scenarios – with only the last one in the form of a dating relationship, 14 years ago.
The question came to my mind because as I was watching the news report on Teri Hatcher’s account, and seeing Joan Collins’ experience only a day earlier, I was wondering why I didn’t have the urge to share. I wanted to, really I did, and share my own tears, but the urgency to do so wasn’t beyond grieving with the people stepping forward, instead of my own experience.
I think it’s because my own cycle of healing was made complete. (This is the only thing I think of as the reason).
I’m not sure this was in any particular order, but I do know everything had to happen to move on.
- I had to keep telling someone until I felt I was heard. I remember when I called the police for a rape attempt by a neighbor I knew when I was living in AZ. by this time, I had been attacked 7 times already (from college), but I guessed if I was off the campus and far away, things like that wouldn’t happen again. I was working at a strip club, too, which didn’t help my cause when the unsympathetic cop arrived and saw my bag that had my outfit in it. He didn’t care to hear that I invited the guy in because he was younger than me and was going to college and because I ‘knew’ him, I invited him in to give him last minute tips of college living, when, as he was leaving and saying good-bye, he attempted to overpower me at the door and wasn’t until I calmly said to him that if he proceeded, I’d sue him and his family name for every penny they had (he was related to some famous athlete, but I don’t remember.) Anyway, I finally decided to report it and that’s when I realized there is a second violation that occurs many times when a rape victim reports it. So I just told any and everyone who asked me about my private life, purging the anguish on their shoulders. It wasn’t until I had to harness that purging by joining groups, “Wounded Heart,” ‘Rejoice Always’ (thank You Claudia Cartier wherever you are!) AND counseling AND a sponsor that I felt I was finally being heard – which meant I was finally being validated for the violation that occurred against me numerous times.
- I had RAGE against God – and I confronted Him about it. Things happened before I came to the Lord. I never questioned whether or not he was there, I just didn’t think He was as involved. I only humored well-intentioned Christians at that time – my beef was with God. The driving factor after I made the decision was that I was going to give Him a piece of my mind. ‘Wait, what? you want me to follow You and trust You when You weren’t there for me before? You didn’t get it right the first time!’ Everything I felt came out with an almost demonic force of accusations in my journal that it resulted to my checking myself into the Psych ward on Hollywood Blvd, demanding Prozac, which gave me a horrible allergic reaction and caused me to make the decision to just deal
- I had to keep going back to God until my anger turned into permission to allow Him to heal me. If you claim to be a believer, I tell you there is hard fact that is claimed in the Wounded Heart book that has its readers following the workbook hurling it, the book itself, and the Bible across the room. I won’t ruin it for you, but I will say that it caused me to stop doing the next thing.
- If I was going to be with questionable friends, I ALWAYS had a way to leave early, with my own transportation. Which meant I hydrate before I went out and had NOTHING to eat or drink at the party. I learned in college, the hard way, and unfortunately, many more are learning or will have to learn this important tip. If I honestly knew my friends were partiers, I had to make the decision to be friend away from the party and the one they called if they needed someone, instead of my being the helpless lamb in the den of lions with them.
- I had to Stop making my life be about seeking revenge, but start living it. I was quickly learning that every time afterwards, I would tell myself it wouldn’t happen again, I learned Krav Magna, walked with pepper sprays and told myself it wouldn’t happen – just to have another situation happen. I remember wanting to seek revenge on all the attackers and with my new pepper spray I even sprayed someone for just saying hello and I didn’t want to talk to him, and the wind blew back and it ended up in my face! I laugh now about that, but perhaps that was analogy of how my own efforts would be to try and track them down, and do whatever to them. Before coming to the Lord, I had once dated a guy who used to rectify situations when his girl friends from college said they were attacked, and I wanted him to do that to the last guy I was with. My ex-boyfriend (the attacker) had no idea how close he was to finding his young son’s head on his doorstep – just so I could have my justice. Would that have solve anything? Why would his son have to suffer? (That’s how far I had drifted from living and being my true self.)
- I had to stop calling myself a “victim.” I’m a survivor. When I called myself a ‘victim,’ I was helpless. I was paralyzed with fear. I had no voice and could do nothing. When I was paralyzed with fear, that’s when another new situation happened (mind you, I was in the environment, too and I desperately wanted a boyfriend, so many things happened because of that deep desire.) But, I made up my mind to re-define ‘victim’ as dead. I was a survivor. I am stronger, I have a voice and my life does have worth, meaning, and value and no one on this earth is entitled to an explanation of my existence.
- I had to forgive – not tolerate and not for them, because as far as I knew, they weren’t the ones losing sleep – I was. I had to allow myself to melt into my Heavenly Father’s hands to begin forgiveness. In doing so, He even answered the question I posted earlier, ‘Why?’ Because we all are given free choice and many people’s choices, good and bad, affect others. My staying in rage, paralyzing fear, and unforgiveness only physically hurt me in the end, and impacted the people around me – which has a butterfly effect. Although it took years (14) to get here, I decided to live healthy because I wanted to love someone and I wanted that person to love me.
- I had to start listening to my gut and NOT stay if I felt uncomfortable in anyway. Part of my experiences happened because I leave when my gut said to leave. I stayed, had a drink, and ignored the little voice giving me the warning.
If you have been violated by rape, (and unfortunately, the likelihood of a majority of the readers having their own story, or know someone is a definite given) the most important thing you can do, after removing yourself from danger is to get yourself to place where you are a ‘survivor,’ and not ‘victim.’ We need your voice. We need YOUR voice. My daughter needs you to be healthy. The young child near you, the person you work with, needs your compassionate ear. You getting healthy FOR YOU is more important.
I can’t speak for those who are the violators, the rapists. You, I don’t understand and won’t pretend to understand why you would inflict pain (and here’s the thing, if you are reading this and you have been the cause of pain, the attacker, then perhaps there’s hope for you yet. You still need your own system of finding forgiveness and your healing from childhood events (I guess), which starts with humbling yourself to the Lord.
At any rate, share. Share when, and if you’re ready. (Forgive me if this sounds like a PSA,) but as this is your choice, I can promise that when you do, you will be in a place where you can listen sympathetically to others without falling victim to your own experience, dealing with picking up the pieces from the past, to live in the present.
With love and respect,
Shakira Arikah Baly-Jensen
and I think he said it best…