Trigger warnings for rape and for a slightly gory picture

I was raped.

Sometimes I just need to say those words. They hurt. Every time I say them they hurt. But they’re true, and someday I’m hoping that truth will set me free.

I haven’t always been able to admit that I was raped. At one time it was actually safer to think that it had been my fault. It was easier to blame myself than it was to admit I’d been powerless, because, to me, powerlessness was far more terrifying than penetration.

So, instead of dwelling on the fact that I’d said “stop” over and over and over, I would dwell on the fact that I’d said “yes” to other things.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I’d tried to push him away, I’d dwell on the fact that I didn’t kick him or hit him.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I wasn’t ready for sexual intercourse yet–that I was too afraid–and I’d told him so and he didn’t listen, I’d dwell on the fact that I had been sexually attracted to my rapist and had wanted to sleep with him eventually.

The lies I told myself were safer. Blaming myself was safer.

But I’m at the point in my life where I need to peel off the Band-Aid of self-blame that I’ve been wearing for six years and look at the wound that my rapist caused me.

(A note to the squeamish: this is not real)

Neglected, ignored, covered up and hidden, that wound has festered. It’s warm and red, oozing with pus and blood, swollen and painful to the touch. The years of denial allowed the infection to spread, and now, it must be dealt with or it might kill me.

I don’t blame myself for ignoring the pain. I was in no situation to heal myself the past six years. Denial was all I had, and the fact that I used it when it was my only option is not wrong of me.

But it’s not working anymore. I have to peel off the Band-Aid. I have to clean out this wound, touch it despite the pain. Let the poisonous pus run out even if other people find my seemingly endless stream of pain and anger to be unpleasant, even disgusting.

Yes, I was raped. I’ve talked about it before but I’m asserting the truth of that fact right now.

Not only that, but I’m mad about it. Fucking mad.

And I’m hurt and sad and bitter and hateful. I’m not happy. I’m not okay. I’m not ready to forgive. Why fake it? Why pretend that there isn’t a gaping, bleeding, infected wound in my heart? Why slap another Band-Aid on and pretend it doesn’t exist?

I won’t pretend I’m not in pain just to make you feel more comfortable.

I need to clean out the poison or this wound will never heal.

If you think my wound is gross, don’t look. If you can’t stomach the “bad” feelings that have been gushing out of my soul lately, then don’t speak to me.  I didn’t ask for this pain, this infection, despite what lies I may have told myself these past years. I didn’t ask for it.

But now I’m going to heal, and it’s going to be messy. If you don’t like that then all I can do is ask you to get out of the way.



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  • I’m so thankful you care enough to be open with your healing. Your vulnerability makes my heart sing.

  • Elisabeth

    What happens if you turn the words around? Instead of “I was raped,” say “He raped me.” That makes it his action, and puts the blame precisely where it belongs.

    • I found this to be a good start for me. Last Friday I was pretty low and a friend made me say 3 specific words in 1 specific order: He hit me. Because that’s what he did. What HE did. It’s a whole new way to look at it.
      It’s word choice just like writing. I pick each word in my posts to present things as they happened, so why can’t I trade “I was hit” for “he hit me”? Grammar basics, maybe, passive vs active. I felt like I was owning my experience, but really I was disowning his responsibility in this.

  • “I won’t pretend I’m not in pain just to make you feel more comfortable.”

    That’s really what it boils down to, isn’t it? Other people’s comfort being more important than your health.

    A friend posted something the other day, along the lines of this: don’t be afraid to write negatively about the people in your life. If they want to be portrayed more positively, they should have treated you better.

    Sometimes the truth hurts. It’s uncomfortable, it’s not pretty, it can reveal the darkness in others and in ourselves that we don’t want to look at.

    But it’s only the truth that will set us free. All truth, not just the truth we’re comfortable sharing.

  • So basically, you rock and I’m so, so glad that you’re telling your truth and allowing us to walk alongside you on your journey. You are stronger than you think you are.

  • This is awesome Sarah!

  • C

    wow. thank you so so much for being so honest and raw. I so appreciate it more than I can articulate. I only wish I was this brave. THANK YOU

  • JennyE

    I came over here on a whim from Dianna Anderson’s blog. Thank you for writing this. I had an experience so similar, I could have written this, almost word for word. It happened to me fifteen years ago. I have earned a degree, begun a career, married and had two children in that time. And only now am I really beginning to be able to claim that experience. But with claiming comes feeling, and what I feel is anger. For me, it is less anger at my rapist and more at the system of belief I grew up in that allowed me to blame myself. At my parents, who gave me no reason to believe that I would receive mercy or help or trust from them. At my mother, who routinely connected rape to style of dress or lack of caution. Who suffered depression herself, but implied that mine was just an overly dramatic personality combined with a lack of prayer.

    This anger makes me feel like an adolescent again, rebelling against authority. I am reluctant to trust it, or to let it out or let it BE, even, for fear of proving everyone right that I am a rebel-without-a-cause, a drama queen. I don’t want anyone to know that I need help. God, I need help. I’m trying to get it, but now there’s insurance and childcare and all of that other stuff to arrange and it feels self-indulgent and silly sometimes.

    All that to say, thank you, for owning your experience and anger and pain and healing and not being afraid to take up the time and space you need to truly heal. You have encouraged me on my journey to do the same.

  • Very sad. Very painful. I hurt for you and am angry at the perpetrator. The wound image was appropriate to help us feel your pain and others who have experienced this too.

  • TheLump

    On behalf of men who don’t rape, may your healing journey be as quick as possible. We wish you never had to start it.

  • “I won’t pretend I’m not in pain just to make you feel more comfortable.”

    You have a great way with words and I connected to this post in so many ways. Thank you for writing it and sharing.

  • Mari

    I stumbled on this entirely by accident searching for something else. Sarah, I just want to say how incredibly brave you are for facing this and putting your feelings out there this way. I have been dealing with the same thing for years. For 9 years now, and I have a daily reminder, I love her to death and would never regret having her in my life, but my daughter was conceived from rape. I cannot begin to explain the hell I’ve been through and I have just begun to come to terms with it enough to open up a little. I still cannot bear to dig deeper than just admitting it factually. I commend you for making it as far as you have!