Okay, so this is the absolute truth…
It is the weak who speak poorly of others when they are not there to defend themselves. It is the cowardly who tell others’ stories without asking and hearing them first.
And then there are those who are humiliated by me exposing the truth, as if abuse and rape warrant protection against consequences. They think I’m ‘weird’ for writing about all of this in detail, as if I don’t have the right to or as if I should be embarrassed for what others did to me. (Yes, unfriend me, laugh, call me childish, roll your eyes. It is not me who is delusional or lives in chosen oblivion. I would love to see how long you’d last in my shoes. Don’t you get it? I have given you all the details now. One day you will grow up and realize the pain and disrespect that your ignorance and judgement causes. And that I have gone beyond my comforts actually to be brave. With such little support. How awful it is that I would still have certain friends if I kept quiet). This is part of my therapy. I will not let others speak for me, so I am clarifying here. I know how to take care of myself now. This is me coping. This is me taking ownership of the truth and telling it for what it is. The truth does not die.
We will freely talk about all atrocities—murder, theft, etc—but we will not talk about rape. We rarely let murderers walk free once they are caught, so why not rapists too? Rape is a murder of the soul, of all mental and physical confidence, of free will. That one has to live with for the rest of their lives. It is as though people are just as scared to talk about it as they are to experience it. But I am not afraid to talk about it anymore. I will not enable its taboo nature. I will not let my traumas keep controlling me. Those nights, I was usually paralyzed with confusion and fear and powerlessness. I do not want those feelings to resurface. I know I did not do anything wrong, anything to deserve those violations. And so I will talk about them freely and control them by choosing how I handle those memories.
Yes, there are always two sides to a story. But never a side that warrants rape. There is absolutely no excuse. (Not even if her skirt was short, even if she was in a relationship with him, even if she was married to him and was the mother of his children). Even if I hadn’t said, “No, you’re not wearing a condom. Stop. I don’t want to without a condom”, it was beyond obvious from my body language that I did not want it. I couldn’t look at him or make eye contact, I couldn’t kiss my then-boyfriend during this supposed “act of love”. I just gave up and laid there with my eyes tearing up. Not from pain—I didn’t even notice if it hurt. But because I was so confused and scared. Of getting pregnant. Of him. He looked furious. Because he couldn’t come. So I just did what he told me to do. He knows this. But he is an excellent liar and will continue to deny even after admitting it all to my face multiple times.
I have been treated like I am crazy and bored and possessed by malice. Like I have nothing better to do than craft stories for attention. (I am actually disappointed, not angry). As always, my life revolves around finishing my education (which has involuntarily been put on hold), and my health (both physical and mental). And the select few who have believed in me and stayed patiently by my side until I felt safe to speak (once the investigation was over). My mother has known me for 21 years. She knows that I am shy and hate attention and prefer to let things slide so as to avoid confrontation. I never speak out. When I decided to follow through with reporting, she knew it had to be real.
Perhaps you do not know, but it was actually a dear friend that reported both incidents that occurred at Providence College. I absolutely did not intend to get involved in an investigation and all the complications and pains of it. But this individual pushed me in the right direction, and for that, I thank them. Even though I had hurt them, they were there for me because they knew I needed it. There are moments in which we must forgive. Regarding others, the investigation showed me the true nature of those whom I loved when they turned against me.
I know I need to stop caring whether others believe me. Of course, this is easier said than done. (What matters is that I know the truth). But if we did not care what others think, we would not get hurt nearly as often.
A dear friend of mine told me that my greatest gift is forgiveness. Maybe she was giving me more credit than was due. But I do find myself, time and time again, still forgiving and missing and loving even the people that have caused me so much pain. That is one of the reasons I stayed with my ex who brought me to such lowliness. Call me weak, but I think it makes me a bigger person. I always try to see the good in others to the point where I sometimes do not see the red flags that foreshadow disloyalty, bad intentions, even nonconsensual and unprotected acts. That is one reason I for a while did not come to terms enough with November 15th to be able to call it for what it was—rape. [Someone does not have to hold a gun to your head to make you immobile in that moment. It can be anyone, anywhere, anytime. Yes, it is a scary world with endless possibilities.] I also find myself being ridden with guilt for mistakes and misunderstandings within my relationships with others, though they were entirely unintentional and did not mean any harm (hence “mistakes”). Yet if their ‘mistakes’ were done consciously (maybe even with poor intentions), they may feel no guilt at all, and never apologize the way I have countless times. They have boyfriends now, new friendships, replacements. I am only remembered in poor light.
Without visible bruises, no one will believe a relationship is abusive. (It is easy to miss something you are not looking for). Those who hurt me likely got to walk away without any scars, maybe without even guilt. While I relive such gross betrayal of trust everyday.
So many truths were revealed at once. It would be too much to handle for anyone. There were friends who knew he was cheating for maybe half of the relationship (if not more), and let him do it, and did not tell me.
There was intimidation with his stories of being in a gang, having stabbed someone. Had I been a guy friend, I could somewhat understand the childish desire to appear ‘tough’ and ‘manly’. But what does an innocent girl care or find appealing in that? Was he asking for help or sympathy? Or is he just a compulsive liar?
His ridiculous talks of marriage and living abroad that left me silent and uncomfortable.
“What’s wrong with your skin?”, “What’s on your back?”, “What is that?” Looks and repulsed stares that spoke for themselves. Laughing at my body. It was like my imperfections made him lose his temper even more, like I purposely made myself flawed.
He made me hate my body. He made me hate myself. I felt filthy and repulsive, and like no one else would ever want me. He was always rough. And angry. And his fists were always clenched.
But I accepted him for who he was. Too much.
(I would invite him to sleep over because I just wanted to cuddle with and kiss my then-boyfriend. I just wanted to be in a relationship for the first time…I was excited. I just wanted to feel loved. Is that so bad?)
I became distant. Less patient. Depressed. I lost myself. I am still a little lost.
Thankfully, less lost now than in the Fall, but enough to have me turn to religion for comfort. I had not prayed in a year when I started this Spring. (I would end up at the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan every once in a while. Where my tears would go unjudged. I felt more peaceful there). If there is indeed a God of any sort, this God knows the truth. And this God will judge accordingly should there be a judgement day. For which I need not be afraid. I have told nothing but the Truth.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”