This Saturday was my family’s Christmas (dys)function. After deciding to report my rape to the police, I thought about whether or not it would be a good idea to tell my mother (and maybe other family members). So far I had told my dad, brother’s girlfriend (living with my mom), my cousin, and my aunt. I have a very small family, but very dysfunctional. From the people I told, it was almost the subject you don’t talk about and if something is said, its about “getting over it” because it’s “taking over my life.”
I did tell my cousin about it as we are closer than the other family. It took me six months for me to open up to her about my first incident with the bully. She now understands why the Love word and people hugging me get to me. As much as I care for someone, I CANNOT use the L word or hug a girl… not even to my own cousin.
So when this function came up with the whole family, all 16 of us, I debated whether or not it would be a good idea. My conclusion came while sitting in my brother’s girlfriend’s bedroom… No it wouldn’t be a good idea. A few weeks ago, my mom found out I was in counseling for things that happened in my past, but I never told her why I was going. When she walked into the bedroom, I knew that something was going to happen. In the end, I told my husband that she wants to know what my problems are, and he told me that my mom deserves to know. So I told her.
The first few seconds of the conversation she said: “why did you let him in the house” and “you could kick his a**.” My initial reaction was to tell her that it was NOT my fault and I will NOT be taking the blame because I did NOTHING wrong. She knew who he was, where it happened, when it happened, where she was, but that still wasn’t good enough for her. Within two days after me telling her, I got about 10 random texts and calls from her (when we go months without any conversation). I knew something was up, but I was secretly hoping that it was genuine concern for me. I was wrong.
When she finally got ahold of me the third day, the first things that came out of her mouth again was “why didn’t you tell me because it happened in my house.” It didn’t matter that I was in shock and denial for the better part of SEVEN years. All she cared about was the fact that I didn’t tell her. No, scratch that. She was upset that she wasn’t told first! She told me that I have now strained my aunt’s and her relationship because my aunt should have told her about MY problem. She then proceeded to tell me that she was “disappointed and upset” that I didn’t tell her because she thought we were closer than that. We haven’t been close for over 8 years! She’s just in denial. After I got the lecture about keeping MY rape from her, she then proceeded to suck every detail about that night out of me again. This time, more in depth.
“Who was your first boyfriend? (first and last name) I keep thinking his name is Jake.” (No ma. JS)
When did it happen? (Friday, March 5th, 2004)
Where did it happen? (in my bedroom)
“Why were you alone?” (I have NO CLUE!)
“Where was your grandma and brother?” (I don’t remember MA!!!)
“Was I (meaning her) out on a date with the magician?” (Sure, why not, IDK!)
“Was that the night you helped me get all dolled up? If so, that could have been a fun night turned really horrible.”
“if that happened in 2004, then that means your grandma was still living with us and you were in the blue room.” (NO DUH! I REMEMBER THE COLOR OF THE WALLS QUITE VIVIDLY!!!
By the end of her questionnaire, I was so UPSET that she expected me to know all of this and that I actually wanted to talk about all of it. There is a lot of stuff that I suppressed. I don’t remember what I was doing at school that day or what happened after he raped me. I don’t remember why I was alone or what happened when she got home. All I remember is saying NO over and over and my boyfriend continuing to rape me. I remember the room. How messy it was, how small it was, how he stood there taking off my clothes, starting at the door and the ceiling and the BLUE walls! I remember him running out of the room to go “finish” then getting dressed and leaving. I don’t need someone prying into my every detail. I wasn’t ready to tell her.
Once my husband got home, I told her a little about what happened and how she was placing the blame on me. My mom talked to him on the phone too and thanked him for getting me to open up to her. Then when they were done talking, he told me to take her feelings into consideration because she is upset that she wasn’t the first to know, just like he wasn’t the first to know. Neither of them understand the complexity of the issue in the beginning stages of dealing with something so horrific. This started a whole argument between the two of us where he just told me that I didn’t need to get all defensive. I told who I told when I was able to tell them. Can’t they just be happy that I was able to open up to them? I find that family is harder to tell than others I don’t know that well or not closely related to. It took me so long to tell my husband about my first incident. I did, but I had to work up to it.
Once I was finally able to get in bed. I was so mad and frustrated and upset. When I tried to close my eyes, it was like the rape was happening right in front of me. Ever hear about people who feel like they are watching it happen? That’s how it was. I could see him taking off my clothes. The rape was so in my face that I just wanted to escape. The more I tried to sleep, the more it felt like I was being raped all over again. No longer was I watching it happen, I was feeling it happen. The emotions, him on top of me, and inside me. The feeling that I couldn’t escape. I woke up so much that night trying to get away from emotions, but I couldn’t. Normally I don’t have flashbacks like that, probably because I suppressed it and don’t have all the memories “during” the attack. But with my mom’s questionare, it was hard to escape as I was stuck in that darn blue room.
I have come to the realization that I took this upon myself because I decided to tell her. I could have kept my mouth shut and none of this would have been a problem. I now see why so many of my friends who were victims stayed quiet. It sounds like the better alternative that dealing with parents who put the blame on you and force you into that moment to relive again or having parents who don’t care and tell you to “get over it.”
So what is the answer? How do we find ways of getting the support we need without hiding this part of us from the world? My “secret” and burden that I’ve been carrying around with me for so long is finally out. Now I have to deal with people knowing and repelling the blame others try to place on me. But for those who haven’t been able to reach out to their loved one or to those who have and still need to find support within their circle, how do we get them to support us? It seems like the answer is always, EDUCATION IS KEY. Maybe it is. All I know is that I would love my family to read this article on ways to help a rape victim. It would be so nice, if for once, someone would try to understand our feelings as much as we try to understand our own.