Some people may not understand why I am still and will continue talking about my rape.
I am talking because I finally found my voice. I’m talking because the past almost six years have been so lonely and silent. I’m talking because when I couldn’t I wished someone had and refused to stop. I’m talking for myself and what I wasn’t able to say so long ago. I’m talking because it’s important to address this issue, and I don’t have the luxury to pretend it’s not as bad as it is.
But also, I’m talking to continue to remind myself that it’s real.
It’s complicated. But it’s real. It’s rape. He is a rapist.
I used to live on repeat. Once I got as far as believing he is a rapist I was catapulted back to believing it’s complicated, and there I would stay until I forgot the horror of believing him a rapist. This already ferocious cycle was further muddied by my dreams.
Since my rape, I have had many nightmares about my rapist. Generally these dreams would fall into one of two categories, the more traditional nightmare where things are obviously bad, and the nightmares where he and I would be together but it would be a positive experience. When I would wake up from the latter, I would be left so confused, longing for him in my life because I’ve just experienced him as so desirable. It made me sick and confused; on the one hand I knew quite certainly I never wanted to be with him or even anyone, thanks to him, physically again. But on the other hand I’m having dreams that I want him and like him. If the cycle wasn’t already in full effect, the dreams would trigger it.
This is something I still deal with on a fairly regular basis. Below I’m sharing a note I wrote upon waking up one morning a few weeks ago.
January 7, 2017
Two dreams of him last night. One was about prosecution. It was some step in the trial. I remember it being a nightmare. I remember life being the nightmare when I woke up because I remembered that will only ever be a dream.
Second one I ran into him in town at a fair. He tried to ignore me but I got to him anyway. He said he was trying to ignore me. I was glad he was honest. He was calm and very much himself. Not angry or hateful. He then revealed someone in his family had been murdered and that is one reason he hasn’t responded.
Still, we walked around town and talked. I felt so guilty about his family member and didn’t know what to say even though I realized he always does this — he matches the problem he’s caused with a problem in his life. Still, I didn’t know what to say, so I said ‘that’s crazy. I’m sorry.’ And he was like yeah! And then he went on to say another thing I knew was a lie.
But I was talking to him. And what happened between the obvious lies felt real to me. And talking to him came naturally. He’s one of my oldest friends I’ve stayed in contact with. I told him to his face it was his fault I’ve been suffering, and he said ‘I know,’ and I felt sufficed.
People we know saw us talking and I felt glad and proud to be seen with him. I touched him as I spoke sometimes, like a passing tap on the arm, whatever. He said he wanted to go back to the fair we started at to get food. He got a big plate of beans and a small side of greens and said something about it being weird and I said ‘no, I just eat bowls of beans sometimes.’
And then I woke up. And the nightmare became that I won’t get to talk to him. The nightmare became the situation I’ve instigated where he refuses to talk to me. The nightmare became that he is no longer my friend. Even though I know he never was, he was, and I realize that I miss him and I miss the good parts even if I realized they were fake, and I miss the world where I didn’t believe he was a monster and I wasn’t a victim. It may have been denial but I believed in it and I miss everything about it because I knew how to handle that reality and this one is too much to think about and too lonely to bear.