No, this is not a story of abuse.
Rather than detailing the harrowing experience, I’d like to share my lifelong journey to acceptance.
It all started when I was 7.
Growing up in a devoted Christian family, sex and rape weren’t discussed openly at home. Hence, I didn’t know I was raped. The day after it first happened, I just felt different. I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong, but I didn’t know exactly what it was.
I was a shy child as a result of having strict/conservative parents, so even if I began playing less outside with others, it didn’t seem strange at all to those who knew me. But in my head, I couldn’t bring myself to face other kids because I was afraid they’d tease me if they knew what happened.
I lived in denial for the rest of my childhood. I made myself believe it didn’t happen, and that I didn’t know what happens between the sheets. I lied to myself over and over until I was satisfied that if sex was to be discussed in school or even during hangouts with friends, my reaction wouldn’t betray me.
Socializing wasn’t a huge problem when I was in elementary. Being on top of my class, everyone wanted to be my friend. I graduated from elementary with flying colors and entered the most sought-after school in my city. Then the struggle became real.
Aside from the academics being about twice as much as a regular high school workload, I also had to deal with hormone-driven teens. Girls gossiped, and boys fooled around. Most of them were just malicious, but no one really had any experience in sex. At this point, I already knew what happened to me, but I had nobody to tell it to. And so, I was still different.
I couldn’t maintain a relationship – be it peer-to-peer or romantic – because I couldn’t stop lying. In my attempt to hide the truth, lies became the foundation of who I was. I was deluded into thinking I had to appear “normal” to have friends.
Finally, college came – my much-awaited escape. The first year was okay – I had my fair share of problems, mostly financial, but I got by. I gained a few friends, but still none of them was real to me.
It was my 3rd semester when things took a turn for the worse.
That particular semester, I had nightmares almost every night. In my dreams, I kept reliving the experience. After 10 long years, truth finally caught up to me. Then I started getting sick and losing weight. I tried my best to lead a normal life, but by the end of the semester, I was starting to lose it.
My parents didn’t know how many times I tried to kill myself. I was terrified of blood, so I’d cross the street and make sure I was only an inch away from any passing vehicle. I wanted them to hit me, but they’d always manage to steer away from me. And at the end of the day, all I’d get was just an earful of cussing from the drivers.
It was a downward spiral from there.