Ten years ago I was violently raped and beaten by a friend. This happened in my home, in my bedroom, in my bed. While I don’t wish to go into great detail of this particular event in my life, a recent session with my p-doc has brought to light a problem I have had recently with allowing strangers, even family, into my home.
While discussing these fears, we were going over the severe anxiety I have about my two-year-old son needing therapy for his autism. One of the biggest reasons I have not been able to get help for him is because of this terrible problem I have with allowing people into my home. A post I had previously written, My Home Is My Safe Place, detailed the problems I had during and after a super bowl party we hosted. It was a big deal and something I have been struggling to fully understand.
The man who raped me was a good friend who I had worked with. I didn’t tell a single soul about it out of fear of losing my job. The company was going through changes and they were laying people off. I was terrified if I made a big deal about it I would lose my job. I also struggled with trying to decide whether or not I “welcomed” what had happened.
I know it was not my fault, every man should know and accept that no means no, but at the age of 21 I just could not understand that. As a single mother I had a successful job for the first time in my life, a little boy in private school, and I had recently bought my first home. Losing my job was my biggest fear. I also was concerned that the burden of proof would be on me.
I had to face my attacker every single day for over four months until I was eventually let go in another round of layoffs. I struggled a lot, but I somehow managed to get through this alone. After about a year the nightmares stopped and I was able to move on with my life.
Until last year.
My husband and I had planned an outing with some friends of ours. One couple was fairly new to our group, but at that time I was doing somewhat okay. While getting ready to head out we all met up at the house of our “new friends” and everything seemed okay. When I asked where the restroom was the man directed me to a hall. As I headed to the hall, he came behind me and pinned me against the wall and decided to aggressively grope me – to him none of my body was off limits. I was terrified and suddenly overwhelmed with flashbacks. I started hitting him, pushed him off of me, and scurried to the restroom as fast as I could.
I was afraid of how my friends and my husband may react to what had happened and certainly didn’t want anyone to end up in jail so I remained tight lipped until we got home. That was when I opened up to my husband about what this guy had done to me in the hallway, while my husband stood 15 feet away in the kitchen. He was enraged.
That night the nightmares began. I also slipped back into a very bad place as the PTSD kicked into full swing. I vividly began remembering what had happened to me that I had sort of ‘forgot’ or just simply pushed out of my mind. It was staring me in the face and I could not ignore it. For the first time ever I told someone, my husband. After two weeks of not sleeping due to nightmares and midnight panic attacks, I finally had some peace.
He cried with me and hurt with me. He was understanding and supportive. I also told my mother and my aunt. It was something that I knew I had to talk about because of how it was starting to affect me.
Since that night, after another “friend” decided my body was his to take, I have struggled with people being in my home. The problem was that I had not put it together. When my doctor asked me this week what it felt like when a stranger was in my home my first response was that it felt like I was “emotionally raped” and she looked stunned. She asked me if I was left feeling the same way I had felt after the rape 10 years ago. Then, I was stunned. It is always a very similar feeling.
We stared at each other silent for a minute as if a light bulb went off for us both at the same time. All of the anxiety I feel over people being in my home goes back 10 years to being raped in my own home, in my own bed.
It shocked me how much a rape from 10 years ago is affecting me today. Now we just have to move past it – for the sake of my little guy and his autism. He needs help just as much as I do. Baby steps now, and it is time to venture in to some more deeper therapy.
Anguished woman photo available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 25 Mar 2012