Have you ever been silenced? Walked into a police station just for them to laugh at you? Have you ever experienced the whispers and rumors? Have you been painted as the abuser when you were the victim? Has someone ever taken your voice and made you mute while their voice spoke for you?
Have you ever screamed but no sound came out? It's like your trapped in someone else's body. Someone else's mind. You disassociate just to make it through the day to day. Have you ever been told that you were asking for it? Have they criticized what you were wearing? Have you ever been so uncomfortable in your own skin that you wore a hoodie and jeans in hot weather just to not make the mistake again. Did you ever experience it again in clothes that covered all of your skin? Have you ever purposefully gained weight because you thought that if you were bigger it would protect you? That no one would want you anymore. Were you ever brainwashed into thinking that it was your fault?
I was. I lived for years thinking that I must have done something to make this happen to me. I shouldn't have been wearing those shorts, I shouldn't wear skirts or dresses. I shouldn't wear tank tops or t-shirts. I shouldn't go out. I shouldn't go outside. I can't go out alone. I can't go to the grocery store. I can't smile anymore. Don't look too happy. Don't look like you're having fun. I stripped away everything that made me, me.
I became hyper-vigilant listening to everything when I was awake - while I slept. I began recognizing different step patterns...the sounds of foot steps, breathing changes, tone changes in voices, I was terrified all the time. Even being hyper-vigilant I still couldn't stop it.
The day I walked into the police station as a teenager to report a rape - I was told I must have asked for it. Was I sure that it happened? Was I being a tease? Did I change my mind in the middle of the act? "Well look at what you're wearing." Over the years I have only gone in to report being assaulted five times. The first time was in high school about the incident when I was a child. The next three times - absolutely nothing was done about it. I was blamed for what someone else did to me. "You were drinking, how do we know you didn't say yes." "Yeah, sure, it looks like you enjoyed it." "You just mad because he didn't call you the next day." They said many more horrific things to me and about me. I learned quickly that Police were untrustworthy and you couldn't depend on them for anything.
This last time I was raped I wasn't planning on reporting it because of my experiences in the past but I did. This is the one time that they took me seriously. I was drugged and raped by a man who portrayed himself as a friend but was just a predator. I remember bits and pieces. Being unable to fight. Being unable to speak. I will tell you that rape kits are no joke they are as invasive as being raped. They hurt and leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable. The entire process is difficult. My case is still unresolved and it has been over a year. I can't move past it because I still have to relive it every time I speak to a detective. I will get through this though and one day, one day this case will be closed and I will heal.
Going to the police isn't easy. Being an advocate for yourself isn't easy. Not every case has the outcome you want it to but if you have ever spoken up and fought for yourself or if you've never spoken up but still fought to find light in the darkness and tried to heal, are still healing or have healed. I am proud of you. I am proud of your strength and your bravery.
Never let someone take your voice. It's easier said than done but take back your voice. Steal it like a thief in the night and set the world ablaze with your truth. If you are unable to speak your truth - I will speak it for you. I will be your voice, borrowed strength, borrowed shoulders to help bear the painful weight that life has bestowed upon you. I am here and I will never let us be silenced again.
We are free from their chains. We are not their prisoners and we will never be. We, my darlings, are beautiful, strong and courageous. We were forged in fire and we will burn brightly. No one will diminish our flame.
About the author
Hello! My pen-name for this is Roxy Wolf. Not using my real name due to personal reasons. One day that may change. This is part of my journey to healing & learning to use my voice. I hope this helps others know they're not alone.