So many times I have wanted to tell my family I was raped in High School.
I have lost count of how many times the words have been on the tip of my tongue, my mouth so slightly open with the words practically slipping right out and ready to spill this secret.
But I stop.
In the moment before my Big Secret is let out I catch myself and break my gaze from my Mom.
After the assault, it took me over a year to even realize what had happened to me. One day out of the blue, I received a text from my assaulter saying he was sorry for what he had done and he needed to talk with me. That text flooded back that memory, never before had I relived that memory…that one life-altering moment in my life until I got that text. My dorm mate came home that evening and found me curled up, uncontrollably crying on the floor. She and her boyfriend helped me to her car and drove me to his apartment where we spend the whole weekend.
In that time I texted back and forth with my assaulter rejecting his apologizes and releasing all my (unknown) rage towards him. I spent the whole time in bed, facing the wall and staining the sheets with tears.
It was months of counseling after that to try and make sense of it all and years of healing afterwards. Years of finding where this FIT into my life.
It’s not details of the rape itself that keep me from telling my family, its the tears, anguish, guilt, and other mixed emotions I know they would feel. It’s them knowing I spent years fighting to heal alone. Them asking questions of ‘How did you figure it all out?’
It’s telling them what I went through on the road to healing. About the nights I spent crying so hard into my pillow I thought there couldn’t be any water left in my body.
The years I secretly thought this whole thing was my fault and I could have stopped it. That I didn’t do enough to prevent it.
The three years following the assault where my attacker contacted me every Christmas, turning my favorite holiday into one of the most anxious times in my life.
That my anti anxiety medication was due to paralyzing blackouts thinking about the assault.
That every time they mentioned his name or asked about how he was doing at college it felt as if I was being gutted.
That coming back to my hometown in Washington to visit my family was a drive filled with flashbacks and that when they finally moved out of state 6 years later, so many years later, I STILL felt a burden being lifted.
One last factor that hinders me probably most of all is BELIEF. Not belief in the sense they don’t believe I was raped. Belief in the sense that this assault was undeniably 100% unpreventable and not my fault.
Now, knowing my parents I would hope that even the thought of the assault being my fault or that I could have done something to prevent it would not cross their mind. But somewhere deep down my fear is they might… and that would be more heart wrenching than telling them of the assault.
This FEAR of being found at FAULT keeps this secret safe from them.