You cannot do this alone. Or you can try, but you will fall. You cannot try to handle the pain, the memories, the fear, the loneliness and the desperation without someone to help you.
You cannot do this alone. Or you can try, but you will fall. You cannot try to handle the pain, the memories, the fear, the loneliness and the desperation without someone to help you. You need someone to pick you up when you fall down, you need someone to hold you when you’re crying, you need someone to tell you that it’s going to be ok when the world seems to be falling to pieces around you. You cannot do this alone. But the problem is that the conversation seems impossible for a number of reasons. You are afraid of being judged, of being blamed, of being seen as weak, or worst of all of not being believed. You are afraid of the condemnation, the pity, the stares and the questions. You don’t even know how to start the conversation. You can’t really just approach someone and say ‘Hi, I was raped’. It’s just not a topic which anyone knows how to handle. But trust me, you cannot do this alone.
There are numerous ways of trying to cope but alone is not one I’d recommend. I tried it. For years I told no one because I was so afraid of how they would react. I was afraid that they would be disappointed in me, worth less because of it, to blame for it. I was afraid that they wouldn’t believe me. They knew something was wrong, anybody who cares will be able to tell that; they knew that something had happened. All the signs were there; the self-harm, the hiding, the lack of confidence, the eating issues but nobody knew how to ask and I didn’t know how to tell. And so I soldiered on, bearing a burden that was too large for one person alone…particularly one rather small person. I kept on thinking that time would make it better, that if I could make it through just one more day then there must be an end. Except that didn’t work. So you turn to other means of coping, other ways of forgetting, other ways of blanking out the memories, the flashbacks and the nightmares. Anything to help you sleep.
But eventually you will need to come to the realisation that you cannot do this alone. It is without a doubt the hardest conversation you can have with someone; for both parties believe you me. But you cannot bear this burden alone. It will break you. Find someone you trust, someone you care about, someone who cares about you. I would advise that it isn’t a close family member to begin with as they may well be hurt that you didn’t tell them sooner, or the shock of what you are telling them may well cause them to react in ways they will regret later. It may be easier to tell them if you already have a person there as moral support; particularly if they know the person who hurt you. It’s completely up to you who you approach but be careful to go to someone who is non-judgemental and isn’t going to make you feel worse by their approach. If you’re involved in a church or religion your local vicar, priest, rabbi or minister may be a good starting point as they often both care about you and have a certain amount of training in what to say and how to behave.