What I won’t forget
A #SurvivorStory by Elizabeth
26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July….. 26th of July…. 26TH of July…..
I probably scribbled those words and numbers hundreds of times at the back of my LBB (Little Black Book). You see I made a promise to myself that any time I felt triggered which let’s face it, is all of the time, I would write those words down somewhere to remind myself of the exact date that I stopped living and started surviving.
The morning after I was raped was the worst morning of my entire existence. I sat in 30 degree heat outside a French café sipping on a café au lait while my family bit into their warm butter croissants. It might sound silly to hear but of all the hours leading up to my sexual assault, the sexual assault and the hours that followed, the hour that I sat with my family the next morning was the worst. I sat opposite my family while they enjoyed their French breakfast. I sat opposite my family looking at them in the eyes tears streaming down my face behind my sunglasses as they failed to noticed. I was crying my eyes out behind my sunglasses because I had been raped not 12 hours before that. I will never ever forget that moment for as long as I live. I cried my eyes out behind my sunglasses because I had been raped at the age of 18 and my family sat opposite me eating French croissants.
I also won’t forget not being able to stand because of the pain I was in. The penetration of my vagina made it incredibly painful for me to even stand. I won’t forget hearing my mother telling me to get up off the ground, thinking I was just hungover. I won’t forget going for a run that day and beating my best time and to this day, still my best time.
I won’t forget the embarrassment I feel every day. Wondering if my mother is ashamed of me because she never wants to talk about it. I won’t forget how she told me ONCE that it wasn’t my fault. I won’t forget how only ONCE did she make me feel like her precious daughter who had been raped.
I won’t forget the time I sat through a video about rape in my first semester of college. They referred to consent as a cup of tea. If you don’t ask for a cup of tea you aren’t expected to get it anyway, just like sex right? I wont forget how much power and strength it took me not to run out of that lecture hall screaming, wanting for everything to just end. For my life to end.
I won’t forget wondering if there was a man or woman in that lecture hall watching everyone laugh at the funny joke behind the consent video too. Knowing he or she felt the same way I did.
I won’t forget receiving more than enough condoms in my freshers week of college. How I sat in my room and cried my eyes out looking at them, barely able to touch them whilst throwing them away.
I won’t forget trying to have sex for the first time since it happened. How I got so drunk I passed out on the bed laying next to him. How by the time I woke up still drunk and we did try it wouldn’t go in.
I won’t forget my friends feeling awkward around me. Telling me they’re here for me always over text but when it came to seeing me in person not saying a word. I won’t forget all the times my mum told me to move on with my life as if I chose to feel this way. I won’t forget all the times she didn’t hold me and tell me I was safe. How all I ever wanted to hear was that I DID NOT ASK FOR IT, yet nothing came.
I won’t forget how I couldn’t listen to music while I was in the shower for months after it happened. I won’t forget not being able to look my dad in the eye for weeks. I felt gross and disgusting around him. He never made me feel like some slut who got what she deserved. But he also never reassured me that I wasn’t.
I won’t forget missing weeks of college because I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I won’t forget feeling grateful that my family didn’t even notice. I won’t forget having to get extensions on all of my assignments for my first year of college because I didn’t see the point anymore. I wont forget not caring in the slightest that I was slowly failing my first year of college.
But most importantly I won’t forget that boy blocking me on facebook after I tried to have sex with him. I won’t forget my work colleague asking me for just a quick kiss despite the fact that he has a wife and three kids at home.
I won’t forget being silenced.
I won’t forget being raped.