I have spent the year rejecting the shame and secrecy that society told me to feel about my own story, and engaging with people and organisations that are standing up for rape victims and standing against victim blaming. I have met some wonderful men and women who have shared secrets, fears and shame with me. But I have also heard some amazing stories of victory, of restoration, of love. One brave couple has agreed to tell their story, from his perspective.
The author of this piece requested anonymity to protect the identity of his partner, and I choose to respect that. His story is her story, their story. For those of you who are survivors of rape, there may be some triggers in this piece.
To those of you who are loving women and men who have been violated, first by their attackers, and then by a misguided society, thank you. This is your story, in his words.
My Woman Was Raped, And I Love Her
And then she whispered, almost imperceptibly, “I was raped.”
Nothing can prepare you for those words. I will never forget the chill down my spine, the white noise in my ears, the temporary numbing of my senses. I will never forget the feeling of my heart breaking as I saw the embarrassment on her face and the shame in her eyes, heard the guilt lining her voice. How do you react to finding out that the love of your life, the woman who has become your world, has had hers shattered by someone so heinous and violent?
What do you say to her? How do you quiet her pain? How do you chart a way forward? What do you do when you are on the other side of the glass, looking into a purity stained by savagery?
Rape is a continuous crime. It stains the victim’s soul with septic scars that every so often bleed anew, fresh wounds in need of fresh healing. Long after the moment of brutality, memories careen into her consciousness, a trail of guilt, anger and powerlessness following in their wake.
My woman was raped, and I love her.
This is not an easy thing. There are moments of frustration; when, in the rising intensity of our lovemaking, her demeanor transforms from warm and receptive to cold and limp; when, without warning, she clamps up and urgently pushes me off her, as though my touch has suddenly become abhorrent to her; when she doesn’t even want me near her because flashbacks have invaded our intimate space. It is difficult to get excited about intimacy when you are uncertain of how it will unfold. It is hard not to question yourself when your touch is rebuffed and your affection rejected.
There are moments of despair; when she told me that she is afraid to reach orgasm because it reminds her of him. How am I supposed to navigate such a treacherous sea of emotions? Does my every touch remind her of him? Is there anything I could do to allay her fears and insecurities? Will our moments of passion forever be marred by memories of him? Will she ever be wholly, truly mine, or am I condemned to sharing her most private thoughts and intimate feelings with him?
There are moments of pure helplessness. When we walk into a room and something reminds her of the very room where it happened. I watch her as she moves rapidly through emotions – confusion, panic, fear – shaking as the recollection overcomes her. And I sit next to her, unsure of what to say or do. How can my love for her uproot such deep emotional scars? How can my love help her lift such heavy psychological burdens? What did someone so beautiful, so gentle of spirit, so full of love and kindness do to deserve this?
There are moments of anger. When she tells me that even now, years later, he is yet to be held accountable for destroying the life of a young, innocent girl with the world at her feet. She was left to bear the brunt of his wanton urges, while he is free to live his life without remorse. Is there any justice in a world where the good among us fall victim to evil without any recourse? If only I could find him and pay the piper his long over-dues.
My woman was raped, and I love her.
And because I love her, I have dedicated myself to doing whatever it takes to help her heal the wounds that still fester. When frustration threatens to consume me, I court patience. I remember that my moments of discomfort pale in comparison to the horrific memories she must overcome daily. I resolve to stop as soon as she asks me to, regardless of the intensity of our intimacy in that instant. I commit to showing her that she is in control, that her word means something, that she can choose to slow things down or stop them completely and be respected. It is her prerogative, and I am her man.
When I find myself despondent, I remind myself that love overcomes. I find solace in the knowledge that our love is a fresh start, a blank page, a new foundation upon which we will build a new storey of companionship. Our love will renew her, moment by moment, day by day, until she is fully restored. I show her that my love runneth over and she can drink from its cup for as long as she thirsts.
When helplessness overwhelms me, I remind myself that not everything can be resolved, that not all questions in life have answers. I hold her close to me and comfort her, trusting that my touch will tell her everything I can’t find the words to say. I love her, and together we will heal.
When my anger boils over, I remember that anger consumes its bearer more so than its object. I choose to focus not on the past and its demons, but on our future and its beatific possibility. We are writing a story in the ink of our love, and ours will be a beautiful story of strength and triumph.
My woman was raped.
And I love her.
Written By: Anonymous
Edited By: Shona Kambarami
Twitter: @thereisaiditorg || @plumandmustard