#AskGeorge | “…I was raped three months ago…”

Greetings George,

Just finished reading “Raped at 17” from Okadabooks.

I commend your courage. I couldn’t control my emotions while reading the books, was reliving my experience all through. If only rapists know the pain they cause their victims, the world would be a better place.

I was raped three months ago, some weeks to my POP. I can’t seem to shake off the terror of opening my eyes in the middle of the night, only to find a masked man, holding a knife, in my room. If he had only taken my phone and money without abusing me sexually, I wouldn’t how felt that I lost much.

My greatest loss was losing my virginity to a man I can’t even identify after 27 years if keeping myself despite many temptations. After the incident, I felt that God shouldn’t have allowed it to happen since He knows how dear my virginity was to me. I felt that perhaps, God does not love me enough. The hardest part was pretending to sympathizers that I wasn’t raped and seeing them thanking God on my behalf.

Love, Nigeria

Dear Love,

I feel so bad about what happened to you, this world isn’t such a safe place especially when people are judged and criticized for telling their stories. I admire your courage to open up about what happened to you. We can’t turn back the hands of time to undo certain things that have been done but we can contribute our quota by exposing their tactics. I want to assure you that it was never your fault that you were raped, it was never your fault that you couldn’t fight and I don’t want you to entertain any sense of guilt or shame. You may indeed be going through certain kinds of trauma at the moment, it is also true that you might have at some times want to see where you went wrong but trust me when I tell you that you aren’t responsible for what happened to you. So, nothing should get you ashamed of yourself.

Let No One Judge You

Don’t let anyone or yourself judge you for what you weren’t able to do at that moment. For some people, their body system gets frozen in shock when they encounter such and it would be difficult to think out something at those moments. Those who haven’t experienced this will never understand and that is why they have no right to judge you. If there was any possibility that you could have stopped it, you could. But since you weren’t able to stop it, it was because you can’t.

Your Virginity Isn’t Your Beauty

Although you have lost your virginity to a rapist, it is not all that you have and I don’t want you to go on feeling that you have lost everything. You are more important than your virginity and as long as you still have yourself, you’ve got more glorious and rewarding days ahead of you. Don’t feel dirty, don’t feel you’re worth just little, don’t look down on your value. Let’s agree, you lost your virginity to a rapist but you never lost your beauty and your beauty or self-worth isn’t tied to your virginity. The big question is: who do you see in yourself? What do you see about yourself? Where do you tie your value? Beauty is what you see in yourself! 27 years of keeping your virginity cannot be compared to the years and years ahead of displaying your beauty.

Handle The Flashbacks

The memories will not disappear in a flash, you may always have flashbacks and very upsetting times but these flashbacks are normal but do not let it stress you. When the flashbacks come, you already know why and you shouldn’t panic. For some people, when they don’t find ways to calm themselves down they may become dangerously tensed. In these scenarios, you may have to hold your breath for a few seconds, exhale through your mouth, walk up to the mirror and tell yourself that you are good, clean and perfectly fine. Keep encouraging yourself until you’ve restored calmness. Do not resort to drugs or alcohol just to calm yourself because they are depressants and would have dangerous effects including a feeling of depression and suicide.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

It is also important that you don’t shut yourself off from people. Right now, people’s touch and attention might seem irritating to you, you may even never like to have anything to do with male folks but you must understand that these are feelings effected on you by the traumatic experience of abuse and rape, your body system is developing defence mechanism. However, reopen yourself to people, especially those you feel safe around, they aren’t responsible for what happened to you too.

Open Up To Someone You Trust

I didn’t want to tell you this first because it may not sound so cool to you. As much as you may not want to tell people that you are raped because of the stigma attached to it, it is not good to hide it. It sets you free, relieves you and makes you heal even faster. The reason why people don’t get healed is that they are scared to speak up, they feel they would be seen as dirty, they feel they would be judged and looked at differently but as scary as it seems, opening up is one way to freedom.

To open up doesn’t mean to tell the entire world or just anyone around you. You may not want to do what I did, you may not have to tell the world if you can’t bear it. I told my story so that people like you can discover you aren’t alone and open up about it. For now, you may only want to speak to people you trust, someone who won’t judge you and yet someone who won’t cry more than the bereaved. If you don’t think you have someone to talk to, you would talk to a therapist if you have access to one. Otherwise, it is okay that you have opened up to me and as we communicate you will surely find healing.

Don’t Feel Helpless

Don’t feel helpless. This is very important. It is in those feelings of helplessness that depression comes in and you see yourself giving up so soon. You are strong and you can convert this experience to strength just like I did! Reach out to people, help those you can help and let others cry on your shoulders! This is one way to reclaim your strength and cope with difficult times.

God Loves You Regardless

Now, let’s talk about God. Does He love you less? Did He allow these things to happen to you? Why didn’t He do something? I know one thing for sure my dear, bad experiences aren’t indications that God loves us less and it doesn’t even mean that those without such experiences are better than us. The Bible says in Romans 8:35,37

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

You have overwhelming victory in Christ, He loves you more than you can comprehend! Some people experience worse things, some people are killed every day for no fault of their own but guess what? Even these people are loved by God. We are not in a perfect world, we have people with different personalities in this world, we have wicked men and good men in this world and everyone is responsible for their choices. The rapist chose to rape you and in a short or long time, he will be judged for it. You would be choosing to help others overcome their trauma and this way, you are letting God use you affect others positively. So you see? We are in the world of human and certain times what we experience are based on people’s actions and not God’s actions. God loves you regardless!

Let Nothing Steal Your Joy

There are other reasons to be cheerful and thankful, you’ve still got a life and you are an inspiration to several other people! You are the reason why other people will choose not to give up and live. Like my story made you realize that we can overcome these things, yours can save a whole lot of generations. You can still have peace in your relationship and marriage without your virginity. Purity is a condition of the heart as the Bible says “blessed are the pure in heart…” What is yours is still yours, a mere rapist hasn’t stolen anything from you!

Love, I hope to hear from you again and I will always be here for you. I also bring you greetings from Adaeze Dexy Onu whose words have also been infused into this response. A whole lot of persons care about you.

God bless you.

With love,

George O.N

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