- Mental Health
View Of Healing-Part 1 Denial
No two people are exactly the same. That is the beauty of being human. We celebrate differently, we grieve differently. There are similarities, though, that should be acknowledged. I plan on addressing each of the commonly known steps of grieving and show them as they applied to me personally. What I say here may apply to grieving over the loss of a loved one but I am writing from the point of view of one girl coming to terms with her assault. Women who have been raped have been shown to visit each of the emotions I will cover and no one can tell you that there is a specific frame of time per emotion. Everyone heals in different ways and in their own time.
Denial is always the first emotion. There is an initial shock that occurs making it difficult to process what has just occurred. It is impossible for me to say how long I was in shock. In my head, I kept repeating to myself 'But he said he wasn't going to do that. He promised'. Over and over and over until I snapped out of it my mind screamed 'He IS doing it!!!!' Then I cried. He finished, threw me my clothes and I numbly got dressed and went to the bathroom. I was nowhere near sure if I had what it took to report, or exactly what it was I was reporting, but I knew procedures said not to bathe or shower so I did not. I relieved myself, went on to my room, put my clothes in a bag and crawled into bed. Then I cried some more, quietly so not to wake my roommate. I spent the night wide awake, replaying the event a thousand times over trying to convince myself that I was not just raped. I was smarter than that. I was more careful. I was trained to recognize signs of an attacker, and signs of a victim. I knew the procedures for reporting an assault and what a victim must endure during the process. No way did I just become the victim.
The weekend passed exceptionally slow. No, I did not consent. Yes, I was in his room. No, I was not supposed to be there. Yes, he knew I was not willing. No, I did not scream. Yes, there probably was more I could have done to stop him. No, I did not because I was frozen stiff out of shock. Yes, he was strong and I feared him. No, I did not lock the door. Yes, it was common knowledge that I was waiting. No, I am not having next day regret. Yes, I told him no. No, he heard me but did not care. Yes, I kept the clothes. No, there were no witnesses, his roommate was passed out drunk. Yes, I should have known better than to myself in that position. No, that does not make it my fault. Yes, I should report. No, I can't, they will say that I am at fault, too and he will walk. Yes, I will be honest. No, it will not matter.
Monday came and I went to work looking a little worse for the wear. My boss asked if everything was okay. Momentarily I paused in the doorway. I wondered if it was that obvious. I could just tell her right now. I should. I can't. I do not know what will happen. I'm too scared. I'm not even sure if I can actually wrap my mind around the fact that I was just raped. My first time and it was not consensual. Can I deal with that? I do not want to know.
I don't tell her. That day I went home and showered. Ready or not hygiene had to be minded. Two days later I kept a date previously made in order to keep up appearances in case I did not report. I did not want somebody guessing the truth. Avoiding my friends I slipped out and pretended to have a good time. I failed. My date's friend was a cop and he drove me home when my date decided he wanted to go somewhere else and I made my excuses. He did not seem to mind which I was grateful for. I did not even process anything he had to say anyway. My mind was too far away. On the ride home he asked some general questions and left it up to me to make the move. He was very supportive.
The next day I went to work and let my boss know what happened. The word is still painful to say, I hate it, so I wrote it down and left it on her desk and waited. The response was immediate and her genuine concern broke me. I bawled like a baby and let her escort me to the police office. I wrote my statement as precisely as I could and prepared for the investigation. By the way, evidence can still be collected up to six days later from the body even after showering. The results are stronger when collected sooner but can still be collected.
It took me a week to get over the denial stage. Some people have experiences more violent than mine and they may end denial much sooner. Others may take years to acknowledge what happened. Neither one is better than the other. For those who suffer denial for an extended period of time, you must realize that their pain is still fresh to them, it is still real and too difficult to face as a result. Until one is ready to fully admit the circumstances surrounding their attack, there is nothing anyone can do for them except to be there. She, or he, needs you to be patient.