Anonymous, courage, Guest Posts, healing

Shame to Love: Learning To Live Again After Rape.

August 24, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black

Trigger warning: rape/stalking.

Note from Jen Pastiloff: This essay had previously been anonymous. I woke up and got this email this morning,”Dear Jen, Can you re-post the rape essay I wrote and change it from “Anonymous” to my name? It’s his shame to carry, not mine. I’m ready to be brave.”

So, here it is again. Angela Marchesani is no longer anonymous. I am so proud of her.

By Angela Marchesani.

On our second date, he raped me.

It wasn’t “rape” like I had imagined rape would be. I intended to have sex with him- when we first met, the chemistry was amazing. He was tall, fit, handsome, and charming. Plus, my aunt set us up, which in my mind made him safe. We danced to that stupid “Pina Colada Song” after drinks on date two, and going back to his place might have even been my suggestion.

But there we were, in his bedroom, and my condoms were in my purse downstairs. When I tried to get up to one, he pushed me back. I tried to explain what I was doing.

He called me a slut and held me down. I pushed against him, this 6-foot tall kickboxer, to no avail. I begged him to get a condom, but he wasn’t even hearing me any more.

Oddly, I remember saying to myself, “It’s not rape if you don’t fight back.” Maybe that should have been my nudge to fight this beast. Instead, I resigned.

You would think that the awful part of the story is above. It is not.

The awful part is that I continued to date him. I remember physically feeling sick each time I drove to his place. I remember feeling gut-wrenching fear each time I witnessed his rage, or his angry outbursts or his psychotic stare when he got jealous.

6 weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.

He was thrilled- he thought this meant he had me.

When I finally worked up the nerve to break up with him, he went crazy. He harassed me, cursed, yelled, called me names. I tried to be reasonable and talk about co-parenting.

He said, “I am a persistent man. I will exhaust every resource until you marry me.”

I told him that if that was his goal, we couldn’t stay in touch and that I’d let him know when the baby was born.

A month or two later, I discovered that he was stalking me. At my home. At my church. Online. Infiltrating my world and watching my every move.

I felt like a hunted rabbit for the remainder of my pregnancy.

The police were of no help. My friends, family and coworkers helped, but no one knew the full story. No one knew what had happened on our second date and no one knew the rage I had seen in him.

Thankfully, on my due date, while I labored away on my living room floor, I got a letter from him that said, “It’s probably not even my kid anyway.”

I thanked God.

Then I had my baby. I was a broke but supported single mom to a beautiful little boy, who sometimes looked so alarmingly like his father that it made me cringe.

You would think that the awful part of the story is above. Still, it is not.

The awful part occurred over the next six years, as I berated myself and punished myself for the decisions that led to that rape and the subsequent horrors.

Each time my baby got sick, I told myself, “This is what you get.”

Every time the money ran out before the bills were paid, I told myself, “Your fault, dumbass.”

Every time I had a dating folly or frustration, I told myself, “You deserve this.”

Every time I felt lost and alone and overwhelmed with parenting by myself, I told myself, “You made your bed. Now lie in it. Slut.”

I tortured myself and abused myself for six years, for a few decisions that my naïve 27-year-old self made.

And then one day this Spring, I had a nervous breakdown. I took to bed for two days. After years of avoiding any rape or sexual assault content, I listened to a podcast from a man who was molested as a child. As he told his story of the fall out of that incident- not the trauma of the abuse itself, but the persistent and enduring messages he told himself about his worth (or lack thereof) after the abuse- I crumbled.

It took me six years to realize that I had shamed myself into misery.

My life had grown to a very beautiful place. A healthy, loving son, a meaningful job, and amazing place to live, and tons of support from family and friends.

But I was still punishing myself and living like I deserved to be psychologically curled up in the corner of this man’s bedroom, awaiting the next attack.

Thank God for breakdowns.

I wish I could share how I moved past that, but it really was a lightbulb moment that, after a few hours of tears, shifted my entire way with myself.

I began telling the full story to a few close friends. I realized that I hadn’t been known in six years, because no one could know me that well without knowing that piece.

And I started feeling like myself again.

I’m myself again.

 

Another note form Jen: Now that it is no longer anonymous, I can tell you that Angela makes the MOST amazing hand painted wine glasses. I use them all the time. I love anything made with love. Especially that I can drink wine from. Check her out here.

Angela Marchesani is an artist and therapist in the Philadelphia area. She currently works in nonprofit and has her own business painting glassware. Click the photo below.

1794739_275892495904988_787855352_n

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it's magical.

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it’s magical.

 

The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to  be a human being.

The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here. No yoga experience required. Only requirement is to be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above.

Join Jen in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above.

 

Contact Rachel for health coaching, weight loss, strategies, recipes, detoxes, cleanses or help getting off sugar. Click here.

Contact Rachel for health coaching, weight loss, strategies, recipes, detoxes, cleanses or help getting off sugar. Click here.

You Might Also Like

10 Comments

  • Reply Susan August 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you for finding your voice!

  • Reply Karanbir August 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Sending my love, support n sincere wishes for people like you.

  • Reply barbarapotter August 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Wow thank you for sharing this got to me. I can understand how keeping things hidden and blame can easily happen. So happy you had your breakdown.

  • Reply Alaina August 26, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you for this. It is heroic to share your story, like the man who told his on the podcast! I, too, started to blame myself less when I watched a man who had been abused by Sandusky speak in an interview. You realize the messages that a perpetrator tries to encode in our brains are just that, completely untrue. I like what you said about really being known and having to share that piece.

  • Reply Jennifer Simpson December 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    So glad you decided to be brave, you are right, it is HIS shame not yours.

  • Reply Shame to Love: Learning to Live Again After Rape | The Gloria Sirens December 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    […] It took Angela Marchesani 6 years to speak out and say, “This happened to me” and reclaim her power and personhood.  Read her gripping essay here, on TheManifestStation. […]

  • Reply Jeanne December 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for finding your voice. I have recently found mine also. It is an upward battle but one that I am no longer fighting alone. After 5 years of daily horrors and 6 months after finally leaving I had my breakdown. It lasted for almost a week, staring out the window and crying by myself and I finally picked up the phone and called my cousin and for the first time ever told of what I had lived thru. NO one knew, he and I hid it very well. I finally told my mother and as much as it broke my heart to see her pain I knew I had to get it all out. It has been a year and a half now and sometimes I still struggle but the best part is I have the upper hand and so much stronger then I ever gave myself credit for. I am still learning to love me again but I am laughing again and most importantly LIVING…

  • Reply Geannine Mendez December 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you for being so courageous and reminding me that it’s his shame to carry, not mine!

  • Reply abreham December 4, 2014 at 12:13 am

    thank you!!!

  • Reply Aprille Bernard February 9, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for standing up. The first step to healing is just..when you are pushed down..stand up..Keep standing..hugs.

  • Leave a Reply