TW: This essay discusses rape.
By Perveen Maria
The thing about being raped is that for most or the rest of your life, you believe in your skull and feel in your heartpools like you don’t have a choice in certain situations or with certain people. You think you have to do this or you should do that because when you tried to say no before you were overpowered and shut down and yelled at and screamed at and hit with drunken hands and pinned down with a manbody who believed he was king, but was really a nobody who stole my virgin ring.
When you are raped, you have a rage inside that demands to be heard and recognized and appreciated and valued, but this rage inside can’t be visible on the outside because this is why girls and women are raped.
When you are raped, you make daily promises to your survivor self that you will stand up for your true self and take care of your hurt self and never ever let anyone use you or abuse you or tell you how to be or how to live.
When you are raped, despite the daily promises you make to your survivor self, you still find yourself in situations that test your spirit and force you to prove your worth and trigger emotions you wish you could delete from your memorybank and replace with rainbows and unicorns and babygiggles and puppyhugs.
When you are raped, you don’t know if the things you are feeling and thinking are “normal” because you’ve always been labeled as “crazy” and “too-independent” and “aloof” and “intense”.
When you are raped, you need a guarantee that your right to choose will have a positive outcome because the last time you tried to choose, it was the first time you were raped.
When you are raped for the second time, you think worse things and feel more doubt and hope is foreign and you are shit and tears come from nowhere and regret is everywhere and your life – this raped life – becomes a movie you are walking through instead of an experience you have been blessed with.
When you are raped, learning how to love and care and appreciate yourself becomes a full time job you shouldn’t have to work at, and so it becomes too easy to quit over and over and over again.
When you are raped, you have days like today when you think about your life and who are you because of your experiences. You want to be big and bold and great, but you are tired. You want to accomplish everything and save everyone, but you are sad. You want to disappear onto an island, but you are weighed down.
When you are raped, you have days like today when everything from your past is trying to force it’s way into your future, so you sit and you ramble and you might cry a little and so you walk and talk with Mother Nature and remind yourself over and over again: To feel is to know you’re alive. And to be alive means you are not dead anymore. And everything must die before it can be reborn.
Perveen Maria is a passionate writer and survivor living in the Los Angeles area. She is a candidate for her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles where she began The Water Words Project, an anonymous online writing workshop for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. She has also been feverishly working to complete her memoir about finding peace and learning love after two rapes and multiple suicide attempts. Perveen lives with her husband and their five-year-old husky baby. Life has never been sweeter.