He once told me, 'Your ugliness makes you beautiful,' and I believed him. I was only thirteen. He was nineteen.
I didn't know I was a victim of rape until I had to write a research paper in high school on statutory rape. My teacher asked me if I knew about the topic a little more than I'd admitted to. That was when I understood what I had experienced. I did not process what really had happened until growing older. I began to realize how the rape had affected my personal life, especially how I perceived love. I learned how to settle for less - cheaters who justify their actions.
Eight years later, here I am as a recovering domestic violence survivor from my last relationship. The rape has definitely affected me in many little ways - my self-esteem, my anxiety, and my well-being. I was bullied for many years because of it, because I was a victim. Nobody helped me. They ridiculed me. I have suppressed the fact that I was raped because I was ostracized by others shortly after it happened.
Before I knew it, the rape became insignificant. That only lasted until I went to college and saw how it had influenced me as a person. I was not dominated in the rape. I was brainwashed. I was cheated. He took advantage of my innocence, and that cannot be justified in any way. He also had children I had no idea about.
One day, I decided to make a call to the head of the police department and file a report. When it was the time for me to decide if I should go forward and press charges, I thought this to myself, "Will I have the money and time to drive down to that state for the court dates while I am studying at a prominent university, leading a good life? Should I let this further destroy me? Is he suffering, struggling to be happy?" I decided that I was not going to let him control my life in any way possible and that I should have trust in the greater power of Karma.
That moment was when I finally freed myself. It is never too late to recover. To change. To become a better person.
Even though the rape will always be a part of you, it does NOT define you. At all.