Loving Life after 50

Rape and my Story

In January I sat down at my computer and my fingers started typing a story I wasn’t sure I could tell, a serious story that possibly did not fit with my blog but it was one I needed to put down on paper. This story then sat in my drafts for six months, until this week, until some Father decided that his son shouldn’t have to suffer undue hardship as a result of 20 minutes, well “Dear Dad” let me tell you no amount of time will make up for ” Forever” because that’s how long the victims and their families will deal with his twenty minutes.and so here is my story written as a family member and with permission because I needed Carly to be OK with me sharing this.

Getting serious today on the blog, a year ago October our family was forever changed, the peace of mind we had always felt would no longer be ours.  A year ago October my niece was living in Australia, a million miles away, and she was raped. RAPED by three animals, three sub-humans, because that is the only way I can think of them.

While I cannot even begin to understand what she lives with every day and how she wakes up every morning and can even contemplate smiling, I can say she has worked really hard to reach a place where she can move on. To her credit she has been able to start moving on and trust another person and accept them in her life and to me that is amazing ( and half way on her way to welcoming a new life into their family)  Trust me there are still set backs and there will probably always be setbacks but for today in this moment, she has been able to move forward.
It was a year ago this week that she went public with her story and that had to take a tremendous amount of courage.(here). So it was a year ago that we became aware of all of the graphic details, a time when we had to re-live all that had happened.  For me it brought up a lot of emotions that I was not able to easily let go of, and it took me back to that time.
Imagine if you will finding out that a loved one has experienced a horrible event and they are 18,205 kilometers away from you, imagine that even if you could just hop on a plane because time, availability and cash were not an issue it would still take you three days to get there. What would you do, what can you do?  and so this is my story.
I was not raped but it feels like my family was, and that cannot torment me nearly as much as it must torment the actual victim..
Perth Australia was actually equipped to deal with a rape victim, they have a clinic that provided a phenomenal care, they had law that believed but sadly because of medical coverage and her returning back to Canada, they cannot prosecute without her there.. so the rapist will never be punished but the victim will feel the effects for the rest of her life.
Society has improved slightly but there are still a lot of improvements that need to be made, mostly in the minds of people.  Clothes do not create rape, alcohol does not create rape, walking alone or being alone in a room with someone does not create rape.  The actions of a person who does not understand that No means No creates rape. It is as simple as that and until we as a society accept that when a person says no, to do anything but stop makes you the criminal not the victim.
This is not a story about the rape, it is the story of those who are sitting on the sidelines, a story about the despair we feel when we cannot protect our children, when we cannot kiss it and make it better.
I was sitting in my family room, on the computer when I received a text message, a message telling me she had been assaulted.  Naive little me truly thought she meant some girl had punched her but after a few back and forth texts it became clear what had really happened. And that began my period of feeling so incompetent and ill equipped. What could I do, what should I do, what was I going to do?  All thoughts racing through my head.
Carly is not a statistic to us, she is a daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend, she is someone we know. She is one of the 5% that reported it but sadly her rapist are in the 98% that will never serve a day. She is one of the 4/5 that knew them, they were not friends but they were neighbours. She is in the 80% as she was 25.
All the statistics in the world cannot help you when there are 18000 kilometers separating you. The feeling of anxiety that you experience because there is truly nothing you can do. I can be on the other end of the phone, I can be a face on the computer screen but I cannot hold you and make it better, hell even if I was there I still could not make it better.
Making it better, that is the statement that feels like a knife twisting in your gut, it is the statement that makes you physically sick, the one that keeps you awake at night wondering.  This is not a scraped knee, I can’t kiss it and make it better and wiping away the tears will not help you move forward. Only hoping that you know and understand that we are here to prop you up, to pick you up when you fall, to hand you the kleenex and just let you cry, that is what we can do.
And that is the point of my story, I wasn’t raped but that does not mean that i was not affected or impacted by what happened, Families are also the victims, not to the same extent but still victims.
Life as you knew it changes, the person is not the same person nor will they ever be and you have to accept that.  You need to understand that they may never smile as brightly or laugh as loudly, you need to know that even if they are laughing and smiling they may still be hiding their fear and their shame because sadly a majority of rape victims still blame themselves.
Do not pat them on the back and say it will be OK, because really it will not, let them cry and yell and scream and offer them your shoulder or a hanky. Do not expect them to just move on, rape is not just a physical attack, it is a mental attack that may surface when least expected, healing takes time and you need to let them heal.  This is not a broken leg that will mend in six weeks, the physical signs will fade but the mental scars will linger for a long time. possibly forever.
There is no pill that makes it better, no bandaid that can protect the wounds, the scars are hidden but just as painful as those that can be seen.
Did you know that rape is the crime that just keeps on giving, its true. It is not bad enough that you have to go through the emotional and physical healing when it initially happens but if you are not able to recover quickly and ” Move On” you can lose your friends, the support of those around you, your job, your diploma.. Every set back you experience that is meet with a ” not again” or ” how much time this time” leaves the victim feeling like they have been brutalized all over again.
When will we as a society accept and understand “she” is the victim.