Since my first job as a nurse, I have always been in psychiatric nursing. My mother was what I believe to be schizoaffective, suffering from severe paranoid delusions. Growing up with my mother, I was the mother, the adult in the arguments. All this experience helped foster a natural ability to handle psychiatric issues, one that I continued with interest in my career as a nurse. Studying mental health was exciting for me.
Since my fiancé was in Kuwait and would a few months into the school year, I opted to move in the summer to adjust and prepare my son for kindergarten in a new state. Since my fiancé was gone and I did not know anyone nearby, I kept to myself, awaiting his return. That left me vulnerable. There was no one to watch my son if I was to go out- no one to go with- and I was unfamiliar with the area, so I would not go alone. In the heat of summer, I developed a taste for beer. After my son went to bed, a couple times a week I would drink a beer and relax in the relative silence of the day. However, I fall asleep easily if I drink, so I rarely drank a whole beer before I fell asleep. My social experiences consisted of looking for work, meeting other parents from my son’s class, going out of town to visit my BFF from high school, walking the dog in my dog-friendly apartment complex, or meeting other neighbors while teaching my son to swim at the pool. I still had not met many friends and had yet to develop real relationships with my neighbors for the four months I had been living in San Antonio, TX. None of my fiancé’s friends would check in on me. I was alone and lonely- so I spent that time reconnecting with my son. He had not seen me much while I was in college- which was most of his life.
As I lay in my bed the day after my rape, I remembered all my training, specifically my suicide treatment and awareness. Feelings of Hopelessness and Helplessness were overpowering. I knew then, even in school, that that feeling of Hopelessness would always be there, making me statistically more likely to commit suicide. Ever since my first rape, and the fallout from that rape, I have felt helpless to change my lot in life. Not that I have not tried! I left high school in my senior year to work three jobs because my one job was not paying me enough to be independent and get a roof over my head. Struggling to get off of the streets- to no longer be homeless- has been an incredibly difficult thing for me to do. Years of homelessness and struggle have been spent working multiple jobs and hardly sleeping. I am a stubborn person. I want to be a successful person. I will do what it takes to make my dreams come true. And yet here I am again.
Again, I am having to start over with my life due to being raped. It does not end with just having the most intimate part of your heart, body and soul stolen from you, but then when you try to seek justice for your crime, you lose everything else. I have lost everything multiple times. I feel helpless to stop all my hard work and determination from crumbling around me so some guy can cum. Being valued as an object, a vehicle for someone’s desires of power and sexual dominance, is more than just that. For a victim, the crime doesn’t end with the rape.
Losing everything again became my wildest fear. My fiancé played right into it. He refused to speak to me. I felt my world crumble. In horror, I reached out to my best friend. But after that night, her phone had been lost and she was only reachable sporadically by other mediums. So then after two days I reached out on Facebook to my long time friends. Whether or not I wanted to admit it, I was creating a plan to kill myself. There is fight in me. There is strength. But it means nothing if I do not have a reason. Then as the days went by, I was fired from my job before I could even finish filling out the Family Medical Leave Act paperwork to apply for medical leave. My test results came back negative for std’s, but showed initial signs of Cervical Cancer. It was too much to tell my fiancé, so I decided to wait the two weeks for him to return before I told him. The next day however, he left me. He told me he knew I had cheated on him on purpose to get back at him. There has never been another time I have needed anyone more, and that is when he left. My worst nightmare playing out again. There I was helpless to stop any of it. You cannot make someone love you and cherish you. You cannot make someone carry your burden with you during your struggles, so I let him go. That was a horrible moment. The worst moment in my life.
All I could imagine was how to kill myself. There was so little to live for. My son had lost a second father. He was finally going to have what he always wanted. My hopes and dreams were about to be ripe for the picking. But with some man’s sick craving for rape, I lost it all. Staying alive was going to be a fight. I struggled with the most basic of motivations- Why? Why should I try again? How can I keep men from raping me? How can I stop people from ruining my life when I cannot stop them? How can I get up and try again, when at any moment someone can ruin it?
My plan was to take my son to someone’s house. Then I was going to put up plastic on the wall and floor so I would not be a lasting mess. My plan was to shoot myself- I could not stomach the thought of my head exploding, so I decided to go with the next sure thing- shooting myself in the heart. I was hoping my death would be instantaneous. That and my funeral would be open casket so my son could grieve appropriately. The idea that he could live with one of my close friends, having a mother and father, was enough of a positive, that it overrode my feelings of motherly responsibility. He WANTS a father so bad. And he just lost a second one because I could not stop this rape.
Slowly, I pulled myself from “the Dark Ocean” that was my suicidal depression. It took nearly two weeks. If it was not for my friends via FaceBook, I can guarantee I would not have had the emotional support and fortitude to make it out. If I had had friends nearby, I would have been even better.
My rapes do not define me- I define me. However, they define my nightmares. But these are not ordinary nightmares; these are nightmares I have lived. They have left a lasting impression on my life, which even with all my hard work, support, counseling, emotional fortitude, and success, I cannot escape. Rape has cost me my life, my dreams, my success, my family, my health, but as long as I live, I will fight against it.