I don’t know how much more I can take.

The whole day at work today I was trying with all my might to resist the tears that rose to the surface of my eyes to not fall. Within the first hour I was wondering how the hell I was going to last the whole day when all I wanted to do was run home and burst out crying. I pushed through though and now I’m dreading going back on Monday. My mental state is just so bad at the moment, I can’t handle it. Work is so stressful, I constantly daydream about standing up and saying “I quit” and then the relief of never having to go back there again. Then I realise that this shall never become a reality, for my abilities to support myself and pay my rent rely on this shitty fucking job that I hate so much. Not that anywhere else would be better, but having to talk to people and put on that fake work act and be all happy and chirpy when talking to customers when all you want to do is die on the inside, is like torture.

Next week I have to go to Adelaide where my grandparents live because my grandpa’s having an operation and I not only want to be there for him but also for my mum to be a support for her. She’s having a falling out with her mum and I didn’t want her to be alone in all this. I’m only going for a few days but this meant taking a couple of days off work. I knew my manager wouldn’t like it because she sometimes gets pissed off when other people take the day off for being sick (not to mention I have forced myself to go to work when feeling sick on many occasions because of this) but this was something I needed to do. After all, I could change my shifts around and when it comes down to it, family is more important than work.

I was so anxious before asking my manager if I could swap my days around but I took a deep breath and worked up the courage to finally do it. I told her I just needed Thursday and Friday off next week and explained the fact that I needed to go to Adelaide for my Grandpa’s operation. In response, she was a fucking bitch about it. No compassion, no understanding, no care in the world about anything other than her work schedule and her anger over the fact that she prints the schedules “six weeks in advance”. I ended up being able to swap my days with someone else but the fact that I need to go but was treated as though I had done something wrong or that I should feel bad for having to swap my days due to my grandpa having to have a cancer removed, is absolutely horrible! People need to start getting off their power trip and bring themselves back down to humanity, seriously what is this world coming to when bosses care more about work politics than their employees themselves?

image

Last night I had a dream I was raped. A monstrous man chased me down a dirt side street and as I ran while fearing for my life, he grabbed me and it was too late. As he raped me I screamed and tried to crawl under a fence to where other men were, while I cried and screamed “help”, reaching out with my hand for someone to save me but they just stood in the distance and watched.  After the traumatic episode I rang a friend, crying and telling her what had happened. I then awoke, still traumatized by it now. It literally ruined my whole day at work.

I’m sick of these nightmares. I wonder if I will have them for my whole life.

I feel as though since the court case has finished and he has been convicted, everyone thinks I’m fine. It’s like everyone thinks I’m able to move on now or something. I mean, even though I can move on easier than if it had gone the other way and he were still walking around freely, I can’t move on as quickly and easily as the extent it seems everyone expects from me. Yes, the court case is over and done with and while that is a huge weight off my shoulders, I AM STILL recovering from what happened to me in the first place. Him being in a jail cell doesn’t erase what I am going through.

I really feel extremely alone in all this. While I have friends and family that would be willing to support me if I asked, I can’t bring myself to break through this layer, nor would I even want anyone close to me to know how I feel at my core. I think the fact that my “bestfriend” was nowhere to be seen as the court case approached and still is to this day, has made me distance myself even more to people I would usually trust. I still have so much disappointment, anger and sadness built up inside me due to what she has done. As I reached out to her with all I had while the days came closer to the toughest moment of my life, she rejected me. Then she said “I have my own shit going on”. I wondered what could possibly be more important than her bestfriend going through a rape trial, only to later find out that the guy she had been seeing didn’t want to date her. I still don’t understand how a guy you’ve known for a few months could be more important than someone you have spent eight years doing everything with, who you would consider your bestfriend, sister at heart and “other half” as we called each other. HOW?

As I sat in the waiting room for the clerk to come and tell me it was my time to give evidence, I knew deep inside myself that she should’ve been there. I’d always imagined myself sitting there with her, holding her hand as she supported me and kept me calm.

I always thought she’d be there for me.

But I was on my own now.

I entered the court room and stood to the stand while the jury were escorted in. One by one they took a seat directly in front of me, just a few meters away. Twelve strangers sat there, all eyes on me, ready to hear my story of the deepest, darkest secret of my life. I sat there shaking, wanting to burst out crying while a flood of anxiety overcame me. To the left of me was the man who destroyed my life and even though I was so full of fear, I needed to take back the power he stole from me two years ago. I may have been on my own, but I was determined. I was strong. I was a soldier who marched through and re-lived the absolute darkest, most terrifying ordeal that had had ever happened to me, in the most honest and rawest form I could possibly be. I broke down, I was humiliated, I was made to look like a liar after EVERYTHING that had happened to me and I still tore the court room down. I still remained composed and focused on exactly what I needed more than anything- justice. I looked at each and every jury member in the eye, human to human, and spoke to them from the very bottom of my soul, with every inch of despair and pain and courage I possibly possess so that they couldn’t help but KNOW in their hearts how much I needed this. I will never forget that victorious moment of hearing those precious words “guilty”.

The statistics of knowing that less than 5% of rapists that are reported are convicted, remained at the back of my mind throughout the days of the trial and even though I used it as a basis of staying realistic and knowing he could possibly get away with it, I also used it as goal to make HIM one of those 5%. The police tried to prepare me for the very worst and even though I understood it was more likely for him to be found “not guilty”, I couldn’t allow it to be a possibility in my case. I didn’t even at one point allow myself to imagine how I’d be if he’d gotten away with it. After all I’ve gone through already over the last two and a half years, all the stress of the court cases and interrogation I’d dealt with leading up to the final one and how hard I had pushed myself when all I really wanted to do was run away and die, there was NO WAY things could get worse from then. I held onto the smallest ounce of hope I had left and cherished it.

I may have no bestfriend left and I may be completely alone, sad and distressed . Although since conquering my fear, pushing myself to my highest capabilities and defeating the man who raped me and had destroyed me for so long, I now know that I can defeat anything. I can defeat loneliness, sadness, stress and the black hole that threatens to take me away entirely. I can continue to hold onto that hope that has proved me right in the past and given my soul back some growth it had lost. I can continue to be a fighter and I will continue to win. 

There’s my life before the rape and there’s my life after it.

Before I wasn’t completely damaged yet. I was still very torn, but not yet broken to the extent I am now.

I was different before the rape. I was still recovering from the scars my father wounded me with at age sixteen when he tore out my heart and told me he never wanted to see me again. After already witnessing the cruelness of the world and slowly trying to mend my heart back together with the crumbs of what were left, I decided to make a leap into the world again and put my trust back in strangers, including men. This was possibly the biggest mistake I’d ever made in my life.

My father hadn’t stolen everything from me. Yes, I had been hurt and confused and developed self-esteem issues that stuck with me for ages and probably a lot of other things that are still here. Although there were still parts of me that I had, that hadn’t been tampered with yet. I still had my safety, my right to live freely as a human, my privacy and the sense of knowing that my body was mine and that NO ONE other than myself had control over me. Now I’m confused as to what I even have left. I already knew the impact that non-physical abuse had on the mind and mental well-being in general but I was not ready to experience the impact of something so violent and invading, which lingers around with you everywhere you go.

While I try to fill my life with things I hope will make me content, I’m still far from there. I have what’s left of my friends and family, I have my apartment, my boyfriend, my job and my study. I have the minimal requirements of what I would expect would give me a good life. Although everywhere I go, I can’t help but carry my pain with me.

I know I should be happy I succeeded with my biggest hurdle life has ever and I think will ever provide me with by winning the court case and conquering what I wanted more than ever. I really am happy about this and very proud of myself although the truth is, nothing will ever make up for what has been done. I guess for now, I should just hold onto the fact that at any given moment he is sitting in a jail cell rotting away in his dirty shame and will be doing so for the next five years. This actually gives me a bit of hope for the world.