I have honestly thought about suicide in the last couple of weeks. I haven’t gone so far as to think about planning anything but I have felt hopeless and have felt like just simply disappearing. Everything was going well for so long and I’d been staying so positive although I think that by pushing myself to try to be happy, I was masking my problems underneath it all because they were still there and they are still unresolved. I have found that you can try to escape your issues as much as you want but if you haven’t faced them and tried to conquer them, they will still always be there, lurking beneath the surface, ready to rear their ugly head again at any weak moment. This is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago and it has been a horrible experience to be faced with the reality of my chaotic past all over again although I have gotten to the point where enough is enough and I’ll use my last resort in the attempt to help heal myself.

When I have thought about “disappearing”, the main thing really stopping me is the affects it would have on my loved ones. To imagine how my mother, sister and boyfriend’s life would be if I were to be gone and how long it would take them to recover, if ever, pains me. By ending my life, I may be able to end the overbearing pain I am dealing with but in turn, I would be handing it over to them and this would be an extremely selfish act of me. My main worry would be my little sister growing up without me because I am not only the closest person to her, but also her main support, her role model and her bestfriend. I am not going to take this away from her, especially after everything my father has caused. She needs me and I will be there for her, no matter how dark things get.

I was always against taking anti-depressants because I wanted to be able to defeat my depression and anxiety naturally and I thought that by doing so would be the only way that I really and truly beat this horrible illness. I felt that taking medication was essentially “cheating” and didn’t want to have to rely on or have an addiction to something to make me feel “normal”. I wanted to be able to do it on my own. Although after numerous meltdowns, much costly regretful damage made to my apartment I am renting, days at work with puffy eyes after releasing a waterfall the night before and having a very disrupted night’s sleep including episodes of nightmares, a constant racing heart everyday and a constant battle inside my head of going back and forth through my trauma while dealing with day to day life, I really felt like I had no other choice anymore. It has been tiring continuously trying to think positive thoughts and neglecting the part of me that was dying and desperately needing help. The part of me that is so deeply traumatized by what that freak predator has put me through, the same part that was already damaged by the man who was once named my father, the same part that had her innocence stolen away at fourteen and the same part that has been betrayed and ignored by who was her main support when going through the court case, this same part can’t be neglected anymore. This part of me needs nourishment and support and I can’t handle trying to do it all on my own anymore.

I’ve been on antidepressants in the past, years ago, although the longest I ever lasted was maybe two months. I must admit, I am afraid of having to deal with the common side effect of loss of interest in sex and an inability to orgasm as I had experienced with the various meds in the past I had tried but if this one has the same effect (which is more likely than not), it is something I am going to have to jeopardize. There’s no doubt it will have an effect on my relationship as being intimate is something I cherish and sexual pleasure is an important factor in relationships for me, especially when you have a massively strong bond so it is going to suck not being in the mood for sex, ever. I feel that this side effect is totally underrated. It’s either be happy and not enjoy sex or be depressed and get pleasure from sex. This is if the medication gives me this effect which I’m hoping it won’t. Regardless, my mental well-being and happiness is more important than anything at the moment so I’m looking forward to experiencing the changes made in the next month or so.

I’m scared to be in that memory all by myself.

No one to help me, nowhere to run.

Just me, vulnerable and unable.

Me against danger,

Evil,

A predator that could crush my soul with his very hands and not feel just one ounce of guilt or sorrow,

Not even one ounce to pull himself back, seconds before committing a crime which would make me view the world through

Raging,

Helpless,

Tearful,

Eyes.

A crime so horrendous that by the time you are on your death bed,

You have still never forgotten.

A crime that hears your scream, feels the fear in the pound of your sprinting heart beat and the stiffness of your traumatised, bare  body,

But is still committed,

With no one around.

Just you and evil.

I find it weird that I have a blood related person who lives in a different state, living a different life, so separately to me. I don’t like to use the word father because he doesn’t deserve that title and he isn’t that.

I don’t have a father.

Just fragmented memories of who I thought was one.

This week has been terrible. I have felt suicidal, crazy, out of control, helpless, hopeful, determined, sad and numb, all in the space of a few days. My mind has been absolute chaos, going back and forth between flash backs of the day my father left and then the rape, the court cases, the feelings over my lost friendship with who was my main support and everything in between.

 It has all come crashing down and I not only hate my ex best friend for not being there for me and only creating more for me to carry around, but I hate every bad moment of history in my life so much that accidently stepping in front of a car wouldn’t really phase me too much. I can’t escape it. 

I still think about her now and then.

I think about our memories of when we were young and careless and used the world as our canvas. We danced around so freely, eliminating all the corrupt energy around us and not allowing anything to stop us from having fun. While we may have had our own issues and conflicts at heart, together we were pure in our own kind of way.

Never would I think things would come to this.

We have separate lives now. We are not yet strangers. Close to it I think, yet no one else could fill the eight years of memories that still exist, in both of our minds. The memories that take up all of our teenage years and our first steps into adulthood, while we both walked next to each other, so close you’d think our blood was identical. Yet look at us now.

Things didn’t have to come to this. She could have helped me when I needed it. She should have been there when I had no one. 

I really want to quit my job. I haven’t had a fucking break from working in like two years apart from the two weeks I took off for the court case and the couple of weeks I took off for the one before that. I don’t know what to do anymore. I need some time to recover from all the pain built up inside me over the last few years. Working while in the process of trying to heal just isn’t working for me. I am at a loss and I feel completely helpless.

This year so far has been a great one and a really, really bad one at the same time. My victory of winning the court case and putting the man who had been free for too long, in prison will forever be one of my greatest moments of my life. I sometimes forget how strong I really am and then someone like my boyfriend or mum will remind me of the strength I had during the trial and I’ll realise my capabilities and inner power all over again. For example, when I was in conversation with my mum a couple of weeks ago about being stressed out and she said that not many people would be able to go through what I did (in terms of the court case), not even she would be able to have done so without freaking out and having a mental breakdown, it made me realise that even though the memories of the court case seem very unreal - almost like I wasn’t even there, I was. I did defeat the man who raped me and because of me, he is in jail now. I must not forget this. For such a little girl, my age and size is definitely not a correct description of my strength, determination and bravery which fooled this predator into thinking he could get away with messing with me. Little did he know, that in that split second he refused to accept that I didn’t consent, his whole future would change and that a couple and a half years later, he’d be sitting in a jail cell, labelled as a rapist. I mean, could his life get any shitter?

Although I have experienced an unforgettable moment which will help shape me for the better, the moments surrounding the rapist being convicted and the time leading up to it, is also unforgettable and still affecting me now, negatively.

You didn’t try to kick him off though and he wasn’t holding your arms tightly (there were no bruises) so he wasn’t threatening you. He wasn’t threatening you was he??”asked the defence barrister.

“He was threatening me because he was raping me” I replied in a stern voice, trying to keep my anger under control. This was at the magistrate’s court where they had to see if there was enough evidence for the case to go further. The rapist couldn’t afford to keep the same defence barrister so when the case did go further to the county court, there was a new bastard of a defence barrister (maybe a better name would be a no-soul embarrassment of a human being?), funded through legal aid. The questions at the county court were worse and so was the humiliation I was put under, this time in front of a jury.

“How short was your skirt?” the defence barrister asked me.

 “Point on your leg to give the jury an indication of how short your skirt was on the night” said the judge.

I was horrified. Without standing, I slightly pointed half way down my thigh while in absolute shock, thinking in my head, “how the fuck does this have anything to do with the fact that I was raped??”. I then had to give an explanation on how far down the length of my skirt was from my hips and how many centimetres above my knee it was. This was NOTHING compared to what I was in store for later on though.

Months before the county court, I had handed the phone I was using on the night of the incident into police. This is because the defence barrister at the magistrate’s court was questioning me on phone calls etc, to do with the night and asked if I could hand it in for further investigation. I agreed to hand it in because I had nothing to hide and didn’t think it was very relevant to the incident on the night anyway, therefore there would be nothing they could use against me because I was truthful about everything. Although if I had known the extent of how the defence can twist things around, use material that is completely irrelevant and actually just make up whatever they want to make you look bad (things you wouldn’t even expect to be legal), I would have thought twice about agreeing to hand over my phone. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have at all if I knew it meant being abused again, this time in the court room.

While the defence barrister questioned me on the mobile phone I had been using that night, I answered the questions with ease (well as much ease as possible considering the circumstances) because as with all the other questions, I answered everything truthfully and when it came down to it, that was the best I could do. I’d admitted to everything that could have possibly made me look bad, such as conversation I had engaged in with the rapist days before the assault which may have been considered “inappropriate” by their books (even though I was an eighteen year old vulnerable girl at the time and the rapist was a 34 year old man and my boss who actually started these conversations in the first place, taking advantage of his position so I just followed, unsure of how to react), along with the fact that I hadn’t spoken to my boyfriend in a couple of days or even told him I was going out that night, I admitted to everything truthfully no matter how bad it seemed. When it came down to it, the fact that I did not consent to sex and the fact that I was raped, had NOTHING to do with any of the circumstances surrounding the incident. I could have met up with the rapist completely naked and told him all my most personal sexual stories and that STILL wouldn’t give him a right to rape me. I knew that the jury would be able to see my honesty as a person and that as long as I told the truth about everything, including everything that could possibly make me look bad, or “slutty” or even untrustworthy, they would know that I did not want the rape. I have a feeling they knew already though before I had a chance to speak, that there was pain there.

So after being questioned about the phone, the defence barrister then did something I was not expecting. Something I could not understand, how was it even possible? He passed over to the clerk to hand to me, a booklet of A4 size pages, stapled together. I looked down at this booklet. The front page was a half-naked photo of me which I had sent to my boyfriend years ago and months before the assault. I turned to the next page. Another half-naked photo I had sent to my boyfriend. Next page. Another one. There were about 8 pages in total of blown up half-naked photos of me, the last one being completely naked with just my hair covering my nipples, all which I’d sent via text to my boyfriend, thinking we’d be the only people in the world to have ever had viewed them. It had been so long since I’d seen these photos of my 17 year old self that I’d almost forgotten they’d existed. I realised that the defence had retrieved these photos from the phone but I didn’t know why. I was so confused and angry, I could feel my heart burning while I felt an anxiety attack coming on and I knew I was soon about to burst into tears. Then each and every jury member was handed one of these booklets and I watched as these complete strangers flicked through pages of my bare, young (and yet to be raped), body. How was this happening to me? I thought. What the fuck is going on?

Before it went any further, the judge announced it was lunch break. I moved as quickly as I could from the court room to the waiting room outside the court room. The policeman in charge of my case followed along with a victim support lady. As soon as the door closed, I broke into tears. I cried so hard in shock I couldn’t speak for a while. As soon as I had enough air to talk, in between tears, I questioned the policeman repetitively, saying “Why are they doing this to me??”….”How did they get those photos??”…”How does this have anything to do with the case??”. I was in such disbelief; I didn’t know how much more I could take. I then remember saying “I knew the justice system was bad but I didn’t know they could go this far”. Of course the policeman couldn’t comment on anything to do with the case during the trial until it was over so he and the support lady did their best to keep me calm. The best advice I was probably given by the policeman was “his lawyer is trying to get this reaction from you. This is his card and he wants you to breakdown. When you go back in there, just be relaxed and be like, those are just photos I sent to my boyfriend, so what?”. This is exactly what I did. Just in probably more of a “how dare you” kind of tone.

After lunch break and I was called back into the court room to the stand, the defence barrister started making up stories that I’d shown these photos to the rapist before I was raped that night. They had absolutely no evidence that I’d done so and I think it would have become quite clear to the jury that this wasn’t the case considering my response too. I denied the allegation and then went on to say “I don’t understand how this even has anything to do with the case, these are private photo’s I sent to my boyfriend months before the incident that I would never, ever, ever want the offender to see and I just don’t get what it has to do with anything.” The defence barrister continued to try to push this fucked up lie but continued getting shut down by me and looking like an absolute fool. I guess it worked in my favour in the end but this isn’t to say the whole incident didn’t affect me.

 Firstly, I think it’s disgusting that it’s even legal to show underage porn to jury members in the court room. They are still members of the public and if instead, the defence barrister had gone around trying to hand out these booklets to them on the street, he would be charged with possession of child pornography. So why is it okay in the court room? What about me? Why do my rights disappear and why, especially as a victim of rape, is it okay to expose me? Why the fuck, is the whole justice system so far back into the dark ages? When are we going to realise that it isn’t okay to re-abuse victims in the court room and that some of these laws desperately need to be changed, for they have an affect on society in general by allowing the amount of offenders to grow and less victims to come forward in fear of either being blamed or abused further. I mean, the reason behind those photo’s being used were not only to throw me off but also to make me look like a “slut” and less credible. There I was, standing up on the stand in my blazer looking all professional and being completely truthful and since the defence already knew I would be a massive challenge for them, they thought they’d do whatever they could to make me look like I consented to the sex. They could only really work with twisting things around or making things up and therefore painting a picture of me being a “slut” was the best they could do because of course, if I was the type of girl who took naked pictures and acted slutty, the sex would have definitely been consensual. Who were they kidding. It still makes me feel sick.

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?

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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.