It’s hard to describe the impact of what being assaulted and raped had on my life because it changed my life completely. For years I thought my life had been destroyed. I worked really hard to rebuild everything. I had to re-create who I was and who I wanted to be because the person I had been was gone.
I felt broken after I was raped. It was as if my sense of identity had been splintered and I didn’t know how to reconnect. I lived in fear and was permanently on the defensive, in survival mode, constantly looking to where the next attack was coming from… I couldn’t trust anyone. I assumed that everyone in my life was going to let me down, so I drove everyone away. I didn’t think I was worthy of relationships.
I began to use drugs and alcohol to hide. I couldn’t handle the person I had become. Because I was so badly injured during the assault, I was in constant pain, taking too many painkillers, and it took the doctors four years to figure out that the ruptured discs in my neck were slowly severing my spinal cord. When this was discovered, I needed urgent surgery and the surgery set me back in my healing once again. The trauma on my body awakened the trauma from the rape and I lived on high alert, using the painkillers to create artificial balance. I wasn’t able to cope and ended up in the hospital. My depression held me prisoner and I needed help desperately.
The six-year relationship I had been in at the time of the rape had fallen apart and we split up not long before I had the surgery. My friendship with my best friend disintegrated and although we were able to reconnect years later, I missed her wedding and other important milestones and will forever be saddened by this.
My life was unmanageable and I needed to move from Los Angeles. I was still trying to pursue my acting career, going through the motions of auditions but my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I had developed a lot of fear around putting myself out there as an actor. I had lived with the dream of being an actor my entire life and moving from Los Angeles was likely going to be an end to that dream. My heart still yearns to be back in that world. It’s one loss I’ve struggled to accept. Even all these years later, I find myself thinking back to that day I was beaten and raped and remember what could have been. Lost dreams often don’t heal.
Although I have been through a lot, I’ve worked really hard to create a new life for myself, including new dreams. I’ve moved to another country and am working to create a career in public speaking so I can share my story of resilience and healing. I look back at the days when I hated who I was and I see someone that was forced to change too fast. I see strength in my healing and am grateful that I’ve made it this far. I don’t walk around with clenched fists anymore with my fingernails gripping so tightly they leave marks. I’m still frightened if someone appears too close to my car, but the scare doesn’t sideline me for days like it once did. I’m able to handle my fears in a way that builds strength.
There was a time I thought being beaten and raped had ended everything for me. I had even wanted to end my life. But now I understand that I am a stronger woman for having experienced what I did and I am grateful I had the inner strength to heal as I have. My life definitely changed forever that day and I will always remember what could have been, but I have found a new place of peace.
For many years before the man that raped me was caught, I rarely thought of him. I felt like survivors of earthquakes must feel. They are traumatized by the horror of the event but they don’t focus on the earthquake itself, they just focus on rebuilding. He was a force of destruction in my life and that was it; it was difficult to have feelings about him. He wasn’t human to me. But then he was caught and I had to rethink my views. He was a man. Just a man, a violent man. It was important to me to see him now as a human being but I still struggle with understanding how and why he could do what he did to me. I hope one day I will know. I hope one day he might tell me.