An Open Letter: To the Women & Men Surviving Rape.
Words by Clair Draper
Main image by Nastasia Alberti
On 21st May 2016, the worst thing imaginable happened to me and I was raped. However, it did not happen the way I thought something like this might.
It took me four days to understand and comprehend that I had been drugged. I had woken up naked, in pain; confused and sick next to a man I recognised but was not attracted to. I instantly blamed myself and assumed I had got too drunk.
For the weeks that followed this, I went through many stages of emotion and behaviour in my attempt at survival. I found it difficult to motivate myself to do anything and there was virtually no joy left in my world.
I searched online so many times for things to help me through and I felt that there was very little out there to help me comprehend my thoughts and feelings. So, now that I am further on in my path of survival, I have written a guide to help others, both men and women, on their journeys.
Although everyone’s experience is different, my message is simple. I believe you. It wasn’t your fault. You’re doing a great job at surviving every day when you open your eyes, and so don’t give up now.
A Survivor’s Guide to Rape has been published by elephant journal and can be accessed here.
Step 1: You are awake!
Step 2: You got up today!
Step 3: You are finding coping mechanisms.
Step 4: You have dark thoughts.
Step 5: Talk!
Step 6: Learn to love yourself again.
I’m not going to lie; survival takes a lot of hard work and commitment. It’s a long path full of uphills, twists and turns. There may be days when you don’t think you are coping at all, and in those times, just remind yourself of step one, and follow through on step five.
Take it slowly my friend, and you will get there—I promise.
If you need help, contact: