We often think that rape happens when a man jumps out of the bushes or otherwise takes a woman by surprise. Yet more often than not, it is someone we know and we may quickly learn it is dangerous to fight back. And so we just try to survive it.
My healing journey was largely around forgiving myself for surviving it. For not fighting back more, for fearing his violent tendencies during those hellacious three weeks.
It took me 2 years to admit to myself what had really happened and that I needed to heal. He threatened to kill me if I ever told anyone and swore I’d somehow meet with an untimely death if I left or got away. So I struggled with severe panic attacks as I began telling others and attempting to heal.
My turning point was realizing I didn’t have the strength to heal for me – but if I could help other women heal such trauma, or prevent it from happening through education, inspiration and women’s empowerment… then whatever suffering I endured in facing the pain and healing it – would be worth it.
That was the beginning of finding my soul’s path in this life. And I can say now, 7 years later, that I am increasingly living that mission. Rape did not come to define my life. Rather my choice to ignite my inner Phoenix — to rebirth myself out of the ashes of that experience — has become my sense of self. And I’m standing tall in an open-hearted space of love. I no longer feel any shame.
But it took me 5 concentrated years of effort after that potent turning point. I chose to heal via a spiritual path, focusing on feeling my feelings, energy work to release stored trauma, and reclaiming my personal power. I felt I’d betrayed myself by ignoring the bad gut instincts I had about that man, so I focused on connecting with my intuition (and later with actual clairvoyant training) so I could trust myself to never make such a mistake again.
I read empowering books for women, the most transforming of which was Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Eve Ensler’s poetry and works were also very helpful.
Another massive step was recognizing how much I loathed my body and, working with a transformational coach and healer, we dismantled my inner hatred and I reclaimed a deep self-love and delicious relationship with my wonderful feminine being.
I’ve also recently fully forgiven myself and that man.
I can honestly say that every joyous, wonderful, miraculous and soul fulfilling thing I have in my life is because of the healing journey I engaged after that life-altering trauma. It didn’t have to happen… it doesn’t make it okay that it happened… and yet I will never fear the unknown or the bad ever again.
Because healing from this has taught me that I can overcome anything. Opening the heart after such a catastrophe created a fierce love-warrior within me that is learning to love at a whole other level. I have learned through all this that when I dare to rise… I do. When I leap… I can fly.
And when I fall… bloody knees do heal.
In healing, we reclaim ownership of that part of ourselves. And we learn the joy and bliss of giving it freely to someone when we are ready, in a safe space of love.