It was very difficult to make the decision to share the story of my rape publicly. After all of this time in denial (which ended abruptly in early May), I no longer wanted to "own" it, if that makes sense. I knew that to accelerate my healing I had to do away with the secret in a manner that was final and irreversible. So, I did something that the beta male wannabes posting on the PajamasMedia thread of Dr. Helen's article could never muster the courage to do if in my own position – I committed to telling my secret publicly and thoroughly. That was extremely hard and I spent many hours pondering it, but once committed, I felt better about it and the shame of secrecy is now gone. No lying, no pretending, no ignoring, no silence.
I won’t lie. Reading the early responses at PJM really tore me up. I was emotionally fragile and went off a few times in response as the trolls and asshats baited me in. In retrospect I should have only responded once and then let it go. As a result of reading that thread, I spent Monday and Tuesday of that week in panic attacks and painful muscle tension from the resultant anxiety. By Wednesday I had worked through it and felt better about my decision to go public.
I’ve heard from several survivors who hope to someday feel strong enough to tell their own story publicly and I read several very supportive blog entries linking either to my website or Dr. Helen's article. No matter how often I read or hear supportive remarks, they always help.
I’ve been publishing online for 11 years and blogging for 6 years, so I have a thick enough skin to have weathered denial-of-service attacks, death threats, defamation, an organized group of cyber vigilantes, a cyber-stalker, etc. However, dealing with the initial onslaught of hatred, mockery, emasculation and outright victim-blaming opened up a whole new level of How-Do-I-Cope for me.
So, how do I cope? I cope by knowing that someone, somewhere got a little strength reading about my experience. I cope by knowing that someone, somewhere no longer feels alone. I cope by knowing that someone, somewhere, knows that they are not going crazy.
And that, makes it worth it for me.
This entry also posted at: http://remodel4life.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-releasing-old-secrets.html