Anyway, in case you forgot how this works, the post below was not written by me. It's from another blogger who shall remain anonymous so that she can speak her mind freely. In turn, I've got an anonypost floating around somewhere on the Internet today as well. We did this once before; remember? My guest poster confessed her love for Leonard Nimoy, and I told the Internet all about... well, never mind what I told the Internet all about. It was anonymous for a reason, right?
Today's anonymous poster has some pretty intense and serious things to share, so I'll quit my rattling now and give her the floor. Let's give her a warm welcome. Take it away, guest poster.
People often fondly discuss how and when they lost their virginity. I listen, laugh or sympathise but, for once, I don't have a witty anecdote of my own to share.
I didn't lose my virginity. Mine was stolen when I was 16 years old, in a brutal and terrifying attack that lasted the best part of 24 hours. The three men who attacked and raped me were never found and whilst I hope they never tortured anyone else in the same way that they did me, I was glad in a way that they were never brought to justice as I don't think I would have coped with reliving what happened in public at a trial.
I didn't really cope anyway. No-one did. I think sometimes it was harder for my parents than it was for me. I wish they had not had to see the state I was in when I was found, or listened as I tried to describe to the police in detail exactly what had happened. It would have been easier for them and in the long run, probably easier for me too, if they had not been there. Because I don't think the attack was the worst of it really, it was later I needed them most.
The attack was terrifying, mostly because I thought they would kill me. A sort of self-preservation instinct set in and I did none of those things you might expect, I didn't scream, struggle or fight back. I just let them do whatever they wanted in the hope that they would let me go. I've read lots of accounts of rape since and I think that this shut-down response is quite common, a way of preserving not only your life but also your sense of self in a situation where you would think you could not.
The real pain came later. After the initial furor was over, there was a sense of relief that I was not pregnant and that physically I was largely all right. My parents could not understand why I did not have the sort of reaction you might expect, I never broke down in tears or clung to anyone. They tried many times to speak to me about it but getting no response retreated back to normal life and familiar routines. My friends didn't know what to say so they avoided me and I couldn't smile and be jolly and pretend nothing had changed so I just shut myself in my room and got on with my schoolwork. There were no counselling sessions, no-one to tell me it was OK to feel the things I did. I felt guilt that I hadn't done more to escape my attackers, I felt revulsion at what they had done to me, I felt grief for the life I had suddenly lost and I was confused, frightened and intensely lonely. I threw myself into my schoolwork, I didn't go out with friends, I just worked and worked and worked. It was a form of therapy really and it did help. I got the highest marks anyone had ever scored in the public examinations I took in my final year at school. I had my picture in the local paper and easily secured a place at a University in the big city. For once I was famous for something positive, I wasn't just the rape victim.
Escaping from my home town was a good move and it was easier for me in the big city where I felt anonymous. I made a friend and together we cooked up the sort of mischief I had enjoyed as a schoolgirl and still do to this day. Emotionally I was fragile but I regained some of my confidence and it is this friend I have to thank for that. She was my saviour. She helped me to accept that whilst what had happened to me could never be changed, it didn't have to determine the course of the rest of my life. She listened to me talk about it, held me in her arms night after night, without any expectation of anything more. She arranged for me to see a counsellor who helped me to develop strategies for dealing with the memories of what had happened. With her unconditional, undemanding love and support my wounds slowly healed and I learnt to live and love again.
I know you will feel revulsion at what happened and feel sorry for the 16 year-old me. But that is not me any more. I no longer need sympathy and understanding. More than 25 years have passed since I was raped. Whilst I know I will always have nightmares, will always bear the physical scars of the assault, it is just one very small fragment of my life, just one part of what makes me what I am today. The only reason I keep this a secret, the reason I am not writing about it on my own blog (although I have considered doing so and may still do so yet) is not because I feel ashamed of or embarrassed about what happened to me, but simply that when I have told people in the past I think it has changed their opinion of me as I am now. And I do not want that to happen to me in blogworld.
Want to read more anonymous posts? Here's the list of participating blogs (a list that's over twice as long as last time... detectives, you've got your work cut out for you if you're trying to match post with blogger this time).
The Adventures of Shelagh
And You Know What Else
Bright Yellow World
Du Wax Loolu
Everything I Like Causes Cancer
Fretting the Small Stuff
For the Long Run
Galoot's Hoot Page
Just Below 63
Life After AC
Muse On Vacation
Nancy Pearl Wannabe
Not What You Think It Should Be
One New Duck
Rankin Inlet: A Journey Northwards
Red Red Whine
Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills
The Reluctant Blogger
Tracy Out Loud
Way Way Up