I want to start off by saying, there is no right way to react to being raped. I have been receiving a number of messages from people asking if the way they are feeling is normal? And the answer is yes. Everyone reacts uniquely to rape. There is no right or wrong way to feel. The way you are feeling is normal. I have spent some time browsing the internet, looking at the advice given to rape victims, and I’ve found a pattern. They all agree there is a certain way to react to rape. There are ways you should feel.
Rape victims will experience immediate feelings of shock and disbelief. They will feel numb and struggle to come to terms with what has just happened to them. They will find themselves withdrawing from their friends and family. They will experience flashbacks, have difficulty concentrating and be easily frightened and startled. These are just a few examples of ‘normal’ ways to react to rape.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I do not disagree with the information these websites are providing, I just wish they would make it clear, not everyone will react like this. And if you don’t, that is okay.
Immediately after my rape, I didn’t experience feelings of shock and disbelief. I was angry, angrier that I have ever been before. I was shaking with rage. It wasn’t until a few hours after being raped that I experienced feelings of shock. I wasn’t until the feelings of anger had subsided that feeling of numbness and confusion filled me. And days after my rape I found myself back at work, back out with my friends socialising every night. I found myself trying to prove to everyone that I was okay. That this rape had not affected me. And the flashbacks and the nightmares, they didn’t come for months.
This is how I dealt with my rape. The way I felt, is normal. The way I reacted, is normal. The feeling I have now, they are normal. And the way every other rape victim has reacted and felt, that’s normal too. They may not all be identical reactions, in-fact they all might be completely unique. But that okay.