Living in a culture where women are blamed for “seducing men” with clothes, attitude, laughter, eyes, etc, I’ve been raped by my best friend. I can relate to a lot of the stories you’ve shared. The uneasy nights, the depression crawling in, the fear of being a woman. It’s been almost 10 years now. But I am still traumatized despite the fact that I help many survivors to overcome their fear. It’s been almost 10 years of living with the darkest memory I had. Living in a culture where women are blamed for seducing men via clothing, and eyes. laughter, etc, I have often been told not to talk to strangers, especially men, to avoid harassment and rape, and to always be cautious with others.
In my case, I was raped by my best friend – who I have been friends with since I knew how to write ABC. What’s painful was that, the society I’ve been living in – the Malay society – ingrained this idea of “it’s my fault”. It’s a woman’s fault if the husband asked for a divorce, a woman should know how to take care of the husband. It’s a woman’s fault for being harassed, a woman shouldn’t be so charming-attract men. It’s a woman’s “dignity” that will be ruined, as rape is a woman’s fault. I have no idea where my fault was that night, I wore decent clothes, had no makeup, was hungry after intense studying, and like always, contacted everyone I knew for McDonald’s. He texted me back and said, “let’s go. I’m hungry too”. I didn’t get my dinner that night. He brought me to his sister’s house – who was on holiday at that time – took my phone, beat me, slapped me, burned me with cigarettes, and raped me for two days. He gave my phone back and sent me back to my campus without any remorse, and blocked me from everything.
He stripped away my emotions. I already had MDD, he gave me PTSD and immense fear. I can’t sleep, the memory plays over and over again. I can even remember his breathing. I am afraid to talk to anyone because I’m worried about what people will think of me, especially my boyfriend at that time. My CGPA got bad. It took me two years to tell someone about it. That person angrily said, “I knew you did something very wrong!” as if I asked for it. It breaks my heart to pieces, I cried so badly and tried to kill myself. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t get any help because I was ashamed, thinking IT WAS my fault.
I wish I didn’t ask for dinner that night. The second time I told someone was a counselor in a hospital when I was brought in for fainting. I’m married now, I have the best support system I could ever ask for. Now, I help and give advice for various mental illnesses that survivors out there struggle with, and I still have sleepless nights and triggering moments. It is still an unbearable, traumatizing memory. Rape is not only about unpleasant intercourse and sexual infection, it creates fear, depression, PTSD, and anxiety to the point where survivors might commit suicide.
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