I just wanted to start by saying I'm sorry I haven't been online much for the last couple of weeks and especially to a couple of you who I'd been talking to regularly because I feel like I've been neglecting you! You know who you are :-)
This is always a difficult time of year for me because I was attacked repeatedly throughout July/August/September of 2002. The last time I was raped was seven years ago today. I'm sure a lot of you will understand and empathise with the mixed feelings I have around each anniversary and I don't really know how to describe how I'm feeling right now, which I find really frustrating because I like to be able to put words to everything!
I'm trying to focus on the good things; instead of this being the anniversary of my rape I'm re-labelling it the anniversary of my beautiful son being conceived. I'm concentrating on all the things I've achieved since then that I didn't think I could ever manage again. About 4 years ago as part of my "home-made" therapy I made three lists of places/people/situations - like my own personal risk assessment of everything. They were grouped into things I could deal with on a day to day basis (getting up, having a shower, eating breakfast, the simple things), things I could sometimes do, depending on the day (going for lunch with friends, taking my son to the park, going shopping) and things I thought I'd never be able to do again (being alone in a room with a man, going to places I knew he was likely to be). I risk assessed every person in my life and any new people started with a zero (no trust at all) and worked upwards until I felt comfortable to have a conversation with them, be alone with them etc. I guess it's a kind of control thing; because the control was taken away from me when I was attacked I need to be able to control my surroundings to avoid being attacked again. I revised my list tonight and was really proud to see that some things have moved down without me really noticing. I can now go for lunch with my friends without panicking, I can go to the supermarket on my own, I can even go out drinking with my friends from time to time! But only with at least one who knows, just in case.
I just get frustrated at how much control he still has over my life and I desperately want to reclaim it as my own. I am NOT his puppet. I want to be able to trust a man enough to have a relationship with him. I want to be able to have meetings at work where I don't worry about whether I'll be the only woman in the room. I want to be able to go to a pub and not have to scan the room for him first and then face the door the whole time to make sure that he doesn't walk in while I'm there. I want to be able to let repair men into my home without fearing for my safety. I want to be able to talk to people without wondering whether they know, and whether they're judging me. I have a long way to go but I take comfort from how far I've come. I look forward to (hopefully) making more progress in the coming year.
I'm sorry for waffling, I just needed to get this out of my system and I do feel a bit better now. Thanks for listening and I hope you're all well!