Rape: What To Do When No One Believes You
Editor’s Note: If you have been raped, and confided in someone that didn’t believe you, my heart breaks for you. You are not alone. People often choose to believe what keeps them safe, even at someone’s expense. Take heart, grasp your story, and take it to the One who will always believe, because he Sees. Today’s submission is by Mary Shelton. – Lauren
There is something worse than a man forcing himself on you. It’s being told you are a liar when you finally find the strength to tell your story.
It happened when I was sixteen, while my parents were gone out to lunch. He and I had the house to ourselves for a few hours but no one even gave that a second thought. We had been dating for almost four months by then.
It happened in my own bedroom, only taking twenty minutes or so. And then he left. Just left. I laid there, on my bed, for hours. Not a single thought went through my head. It was as if time had just stopped. By the time I finally got up it was dark outside.
My mother saw a hickey on my neck and immediately started grilling me on what I had done. “On what I had done.” Even if I had tried to tell her the truth, she never would have believed me. Her perception had already become her reality. Almost four years later and we have not talked about it. Not once.
The unfortunate thing is, once you’ve been raped, there is so much no one tells you. No one tells you that there is a possibility that people in your life will turn on you in light of the story you tell them.
I didn’t tell my story of that Tuesday afternoon until I was in college. The words just fell out of my mouth during a road trip with several of my closest girlfriends. Sitting at a corner table at KFC I blurted out, “I was raped when I was sixteen” as nonchalantly as one might ask for a napkin. They took it. They took my story into their lives that day.
I thought I was the only one my story would ever affect. I was wrong.
What we fail to remember is that everyone else in your life is also processing what happened, in their own way. And sometimes it gets awkward. The sad truth is that a lot of friendships change somewhere in all the awkwardness.
My closest friend did not believe me. She strung together all the elements of the story in her mind and noticed one or two missing pieces and decided it must be a lie. She decided I must be a liar. It took an entire year for her to tell me of her inaccurate decision about my life. Words cannot describe the ache in my soul. It was the most helpless I have ever felt.
If you have ever been raped, let me tell you one thing. The one thing I would love to go back and tell myself: You are in control of your own story. You had no control over what happened to you but you are in charge of how it gets told, where it gets told, and whose life it enters into. Choose wisely, choose prayerfully, use your discernment. Someone’s perception of your reality does not have to make it re-write the truth for you. The truth will never be altered, and God is your witness.
God does not want his daughters to live in the darkness, that scary place where we feel helpless and all alone. He wants the light to be where we dwell because it’s where he dwells.
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:22
To the girl who has been told she is a liar, the girl who is afraid to tell her story, the girl who doesn’t even know where to begin: Be still and know that God is God. That He loves. That He knows. Choose to walk in the light by being truthful with yourself – because only then will you be able to stand in truthfulness before the Almighty God.
Take back your story. And tell it again when you are ready.
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