This is an excerpt of a presentaion I gave at a regional meeting in regards to the Rape Recovery Center and the need for more Crisis workers.
May 22, 2009, I was raped. Not by an aquaintence or a faimly member, but by a stranger.
When I was wheeled into St. Marks energency room, I was dazed, confused, terrified, injured and incredibly sad. The nurse behind the glass asked me why I was there. I just coudn't say the word. The person that took me did. I was taken to a room and told me there was a "team" on their way to see me.
Meanwhile, the doctor came into the room. I choose to believe he didn't know why I was there. I was bruised, bleeding and crying. He asked me if I had rough sex on a regular basis. This is when shame re-introduced itself to me. As he looked a the paperwork in his hand, I assume MY paperwork, I recognized the look of pity cross his face. I remember deciding, at that moment, he would be the last person to know what had happened to me. I was wrong. He excused himself. As he left, the police enetered. They asked if I was sure 'IT' was rape. After a lengthy question and answer period, they said they would leave. I said to myself. "SO WILL I". As I started to gather my belongings there was a knock at the door. I was startled. No one had used that door for knocking since I had been there. Two women asked if they could come in. This was the first time that evening that anyone had asked my permission for anyhting.
They didn't tower over me as the Doctor and the Police had. They sat down, on my level and began to speak. The introduced themselves as being from The Rape Recovery Center. They expressed their sadness at what had happened to me and said that they had no idea as to how I must feel. I realized that I didn't need to convince these women of ANYTHING. They believed what had happened to me and wanted to help me. They told me their names which I will remember to my dieing day. Monique and Ashlee. They informed me of what COULD happen. NOT what WOULD happen. Anything that was goign to occur for the rest of the night was going to be 100% MY choice.
These women informed me of my choices. If I chose to be examined, they would let me know HOW I would be examined, WHEN I would be examined and let me know HOW I would be examined. They told me this, not just once, but throughout the entire examintation, all the time making certain that I understood that at ANYTIME, I could refuse ANY or ALL parts of the exam. I felt heat whatever I chose, I would not be judged for my choices. The exam was doen with compassion, gentleness, throughtfulness and respect. At tiems I woudl begin to cry, and there were many, EVERYTHING stopped. They listened. It wasn't. "hurry up and speak so we can get this done", listening. It was a patient, "We hear you and want to help you through this", listening.
They thought of things that I just wasn't in the frame of mind to consider. The Plan B pill and how it worked. Antibiotics and how to take them. They got soem food from the hospital to prevent nausea.
I was informed that they would need my close. Something, again, was being taken from me that night. I was greatly distressed. I was coming home from a date when I was attacked. I had just bought a new outfit only hours before. What would I wear home? They gave me clothes to wear and items I coudl clean up with, which I appreciated…..They also gave me a blanket….A blanket that I will be eternally grateful for. In a room, so steril, drab and depressing as I felt, was the softest blanket I had ever had. It had color…it was bright and cheerful. This is when I first began to feel comfortable.
The person who brought me to the hospital needed to leave. It had been at least 8 hours since my arrival. I was gathering my things when Ashlee asked how I was getting home. I told her that my car was int he parking lot. I thanked her for her help and her time. She simply stated,"I will walk you out and follow you home". I was dumbfounded. She had done her job and was just as tired as I was. I went to sign the discharge papers and other papers for having surgery the next day. This took some time. I started to leave and lo and behold there was Ashlee, waiting for me. Walking out of St. Marks hospital, I was still injured and sad. However, I was no longer confused. There were other feelings awakening inside of me. Hope, and I dare say, Empoermetn? I believe that because of these women, I began to make a shift from victim to survivor. Ashlee, true to her word, followed me all the way home.
I would like to share a few certainties that I had with you:
………….Without Monique and Ashlee, I would have walked out those sliding doors at St. Mark's and off the nearest cliff.
………….Having access to the Rape Recovery Center and their groups made it possible for me to make it through the weeks.
I am simply sharing a part of my story. This is not for sympathy or pity(I think that if this is given , it would not be beneficial to me) but merely to show that there is a life past Rape.