Healing After R*pe: Therapy, Support & Processing Trauma

TRIGGER WARNING for content related to sexual abuse

The Night It Happened

2 years ago, I was studying abroad in a capital city in Europe. One night, I was walking back home from a night out. In an alleyway near a train station, I was jumped, pinned down & raped by 2 older men. I was only 18 when it happened.

At one point, 1 of the guys stopped to turn around. Luckily, this gave me the chance to run away as I rushed into the train station. Once I got home, I just sat down & scrolled through TikTok. I hadn’t actually clocked what had just happened to me.

That night, I was wearing a pair of very baggy jeans, a light blue denim shirt & a massive black coat. Clothes weren’t the cause of what happened that night - they never are.

The Events That Came Afterwards

After that night, I tried to continue with life as normal, but my flatmate realised something was wrong. When one of them asked what happened to me, I just broke down uncontrollably.

This had started to become a regular occurrence, as I just couldn’t control my emotions. That was when I realised that I needed help & reached out to the Richmond Foundation.

I also needed medical assistance, as I was diagnosed with gonorrhoea (an STI). Because of this, I had to visit a sexual health clinic alone (during COVID-19). I did multiple swabs & blood tests to make sure I didn’t get anything else.

The Process Of Therapy

Contacting the Richmond Foundation was probably the best thing I could have ever done. They got back to me with a list of different therapists.

The healing process wasn’t easy, especially because I was being helped by someone whom I was only meeting online every week. But over time, I managed to build a connection with my therapist, which made the meetings much more productive.

With time, sessions became easier & I was managing to enjoy my days - not just get through them. Slowly, I started being able to open up about what happened with the people around me. This helped me form stronger connections with my family & friends because I didn’t feel like I had to pretend that I was okay.

My Family's Support

The phone call with my mum was the hardest thing I had to do, because I was in a different country & she felt like there was nothing that she could do. Even though we were in different countries, she still did the best job she possibly could & I wouldn’t have asked for anything to be done differently.

Luckily, I had siblings living in the same city I was studying in. Whenever things became really difficult, I always had somewhere to escape to. My family back home always checked in on me to see how I was doing & they’d stop everything when I’d call.

There are no amount of words I can say to thank them for everything they did for me. I would have never made it through this process without them.

As much as this experience broke me, it has helped me grow into the person I am today.
I am forever grateful towards those who helped me get through this terrible experience.

Where I Am Currently

2 years later, I’m now in Malta continuing with studies. Living back with my parents has made things a lot easier. Whenever I’m home, there’s always someone to talk to when I need to & they know what I’ve been through.

In my time back, I’ve met amazing friends whom I have built incredible bonds with. Sharing my story has even encouraged others around me to talk about what they’ve experienced.

There are still days when I find it physically hard to get out of bed or won’t feel like functioning as a human. It’s normal to have a tough day, but even the worse days have become bearable as I continue to heal mentally & emotionally.

If You Need To Talk To Someone About Past Experiences & Require Help, Reach Out To:

Share this article