Posts Tagged ‘EMDR’

Rape Revisited

Judith

Judith

Eleven years ago I was sexually assaulted and left for dead. In the bloody aftermath of the attack the experts were not able to state categorically whether I had been raped or not. Mercifully the extent of damage to my skull and brain which had resulted in my deafness also limited my recall of the attack and so I was unable to contribute any useful memory. Given the nature of the injuries to my lower abdomen and pelvis it was thought unlikely that any rape would have taken place because the amount of blood loss via my vagina. The feeling was that it would have been enough to discourage even the most dedicated sadist. So for a decade I lived in the belief that while I had been attacked most brutally I had not been violated by rape.

In March 2008 I sustained another head injury and another intracranial bleed resulting in the need for further surgery to my brain, this time to preserve my eyesight. Within days of waking from surgery I began to realise that while some of my shorter term memories had vanished some of my longer term ones seem to have been released.

For some months I tried to deny these memories to myself. I tried to think of them as false memories, products of imagination or confused versions of reality, in short I tried to turn those memories into something other than what they probably were.  I realise now that this was a mistake, doing this contributed to the depression and acute anxiety states since.

I knew I was slipping into a form of depression, this is common enough after major brain surgery and so I put it down to that. I also appreciated that I was living in fear of my reduced senses because my eye sight repeatedly failed me, but I pushed on with life, stuffing my fears and anxieties deep down inside me.

This worked for a while, until I encountered a very aggressive muslim man in a supermarket in town who took exception to the presence of my guide dog in the store. The event scared me senseless, it scared me back into our home, too frightened to venture out alone again for many months. One night soon after my wife sat me down and told me to tell her, but she had already worked out what I had been to afraid to tell her. I told her how I now recalled seeing my attackers face above me felt his weight on my broken pelvis, the agony of that over riding the pain of the actual rape, the rancid, rank stink of him close to me.

It was time to get some help.

I am very lucky, very privileged, to have a supportive extended family with deep resources, they found me a wonderful therapist who specialised in Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). For a little over a year she has walked me back through the last eleven years, facing up to all the negatives and building on all the positives. The first thing we dealt with was the validity of the memories I had been having since the last surgery. Real or not they were having a very real impact on me so now, for the first time I am going to say this publicly and then keep moving forward with my life;

“Hello, my name is Judith and eleven years ago I was raped, not sexually assaulted but raped”

Author: Judith