Date rape: A survivor speaks out

Date rape: A survivor speaks out
A rape survivor from the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) attends a silent protest at the Lutheran Church in Durban to highlight rape survivors' right to Post Exposure Prophylaxis ( PEP) anti-HIV treatment.

PETALING JAYA - 'I did not know I was raped until I spoke to someone' admitted the 24-year old who finally decided to talk about the tragic incident four years later.

A conservative culture with a penchant for victim-blaming means that many rape victims decide to keep quiet about their ordeal.

Sara (not her real name) is one of them. She spent her last four years dealing with the trauma on her own, for fear of being blamed, shunned and shamed for what happened to her.

"Yes the situation could have been avoided, but I trusted the people who were there with me and I never thought something like that could have happened to someone like me," she said.

In recalling the events of that night, Sara said she was out for dinner with a group of friends whom she trusted very much.

"We were all students and these guys have looked out for me since the day I knew them.

"As we were having dinner, we were joined by some other guys who were hometown buddies of my friends and I did not mind as I was comfortable with my friends," she said while trying to hold back tears.

Sara continued to say that she and her friends had a weekly movie night ritual, but this time around they brought along the guests.

"As always the boys will have some beers and pass out and I clean up after since I did not drink.

"All I remember was sipping on my Iced lemon tea and then on, everything was in flashes.

"I remember being carried into a room and being touched, I fought to keep myself awake and I screamed for my friends, and I could hear one of them knocking on my door begging the guy in the room to let me go.

Weeping, Sara said that her friend did try to protect her, but was too drunk to do anything or even fight the others who were trying to hurt her.

" I was almost unconscious and I was battling a 6 footer who was big and built. I guess I am partially grateful that I cannot remember what had happened.

"The next day I woke up to a lot of pain and a note that said 'Do not worry, I will not get you pregnant until I marry you' .I could not do anything other than cry.

"My friends wanted me to report the incident, but we were all students and I was scared because of possibly having the blame turned on me," she said.

Sara explained that she only spoke about it to a family doctor earlier this year, after she was questioned on her sexual activities when she was examined for a Urinary Tract Infection.

"The doctor told me that it was not my fault and that I was possibly drugged with some form of date rape drugs that are easily available over the counter.

"She also referred me to a psychologist, but to be honest, no one can help me get over something like that.

"All I am asking is for other girls who have possibly been in similar situations to step up and talk to someone, because though it has not completely healed me, it has in a way helped me deal with the trauma and I have finally stopped blaming myself.

She said It is time for women to understand what rape actually is, and 'sex without consent' is rape, be it your spouse, be it your partner or your friend.

"Report the incident, and though it may not make the news, it would at least put the perpetrator behind bars, in turn saving other girls who might suffer the same fate otherwise," she added.

 

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