I’m 23 years old and I have been raped twice in my life…

I’m 23 years old and I have been raped twice in my life. I try to bury the trauma and get through the day, but sometimes it doesn’t work. And lately, I seemed to be so consumed by the trauma that I can’t go out. And I find myself so terrified of every man that crosses my path. And on top of that, I occasionally run into one of the men that raped me. I cry myself to sleep and I’ve never felt so alone before. I feel depressed, anxious and suicidal and I tried telling my mom, but she said the rapes were my fault. Help me, please.

I am so, so very sorry that you’ve had such a traumatic experience in your young life. It hurts my heart to know that you’re hurting and that the people who hurt you are walking around scot-free. And I offer you compassion because not many people would have the strength to go on after what you’ve experienced and I honestly tip my hat to you because you are an amazing, brave, beautiful spirit that has experienced a lot of darkness.

First thing, I know you may want to bury the trauma and the darkness but you can’t. Whenever we try to tamp emotions down they come back stronger and fiercer than ever. Not dealing with your trauma won’t allow you to move on. You’re actually not moving on because when you push the thoughts and emotions away, you’re not dealing with them or working through the trauma, you’re just making them abate for that moment, hour or day.

The only way to move on from what you’ve experienced is to face that trauma head-on, and your best bet would be to do that with a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, they will be able to help you work through what you’re feeling. And once again, I am so very sorry that your experiences on this Earth have been marked by multiple traumatic events.

And why haven’t you reached out to the police or the National Sexual Assault hotline? Even if you choose to not report the rape, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can help you work through and process everything. But, it honestly seems like you want justice for what was done to you, but you believe that no one would believe you or that they would even blame you because that’s exactly what your mom did. But you can’t listen to her!

I don’t even know you and I believe that the assaults happened, and the police will too! And words cannot describe the depth of the heartache I feel for you because the person that you were supposed to trust and depend on, accused you, the victim, of being the reason for these traumatic events. I am so sorry that you have and are still experiencing all of this alone.

The options that are available to you are to contact the police and report the rapes. Even if there’s no evidence, for your peace of mind, I think taking that route is a great idea. Also, if you’re still in college, reach out to your counseling center. I know my school has a Sexual Assault Violence Interpersonal Prevention program where there are trained professionals and support groups that could help you heal from what you’ve experienced.

Another option is to reach out to the National Sexual Assault hotline, even if you just need someone to listen, not judge you and just sit with you while you sit with your feelings and your thoughts. But I wish you the best and although you may feel as if you’ll never come back from this, you will! Because as I’ve said earlier, it takes such a brave being to continue on after everything you’ve experienced.

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Rainn.org (For the chat option)