aaralyn’s story: i did not get justice but i’m no longer silenced

aaralyn’s story: i did not get justice but i’m no longer silenced

You realized I wanted you to stop only after you ripped my panties down and tried to penetrate me from my behind with my tampon still in BUT the damage was already done and my soul was bare as day before you

After you violated me once, you cornered me wanting me to kiss you and surrender to you

Even as I opened the door to leave, you slammed it closed and pushed up against me

I grew tired of fighting back, I had been in there for two hours so I surrendered out of fear and laid there as you began to rape me

I muffled my cries by biting into whatever was in reach wishing it would all end

To think you were enjoying yourself after raping me once and ejaculating on me and now raping me a second time because I grew tired of fighting you made me feel disgusted so I let you win

Fast forward 16 months later, it was February 27th and my case was being heard by the judge and open to the public; finally the proceedings were set to begin

Fear, anxiety, disgust, and sheer terror overcame my body as I walked into the court and was swore in; and our eyes met again

After being on ripped apart on the witness stand for seven hours, with four of them being from the defense attorney

I began to question myself and ask myself “Did I ask to be raped and why did it happen to me?”

I asked myself “Did I deserve to be raped by this guy I trust who was supposed to be my shipmate?”

I certainly believe my rapist’s defense attorney thought so as she continued to blame me; all I could feel was a growing flame of anger and hate

Asking a victim why they did not yell for help or why they didn’t punch, slap, or kick their rapist will NOT change the fact that a rape happened that night

And seeing my rapist cool as a cucumber at the defense table as I got overwhelmed with question after question was a disgusting sight

I was having to prove that he raped me while he had no care in the world

Because he knew the military justice system would let him off like they always do in rape cases refusing to believe the victims that want to be heard

Hearing the “NOT GUILTY” verdict come out my lawyer’s mouth two days later, felt like a dagger going straight through my heart as I fell apart with my lawyer and victim advocate on the floor

I cried and screamed through my tears and asked them “Could I have done more?”

I wanted to scream and break everything in sight and I wanted to cry until I no longer had tears to cry

But the worst feeling was the emotions encompassed on the inside of shame, regret, blame, and disgust that made me want to die

When I finally got home later that night, I contemplated drinking myself into an alcohol-induced coma or just blacking out into a deep sleep

With thoughts swirling at the pace of a race car, my mind kept telling me, “Why didn’t he just kill me the night he raped me?”

Engrained in my brain are the burning images and words of my rapist telling me “why I didn’t fight back harder or grab his penis” to make him stop and me sitting there in shock unable to say a word

Those images are forever recurrent in my nightmares and flashbacks in this cycle of pain that is constant with regrets and blame placed on what I should have done that night versus what I actually did——those memories will forever be blurred

What hurt me the most was watching my rapist walk away free to go back and continue harming other women in the military

Meanwhile the one who got no justice was me and I was left to pick up the remaining pieces of what was left of my life holding onto the hope that there is a new beginning out there for me

Drinking until I blacked out to cope with my trauma allowed me to disassociate from the violence inflicted on me by this animal who said I wanted it and didn’t say “no”

Drinking until I blacked out allowed me to forget that I was a rape victim who was still recovering with the hopes of the military justice system not letting my rapist free—-seeing the results now is a gut-wrenching blow

I will never be the same

And my rapist is to blame

He stole everything from me

From my innocence and captivating heart of gold to the pride in who I used to be

One day I’ll be able to forgive him and harbor no more resentment towards him for what he did to me

Looking at how this court-martial ended, I realized now that he didn’t get to win when I accused him in open court and that he could no longer silence me

There will be days that I refuse to accept that I was violated and raped

But too often I know that I won’t be able to abuse alcohol so that I can escape

The court-martial process was definitely the second rape as she (the defense attorney) blamed me and told me that I asked for it and didn’t try to escape sooner or that I gave my rapist the impression that I wanted it

But I stood my ground and put up with the gut-wrenching questions because I refused to quit

So when will the rapes end? When will the military justice system stand up for the rape survivors who want their violators punished so they can’t victimize another woman?

Because I don’t ever want another woman to be in the place that I have been

Now when I wake up everyday, I and tell myself that I am BEAUTIFUL, SMART, STRONG, and BRAVE for speaking my truth and standing up for rape victims all across the fleet

No one can take away these positive affirmations that I use to motivate myself; I will keep pushing in the right direction until my healing and recovery is complete

Going through the pain and suffering I did for 16 months made me realize why most rape victims never come forward like the military encourages them to do

Is it worth waiting that long for justice to only to be ripped apart for your story not being consistent as it was when you initially told it; I wouldn’t blame them for that fear, would you?

My rapist M.O. does not get to win because although I did NOT get justice and lost this battle, I have not lost the war

I won now that I am NO longer silenced because I am no longer afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed

I took back control and told a story that was painful to hear but the truth was told with empowerment and strength and dignity coming from the core

Because me speaking up first will encourage another victim to do so and I know that I am worthy of love and that I am a warrior, a survivor, and diamond to be cherished

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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