The road to rape recovery

September 8, 2014 started out as any regular day. It was hot in Staten Island, NY so as I dressed that morning I chose an ivory colored dress with slits on the sides to let my skin breathe. “You look so sexy in that dress,” my roommate said as I fumbled around looking for my purse. I was bent over the bed when he approached me from behind. “Stop! What are you doing?” He ignored my pleas and continued on having his way. “No! I don’t want to!” I cried but he only pressed on further.

It only took five minutes for him to rape me. Five minutes to change my life. Five minutes of silence. Five minutes of shame. Five minutes of rage. It only took five minutes for him to turn my life upside down.

Once he was done having his way, I went directly to the shower and washed his filth away. Sexual assault leaves your body a certain way. Your vagina is in shock and angry as hell — it feels as though it’s screaming. The hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. You feel like you’ve been dunked in a pool of gunk, scum, and grime. I needed to be clean again and so, I washed myself… for one hour.

That night, I took all the belongings I could carry and I left my apartment to sleep at a friend’s house. The next day I contacted my boyfriend and my family and notified them of what had happened to me. They urged me to call the police. Initially, I hesitated but I finally caved due to their nagging and urging. When the police arrived I followed all the procedures and protocol and it ended with a rape kit at the local hospital.

Since the assault, I’ve been trying to get my life back on track and start anew. I moved in with my boyfriend who supported me the entire way, mentally and spiritually. I picked up a waitressing gig to help me pass the time in a productive way. I prayed, and cried, and forgave myself depending on my mood.

In January, I took a trip to Europe to visit old friends. I spent six years living in Paris, France while I was in college so to change air, I left New York to visit my best friends. First stop: Paris to see Eliza. Eliza was the new tenant of my old apartment. Staying with her was like returning home after a long, long journey. We talked, gossiped, and giggled like the friends we were, making us feel as though it hadn’t been three years since we had last seen each other.

One day, while Eliza was out at work, I met up with a friend named Sue that I had been dorm buddies with. She had become an English Teacher and was living her own little American dream. She had a cute and cozy apartment 20 minutes outside of Paris. We opened a bottle of wine and talked about the past, the present, and the future.

“It’s crazy to see how things have changed,” she said, “what happened to all our friends… what happened with you.”

“I know. But at the the end of the day, it’s about moving forward. Moving on.” I replied.

“I can see that in you. That’s why you came here, isn’t it? So that you could move on.”

“I guess so,” I said with a smile.

Until this moment, I hadn’t realized how much friends can heal sorrows of the soul. Old friends remind you of who you are. They recognize and salute your light. Great friends always help you recall your victories and encourage you to play your strengths. This is what I learned in the few hours I spent with Sue that day.

My next stop was the capital of Belgium: Brussels, where my best friend Amira now lived. Her apartment was located in the heart of Brussels in a beautiful white stone building. She lived with two flatmates one a student from Switzerland and the other a biology teacher from Italy. They welcomed me with food and drinks and we laughed as if we had known each other for years. Every night there were more drinks, more food, and more people laughing with us. We all lived in the present moment and our minds, bodies, and souls were all joined in unison and perfect harmony.

During the flight back home I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was grateful for the lessons I had learned and the people I had met. It made me realize that healing takes as long as you want it to. I decided to not let sadness, guilt, or blame linger any longer. It’s simple: I can choose to be happy, or I can choose to be sad. Controlling your thoughts is key because when those dark, cloudy thoughts creep in, it’s up to you to let them consume you — or not.

It’s always easier said than done but, if you’ve been down and out, it’s certainly worth a try. If you’re unable to venture off to foreign lands, then you can travel in your mind just by using your imagination!

To all the survivors out there, you are strong beyond measure. It happened to you because you are strong. It’s time to move on. So, what are you waiting for?

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Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Amber Amour is the CEO & Founder of Rising Minds Foundation and is an activist who uses creativity to unite and inspire change. She is a playwright, poet, director, actress, producer, and songwriter who uses her eloquence to address important issues in society. Thus far her works have addressed homelessness, women's rights, LGBTQ issues, family dynamics, human sexuality, domestic violence among an array of various other topics. For more information about Amber Amour, follow her on Facebook at and on Instagram @amberinternational

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