The day I lost my breath

A year later I made all of those mistakes again.

I sat on the cold bathroom floor of my college, my cheeks burning and wet from tears. Earlier, that day I sat in a brightly lit doctor’s office awaiting the results of a pregnancy test.

I asked the nurse what I should do if it turned out positive.

“We will see when that comes but you should start by telling the father,” she answered.

I wanted to tell her that I couldn’t do that because the father was an acquaintance who attacked me in my apartment two weeks earlier, but I kept my mouth shut.

The test was negative. I didn’t need to think of those what-ifs anymore. I was one of the lucky ones. Studies show five per cent of pregnancies are from rape, but somehow escaped this fate.

The next few weeks were difficult. Once again I mulled over every “mistake” I made. I invited him to my home, I didn’t scream. Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I say no more? These questions drove me crazy and often to tears.

Everything boiled over finally. I found myself in the middle of the night, crying on the floor of my apartment. I begged and prayed to God to make me understand why I couldn’t say no, and why I kept making mistakes.

A voice in my head kept telling me it was my fault, I had done this. The nightmares would haunt me forever. I climbed up to my apartment window and contemplated jumping. But one thought stopped me – if I jump, then you win.

I didn’t move. Instead, I let the cold February air touch my skin and waited patiently until the sun rose.

I tried hard to forgive myself. To look back and see that I was only a young girl broken and scared, fighting for her life, just trying to survive the monster that was attacking her.

I didn’t let you win that fight and I promised myself I would never let you win. Although you still haunt me, I try not to blame myself for your acts of terror. Rather, I let myself breathe and hope that day by day the nightmare will go away.

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