From Self-loathing to Self-love – Rediscovering my Inner Essence after Sexual Assault and Rape

1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault at some time in their lives and in 70% of cases the offender is known .” (Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia 2014)[1]

At age 15 I started to attend school parties but it wasn’t for the social side of things as one may presume. I attended parties with the specific intention to drink to get drunk and take drugs to numb the emptiness that I felt inside. Being at parties also meant that I didn’t have to be at home, a place where I lived daily in fear of my sibling who behaved in ways that were both physically and emotionally abusive.

One evening at a party, when I was completely intoxicated, I was raped by a family member of a friend. There is little I remember about the rape except for a couple of moments where I became conscious for a few seconds. I didn’t need to remember it in my head – my body remembered it all.

In the days that followed I felt dirty, scared and embarrassed and I never said anything to anyone about what had happened; nor did I approach the person who performed the sexual assault. I felt utterly confused and blamed myself for allowing this to happen. I vowed to put it all behind me but this proved to be more difficult than I had hoped.

A week later I attended another party but I was not drinking. I was heavy-hearted from the effects of the rape and saddened about my life generally. I was approached by my friend’s father who said he could see that I was troubled. I was persuaded to go for a walk so that we could talk about what was happening in my life and although I felt a strong urge not to go, I did it anyway. I overrode the warning signs that I was feeling because I thought someone was showing me they cared and I longed for this very much. As we reached the end of the road there were no streetlights and it was dark. Every part of my body was telling me to flee but I didn’t want to upset him. Eventually as I turned around he grabbed my arm harshly and demanded angrily I stay and not make a scene. I shook free and ran.

Life for me darkened after this time and I withdrew from life more and more. Each day I returned home from school and looked for the right time so that I could take drugs without my parents noticing. I just wanted to sleep through my afternoons and evenings. Taking drugs didn’t stop the negative and self-abusive thoughts but it did allow me to check out from a world that seemed too cruel.

There have been many times in my life since these events where I have felt uncomfortable from unwelcome sexual advances from another and I have never told anyone that it was happening. I had convinced myself it was just me – that’s just what I attracted.

Typically I would fall for someone being “nice” and providing an above-board story. One such time was when a work colleague offered to show me around the workplace as I was new to the department. He was elderly and very friendly until he cornered me in a filing room and approached forcefully with sexual advances. Age appeared no barrier for such actions of abuse.

You may think that after these experiences of sexual assault and rape that I would have protected myself more and cared for myself with great tenderness and preciousness because of the deep level of hurt that I had experienced, but I did not. Instead I became angry and cruel to myself, seeing my body as a target that attracted cruelty. I did not want to be in such a body and I thought regularly of suicide.

I lost trust in human beings and resolved that I was not worthy of love and neither were they. This belief and many others sabotaged my life for many years where I didn’t allow myself to fully love anyone and couldn’t accept that anyone would truly love me either.

In my mid 30s I started to attend Universal Medicine presentations and have sessions with Esoteric Practitioners. I refrained from talking about my experiences of sexual assault and rape for a number of years – partly because I had buried the incident deeply but also because there were other dramas that had my full attention. These healing sessions supported me to develop trust, self-love and gentleness. Life started to change.

The depth of the self-loathing and repulsion I felt towards my body first came to my attention when I began to apply moisturising cream to my skin as part of my newfound commitment to bring more gentleness and care to myself. I found this simple activity to be extremely uncomfortable particularly when I applied it in a nurturing and gentle way rather than my usual slapping on of the cream as fast as possible while thinking about something else altogether. There were particular parts of my body that I did not want to feel such as my legs, chest and breasts and so I avoided these areas until such time that I felt I was ready. After many years of this very simple practice of self-care, I was able to feel that it was no longer the functional application of cream-to-skin but a time where I could really honour myself and my physical body.

I had held the feelings of the rape in my body for over 20 years, and eventually there came a time when it all came flooding through. There was no way that a torrent of tears like that could be held back or buried any longer.

I was now ready to explore the circumstances of my experiences of sexual assault and rape with the Esoteric Practitioners, including how I had tortured myself with self-abuse in the cruel things I would say and do to myself. This torture played out on a daily basis for many years – when I looked in the mirror I saw a girl who was ugly, unintelligent and unlovable. I had told myself I was never good enough or worthy of love and I worked hard to try to live as if I was invisible.

What I had interpreted from the sexual assaults and rape was that to be seen, was to be a target for abuse.

With the support of the Esoteric Practitioners, I came to realise that from a young age I had been waiting for the world to show me love so that I could accept that I was love too … and love-able. When I was raped, it was like I had the proof that the world was loveless and I embraced self-abuse even more. I overrode my true nature, which is gentle, tender and delicate, and became angry, defensive and very busy in a crazy attempt to keep people out – and yet this hurt me so much more.

Even before the rape I had shut down from life, which is why I reached out to alcohol and drugs in the first place. I didn’t want to be responsible for the fact that I was so empty of love and that I had chosen this for myself.

I now allow myself to feel what is happening in my body – it tells me what is love and what is not and this is an amazing gift that we all share. Nowadays when I feel something isn’t right, I honour what I feel and keep myself safe. I don’t resort to self-abuse as I once did and instead I focus on becoming gentle and nurturing with my body and tend to myself as the precious woman that I am.

As I look back at this time I realise that whilst my physical body had been violated, what remained untouched was my inner essence – that part of me that is simply me.

I had convinced myself that the sexual assaults and rape had taken away all that was lovely about me but this was never true.

In actual fact, my inner essence was there in its fullness all the while, simply waiting for me to choose to self-love and to return with purpose and vitality. By choosing to be more self-loving I was able to feel truth more clearly and my confidence and self-worth started to blossom.

As I look in the mirror now I see myself in a new way – I see a beautiful and lovable woman – with an exquisite inner essence that has been there all along.

by MAS

[1] Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, 2014, Factsheet: Myths and Facts of sexual assault. [Accessed from: http://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/Portals/0/Users/003/03/3/Factsheets%20and%20Brochures/Factsheet%20-%20Myths%20of%20sexual%20assault%20-%202014.pdf]

667 thoughts on “From Self-loathing to Self-love – Rediscovering my Inner Essence after Sexual Assault and Rape

  1. When we loose trust in life because of all the cruelties we see and experience, the only way back is to build that love from within as a foundation to live from which support in us to regain trust in life once again. As deep within we all are love and the love is unconditional but though the hurts in life we tend to make our love conditional and from there tend to loose trust and as a protection try to escape from life which in fact only makes it worse.

  2. To come from a place of such self abuse to a place of self love is not only remarkable, but as shared here very possible. Let’s not waste another moment on any self abuse and open our minds to the absolute beauty we are, for our world needs each one of us.

  3. Love this blog MAS. You remind me that nothing that is done to our bodies can define us. Our soul is who we truly are and it cannot be touched, tarnished or taken from us.

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