When The Truth Spills Out | Keeping Quiet About Rape

04/28/2017 5:00pm

Hello everyone.

If you follow my social media then you probably already have an idea of the topics that have been floating around in my head over the last 12 hours. If you’ve seen my Facebook specifically, you would have noticed that I shared two different stories involving rape.

“Rape” is a terribly strong word, isn’t it? It’s almost profanity even though it isn’t–it’s blunt, and unforgiving. When writing the first mention of the word in this post, I originally typed out “sexual assault” just to ease the blow. It is, for many, easier to call it something official sounding than to just call it rape.

If you’ve followed my YouTube channel or read this blog regularly, then you should already be familiar with the fact that I was subjected to long-term sexual violence as a child. Does that sound better than saying I was raped repeatedly for over a year as a kid? Maybe, but that isn’t the point here.

The reason I’m writing this is to give you an uncensored peek into the mind of someone who was coping with such a situation while insisting on keeping it a secret. I’m not here to preach, I’m not here to tell you what you should do–I sure as hell don’t need to be seen as some guru or inspirational story. I’m just a person, and being a victim of something horrible doesn’t make me a saint–I’m far from.

Back to childhood. First of all, what happened to me was going on before I had a solid understanding of sex or romantic relationships. In fact, the first time it happened I was much more confused than scared–I simply didn’t know what he was trying to do. The fear didn’t actually start to kick in until the pain did. I started to retaliate, but my tiny body could only take so many beatings. Over the subsequent months, I fell victim to learned helplessness. I stopped fighting. I did everything I could to avoid making contact with his fists.

This all started when I was 7 years old, and ended just after I turned 9. I stayed quiet about it the entire time, and 8 is still a number that haunts me. 8 resembles the infinity symbol, which also reflects my mindset regarding the situation at the time. I thought it was going to last forever, or at least until he killed me. Telling my parents about what was happening to me was simply not an option–but why?

I’m not here to assign blame. The only person who should take responsibility is the person who acted against me. Sure, my parents could have been around more, or been more adamant about finding out the true cause of my many bruises, but blaming them for something as horrific as this is just insulting.

I had a ton of reasons for not speaking up, most of it was because I was afraid of what would happen if I did. I may have been young, but I knew that opening my mouth about this could tear my family apart. People will start pointing fingers at each other, trying to figure out who’s at fault for not protecting me. On top of that, I was living in a Catholic country where openly talking about anything sexual was a no-no, and being a virgin was an essential part of being a young woman.

It all ended abruptly. I woke up one day and he had just packed up and left. Maybe you’d expect my reaction to be one of joy or relief, but it wasn’t. Still, I remained confused and almost in denial about it being over. There was no way I was actually that lucky. Oddly, I was, and I never saw him again. The question in that moment was “What now?” I finally didn’t have to live in fear, so do I just forget that it happened? I tried.

For the first two years after it ended, life seemed pretty normal. I went to school each day able to enjoy myself and not fear for my life once I got home. Everything was quiet–too quiet. I don’t remember what brought it all back, but by age 11 what happened to me started to sink in. It began to hurt in a way that I’ve never been able to put into words. For me, the worst part of it was dealing with it alone. It was something that had completely destroyed me, and yet I didn’t have a single person in my life who I trusted enough to talk about it. I became severely depressed, reliving it in my head every single day. It was my secret, and one that I vowed to take to the grave with me. No one was ever supposed to know what happened to me.

Holding it all in was driving me insane, and I finally broke my rule. I had opened up to a cousin of mine who was roughly the same age as me–and to my surprise–she had also been abused by the same person. We both knew we couldn’t tell anyone, so my secret became our secret. “Just one” I thought. One person could know, and that’s it. No adults, no parents, no therapists.

Once again, I broke my rule. By age 13 I had told a few classmates about what had happened to me. I probably never should have said anything to them, but I made mistakes while in my depressive states. Teenagers can never keep secrets, and I soon found out that my story had been telephoned beyond those who I trusted with it. Soon there were others who had simply heard about my past as a rumor, as gossip, as entertainment. I would later come to find out that the reason why certain people were quite nasty to me was because they considered me “an attention whore for making up rape stories.” I brushed it off, as these words didn’t hurt anywhere near as bad as my experience did.

By age 15, my secret was still mostly a secret. Sure, a few kids at school knew, and so did my cousin, but everyone else was left in the dark where they should be. My family was still clueless. By this point in life I had moved away from my family and was staying with a boyfriend–an abusive one. That, however, is a story for another time. I knew leaving him would be both difficult and painful, but mostly painful. I endured one last beating, and made my way out the door. My ex destroyed most of my belongings that I had left at his place, and I was on the streets. I figured that perhaps this was the right time to patch things up with my family, so off to mother’s doorstep I went, completely defeated.

That day was one that I’d never forget, and oddly, probably one of the best days of my life. Once the sun went down, my mother retired to her room for bed, and I slept on the living room floor. My sleep was soon disturbed by the sound of my mother’s footsteps. She stood over me and said six words that I never, ever wanted to hear: “I know what happened to you.”

Now, I could have lied, or played dumb, but for some reason I didn’t. In fact, I said nothing, or at least that’s how I remember it. I didn’t bother asking her what she knew–I just knew that she knew. I was, as the internet people of today say, exposed. My ex had called my mother and told her I was raped as a way to hurt me, to hurt her, and to hurt my entire family.

I didn’t get any sleep that night, none at all. My mother and I always had a rocky relationship. She was (is, actually) an alcoholic and diagnosed with a mental illness. She had already been particularly unstable at the time due to a recent miscarriage and the loss of her job due to her addictions. My ex was fully aware of this, and still decided to do what he did. Not only that, but he also spilled his twisted version of my past and our “relationship” to the public via social media. In short, all eyes were on me.

My mother was hysterical. I can only imagine what it must have been like coldly being told that your first child and only daughter had been hurt in such a way. She was broken, and within a couple of hours my entire family was in a state of panic.  They frantically tried putting together the missing pieces, often saying things along the lines of “Oh, so that’s why you’re messed up. That’s why you enjoy dark things.” An aunt of mine called me and immediately suggested that I get a therapist. She didn’t even bother to ask me how I was feeling, and instead jumped straight to giving me a list of ways to “fix” myself. Others in my family did ask about what had happened, and actually decided to argue against it, saying that they would have noticed if something that terrible had gone on in our home.

 

In that moment, I found myself actually hurting way more than I ever have. A part of it was illogical guilt, and the other part was the fact that no one in my family was treating me like a human–a daughter, a niece, a grandchild. They only saw what happened to me, and wanted desperately to forget it. It took me some time, but I’ve come to forgive them for that. They were hurting too, and simply didn’t know how to cope with the initial shock of finding out what was going on within the family circle. They all died a little inside that day.

Of course, I didn’t come to that conclusion until a few years after this all happened. Instead of facing everything with my family, I once again moved out. I waited until 2am when everything had settled down, and out the back door I went. I was back on the streets with just a backpack, running away from reality the same way I always had.

For the next few years I kept to myself. I had cut all ties with anyone who took the side of my ex when he did what he did, and I never spoke to anyone in my family about what happened again. I tried to make the secret a secret again–or at least deny it long enough for everyone to forget.

This leads me to where I am today. There are literally thousands of people out there who know about what happened to me, and needless to say, it isn’t a secret anymore. It’s not something that I hide or deny when people ask me about it. About nine months into my YouTube channel I decided to publicly talk about my childhood. Now, you’re probably wondering what made me decide to do such a thing. The thing is, keeping it a secret was possibly more damaging to me than the actual incident itself.

I thought about it endlessly for days before I went public about it. I knew that there would be backlash, just as there was backlash from classmates and my family alike. I knew that there were still people out there who knew it was a long time secret of mine, and thought of it as my Achilles’ heel. Despite that, I knew it was something I needed to talk about. It was my story, not anyone else’s. I create–I draw, I paint, I make videos. These all have to come from a place of honesty, and how could I be honest about my art when I’m not able to explain the origins of the emotions I’m expressing within them?

Backlash did happen. People called me a liar. They said I made up the story for attention or simply to gain views on my channel–a “PR stunt” is what they called it. Some rape victims put me on blast as well, blaming me for giving them terrible flashbacks. Some even threatened me with death, or wishing “actual rape” upon me, saying that they were going to do everything in their power to find my personal information and publish it.

This, I’ll admit, did hurt a bit–but I knew that these people were hurting in much the same way I was. Just as my family did, these people didn’t know how to cope with being faced with something that they themselves or a loved one had probably had to deal with in the past. I don’t blame them.

The video in question has since been unlisted, but not out of regret or any kind of fear. It simply didn’t mesh with the rest of the channel, and I find it more constructive to share my experiences and thoughts in writing, hence this blog and my Tumblr before it.

As I said earlier, I’m not here to preach, or to serve as some weird half-assed internet guru. I’m simply here to tell you a bit of my story, and you can take whatever you like out of it. I know that there are still many out there who are keeping their past a secret, and I completely understand why. Remember earlier when I said that the day my ex “exposed” me was oddly one of the best days of my life? Allow me to clarify. If that never happened then I’d still be alone with my thoughts, and I’ve come to the conclusion that denying the past only made it hurt more and prolonged my suffering. What I eventually came to understand is that the truth wasn’t the problem–it was the fact that people weren’t hearing it from me.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say about that for now. Go watch some cat videos on YouTube and bust out the ice cream or chocolate. Enjoy yourself a bit.

-Reign

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10 thoughts on “When The Truth Spills Out | Keeping Quiet About Rape

  1. I can’t say I’ve ever been thru something as traumatizing as this, but when I was 12 my father began using more drugs than he had previously in my childhood. It turned him violent, but for some reason it was never to my mother or older brother, just me. He would do what you’d expect, punch me, throw me, choke me. But what fucked me up the most was the way my mother would just stand there and watch, doing nothing. To this day she denies that he ever hit me. As if her admitting that means she has to admit she chose to do nothing. A male kid complaining about getting beat by his dad in ‘trailer park’ Kentucky basically gets laughed at. I think my mental breaking point came when I literally passed out from him holding me up by my throat.
    Eventually he simply got bored with my mom and left to be with some women who he apparently did crack with. I never got “closure” not that it would matter. I never got back the lost time, no one does in child abuse. Reading your post made me feel like telling this story, ‘m not sure why. I don’t mean to take away from what happened to you. It takes someone incredibly strong to be watched by thousands of people and open up like that. Your humbleness and how human you are sets you apart from most people I’ve ever met(and I travel for a living). So thanks for being strong enough to come forward with your story, you never know who might be encouraged to come forward with there’s.
    Sorry for the rant.

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  2. I’m so sorry this happened to you, I can’t relate in the slightest, but all of us will always be there for you Reign. As painful as this all is, I thank you for sharing this with all us fans who care for you.

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  3. It’s horrible that you’ve had to go through all of that. I’m sorry. It’s disgusting that when someone tells about their rape or abuse, they get victimized again. Yet we are constantly telling people to report it, speak up etc. No wonder people don’t talk about it or report it. It doesn’t help when people cry rape and abuse when it didn’t really happen.

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  4. Something similar happened to me when I was a kid and again when I was older. Talking about it on my own terms was the best way to deal with it. I’m so sorry for what happened to you and I’m so glad that you are able to tell your story on your own terms. Your channel was one of my inspirations to start a project of my own and this post makes me feel like I’m not alone with my past. So, thank you. Be well.

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  5. Wishing for you peace at last. What a horrible thing to go through. You are such a survivor. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story. For what it’s worth I stand with you and support you. You are not alone.

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  6. This is inspiring to a rape victim such as myself. Seeing you continue through life not letting your past hold you or your dreams back. I’ve been keeping my abuse in the closet since the late 90’s. I have now faced these memories head on and my life has gotten much better. It was very emotionally damaging at first, but I have a huge weight lifted from my conscious now. I can finally open up to people and move on with my life. Keep doing what you’re doing reign. You have serious talent!

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  7. I’m very sorry to hear about what you’ve been through – and I wish I couldn’t say I’ve heard it all before. Unfortunately, many people in my life have been affected by rape and domestic abuse. My only advice to anyone dealing with these things is to talk to someone about it – and I mean someone in a professional or outreach capacity. I fully understand why you didn’t want to take this to your family and friends, or the police, and why most survivors don’t. The former will not be equipped to process it, or will simply go into denial or assign blame, as yours did. The latter, even assuming they are both competent and sympathetic (big fucking if these days), will still force you to confront your assaulter and relive that trauma on the system’s terms, with no guarantee that your assaulter will do any real time or that you will get any real justice or closure. The best thing you can do is talk to someone who is trained to help you through this. The worst thing you can do is to keep it all inside until it eats you alive. A former girlfriend of mine (a domestic abuse survivor) complained about having to go to her “soul vomiting” sessions, but it did help her. What rape trauma survivors go through is no less brutal and horrific than what veterans with PTSD go through.

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  8. Reign, every time you speak out, you get more and more beautiful. I know you say you don’t want to be seen as some sort of Guru, but honestly hearing someone else talk about it and found some sort of peace with it gives me hope. Ever since I told my mom what my uncle did she just told me to be quiet about it. That destroyed me.
    I was always known as the “liar” so I never talked about anything that happened to me. I once almost drowned in the lake while family was around. I was able to float back to shore and I started crying, yet cousins and aunts still say that I faked it.
    I never want to tell my family anything anymore. And I plan to keep it that way. I do open up to my friends, but that’s it.
    It’s tragic what happened to you. But you grew so strong out of it, it’s amazing. I hope that one day I can find peace.
    I love you, Reign.
    -Eren

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  9. I admire how you transform yourself… from being weak into a stronger one. Person with a beautiful personality has become rarer these days. Like a diamond that goes on a long and hard process in order to become a rare gem. I believe and respect you more, being honest and sincere. From here in the Philippines, we support you reign. Hope to see you again, doing videos not as dark as before, but expressing what you really want. P.S. you don’t deserve someone who has no respect on you and pity to your aggressor who is living like a soul of an animal… he will never get the peace that he want.

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  10. This is a brave story to tell and you are stronger for telling it. Your family was most likely hurt by this as well, they too want to shut out what happened and wanted to focus on making you better. I can sympathize with them to extent as one of my ex’s was raped. When she would start seething with anger towards the person that hurt her. I ended up punching a wall a few times which is something I’ve never done before. It took me a second to calm down when I saw that my anger being vented out towards my wall was upsetting my girlfriend. This was never my intention at all, so I had to swallow my anger and console her, giving her whatever she needed, but thinking about the details of what happened, made me realize that my mind can go to a very dark place. I think your family may have had that same knee jerk reaction and didn’t connect with you emotionally because it was too painful for them to do so.

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