Gillian, I’m sorry to hear you experienced such a traumatic assault — I can feel your pain in your writing.
I think it terrifies people to think they might find themselves in the same situation and not know or be able to do what they want to do to stop it. It feels safer to think they would be able to save themselves the pain and suffering and that they are somehow different in their humanity than you or I, but we know that’s not always the case. As they try to mentally navigate the harsh reality that sexual assault happens, I want to say this:
You don’t have to justify what happened to you to anybody. Their disbelief and judgment are not your responsibility.
While our experiences are not the same, something I always tell people is I know something happened to me. My body and my mind reacted in such a violent way, it’s impossible nothing happened. I’ve never felt that way before and never felt that way since. Unfortunately, the internal experience isn’t proof, but it is valid and I think it’s all that matters sometimes. Recovery doesn’t come from proof, it comes from allowing yourself to feel the breadth of your own experiences.
You know what happened to you and you did what you had to do to survive.