The kind of closeness that hurts the most

For years I have been writing texts, stories, lyrics and poems. I guess there has never been a week without writing something, even if it were just some lines in my head scribbled in a textbook. People judged me for being too sensitive. That time these words hurt like hell, but when I think about it now, I can’t blame them. I can’t blame them, because no one knew, where all these feelings had their origin. The kind of closeness that hurts the most. Sexual assault.

I got raped by a disguised stranger in my parents’ garden when I was 13 years old. He didn’t stop torturing my shaking body by making me satisfy him in every fucked up way. He choked and harmed me, threatend me with bare words until there was nothing left inside of me. That’s what happened. A single hour in my life that changed me and my world completely, but: Only a few people in my life know about it. Why? It took me years to answer this question. At first I thought it’s because, I can’t talk about it. So whenever someone asked the random question „how are you“ and I couldn’t say „yeah, fine“ I came up with another story. That doesn’t mean I lied to this person. I couldn’t tell them that I was going through a bad phase because someone broke my heart, which stung into the gaping wound of „You can’t love this me in general“.

I just told them my heart was broken. In return they told me that time will heal everything and I said „yeah, thanks“ but thought „hell, no“. And they wondered why I didn’t get over it for such a long time. If I told them my whole story, they would’ve understand, right? So why the hell didn’t I?

What had happened wasn’t my fault. Being raped is a crime. A crime you can’t express in words, you can’t grasp except when you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s like living in a body that’s not yours anymore. And every day you adapt to all the things happening to you as unfair as they might be — you adapt, because that body your mind is set in feels worthless. Even though your mind knows you’re not. It took me years to get out of this state of being numb and understand that no matter how strong and honest the words getting out of my mouth are — my body speaks another language. A language I can’t control. Unless I accept my own story and make it a part of me.

Talking about rape is always tied to the fear of people talking behind your back. People punishing you for seeking attention. Or even worse: turning away from you because they don’t know how to deal with you instead of just being normal. The only thing I want to tell these people is: YOU are the reason why so many victims don’t talk about it. We feel so fucking uneasy, that the last thing we want is pity leaving us even more disturbed.

The things I wish for myself are to be able to walk through the streets at night without turning around all the time, to talk easily about sex the way my friends do, to look at the naked me and smile at it and to put the chronic insomnia behind me. Since this guy raped me my body feels numb and I am afraid that someone will notice. And with writing this last line I am even more afraid that knowing this fact makes them run even, when all you really want is for everyone to not treat you differently.

I have a friend who has lost his mom recently. It was one of the things he told me in the first few hours we spent together. Losing her changed him. I was very surprised that he told me this even though he barely knew me that time. But: I didn’t think for a minute that he wanted to gain attention. I found it brave.At his last concert another friend told the hundreds of people staring at him that the last two years have been the worst thing he’s ever been through. No one in this crowd thought that this was strange. Everyone just wanted to hear his story.

So, why didn’t I talk? What’s the difference between talking about losing someone because of illness, knowing someone suffering from depression or alcoholism and: experiencing abuse? All of these things just happen without you being able to do anything about it. From one day to the next, you suddenly live with it and try to get along. Did I see him as a burden, because of knowing his story? No. Would I have been afraid to been seen like one by telling mine? Yes. Is talking about abuse still a taboo, even though it happens so often?

When I reported the rape I asked the police officer if other victims struggle as much as I do to address what happened. I’ll never forget her words: „It’s natural to struggle with it and maybe you’ll do this your whole life. Everyone has to find their own way to live with it. You just have to let go of hiding or believing that you’re protecting others by not talking about it. It’s a crime, not a nightmare. It happened. And it happened to you.“

When we started the project „closeness“ I knew that I had to write this text now. It took me four long hours. Four hours to find words for what I’ve been feeling since 12 years. I wasn’t ready for it earlier. That’s the simple answer to the question why. I couldn’t deal with it because two people made a wrong decision: to act like nothing happened. And the memory was too painful to cope with by myself. So I buried my own story deep down until it crawled back out.

Two years ago someone forced me to talk and made me understand the extent of what this man has done to me. As hard as those hours were, I am thankful he did. The earlier you start to face truths and feelings and not hiding them somewhere, you give yourself a chance to feel better. It’s hard, it hurts like hell and there will always be an amount of people who judge you as too sensitive and even worse: weak. That’s a sad fact. But don’t feel bad about them. Having scars and showing them makes you even more human. And in the end I am proud to say about myself: I am a woman. I have a female body and it’s mine. Mine alone. I want people to like me for the personality I have. And I want everyone who ever gets to read these lines to know that I am thankful they did.

These last two years have not been the worst, but the hardest years I’ve ever been through. I faced what happened and I faced the truth that the two people who should’ve cared the most, let me down. There are things you truly can not forgive, however much you want to. And even though it means losing the feeling of „home“.

Starting this project I have learned to understand how difficult the term closeness still is for me. With publishing these lines, I don’t have any expectations. I did this for myself and for those people who want to understand what it’s like. The hardest part is to let go of the question „why“ it happened. There will never be an answer. Just like there will never be an answer why he had to lose his mom. As well as three of my dearest friends.

I guess, we all carry these why-questions. So whenever you can: Hold your face into the sun and surround yourself with those people where you can let your guard down and talk about anything. It’s hard to find them. But having them defeats everything.

This is my story. Black on white. I can’t change it. But I turned it around. After all this time I am fine. Maybe more than that. And all I’m going to do is live. As much, as loud, brave, giving and open as possible.

to my friends — the gaps in the clouds,
to Regina, Lu, Veronika and Anna — keep your head up high,
to Tommy — for always seeing the lady in me,
to Mario, who always pushes me to write more,
and to every woman, who ever felt like not being „enough“: You are so damn enough.

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