Renee DeVesty – I am not a Rape Victim but a Rape Survivor (Part II) – Recovering from Rape

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Renee Devesty was a girl of 19 years of age who was raped by her Best Friends Husband, when she was on a weekend camp to her friend’s house near a lake. As a result of the rape, she became pregnant and had to terminate due to shame, guilt and dignity. Renee speaks out on how she recovered mentally and physically. She says that recovering physically is far easier than recovering mentally and moving the emotional trauma of the Rape.

She was raped at the age of 19, and this rape haunted her for three decade. She was hurt a lot because of the rape, she wasn’t a prone drinker, but to numb herself, she started drinking seven times a week and became so much addicted to alcohol. She has recovered physically, but her way of thinking and her inner core was damaged a lot. She started staying away from others and wanted to live alone in her own surroundings. She hated men, and her behaviour towards them was abusive. She had a job from which she should have been fired because she would show up late and sleep always in the office.

She was afraid of dark, but wished to be in dark. She was frightened to sleep alone; she kept a knife, a baseball bat and a cordless phone around her all the time, thinking that it would happen again. The doing that had happened years ago was haunting her every minute. She did not have a peaceful time until she was married at the age of thirty one, and then became pregnant and had a son. She became a sober and went in for counselling. She even remembers the way she behaved in the first counselling, she ran to the windows and opened them, because she felt as if all the oxygen had left the room. She felt as if she was not able to breathe. The pain in her was not healing, the old memories haunted her like a ghost in a haunted house. As she stopped using alcohol, she was not able to soothe the pain in her memories. She somehow wanted to remove alcohol from her life. So she got addicted towards food, she put on weight and she was growing fatter until one point of time she had to put a full stop to this addiction. She became addicted towards food because her counsellor told her if she does not have her food, she would be put on for a 30 day treatment. At that point of time, Renee was not having her food. She was forcing herself to eat a single slice of bread. Since she was on counselling, she was away from her son and her counsellor had told her if she recovers fast she would be sent back home. She had to eat for her son, because she was not able to stay away from him.

This is what Rape causes to Women, they lose themselves. So they won’t be able to recover with their own efforts. The victim will feel as if she has disappeared from this world. The rape will take away the senses of self. So if you have to survive, you have to exist in yourself, but that won’t be there in a victim, who always thinks of the incident that has happened years ago. The victim will come to a conclusion that, she won’t recover from the nightmare and will punish herself by suicide, because she won’t be able to bare the pain in her.

Having a Son helped Renee to recover faster, and she took care of her thinking of her son. She felt as if someone needed her love and affection rather than a mother who is always thinking of some past things. She had to work extremely hard to come out of the nightmare, which happened to her years ago. When she recovered from the incident, she felt as if she was feeling light and thought should have recovered when she was young. She felt as if she had missed the innocent teen in her. She proudly says that ‘She is not a Rape Victim, but a rape survivor’.

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She says to all the girls and women who have become a victim to rape, not to stay in darkness or sit in silence. She says them to come out the trauma and relive. It is difficult to relive after such an incident, because you feel as if you have lost everything in your life and tend to kill yourself. The negative approach that the rape has is that it will haunt you till you, yourself fight back and take the thought from the memories. She is currently a high school Youth leader, and conducts retreat for girls and women on self-empowerment. She gives self confidence to teens and women who have been in such circumstances, as she has come across a lot in her life and knows how it will feel rather than a woman who hasn’t felt the pain of rape. She says her story to everyone who seeks her help and says them how she has recovered from the nightmare. The psychological damage caused by rape will increase its toll if the victim does not seek immediate help.

She says that every victim has to think that they are not to be blamed for the incident and has to think how to recover from the trauma rather than hurting themselves. Only the efforts by the victim will help them recover fast. The victim alone has the power to wipe the incident cleanly and relive again. The victim has to come into a situation where she thinks that ‘She is not a rape Victim, but a Rape Survivor’.

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