We Need To Start Talking About Dissociative PTSD In Rape Victims

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I was trapped; fully and completely helpless. He held me down underneath him, arms pinned against the ground, until he was satisfied. I felt frozen in time, with each passing second seeming more like an hour. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks as he thrust himself inside of me again and again. Still, I continued begging him to stop despite the fact that, at this point, my voice had diminished to a barely audible whisper.

My body felt numb; detached. As my mind drifted further from reality, I thought maybe I was dreaming or drunk. That I was probably just hallucinating. In that moment, and to this day, these excuses cloud my thoughts and plague my memories with feelings of doubt and skepticism. I find myself wondering if I led him on that night in some way; then I recall my countless pleads with him to stop. I question whether or not I truly was as sober as I thought… maybe I had a few too many drinks none of it actually happened. Until I have a flashback; reliving the physical pain and fear that consumed me while my body was forcefully violated. As if none of it mattered; like I wasn’t even human. 

The perception of hopelessness is as powerful as it is all-consuming. He raped me - the girl who trusted and cared about him. The girl who loved him. But in that moment, I was none of those things; merely an object with which he could use and handle as he pleased.

One specific recurring flashback illustrates this understanding particularly well: 

He was lying on top of me, pressing both of my wrists firmly to the floor. At this point, fear had just begun to set in as I finally comprehended what was happening to me. I felt weak; defenseless. As a last ditch effort, I attempted to make eye contact with the hope that I could simply snap him out of this ‘trance’. Instead, my heart began to sink, as my plead was met with a cold, empty, and unfamiliar gaze. The few slivers of hope that remained were shattered, and I continued to slide deeper and deeper into dissociation. 

And I didn’t even realize it was happening.

Written By Ann Messina

Author Bio: College student at the University of Minnesota. Aspiring doctor, author, and life-long scholar. - Instagram: @annmessina