Why me? It was the only thing I could say to the minister my mom forced me to go talk to.
Aluminum Into Steel
Mom was at the end of her saintly, patient rope. We were past the rape, past the trial and I was well into my addiction. She had tried everything. Outpatient psychiatric care, inpatient care, and the ever popular, at the time, tough love. I was still angry, depressed, and consumed by hopelessness.
I needed an answer as to why bad things always seemed to happen to me. I glared at the poor man and demanded that he tell his God that I was tired of being the victim of his practical jokes.
I soon found out that nobody would accuse Fred of being in the same saint category that my mom was in.
He glared back and said that sometimes people need to go through bad things so that they could become the catalyst for something good. Sometimes we are put through the fire of the forge in order to harden aluminum into steel so that they have the fortitude to stand up to what is right.
Then, he started asking questions. What if the rape was only the precursor to the learning that came from the trial?
You see, after one full day of cross examination where I was asked about every embarrassing detail of the rape, in a packed courtroom, in front of my attackers, I told the DA that I quit. I just wanted to go home. I wouldn't go back on the witness stand. He very gently said he would support my decision if I could answer a question for him. Stupidly, I agreed. “What are you going to say to the next young woman they rape? I’m sorry? What will you say to her parents if they step up their game and she doesn't live through it?”
I walked back into the fire. The forging process had begun. I just didn’t accept it at the time.
Over the years, other events happened and other hard lessons were learned.
During my Rapid Transformational Therapy session where the rape came up as the catalyst to my belief that I couldn't trust people. I got the chance to move past the fear, pain, guilt, and shame of that night. I placed the blame on the rapists. I released the humiliation their attorneys had heaped on me in the year leading up to the trial and at the trial. I told them that they were the ones that were going to have to live with the knowledge of what they had done, the knowledge that they had continued to harm an innocent victim of unspeakable violence.
I'm not the only one who has been forged in the fire of sexual assault. One of the first sessions I got to see when I started my training was with a woman who had spent the first ten years of her life in an abusive situation. She was continuously beaten and raped for years. She eliminated the belief that she deserved what had happened to her and created a belief system that has allowed her to not only heal her life but to be the person that the police call when they are working with another young child in similar circumstances. The officials in her town know that she is a safe place for these children and that she has the compassion to help them heal and create amazing lives for themselves.
As I move forward with my coaching, I remind the women that I work with that they too have walked through the fire and survived the forge and that they now possess that inner core of strength that will allow them to move beyond their trauma and live an extraordinary life.