I'm Traumatized From The Day I Was Raped
Never Alone Stories
This is Carly Cousins’s story.
There is no preface to her Never Alone Story.
I just want to thank Carly for speaking openly about this situation.
“I’m Traumatized From The Day I Was Raped.”
Sunday, October 26, 2014, was the day that changed my life forever. The day I lost all trust in humanity, the day I lost my identity, a day I’ll never for as long as I live. Until now, I’ve been putting up a front, acting as if I’m okay and that i’m getting by relatively well.
The truth is, I’m not okay, and I’m okay with that now.
"I’m not going to keep quiet anymore"
I’m becoming increasingly more frustrated. Whenever I look at numbers or statistics, something NEEDS to be done, even if it is a bit more awareness. This is my story:
The morning started early because we had a cheerleading competition that day in Rockingham, about an hour outside Perth. I got myself ready (even though I wasn’t competing, stupid knee) and drove to A’s apartment in the city centre. I did her hair, made sure she was okay and ready to rock for her very first competition with the Gladiators! We were running late, as we do, but arrived safe and sound with lots of time to spare, went through warm-ups, and performed. However, it wasn’t a perfect performance like every other comp. Still proud of the advancements that the team brought forth. The best part of the comp was probably awards, confetti guns and singing Happy Birthday to Immi.
When we got back to Perth, it was predetermined that we’d all meet at one of the beach clubs to celebrate Immi’s birthday. A and I went back to her place to get ready and have a couple glasses of wine. We realized we didn’t have a cork, so I texted a couple of “friends” who lived in the next apartment block to see if they had one. They did and invited us over for a drink, so A and I took our wine bottle and went next door. We drank a few glasses of wine with them until our friends came to pick us up to go to their place to finish getting ready to go to Im’s birthday party. They invited us to come back after if we felt like it.
We all went to Immi’s party, had a GREAT night and A & a couple friends went back to her’s, they were going to bed, but I wasn’t quite ready, so I said I was just going to go next door for a few minutes to visit. Not thinking anything terrible could happen because we’ve hung out on multiple occasions prior.
When I got there, they asked if I wanted anything to drink, so I said sure and took it.
"After that, I remember sitting on the couch, and that was it; I blacked out."
At one point, I do remember waking up on one of their beds with one of them near my head and the other between my legs, but I couldn’t fully comprehend what was happening. When I came to again, I was in the shower, with the third one, and the other two had cell phones taking photos. I begged them to stop, and the one guy in the shower asked the other two to stop and to “fuck off.” I got out and got my stuff to leave when “shower guy” pushed me onto his bed and did what he wanted to do; I wasn’t strong enough to make it stop.
My phone was dying at this point, and I was terrified all I wanted was A, so I kept texting her and a few other people to come to help me. A met me downstairs at her place and asked me what happened; I couldn’t speak. When we got into her flat, she stared me in the eyes and said so seriously, what happened. At that point, I didn’t need to say anything, she knew, and I collapsed in her kitchen, unconsolable for what seemed like hours. I didn’t want to be alone and begged her not to tell anyone until I figured out what I wanted to do.
The next morning we got up, and I was trying to convince myself nothing happened and went to the gym and then met the girls at the beach for the day, but not talking about it at all. After we all left the beach A and I went back to her apartment for a little family dinner as we did every week, but this week was different because I wouldn’t walk to the car alone, I made her and her flatmate come with me.
"That night, I was alone; I didn’t sleep because I was so scared and had such bad night terrors"
I worked at about 530/6 the next morning, and I was still trying to act as though I was okay and nothing happened, mainly because I was scared of losing my job. By the end of the day, I had cracked. A came over before we were supposed to go to practice and sat down with my boss/her sister and told her what happened. We had dinner together and talked about it and concluded that I needed to go to the Sexual Assault Centre instead of going to practice. We called, made an appointment and went (not before stopping to get ice cream on the way).
The sexual assault clinic was nothing like I had ever been to in my life, it was an unmarked building and felt very safe. They had one doctor and one phycologist to talk to you about quite literally everything, your past, your future and everything in between. They offered amazing support, gave all the necessary precautionary measures (booster shots, the morning after pill, etc.).
"They never gave ANYTHING or pushed you to take ANYTHING without being 100% okay with the decision"
They are also 100% confidential. Even though they’re affiliated with the hospital, your name (if you chose to give forensics and blood) doesn’t go on record. They talk to you for as long as you need to talk; in my case, they thought it was necessary that I went to the Emergency Room to be evaluated by the psychiatric trauma team.
After being interviewed in an ice cold room by two doctors and a support nurse it was decided I would stay a couple days in the hospital to make sure everything was okay.
A couple days turned into 9 drug-induced days, where I could barely get out of bed or function and then on the tenth day. I was released with no real plan, but I was getting on a flight back to Canada that day with enough pills to make me sleep 98% of the journey. I honestly don’t remember much of those ten days. I do know that I found some of the best friends I could have ever asked for during that time. I appreciated (still do) all the visits, gifts, edible food, ice cream, cookies, books, everything; from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Adjusting to being home was also really rough. I was coming off a pharmacy of medication and add jet leg and just anger about being home to all of that. I was not a pleasant person to be around (sorry family, i hope you understand, it wasn’t you guys, it was me). Once I accepted the fact I was home, I was okay for about a week, and on December 3, I landed myself right back in the hospital from a PTSD episode and was there for another 4 days. I’d like to think every day is getting better, but I have good days in reality, and I have bad days. The good days are fantastic, sometimes with very minimal thoughts about what happened, but the bad days are really bad. I become angry and closed off to the closest people and the people that have supported me the most through this journey.
"Every day will continue to be a challenge, but this is something that is a part of me now;"
I’ve accepted and come to terms with that. I’m currently working on healing myself and letting people help me as hard as that may be. I’m going to continue to live with depression, anxiety, sleepless nights and maybe even flashbacks for the rest of my life.
As horrible and as much as I don’t wish this upon anybody in the entire world because NOBODY deserves something this horrific to happen to them. I wouldn’t change it because it’s shaping me and growing me little by little, every day.
Through this all, I’ve learned who really supports and cares about me and who was just there for the “fun” of it all.
I originally wrote this piece six months after it all happened. I was traumatized then, and six years later, that hasn’t subsided.
The one thing that has changed is my fear of telling this story. I was afraid, ashamed and the stigma around being open in public scared me.
Today, I still feel these emotions, but I don’t want to be another statistic.
I want to be a part of the change.
I want to make you think when you hear your friend joking about rape.
I want to inspire the next victim to know she is not alone.
I want to change the way society puts these disgusting men on pedestals.
I Want You To Know We Are Never Alone.