No matter whose P.I. follows you after being raped.
You are allowed to laugh, to go out, to party, to drink, to take a Lyft, to wear things that make you feel cute, to dance with strangers, to be photographed with your friends, to be wild on the dance floor, to have social media, to participate in social media, to have moments of happiness in your life. Any criminal, civil, whatever procedure does not get to take any more time from your normal life. It is long time that those systems adapt to normal human behavior.
You are allowed to cry, to stay in, to mourn, to ruminate, to listen to your records, to read your reports, to do all of that as much and as often as you need to even if you don’t know why you’re doing it.
You are allowed to feel numb. You can stop doing those things you love because you’re just not inspired right now. You can find other things to take their place. You can also not. You can take this time to rest.
You are allowed to take the time you need. You do not need to be okay in a year, in two years, in ten years, once the rape kit comes back, once the case is closed, once your friends leave you on your own, once your school asks you for an update on your student status. You get all the time you need.
You are allowed to be angry. You can be mad at the people who don’t believe you. You can be mad at the systems that are designed to write you off. You can be furious beyond words and explanation at the people who earned your trust just to break it. You get all the anger you need. This anger can be your fire to advocate for change. It can also fuel your need to rest. It never has to be one or the other- this trauma is nuanced. Either way, both are amazing acts of resilience.
You can be silent. You can never say a word. You can keep these immensely difficult things away from those who don’t care, from those who might care, from those who use your pain for their own benefit. You can choose if you tell anyone or no one. You deserve peace. You deserve healing. You deserve to choose how you find those things.
You can feel indifferent. You can just simply not care about your rapist. You can not care about his life, his well-being, his consequences, his actions. You are not the reason that he rapes.
You are allowed to hate the sun, to want to shoot it out of the damn sky, to wish for rainy days and pray you’ll never go outside again. You are allowed to sleep straight through that ‘perfect summer day’, to sleep through the whole entire weekend, to rest, rest, rest without excuse. You’ve been through a lot, whether you or anyone else realizes it or not. You need it, you deserve it, and that time alone is yours.
You are allowed to reimagine your life. ‘Wherever you go, there you are’? This quote does not apply to you. You went through a horrific violation of trust, safety, well-being- all of the things that make us functional human beings. A fresh start is your right. You get to figure out what path to take to get there. You get to ask for help if you want it.
You get to find your own path. You get to be whoever you are after whatever you’ve been through without judgement. You get to be you, whatever it took to get you through the initial impact of rape. You get to make your life your own after someone carelessly tried to take your autonomy from you.
You will not be the same. You will not be able to explain why. You still get to be whoever you want to be.