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The aftermath of sexual violence + the beginning of healing (Anonymous)

As a young teen, just as my body – to my great excitement – was starting to change, I was gang raped. The excitement of becoming a woman was taken away from me and the relationship I had with my body turned from love to pure hatred. They say that the body is a temple and my temple had been invaded, scorned, hurt and permanently destroyed. I was never fat, but started perceiving my wide hips and full buttocks as being fat and I developed a serious complex. Not even in front of my husband did I feel comfortable and I was convinced that he secretly thought I was unattractive and even disgusting.

When I got pregnant, I started worrying about my weight gain and how my body would change. What if I couldn’t lose the excess weight after giving birth? What if I got stretch marks? What if my husband would never want to make love to me again? I did like my pregnant belly, though, and was able to see the beauty in it. It was the time after the delivery that I was worried about.

Then I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. A few days later I stood in the shower and looked at my body in the mirror for the first time. My belly was still round as if I were four months pregnant and my whole body looked full and soft and feminine. “It’s beautiful”, I thought to my surprise. The femininity that I had previously regarded as unattractive and “fat” now looked pretty and inviting. For all these years I had disrespected my body, I had consciously hurt myself in order to punish it for having been raped, for simply having been there, for not having been able to escape. Now I was in awe: it had carried my son for nine months, had put up with the strain of being pregnant, it had miraculously given birth to a perfect baby and was now producing the nourishment to sustain him. But it wasn’t just due to the respect that I made peace with my body. I truly find it beautiful. And I finally love being a woman!

“Anonymous”, 29 years old

Updated here.

in Belly, Breasts, First Pregnancy, Postpartum, Pregnant, Sexual Abuse/Violence, Submissions, Update

21 comments… add one

  • taiyo Saturday, March 28, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Wow, what an amazing story. You are so strong and beautiful.

  • J Saturday, March 28, 2009, 2:07 pm

    You are beautiful.

  • brendy Saturday, March 28, 2009, 4:47 pm

    Your story breaks my heart. I’m so sorry for the terrible experience you had in your youth. It’s an awful thing that should never happen to any one. I think it’s wonderful that you have found a way to love your body. You are quite beautiful in many ways.

  • Lucy Saturday, March 28, 2009, 5:38 pm

    That is one of the most beautiful and intense posts I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Jenn Saturday, March 28, 2009, 6:29 pm

    Wow, what an amazing post. You’re inspiring and very brave. And you look fantastic!!

  • "Anonymous" Saturday, March 28, 2009, 6:33 pm

    first picture – 38 weeks pregnant
    second and third picture – 5 weeks postpartum

  • chelsea Saturday, March 28, 2009, 6:54 pm

    Oh sweetie, what a strong amazing survivor you are. I am so happy that you have your sweet baby boy, these babies are truly healing. I am so sorry for what you went through as a teenager, it’s absoutely horrendous. You are strong. You are beautiful. You will do great things. Take care and I wish you nothing but the best in motherhood and life.

  • kay Saturday, March 28, 2009, 6:58 pm

    wow! you are amazing!

  • I-dra Saturday, March 28, 2009, 7:31 pm

    i think you look simply marvelous, wonderful, perfect, lovely. may you continue to find peace of your journey of healing. that was a big step, sharing that with us & i feel honored to be a part of your story as a reader & longtime participant of SOAM.

  • Sam Saturday, March 28, 2009, 9:08 pm

    Very touching story; you’re such a strong woman! Congrats on our baby boy your body looks great!

  • Anna Sunday, March 29, 2009, 6:36 am

    The first paragraph made my heart ache. I’ve been there too- and I’m so glad that you have found peace with your body. You are a beautiful mother.

  • Jill Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 10:43 am

    Your body is so beautiful! I am so sorry that such a horrible thing happened to you. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

  • K Saturday, April 4, 2009, 5:36 pm

    You are amazing. Being able to come through your experience and see the good things you have, it’s a strong thing to do.

    I have to say, you have really nice boobs! And 5 weeks PP! Your stomach looks WAY better than mine and I’m 10 months PP now. Awesome!

  • Meirav Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 12:16 pm

    You are an incredible woman! How amazing that having your baby was so healing for you. He is lucky to have you for his mother.

  • Brandi Monday, May 4, 2009, 12:47 pm

    What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy for you to find love and healing.

  • Lynne Monday, May 11, 2009, 8:12 pm

    You’re an amazing and strong person. You’re also very beautiful. Love to you and your family!

  • Lani Thursday, May 28, 2009, 12:48 am

    That was an incredible post. Thank you for sharing. Your story made me sick (the world can be a terrible place) but your strength is so admirable. You are obviously a VERY strong person. Your baby is lucky to have you for a mommy. I believe there’s nothing that can stop you now. You’ve already been through so much. And you’re all the more beautiful for it. Seriously. You are so beautiful.

  • Mary Saturday, April 10, 2010, 10:04 pm

    Wow. You are so beautiful and strong. To react with such grace and dignity and courage to something so horrific is truly the mark of a great soul. Bless you.

  • meli Monday, April 12, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Thank you for posting… I was raped of my virginity 18 years ago at the age of 16 by a 26 year old man. Everyday I scream in silence as I pretend to the world that I am normal. The hatred I feel for body has never been quelled… Thank you for your courage I hope that I can find that peace someday.. Your post brings me hope

  • meghan Saturday, September 25, 2010, 10:21 am

    Your story gave me the chills. i am so glad that you grew to accept and love yourself. motherhood is a beautiful and wonderful thing. congratulations on everything

  • Caila Thursday, June 21, 2012, 4:48 pm

    You just made me cry.. which isnt hard, considering im 27 weeks pregnant and a tad emotional.
    I don’t have a story nearly as fasinating as yours but i was extremly self consious before i got pregnant and now i have a new outlook. :) Your story is touching and im glad you shared.
    (sorry for spelling)

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