Thanks for posting this article. It has helped me to feel a lot better about the slow pace of my healing process. It has been almost two years since my four month series of assaults began at the hands of someone who I considered a close male friend. The assaults continued for four months because my "friend" was blackmailing me in order to keep the details (which he planned on embellishing greatly in order to ruin my career aspirations and standing) quiet. After all, many communities are not the least bit accepting of even the slightest rumors implying homosexuality.
As a straight man, I felt that it was not fair for me to potentially face such a stigma because of something that happened (and continued to happen) against my will, but after four months, I decided that hiding from his fabrications about what actually happened between us was not worth my sanity, integrity, and dignity. Besides, getting married as a virgin is pretty important to me, and I started getting the sense that my assailant's real goal was to slowly get me to trust him enough so that I would let him cross that line. Thankfully, I cut him off before he could progress beyond the unwanted touching and foreplay that I came to loathe.
I relate pretty well to the way that the woman in this article became extremely isolated and felt her mind go blank around things that she once enjoyed. In my case, my reading comprehension skills and analytical writing ability were compromised. This was especially problematic given that I am a PhD student. In addition, I became a 26 year-old homebody. I only went four places: school, church, work, and with relatives.
Now, like the woman mentioned to her pastor, I find myself wishing that things could be "normal" again. Things have gotten a lot better. I have made some new friends, I've been on some dates with women (which have helped me to see that I'm really not tainted beyond repair), and I am still progressing in my quest for that PhD. However, I still miss the person I was before all of this happened. I'm plagued with nightmares and a I still have trouble trusting my own judgment at times. At times, I even find myself missing the assailant who was actually a good friend when he wasn't trying to force himself on me. Thankfully, I have supportive friends and family who have been there for me throughout my healing journey. I just have to learn to accept that "this is the new normal."
Thank you all for sharing your stories and helping me to see that I am not alone.