I reactivated a facebook account I had previously today. It’s in a pseudonym and was used when I was back in the UK and for some time when I returned to NZ so I protect my identity. With secure settings, it would be unlikely that anyone could find out the person behind the name. In my real life account I have of course utilised all of facebook’s security settings and blocked people that might pose a risk to me, including anyone involved in the police investigation and family members. In my pseudo profile I decided to unblock these people. I decided to see their lives.
Previously I have my husband to do this periodically, it gives me a sense of safety I suppose to know what circles people travel in. To know that I’m not mentioned or references are made. I need to feel safe. I need to feel an element of control. He of course never goes into any details and the exchange between us is light.
Today was devastating for me. I could not look through my attackers profile. It’s too painful. Too soul destroying. But I looked at some family members. I noted a very clear public threat made ironically by his wife during my time in the UK. I of course had no knowledge of this at the time. As my husband quite rightly says, we have no idea what he was telling her. On from that, their lives seem so idyllic. So normal. I find the contrast breathtaking. To know in my heart and feel such evil exists, but the sun still shines, and the beautiful side of life still glows for some people.
Facebook is where people get compliments, support, post pictures capturing their perfect moments, their achievements, seek reassurance. It’s the same for us all. It is the same for the man that raped me. His father will comment on his posts, his wife declaring her devotion.
Why can’t I write a post on his wall?
To all ***€€€€€€^^^^ friends and family
It is clear from this profile that you all know a loyal husband and a loving father. A hard working colleague and a good friend. Perhaps you have called him in a time of need? Perhaps you regard him as a good man? Perhaps you are envious of his work achievements?
Are there any of you that have inkling that something isn’t quite right about the guy? Maybe when he’s had a bit to drink he seems a bit arrogant? Or maybe he has a temper? Maybe he makes the odd remark about women that doesn’t sit right? Maybe it’s just sometimes that smile doesn’t reach his eyes.
Let me tell you that when I first met him he seemed friendly to me. Concerned. Polite. Until we were alone. Although he told me he wasn’t going to hurt me, he did.
He raped me. So painfully I thought he was using a knife. That’s what I asked him.
I was 14 and a virgin.
He did apologise afterwards. He even said he would ‘kiss it better’ – which left me feeling ashamed, confused, dirty, terrified.
And then he left.
I have been left to struggle with this shame, this pain and humiliation for the rest of my life.
My facebook page has photos of my beautiful kids, and good, happy memories. But I also post my bouts with terrible lows. When I’m affected by media stories about rape survivors. Sometimes I temporarily deactivate my account because I can’t handle the communication. Outside of facebook, I’m still in therapy. I still have nightmares, anxiety attacks, phobias, and routines I need to stick to. Things like smear tests can be extremely difficult for me. And of course, my reference for my ‘first time’ is tarnished forever.
So I just wanted to add this significant post to HIS timeline. As he has impacted my life so greatly.
Of course even if I tried he would sensor it anyway! Writing it out here was therapeutic for me. Because the reality is, it’s extremely painful knowing that life goes on for some people.
I have now deactivated the account. I’m not tempted to back. I will keep my own account with substantial blocks in place.
This was a stupidly triggering thing to do and I wouldn’t recommend it.
But perhaps somewhere along the line I have realised that I am a little bit stronger than realised.