I have a fear that many people experience but few ever talk about. I fear rape.
The hardest thing about this fear is that it is a logical one. More than one in three women (38%) and one in nine men are sexually abused before the age of 18. Considering the fact that many people block out their experiences as a way of coping and those who do remember rarely tell of their abuse because of perceived shame, I am certain that the true numbers are much higher than the known numbers. And that does not even take into account rapes committed on adults! Opposite to popular belief, rape is common.
I am afraid for myself, because I have experienced the devastation of rape and I know how it shatters a person. I fear that if I experience it again, I will once again be filled with hatred and crippling paranoia. When I first began working through the abuse I suffered, I could not even step on the front porch unless my partner was with me, and when I was alone at home, I was full of anxiety that someone might break in. I have overcome much of my fear since then -- this summer I even went on a road trip of seven hours by myself -- but I still struggle. And unfortunately, I know that a certain level of fear is rational because rape is not rare, so I cannot dismiss my fear entirely.
I do fear for myself, but I am truly terrified for children. Every time I see a charming, pretty child, I at first feel hopeful happiness because of their faith and beauty, but all too often, I remember how that faith can be betrayed, that beauty stolen, and I'm filled with despairing fear. I stare hard at their parents, trying to see if they will protect their children, and I pray desperately that they will.
I combat this fear by reminding myself that I have healed so much, and that others can heal too; that the wounds can be turned to scars and stop hurting. I focus on sending out love so that I can help stop the cycle of hurt people hurting other people, and I do what I can to increase awareness and eradicate apathy. I concentrate on my belief we all chose to come to this life, chose to go through suffering and destruction so that we could grow. Most of all, I remember that even though the rest of us can be wounded or even destroyed, the spirit is eternally incorruptible; it can be hidden away or silenced, but it cannot be harmed. The truest part of us is unbreakable.
LJ idol topic 2: "What terrifies me." ((please vote for me here!))