I was raped a year ago and have not been able to enjoy a healthy sex life since. My boyfriend of three years was very supportive throughout my ordeal, but I have not been able to make love to him. I don’t want him to penetrate me, although I love it when he holds and cuddles me. I did not get counselling after the rape. What is happening to me? I lost my dignity and it seems I’m going to lose a good man. W Mkize, Johannesburg Move! Expert advice
Your body is doing what it needs to do right now, which is to continue to protect itself from any possible trauma. The body is so smart that it knows when the time is right again for sexual penetration. It knows when your heart and mind are ready to once again make you open and vulnerable to being penetrated by a penis. Yes, I know this is a safe penis for you because it belongs to your boyfriend who is the opposite of your rapist. Your boyfriend is caring and loving. Still, the body is saying not yet. An intense period of trauma is experienced after a rape. I guess you know what I mean because you probably experienced fear, numbness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, withdrawal, depression and sadness.
A year later and not having had any counselling means that you could be suffering from rape trauma syndrome, which is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. In other words, the intensity of all those terrible feelings has lifted in the past year, but they are still there. Not wanting penetration is part of this problem. I strongly recommend you get counselling now. It is never too late.
Lifeline/Childline on 0861-322-322
Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800-150-150
National toll-free helpline for survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of gender-based violence.