The men who raped and assaulted me were demonstrating their power or control over me. They took away my power. I couldn't fight back. Now I feel like I have no control over my life. I feel helpless. Because I feel like I have no power, I am afraid of people in general. I feel vulnerable to the whole world. I have no control over my life. I am afraid to leave my home, so many decisions are taken away from me. I am afraid to be around people, so many decisions are taken away from me. I am afraid of loud noises, so many decisions are taken away from me. I feel weak, I feel I have to hide. So many of my decisions are taken away, and I have no choices. It makes me angry at myself for being so powerless.
I don't feel safe. I used to be able to feel safe around people, but not since the rapes. People are dangerous, or at least have the potential to be dangerous. I take steps to help myself feel safe, but nothing really helps. I feel afraid if I don't take those steps, even though they don't work. I sleep with a knife and a teddy bear to help me feel safe enough to fall asleep. I don't feel safe outside of my home. Even when Jon is with me I don't really feel safe. Jon is a comfort to me, because I feel safe when I am alone with him. He tries to look out for me and help me feel safe when we are out of the house. Jon doesn't see danger everywhere like I do, and doesn't believe me about some of the dangers. This makes me angry and frustrated. I know some of the dangers that I see are greatly exaggerated, but others feel like they are legitimate. The world is not a safe place. People are not safe.
I don't trust people. I particularly don't trust people in positions of authority, because my squad leader raped me and took advantage of me. I believe people in authority abuse their position and hurt others. It takes a long time for me to become comfortable around an individual, and even longer for me to stop waiting for them to do something to hurt me in one way or another. I also don't feel like I can trust myself, I can't trust my judgment because I am always afraid. I feel like it is safer to mistrust everyone to protect myself from being hurt. I feel paranoid about people. I'm always on my guard around people I don't know, and it is exhausting. I was surrounded by enemies in Iraq, even the other soldiers were my enemies, and I still feel like that sometimes.
I don't feel good about myself. I can't trust my own judgment. I hide in my own home and don't eat well, or exercise. I don't like the way I look. I feel like people don't like me. I am ashamed that I had sex with people in Iraq for protection from the people who raped me. I feel weak, and I don't like myself for feeling weak. I get angry at myself. I have trouble concentrating and it makes me feel stupid. I know I don't behave appropriately around people all the time because of my fear, and that makes me feel ashamed. I forget to shower, and brush my teeth, and change clothes, and that makes me ashamed. I feel like there is no place in the world for me, so it is easier to hide at home.
I have a hard time getting close to other people. Jon and I, established a very emotionally intimate bond very quickly, because I was very open with him when we first met. I don't feel like I can make friends, because of my fear. I feel like if I let people get close to me, then they will hurt me. I worry people think badly of me. I don't understand people. I don't even feel like I am a real person most of the time. Watching people feels like I'm studying an alien race. I just don't understand. I don't like to let myself be vulnerable around people. I don't like to feel judged.