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'Beauty Restored': Life After Rape (Must Read)

'Beauty Restored' is the book that started the process of my healing.

After I had been raped I told all that needed to know. When my mom told the pastor that worked at her job, I was far from thrilled. I didn’t think that she needed to know. I wasn’t even sure I still believed in God. What would it help? Probably nothing because my heart had been aching for far too long to heal.

Then my mom explained to me that the pastor had bought me a book that she thought would help me heal. I kind of laughed at the thought of that. I had to talk myself down from abusing or offing my own body and this lady thought that a few pages of useless quotes would help me.

When I held the book in my hands, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to open this book and be left with the same feelings I had been feeling for over six months. It seemed pretty pointless and cruel. So I decided I was going to go out and get drunk. My ex was going to supply the alcohol and I was going over to his house to stay the night. It felt sort of good to know that I could trust someone to not violate me while I’m drunk, although I can’t honestly say the thought didn’t cross my mind. I was always afraid of being raped a second time. But I wanted to trust something and someone. So, I got ready. I wanted so badly to feel good that I thought maybe if I looked good it would seep into my insides. Sparkling eyeshadow and red lipstick. I felt beautiful for the first time in a while. I was finally excited about something. The book was a thing of the past at the bottom of my purse.

Hours go by and I hear nothing from him. I send countless Snapchats, but it wasn’t until I sent a text that I got a reply. I got a text that said:

“Hey, sorry. I have been busy all day. And then my ex asked if I wanted to see my daughter and I said yes because I’m going out of town on Monday.”

Instantly my stomach dropped. I didn’t feel pretty anymore, two whole hours of me wasting time on hair and makeup. The two things that I barely did anymore. All of my confidence shattered at that moment. I wasn’t angry at him seeing his daughter. She’s his flesh and blood and she will always come first as she should. I was just so angry that he waited until the last minute after I was finally happy for a second to tell me that it was for nothing. My happiness was, of course, in vain and would have been short-lived anyhow, but I really wanted to escape for a night and feel beautiful doing it.

I cried and cried and cried some more. I felt so alone. All of my friends were having a blast on Snapchat and here I sat in my basement with tears dripping out of my eyes… alone. I barely have friends now. My friends checked out of my life when I became depressed. My life was so different than before this man took my soul. I hated it, but it was almost as if there was nothing I could do.

I sat in my office chair and broke down. My makeup slowly started to fade and my happiness was far gone by this point. I didn’t know what to do. I started at the scars on my arms and longed to cut them open. Then something unexpected happened. Almost without thought, still sobbing, I walked across the room and fiercely dug through my purse to retrieve the book.

I stared at the title, Beauty Restored. Yeah, right. Whoever this Me Ra Koh person was, she probably had no idea what I went through. Any psychologist could write some book on recovery just to make a quick buck. Part of me wanted to throw the book at my phone, but a voice inside me told me to sit down and open it up. I listened.

When I opened the book I saw the word rape in a book for the first time. Tears began to flow faster now. I’d only seen it in the things I wrote. But now it’s in this book. It almost made me shut it, but there was this urgency. I needed to keep reading. I went on to read that The United States Department of Justice reported that someone is raped every five minutes. I certainly was one of those people. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t breathe because I began to sob. But I powered through and kept reading.

Me Ra Koh explained her life as she entered a Christian University. She met her rapist so fast and while it took longer for him to rape her I knew that this woman knew how I felt. She explained that her heart felt like a dungeon. So many things she explained that forced to be to be in touch with the reality of what I have been feeling. She explained the way being raped felt in your heart and body in a way that I knew I felt but didn’t know how to explicate. This woman helped me find my voice through the word of God without pressuring me to believe or even go to church.

Her words comforted me. I knew I was no longer alone. Her words made so much sense and at that moment, I didn’t feel crazy anymore. I knew that what I was feeling was real. I made it to Chapter 11 until my eyes became tired from weeping. This morning I finished the book.

Not only did I finish the book, but I finally put in an entry in the prayer book my aunt bought me soon after the rape happened. I put in a verse today. I wrote down all the things I want the Lord to teach me. I explained all the things and people I’m thankful for. And last but not least I put a few prayer requests. It felt really good. Today, my heart still aches for the woman in me I used to know. It’s still heavy but I feel hope I haven’t felt in a while. I’m hopeful that the counseling I am receiving will help. I’m hopeful that this hope stays. I’m hopeful that I can get better. And I will read this book 100 times over before I left this hope split away again.

If you have ever experienced rape of any kind, this book is a key to the start of your recovery. Beauty Restored by Me Ra Koh hammered a crack into my dungeon. Now, I see a sliver of light. And I promise you, you can too.

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