(TW: Rape) I’ve stopped hugging people

I noticed a couple weeks ago that I no longer hug people. I was trying to remember when it stopped being such a big part of my connection with other people, especially close friends. I used to hug people all the time. When I was in high school and the beginning years of university, I was known to give really great hugs. You know, the type of hugs that feel warm, inviting, the aura of friendship epitomized in that moment. I hugged a lot to just feel the positive energy, to express my relationship with them in a touchy-feely way, to let them know I love them through my physical expressions.

I stopped hugging people, though. Trying to pinpoint the moment I stopped hugging people, it was shortly after the second time I was raped, about two years ago. I was really, really high. Like, I maybe smoked weed twice in my life before that moment, and during the night I was raped, I smoked maybe 4x that amount. I was scared before it even happened. I said out loud “I can’t feel myself move, I can’t feel my limbs.” I was paralyzed by the weed. At that moment, and for a long time afterwards, I blamed myself for being raped. Eventually it was left with me and one other guy in the room. He moved closer to me, and I was practically incoherent. He was a close friend. He raped me.

The truth is, I did like him. I actually dated him after that, until we unceremoniously broke up because he was graduating. I never told him, or mustered up the ability to tell him that the first time he did anything was when I was way too high to give consent. When I wasn’t even ready. I felt taken advantage of by a close friend, and I haven’t been able to touch or hug or even be physically close to a friend ever since.

I feel myself growing colder. I don’t like my family touching me now. I think I am finally starting to warm up a little bit, which is why I acknowledged that the first time I hugged someone in about two years was a couple of weeks ago.

I want to date people but that fear is still there. It’s embarrassing. I never thought something like that would happen to me.

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