Now a doula and wellness coach, Megan Gibson, 25, was born in the US but now lives in in Okinawa, Japan with her husband Travis and three young children.
Megan says the initial attack left her contemplating suicide, plagued by nightmares and riddled with social anxiety – but she now hopes she can help inspire other rape survivors suffering from PTSD.
Megan Gibson, 25, from the US but now living in Okinawa, Japan, reveals how a traumatic rape at just 16 by a man ten years her senior left her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Megan, now a mother-of-three, said she felt like the attack robbed her of her self-worth and she let men sleep with her when she didn’t want to as a way of ‘self-harm’
At a party, a teenage Megan was raped after being trapped in a room with an older man and her world fell apart.
Instead of speaking out, Megan ‘punished’ herself and wore her shame ‘like a badge’, believing that she deserved what happened to her.
Eventually, Megan married her husband, Travis and they started a family. Before moving to Japan in September 2014, she held a house party and was assaulted for a second time by someone she considered a friend.
Unfortunately, her case never made it past the investigation stage. Now, thanks to her family, Megan was able to see the light in the dark and has started opening up about her ordeal to help others, assisting two women to take their stories to the police.
‘One dark night I found myself newly sixteen and trapped in a room and forcibly raped by a man nearly ten years older than me and about seven stone heavier than me. He broke my spirit, my will, and my fight.’
The mother-of-three says that her life changed forever when she was raped and she went into ‘sleep mode’ feeling numb about ‘worthless’ sexual liaisons and being ‘s***-shamed’ by women
She continues: “My universe collapsed. It was like I was being buried alive. And I thought about giving up, but instead I turned on sleep-mode and it all went away. Numbness has no filter. When it overpowers your pain, it overpowers your happiness too. I wanted nothing more than to die, but my beautiful girls and my husband anchored me to this earth… I picked myself up and I lived. However, this life was different than the one I knew before.”
Megan says she then started to go into Post Traumatic Stress: ‘I lived like I deserved to be raped because it made what I went through that much easier.
‘I was bullied, harassed, and used by boys time and time again because I let them. I was slut-shamed by girls who had no idea what I’d endured. It was a form of self-harm. To ensure I felt worthless, with a hope that I could normalise my trauma but it never did. I wore my shame like a badge. I wore it like it was something to be proud of.
She says: ‘Before we knew it, we had orders to go to Japan. One huge house party and a fun night to celebrate our send off, and my world came crashing down again.
‘I couldn’t believe it. How did this happen again? I was assaulted by people I considered my friends. I reported them, clung to justice, and prayed they would never hurt another again, but my case never made it past the investigation. Every agency failed me. I’ve helped two women take stories to investigators, and I will never ever stop trying to inspire others to stand up and overcome the shadow of shame.
She says the love of Travis kept her going, saying: ‘My husband anchored me to this earth.’
Now, Megan sees a therapist once a fortnight and says this has helped her beyond belief.
She keeps a journal to track her moods and anxiety triggers and exercises everyday to boost her endorphins.
Despite this, Megan admits she still has off days, weeks and months where she suffers from vivid flashbacks, nightmares and social anxiety, unable to trust those around her.
On her Instagram, Megan charts her journey and hopes to be a safe place where other survivors can turn and admits that accepting what happened to her is still a struggle.
‘I used to hardly tell a soul. But that’s exactly the problem with today’s society. We pull the blanket over these conversations because they’re uncomfortable,’ she said.
‘Since I’ve started being open and honest, I’ve heard countless stories from friends and family.
‘I’ve helped two women take their stories to investigators, and I will never ever stop trying to inspire others to stand up and overcome the shadow of shame that a rape ‘victim’ carries around with them every day of their life.
‘I still struggle with accepting what happened to me. I haven’t been able to heal yet because I haven’t fully processed the pain and the feelings around the events.
‘Every time I try to my body and my mind become numb in a way to protect me. I struggle with forgiving myself’
Despite her ongoing battle, she’s determined to ensure others don’t go through the experience of recovering from sexual assault alone, telling them on social media.
‘You did not deserve this. You are strong, you are beautiful, and your body is yours alone,’ she added.
‘It’s okay to not be okay sometimes, but never lose hope for your future.
‘I am on a mission to help other’s see their light in the dark; to love themselves; and to find their strength to rise.’