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August 21, 2019

How I Healed from Rape & Abortion in my first year of Entrepreneurship.

For most of 2018, I was living a lie.

I haven’t been sharing my whole truth, I’ve been hiding. But now it’s time.

For months, I was in denial about this, put on a strong front, and just hoped it would go away.

It took me five months before I could even admit I needed professional help. It took me nine months to work up the courage to tell my family.

But before I go further, I want to state this:

I am not sharing this for attention. I did not ask for this, or deserve it—but I am not a victim. I’m sharing this as part of my healing process and for the healing of others. I feel it is my responsibility to speak up and begin to spread awareness

In August 2018, on a sunny afternoon the week before my 30th birthday, I was raped by an “energy healer” alone in my apartment.

Six weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant from the rape, and proceeded to have an abortion in the following days.

This is my story.

Less than one year into my new entrepreneurial path as a coach, I’d been feeling spiritually and energetically open for the first time in my life. I didn’t realize at the time, but the truth was, I was seriously lacking boundaries, and attracting all sorts of new people into my life because of it.

We met in the back of a shared ride. I never take shared rides, but rates were high that night in the Los Angeles rush hour. I had my headphones in, but he started talking to me and asking questions.

“I’m a quantum energy healer,” he volunteered.

I replied, “Interesting, I practice reiki along with life coaching.”

“Let’s do an ‘energy exchange’ sometime.”

We exchanged numbers. A week later, he texted me to set up our meeting, and suggested my place. Of course my roommates were out of town. I prepared my reiki table.

When I opened the door, a voice in my head screamed, “Should you be letting this random dude into your apartment? This feels sketch!” But I shoved it down, telling myself, “Be more open.”

He insisted on going first. “I can see people’s chakra systems and will read yours,” he said.

He explained that I had major blocks in my “root” (first chakra) and “sacral” (second chakra) before asking if that meant anything to me. I told him it in fact did, because of the stories I had recently become aware I was telling myself…stories that I was ready to clear:

Why I felt better off alone than in a relationship.
Why it didn’t feel safe to own my feminine energy.
Why attention from men made me feel uncomfortable.
Why my sexual energy felt shameful.

He told me he knew how to clear it all. That he could help me heal. And he asked if I’d be open to that. I told him I’d heard of stimulating the lower chakras for manifestation, and asked if that’s what he meant. He said, “Something like that,” and that he would “awaken my kundalini.”

We sat across from each other on the reiki table as he slowly manipulated me into removing my clothes. “The metal in your bra will disrupt the energy flow,” he said. “The less fabric the better.”

Laying completely naked, everything in me screamed that this was weird, wrong, uncomfortable, and unsafe. I communicated the shame I felt. He told me to put on music to relax and that this was a safe space for healing with nothing to be ashamed of. I rationalized that this stranger was offering a solution to clear whatever blocks existed.

He started doing energy work on me and told me to close my eyes and start doing a three-part breath. If you’re familiar with this type of breathwork, so much oxygen pumps through your body that you feel high on drugs and like you are levitating—you go into a different dimension, more or less.

I could feel him moving energy from my root chakra through my chest and out my throat. It felt like he was really doing something. He was chanting in a different language and kept touching me down there, which I’d anticipated based on what he’d alluded to earlier. Something in my distorted state of mind thought letting a stranger touch me was necessary for healing.

What I wasn’t prepared for was when he suddenly climbed on top of the table and proceed to start having sex with me. We hadn’t explicitly discussed this. How was this happening? Had I misunderstood what he meant?

It took all the breath out of my body. I went completely and utterly rigid. My physical body froze, and I left it for a period of time. Smashing his face into mine, he grunted his displeasure over the fact that I wasn’t making any noise and demanded that I kiss him. I went into complete shock and remained motionless until it was over.

Afterward, I was so confused. I rationalized that I was a naive, spiritual rookie because he’d boasted that he reserved this “first and second chakra work for only 10 percent of his clients” and “some women got offended if he didn’t.” He told me he practiced tantric sex and could withhold ejaculation. I believed him and was not under the impression that he had climaxed.

After he left, I convinced myself that I was being a prude, that I’d asked for it. Feeling weird, I thought that maybe this is what people do and there are spiritual healing practices I’m unaware of.

I decided to put this experience in a little box and tuck it away in the back of my mind—I couldn’t bear to think about it.

The next few weeks were hectic—travel, activities, and distractions. Despite feeling good the following week, like something unexplained had shifted in me, I then began to feel off, like something odd was happening in my body.

I randomly ran into him on the street the week after the incident. He asked how I was feeling. I actually gave him a hug and said “Thank you, something shifted.” I even considered doing it again when he tried to set up another session, but chose to listen my intuition, which said, “absolutely not.”

Giving him a hug is still the hardest thing to make peace with. The word “rape,” and the realization that I’d been raped, didn’t hit me until I peed on two sticks and got two plus signs back around five weeks later. Suddenly, I woke up to the truth and felt pure fury. It had been a complete invasion of my body. I was enraged.

Society portrays rape as this loud, violent, flailing exchange, where the man forcefully holds a woman down as she screams, “No, No, No!” fighting with all her might.

For a long time, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t go into fight or flight. My therapist taught me months later that there is a third response that no one ever discussed: freeze. This is common for rape or sexual assault. Paralyzation was my body’s instinctual way of escaping the trauma.

Had I not gotten pregnant, I’m not sure I would have ever consciously acknowledged and understood what happened—your logical mind can convince you of anything.

When I got the abortion, I physically felt the foreign energy leave my body, like an exorcism after being possessed. A third soul had been volunteered into this experience, but I felt nothing but relief that it was gone.

The worst shame comes from situations that you could have controlled, but didn’t. I felt like I betrayed myself and lost all sense of trust in my judgment from ignoring my intuition.

I chose a complicated path to healing. I wasn’t ready to tell my family, thinking it would cause them more pain. I also wasn’t in a position to pay for professional mental health support—nor did I feel like I needed it. I deluded myself that I was equipped with the tools to handle things alone.

Over the next few months, I proceeded to “busy” myself with work, burying myself in projects. But I felt like a hamster on a wheel, like I was not actually going anywhere.

I legitimately was not myself. I had on a mask and didn’t even realize it. If you saw me on the internet, I was acting like everything was peachy—posting inspirational content and selling new offers. I was acting like a total fraud and my awareness was clouded. I told close friends about it, but put on a strong front, convincing them and myself that I could handle anything.

I also rapidly formed a romantic relationship with a man who was 18 years my senior, and who had a complicated past that included prison time. He was nurturing and supportive, and oddly made me feel safe. I think his crazy life experiences made me feel seen and heard, and feel less shame and judgment toward myself. It was the coping mechanism I’d chosen in the absence of the real help I needed.

This further complicated things and came off as bizarre behavior to my family. I now can see how this match was completely out of character and alignment for me. By the end of the year, my relationships with my family had completely imploded as I worked to hide this secret and pretend everything was normal.

My business ran almost completely dry for about five months. Have you ever had the universe cut off your income streams as a way of getting you to pay attention? As many entrepreneurs are probably aware, you don’t ever actually have business problems, you have personal problems that bleed into your business.

When you choose to stuff your emotions and traumatic experiences in a closet instead of facing them head on and seeking the support you do need, the stench starts to seep into every area of your life. It felt like my entire life was covered by a dark cloud.

My parents, in the midst of our falling out, begged me to go to therapy. They were so concerned by my erratic behavior and completely in the dark as to what was really going on, they were convinced I’d joined a cult. They were right in feeling that I needed psychological help.

At that point, I had reached my internal point of surrender and welcomed the invitation to start therapy.

January 2019 felt like a fresh start and the beginning of my healing journey.

For the first time I  sat down and started to process everything.

I did EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) every week for four months with a trauma therapist. I connected a lot of dots, and healed some childhood wounds.

So many of our belief systems, perceptions of ourselves, and our lives are formed when we are kids. The thing you think is the thing, is never really the thing. Everything is connected and runs deep.

The rape was the symptom on the surface, and EMDR helped me to go back and recall memories, recognize patterns, and clear beliefs that led me to not trust myself, be afraid to use my voice, and give my power away.

I did a lot of self-reflection, forgiving, accepting, and loving. I slowly began to repair things with my family. Feeling ready to tell them what actually happened changed everything. The disconnection, weird behavior, random relationship—it all finally made sense.

Internally, it felt like a huge weight was lifted and I could breathe again. It also opened the floodgates in my business. It was as if my business had been energetically blocked for months, and suddenly it wasn’t anymore! I signed more clients in the month I told my family than I ever had in a 30 day period.

I felt a new elevated sense of power within me that I hadn’t felt before—it was freedom. Sharing this story really is the next step in my healing process, and I know there is still more to go. I don’t know if one will ever feel like they can receive a certificate of completion when it comes to stuff like this.

My biggest lessons have been with setting boundaries, trusting my intuition, and using my voice.

I finally filed a police report in January, but was still too afraid to move forward with the case. But, I know I wasn’t the first woman he did this to. And I’m afraid I won’t be the last. The thought of that haunts me, and I can’t sit by and let that happen.

With my new sense of power in using my voice, I feel a new sense of responsibility. I do not want another woman to have to go through what I went through. Not taking action on this is now a privilege, and I refuse to be that selfish.

Narcissistic and sociopathic men who use spirituality as a front to violate women is not a new concept, I’ve come to realize—but it’s one that needs to be talked about more.

Here is what I want to say after all of this: there is so much power in our vulnerability.

When we choose to stand up and share our truth, even when we’re afraid—of feeling exposed, of what others might think or say, of it being too much, of not wanting to burden others—that is when we embody our true power.

I share this because if it helps even just one person feel less guilt, shame, or aloneness, then it was worth it—somebody needed to read this.

I share this as a reminder that we don’t all have it together, even if it looks like it from the outside, and that is okay. But please, I beg of you—don’t avoid your trauma, it will catch up with you, and if you ignore it long enough, it will affect every area of your life, from finances, to relationships, to health. There is no shame in seeking support.

I share this because I want you to know that even the most negative experiences have gifts and lessons in them, and you get to choose whether you want to make victimhood your identity, or if you want to use your experience as an opportunity for growth and a platform to help others heal.

I share this so that others have the courage to share their stories and no longer feel like they have to hide.

I share this as a reminder to you that your intuition never lies, and you should never have to convince yourself of anything.

I have this deep knowing that expressing this is just the beginning of a beautiful new chapter of my healing journey. Through this experience, I’ve learned we get to create purpose from our pain. And my purpose is even higher than I realized.

I now know that I’m truly meant to empower women to own their truth—all of it. Not just their desires, but their stories, their messiness, their raw soul truth. And then use that truth to create massive impact in the world.

You get to feel free, full, and live life overflow. You deserve all of that.

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Brie Pugh  |  Contribution: 185

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