Rape survivor's rollercoaster journey back to self-love

May 18, 2018

Rape survivor's rollercoaster journey back to self-love

Rachel Axis now focuses on family, friends and self-love. Photo: Shannon Armstrong.

Rachel Axis’ life spiralled into abuse, drug addiction, and even near-death when authorities wouldn’t take her sexual assault seriously.

If it were not for loved ones and learning about self-love, she would not be alive to help others going through abuse, she says.

Ms Axis, partner of musician Tiki Taane, was a young girl when her dad left and started a family with another woman, triggering an onset of abandonment issues and confused identity.

“I grew up in a really eventful family. We were constantly moving around because of business and I was always bullied [at school],” she said.

Ms Axis said she was bullied at five of the nine schools she attended.

“I never really felt grounded. I felt like I was on eggshells or I never really had a place to call home.

“It’s probably only been this year I’ve been able to talk about it without crying,” she said.

Starting at yet another college, Ms Axis felt she had to be the “cool kid” to fit in, and snuck out to a party where she got drunk for the first time.

“The party got broken up by the police, so we ran off and the chick I was staying with had gone. That’s the night I got raped,” she said.

At just 13, Rachel woke up in a park naked – her virginity had been taken without her consent.

She went to the police, who completed forensic tests.

“They were going to charge me for wasting police time because they believed I was just drunk.”

She said the police told her the rapist was a promising rugby player and laying charges would destroy his future.

“It’s horrible. I ended up dropping the charges because I was embarrassed, and the police were intimidating me.”

Ms Axis was later assaulted by five girls when she went back to school because she was the girl “that cried rape”.

“I hated authority. I had been let down by everybody that was supposed to protect me,” she said.

Ms Axis protected herself by turning to people in the meth scene who welcomed her with open arms.

Soon she faced multiple assault charges herself and had entered a drug-fuelled and abusive relationship.

Eventually she escaped the relationship and began to have hope when, in a similar case in America, a girl’s rape-victim report was released to the public.

Like Ms Axis’ abuser, the rapist was popular and succeeding in sport.

“That’s when I started going, ‘I need to invest in myself’.”

She turned to fitness and found personal trainer and self-love coach Kayla Anderson.

Ms Anderson taught Axis to be positive about herself and focus on her strengths.

“It’s been really hard. I still have negative days but it’s not just something that’s [easily] fixed and sorted,” she said.

Partner Tiki Taane said: “It’s so overwhelming for her to revisit the trauma that I wonder how on earth she can heal and move forward.

“But she does find a way, and is determined to not let the bad stuff that happened to her pull her down.”

Mr Taane said Ms Axis, who is training as a social worker, was now in a safe and loving environment where she had support to heal.

“We are coming up to five years in our relationship and I’m super proud at what we’ve both achieved together.

“We’ve been through so many testing times where most couples would’ve fallen apart, but instead we have managed to find strength, love and understanding.”

Ms Anderson said building “self-love and a caring relationship with our self ultimately affects all areas of our lives”.

“As we embark on our health journey, it is so important to make this a priority.”

Ms Anderson said seeing Ms Axis’ transformation from self-sabotage to loving and accepting her body and soul has been a heart-warming experience.

A police spokesperson contacted by TWN said sexual assault was taken very seriously by police and they encouraged women to report it.

Their complaint would be investigated and they would be offered appropriate support, said the spokesperson.

“We want victims to know that they will be treated with respect and that we will do everything we can to support them throughout the process.”

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