Honestly, as rapes go, the betrayal was epic, but physically I got off light. The penetration itself, some bruises, minor vaginal tearing. It didn't make it any less devastating. I mean, someone still forced themselves inside me against my will, because they didn't think I deserved to say "no." I still had PTSD symptoms, panic attacks, nightmares and all the rest of the fun stuff that comes with a sexual assault.
What I also had was not a chance in hell of anyone taking me seriously. Hell, the people in the next room who heard me shout "No!" didn't take me seriously.
But back to the question: How do you survive that?
The true and trite answer is "One day at a time." You go through each panic attack, each nightmare, each flashback, and then you dust yourself off and go on living.
And yeah, it sucks a lot. It took years and years for the PTSD symptoms to fade to the point where I didn't feel the need to warn potential sexual partners about the possibility of freakouts. To fade to the point where I didn't expect to wake up with a nightmare or suffer an anxiety attack on a daily basis.
I mean, there is a choice of sorts. You can live or you can die. Some people choose to die. It's certainly quicker. But far fewer of them choose to die than choose to live, however painful it may be, for how long. Largely, because the human animal has a driving will to survive.
For some of us, that choice is no choice at all, and living is the only option. For that, the only way to manage it is to just keep on keeping on. Get counseling, journal about it, talk about, don't talk about it, whatever you need to do to preserve your life and your sanity.
It's both harder and easier than it looks sometimes. Sometimes you'll feel like you'll never be safe, never be able to trust anyone, never be ok. But in time, those feelings will come less and less frequently until you're able to feel safe, trust and feel ok. It takes baby steps over years, sometimes micro steps, sometimes it'll feel like all your progress has disappeared in a puff of panic. Sometimes you'll feel like you can conquer the world. None of that is abnormal. Everyone's reaction and healing time and process is different.
There is no normal where recovery is concerned.