Response to Happyhippychick (Original post)
Thu Aug 23, 2012, 04:24 PM
FightForMichigan (232 posts)
29. One good thing
If any one good thing came out of this whole Akin fiasco, it's that on Monday, 17 years after the fact, I finally told my mother what had happened to me.
I was raped. It was a man I'd been on one date with. After dinner, I invited him over to talk. I didn't know he was a monster. Monsters don't look like monsters. They don't have the word "monster" tattooed on their forehead or anything. If there were warning signs, I didn't know how to see them. I just thought he was a regular guy, something of a computer nerd, who looked like a guy I knew in middle school and seemed harmless.
Look. I'm done with the shame. Just done with it. I'm done with hiding what happened to me out of fear of someone blaming me for it. I dare you to. The truth is, I was very open sexually in my early 20s. For me, sex didn't have to be a declaration of love and committment. It could simply be for fun. And so, I might have willingly had sex with this man. Why not? If he were a normal man, it would have been sex and that would have been the end of it. But he wasn't normal.
He knew what he was doing. He even brought in a bag with him that I now realize was his own sick kind of "rape kit." He had cuffs. Had I ever been curious about cuffs? Look, it's just velcro. See how easy it is to take off? Would you like to try? Well, sure. Clever. Not only are they NOT easy to get off when your hands are locked behind your back, but he had also ensured that I would not have the guts to report him to the police. Can you imagine how that would go over? "So you say you let him put those cuffs on willingly?" Yeah. Good job.
As soon as I was vulnerable, he switched. He wasn't meek and mild anymore. Next thing I knew, his hands were at my throat and I couldn't breathe. He warned me to never say no to him as his hands clamped to my neck. I knew three things very quickly: one, that he was incredibly angry; two, that he LIKED being angry; and three, that I had better do everything I could to keep him from being angry. And so, I complied. I complied because I didn't know if I'd ever see another sunrise or talk to my family again if I didn't.
He was in no rush. We must have gotten to my home sometime before midnight. He left just as the sun was rising. People have asked me what it is like. I tell them this: Imagine you are about to be in a horrible car crash. You know it's going to happen and you know you can't stop it. You don't know how badly you'll be hurt or if you'll survive. You know all this in an instant. Now, imagine that instant lasting six hours. That's what it was like.
My mind checked out. I was there but I wasn't. I should have felt things I didn't really feel. At one point, I had to concentrate to figure out if he was raping me vaginally or anally. I simply didn't feel it. I will tell you this, though - I was terrified of becoming pregnant. That fear was one of the few things that broke through my dissociative haze and brought me into the moment and the horror I was being subjected to. So when Akin said what he did, that's what set me off.
When my rapist finally left, I took a shower until the water ran cold and then I just went to work like nothing at all had happened to me. I knew I wasn't going to report it. I didn't know then that I could go to a hospital and get counseling without reporting it to police, so I didn't. I was new in this city and I had no friends, so I told no one. I didn't tell my family because I was too ashamed, I guess. The only person I told was an ex-boyfriend who I thought was a feminist, but he just told me I had been stupid. And I carried that belief with me for years and years.
It was weeks before I knew I wasn't pregnant. A year before I had the guts to get tested for AIDS and found out I had been spared that as well.
I kept it all in for 15 years. I just made myself forget. I was determined not to let that attack change who I was, and a part of that meant just forgetting it happened. I never totally forgot, though. Not really. It just wouldn't occur to me. I was in therapy for depression and my therapist asked me if I had gone through any trauma. I said no, not because I didn't want to tell him, but because it honestly didn't occur to me.
Eventually I went back to school to become a counselor, and after working with survivors of rape, I realized I had to do my own work or I'd be a hypocrite. So I did. But I still didn't tell my parents because I wanted to spare them from the hurt.
And then, Akin. I knew I had to speak out about it. I wrote about it for my blog and wanted to post it, but I knew I'd have to tell my mom first, because reading about it online is no way to do it. And she was every bit as loving as I ever hoped she'd be.
So, thank you, Todd Akin. You brought my mother and me closer together, you bastard. And we both look forward to your future unemployment.
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One good thing
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