I don't think I've talked about it yet on this blog, but feel the need to get something really personal out today, just because it has really been bothering me.
Almost five years ago, I was raped. There, I came out and said it. Blunt, to the point.
I knew the guy - he was a co-worker - and I was probably dumb for putting myself into a situation where this was able to happen. It was nothing horribly brutal that you see on SVU, and other than being an emotional wreck for the last close-to-five-years, I came out pretty unharmed. When it happened, I was powerless: I was at this guy's house, in a town I had never been to, didn't know how to drive, and he lived in a brand new subdivision with virtually no neighbors living there yet. The most I could do was beg and plead for him to stop, and cry when he didn't. It's funny how much can go through your head when this happens. I thought about kicking him, punching him, clawing his eyes out. And then what? Run? To where? Call someone? I didn't know where the hell I was.
(Girls - and guys, too - please heed my warning - KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS! Know where you are. Pay attention. If you go on a date with a guy, and he drives, watch every turn he makes. Look for landmarks. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE).
The whole thing never went to court (Rutherford County, Tennessee... you are a piece of shit) because the police said I had no case, since, you know, I was at this guy's house, on a date making out with him in his room. That bullshit you learn about how NO means NO (we'd even had a discussion about how I was a virgin and was waiting until I was married)... it's not true. Apparently it only means no if you know, he's a stranger wearing a mask or something. You know, despite the fact that most rapists and sexual abusers know their victims (thanks, Tennessee. Really).
Five years and a $1000 medical bill later (rape kits are expensive. And at the time, the law in Tennessee was that you paid for your own. Backwards, much? Yeah, I think so), I still have bad days.
Most of the time? I am terrified of men. Absolutely terrified. And when guys I date tell me "It's okay. I'm not him," I pretty much just want to punch them, right in the face. Obviously you are not him. Do you think I would be so stupid as to go on a date with him?! Really?! The fact that you're not him doesn't change anything. You are still a man. And best as I can tell, men are only after one thing. After I tell guys, they either tell me that "I'm not like that" (Oh. Thanks for clarifying. I should have asked my rapist if HE was like that. "Excuse me, sir... do you think you're going to rape me tonight? Because if so, I really must decline your date invitation, but thank you ever so much anyway") or they tell me to get over it. Right. Let me just... forget it happened. Ok, phew, that was easy. Why didn't I think to get over it. Gee you are ever so smart and helpful.
Don't you think if I could get over it, I WOULD? Don't you think that I would LOVE to have sex with a man and not have flashbacks and be terrified and feel panic boiling through my veins? Don't you think it scares the hell out of me to realize that if I am still like this five years later, I am going to be like this for a very long time? That having a new sexual partner is like starting all over again. Back to a feeling of being scattered and terrified and having to re-establish boundaries? Not that I exactly sleep around, and my number of partners is still pretty tiny (though the only reason I had sex with someone, like two years after the rape, was because I didn't like the fact that I'd only had "one sexual partner," and I just wanted to get it over with and choose to give it up), but it's so hard to be with someone new, and be scared to death when they get a little more forceful than I am comfortable with. And now, stupid me, has decided not to be upfront with guys about it, since they just tend to run away when they realize that I am apparently crazy for not "getting over it." Now guys just think I am crazy for being scared to death, for being close to tears all the time, for snapping and screaming at them to stop when I feel my world spiraling out of control.
I talked to a friend today who has gone through something similar, and I HATE that either one of us had to go through this, because it really isn't fair. But hers happened around the same time as mine, and she made me feel less crazy because she has the same emotions about it - after all of this time - that I do. But it still terrifies me. I am tired of having to explain myself to people. But if I am going to seriously date someone, they need to know. They need to know why I am scared to death when they touch me wrong, or why I look like I am going to throw up when they suggest "getting kinky." "Could I like... tie you up?" WHAT?! Are you INSANE?! I don't understand why ANYONE would enjoy something like that, but for me? The idea of being in a situation where I have no control? Seriously makes me feel like I am going to vomit. I really freak out, I get fidgety, I tell them no, my heart racing, my palms sweating. The very IDEA of it sends me into an absolute fit of panic. There is no getting over it, and it's going to haunt me forever. And I hate that one day I will (hopefully) end up with some great guy, and he will have to be constantly guarded to make sure he doesn't say or do anything to trigger my emotions. And really, that's not fair to him.
When I looked up statistics last semester (because I did a speech for sociology on how rape affects you - and I cried through it... it was bad), I learned that something like one in four women will be raped or sexually abused in their lives. Does that mean that one in four women are basketcases about it like me? Or am I really just that much weaker than everybody else?