December 10, 2011

Where I went and why I stayed

I imagine most people think they know how they would react in a given situation.  I know I did.  I always had a bit of feistiness in me that led me to believe I would fight an attacker tooth and nail.  Plus, I was smart.  I was educated in sexuality and gender issues.  I taught classes on those subjects fer chrissakes.

In the back of my mind lately--in spite of all the other things I have going on--I have been processing some of the issues that kept me from fighting back, from speaking up.  The list is incomplete.

1.  Though I struggled, I didn't scream while it was happening because I didn't want to make a scene.  I get made fun of for being overly dramatic; I always have.  And when I reported a molestation to a trusted adult as a child, I was told that I had misunderstood what had happened, and that it had not happened the way I said it did.  Because I misunderstood.

I thought maybe I was misunderstanding this time, too.

2.  Admitting to myself what was happening put me in danger of panic.  And if panic set in I felt like I would lose all control. 

Better to keep quiet and calm and alert.

3.  He didn't beat me up.  Didn't pull a weapon on me.  Didn't even say a word, in fact.  He just held me down with his own weight.  Despite the pain and the powerlessness, I kept telling myself, "It's just sex.  That's all it boils down to.  I've had sex plenty of times.  I can survive this."  Though I couldn't even allow myself to think about the word "rape" at the time, looking back I know I felt I wasn't "raped enough" (i.e., raped violently enough) as others I knew had been in order to be seen as having been "legitimately" raped by others. 

They wouldn't believe me--wouldn't take me seriously.

4.  I know you're not supposed to shower.  I've seen enough Law & Order episodes to know.  But the idea of going to a doctor or a police officer dirty and unwashed was unthinkable to me.  I just wanted to wash his presence off and forget. 

The shame and humilation were unbearable.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Powerful and insightful.