Just a pig inside a human body

TW: RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT

[My State’s] Penal Code Section XXX.XXX et seq.

Sexual Assault (generally): Sexual assault is defined as any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.

I need this to be crystal.

ANY form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.

Ok.  It’s about to get bumpy in here, folks so hang tight for just a while.  I promise to be more gentle with you than he was they were with me.  I’m going to start with the most painful first.  As the #metoo movement continues on, I find myself becoming more and more angry and it more and more difficult to stay quiet.  When I say “angry,” I’m not pissed about the movement – quite the opposite.  It’s time for us to stand up and speak out.  I’m all for that.  I’m angry at something completely different.  I’m angry that there needs to be a movement at all.  I’m angry that there are so many of us.  I’m angry that there are still so many women, even after Dr. Ford’s testimony, have the chutzpah to discredit what was so clearly a re-telling of a trauma.

Don’t.  Don’t make any of this about politics.  Don’t make any of this about religion.  This is about my body.  This about the right I have to walk down the street and not feel like someone else has the perceived right to assault me because they have a dick and it’s Tuesday, OK?  I am mad as hell.  I am mad because I, my mother, my sister, my sister-in-law, my best friend, my other best friend, and countless other women AND MEN on this blue ball have been FORCED, INTIMIDATED, or COERCED into unwanted sexual contact.

This week was hard for me.  I was trying to reconnect more with my Dad and there was this undercurrent of #metoo all over the news from the Kavanaugh Scandal.  I went out to eat with my stepmother (not my choice) and we got to talking about random stuff and the subject of college came up.  I told her that going to my particular alma mater wasn’t all that rosy (despite the brochures and reputation), as I was molested on my first night on campus and raped my sophomore year.  This was the response I received:

Why didn’t you call me?  Did you tell your father?  He would have done something.  I would have kicked him in the nuts.  He wouldn’t have been too powerful for me.

I want to know.  I really want to know how someone who’s never been in my particular position, in my skin can tell me exactly what they would have done?  That’s childish.  And thank you.  That’s how you respond to a survivor.  You respond by telling me exactly what you would have done, implying that what I did was wrong.  That’s victim-blaming and victim-shaming.  How goddamn dare you.  And let me know when you can take a 200-something-pound, all muscle, 6-foot-something guy down with your pants and underwear around your ankles.  Yeah, let’s see you high kick like that.  Did we forget he was fresh the eff out?  Parole?  Armed and effing dangerous?  OK?  People love to talk a big game like that doesn’t scare them until they are actually in that situation, then they turn into Bill Paxton in True Lies.  It’s bullshit.

And let’s be clear.  I did tell my father – a year after it happened.  You know what he did?  Nothing.  Not a motherfucking thing.  I expected what every girl expects her father to do in those situations – kill him or pay someone to do it for him.  My Dad didn’t do any of these things.  Instead, he played “inquisitioner” and asked me a bunch of questions – I can only guess to surmise whether or not I was full of beans.  We never talked about it again after the night I sat him down to talk about it.

Later on in the week my husband and I were out to dinner and my Dad called.  I answered the phone to make sure everything was OK.  He started talking to me about random stuff and then segued into talking about Bill Cosby.  Here we fucking go.

I don’t understand these women.  They took the money from him, that’s tantamount to getting paid for sex.  They got their money, why come back, 30 years later and ruin his career?  They already got the money – move on already!  You got what you wanted!  If a guy answers his door in his bathrobe and gives you a pill, you know what he’s after – don’t be naive.  If you didn’t want it, you should have just come back when he was fully dressed.  

Then he goes on about Stormy Daniels, but I’m just not in the fucking mood – OK?  The Bill Cosby stuff was so enough.  He said about 10 minutes more, but no.  I hung up the phone and my husband could just tell the conversation did not go well.

How the fuck do you have that kind of conversation with your child?  Your daughter?  Knowing she’s a survivor?  Knowing your other daughter was molested?  How the hell can you talk about taking too long to report sexual assault when your youngest NEVER reported?  She stopped speaking to me when I spilled the tea 20 years later.  I actually told campus police that John was stalking me and they said there was nothing they could do.  Why in the hell would I go to the REAL police once campus police basically told me “uhhh we’re going to let this guy come and stalk you after he raped you for months, isolated you from your friends and family and stealthed* you, giving you an STD.”

…But no.  You should always come forward, right?  You won’t be treated like the criminal.  Like when I was on the couch that night I told you I was raped and I got asked everything except HIS SSN?  Or when campus police told me that in a building that required key card access they couldn’t protect me, so I had to move off campus and further isolate myself from my friends?

I had to take my white board off my door that year.  He kept writing horrible things on it – calling me a “bitch,” “whore,” “slut,” “fuck you.”  I changed the name on my door so he thought I’d moved but it didn’t work.  None of my friends knew.  My mother didn’t even know and she was my best friend.  She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what.  I flunked everything that semester and my clothes got way bigger – I was eating more, but mostly I just didn’t want anyone to see me.  I bought XL everything and would hide inside my hoodies.  I wanted to disappear.

After he’d leave, I’d run to the community bathroom with my tray of soaps and turn on the hot water.  No cold.  I would let the steaming, burning hot water scald me between my legs.  Burn away the shame.  Burn away the layer of skin he touched.  I’d stand there until I felt nothing but numbness between them and the tears ran down my face.  This would happen sometimes three times a week for the better part of 3 months.

He’d lean over my face after using my toothpaste and sing about his minty breath.  I can’t smell toothpaste mint without getting sick to my stomach.

But, I asked for this pain, right, Dad?

I cried to my Mom the other day about this.  The stories on the news, all of this is fucking triggering.  You know what she said to me?

I’m so sorry, honey.  I’m sorry.

Because there’s nothing else to say.  It’s already happened to me, to her, my sister, sister-in-law, best friend, other best friend and countless others.  That should say something – that I could throw a dart and hit someone who’s been assaulted.  It’s not about teaching our boys and girls to be safer.  It’s about teaching people not to fucking rape and assault others.  It’s about consent and respect.

 

*stealthing – non-consensual condom removal

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I can’t destroy what isn’t there

TRIGGER WARNING – RAPE

I met with my psychologist this past Monday. Aside from reminiscing about all my psychiatrists of the past (and their behind-the-scene proclivities), we talked about the moment I went nuts …no I was right. Went nuts is totally appropriate here.

She said that age five, I tried to kill myself. I know; I was there. I don’t remember the circumstances, only the where, the when and how. I remember my disappointment in it not working and my becoming even more depressed. I tried a few times. As a child that size, your resources and vocabulary are limited. I felt this deep overwhelming panic, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, fear and helplessness and felt I had nowhere to turn and didn’t have the right words to express any of it.  So it appears, according to my psychologist’s theory, that my brain’s chemistry changed the first time. My body’s arousal system and my neurotransmitters went nuts.

I was majorly depressed and disordered by age 6 with at least 2 suicide attempts under my belt.  By age 16 I was full-scale self-injuring on the daily; it looked my dermatologist was Edward Scissorhands.  My mood was all over the place due to my hormones and my outright refusal to take medication until the next year when I was almost hospitalized for suicidal threats and increasingly intensive self-injury of which I still carry the scars.

I went to college at age 17, fully medicated for my safety and for those around me but it had little effect.  I went to a very large, very competitive, pseudo-Ivy League school.  I had very little social support and many of those I met didn’t fail to remind me of my social and racial status.  Yes, I was a part of the 49% of the students receiving financial aid and yes, I’m black.  (No, asshole – I got here on merit, not affirmative action.  In between slicing and dicing I managed to pull a 3.9 GPA out of my ass in high school.  I actually had people make comments in class about this shit to my face.  Unbelievable.)

Anyway, let me back up a bit.  Welcome Week, freshman year.  Exciting for kid fresh out of high school – getting to party in college!  I had arrived.  I was grown as far as I was concerned.  I could stay out late, meet guys, new people – have a blast!  My best friends from high school, now attending the rival college, were coming down for the weekend and we were going partying together so I was excited.  The four of us get some food at a local hangout near my dorm and start walking around campus to find a party that looks cool.  One of my friends, Tom, was a sophomore so he knew everything about frat parties since he was a frat member at Alpha Chi What-The-Fuck-Ever so we followed his lead.  We walk into this relatively jumping party – just wall to wall people, a DJ, jungle juice, the whole shebang.  Jim and Raquel start dancing (they were dating) and vanish into the mist of the crowd.  Maya, a sophomore at our school, fucks off somewhere, probably trying to find a rich white guy (she has a type – has since high school) and leaves me dancing by my lonesome.

At a frat party.
My first night on campus.
Awesome.
Well, this is the start of a Lifetime movie.

Boy did I call it.  This fucking guy comes up to me, introduces himself as “[inaudible due to the loud music played by the DJ]” and points toward the center of the dance floor.  I nod “okay.”  There’s 60 goddamn people on this dance floor.  I can’t be abducted in the middle of a crowd of 60 people.  It’ll be fine.  So we start dancing; no big deal.  He then moves behind me and puts his hands around my waist.  I can tell he’s drunk; I’m not having a good time anymore.  I need to find my crew and get the fuck out of here.  I’m looking for my crew so we can di di mao.  Before I get a chance to break away, he puts his hands down my underwear and ::ding-dong:: WELCOME TO COLLEGE.  Unwanted sexual contact.  I grab his hand and pull it out of my pants and walk away.  Of course NOW my friends are ready to leave and find another party.

Right before we go, this asshole gives me his number.  He wouldn’t leave me alone until he could put it in my phone.  He was too drunk to spell his name right.  Unless he was actually named after a tennis shoe.  I never told my friends – he was drunk, right?  No one’s fault – blame it on the alcohol…  I never told anyone.  Just buried it along with everything else.

Ah sophomore year.  This one’s gonna be tougher to talk about.  I met this gem on the back stoop of my dorm at the beginning of the school year.  We went on 1 or 2 dates.  He dropped me off at my dorm room and when he hinted that he wanted to take things further than a kiss goodnight, I told him I had a rule: 6 months of monogamy before sex.  He seemed outraged.  I made it clear I didn’t care – those are my rules.  Next date, we decided to stay in, were watching “Law and Order” when he said he had to tell me something: he was on parole for armed robbery.

Uhhh.  He knows where I live.  He knows where my family lives.  He’s 6’2”, 245 lbs – all muscle.  I was 5’4”, 145 lbs.  I was fucking terrified.

Someone tell me please: When an armed robber comes to your living quarters every few nights for several MONTHS, what do you do?  When you feel like you’re not given many options considering their size and tendencies to be ARMED?  Fucking terrified.  This went on for 3 months.  During that time, I isolated from my friends and family, I was “stealthed” countless times which resulted in a case of (CURED!) chlamydia.

When I finally broke down and spoke to the only person who I thought would listen, my ex-boyfriend Anthony, he helped give me the strength to leave.  I left and the man stalked me in my dorm room for a few months.  It took a key card to get into the building but somehow he would get in and leave messages on my door calling me “bitch,” “slut,” and “fuck you.”  I reported it to campus security but it was useless.  I moved out of the dorms into an apartment with Anthony the next year; we got back together after this.

Anthony is a story for another time.

So the intimidation-rape is trauma #2.  Trauma #1 was whatever happened at age 5 that triggered my suicide attempt – that is a mystery to me as of yet.  I’ve told my psychologist I’m considering going to a hypnotist because I’m tired of this Swiss cheese stuff – this holey memory of mine is ridiculous.  We either figure this out or we don’t.  My psychologist said something that has been weighing heavy on my mind all week.  She said that her theory is the chemical imbalances that have been caused by trauma can be reversed by re-training the brain.

…Excuse me?  If I’m understanding this correctly, bipolar disorder can be reversed through behavioral or cognitive behavioral therapy.  Are you shitting me?  

I’ve just been in limbo all fucking week, letting that sink in.  Think about it: if that is true, I’ve been able to fix myself this whole time.  I’m like Dorothy at the end of Wizard of Oz.  She had the shoes throughout her whole walk through Oz — the bullshit with the Witch, the Monkeys, the talking head of the Wizard, all of it — and she could have gone right home.  Unreal!  While I understand in Wizard it’s a little different – she needed to understand how good she had it in Kansas.  Someone tell me the point of walking this shit-brick road?  Where’s the fun in french kissing death?  There is none!

If this is true – what if I don’t get better?  It’ll be just something else I’ve failed at.  Can’t kill myself right* and can’t heal myself, so I’m stuck in the middle.  Fucking perfect.

*Ok, I may have lost a few of you there.  As a mental health professional, that’s a horrible thing to say and hear.  However, as a someone with a mental health disorder I can say that I may speak for a few people out there who have felt this way. when they wake up in the hospital, alive.  I did – I was pissed off.  You feel like a failure because you didn’t complete a “goal,” however this isn’t a goal – long term – you want, even if your depression says otherwise.  When I say I didn’t do it right, I mean that I failed and there’s no escape from this disease on either end – through death or living.  It’s fucking maddening and it makes me feel hopeless for a painless life.  While I appreciate the empathy I have gained for others like me, I wish for a life like anyone else’s.  I wish for happiness.  I’ve never known what that’s like because even what I’m happy I’m always wondering when the feeling is going to end.