Oh, surprise, surprise, rape blog again.
I hate this.
I hate what is going on right now as far as the current Supreme Court nominee, Kavanaugh. It’s a fucking hard Kava-no from me.
I haven’t eaten in two days. I have ordered food, looked at food, and taken two bites of food.
Politics is real. What action and inaction politicians are taking has a very real affect. It affects all of us. Especially some of us. Especially in certain situations. This is one of them. I hate the word “triggered” – but here’s the deal – it’s real. It’s a real thing. And it happens when you least expect it, and usually welcome it the least. Now is one of those times.
When I was 12, my father had taken us – and I do mean that – and we were in Eagle, Colorado, staying with some people we’d met at City Market. We were on our way to the movies that night, and I was sitting in the front seat of a car with bench seating. I was in the middle, because I was small. During the drive, the man, a stranger, put his large hand on my small thigh, and left it there. I froze. I stayed frozen. I finally moved to pick up his hand and remove it from my thigh, placing it on his own. That night, I stayed awake, with my back to the wall of the hard bed I was sleeping in, waiting for him to come. He didn’t come. I told no one. Later, when my dad wanted to go back to visit this family, I fought and cried and begged and fought. I got in trouble. I told no one the real reason I didn’t want to go. I told no one until I was in therapy after college. I told my therapist. Then I told my mom.
When I was 18, I was drugged, along with my pregnant roommate, at a party. I felt the feelings of thoughts escaping my mind, and stared out of a window. I got her home, somehow, safely, and fed her milk while she was throwing up. My muscles didn’t work, and I barely made it to my bed. Bu I somehow managed to save us that night.
When I was 24, I went on three dates with a pilot. I told him, on our first date, that I didn’t want to have sex. We kissed, and everything progressed, and I protested, but when it happened, I froze. I didn’t say no. I remember laying there, in the midst of it, knowing it was a no but not knowing how to get out of it. I stayed silent and it was over.
When I was 24, I was drugged and assaulted my a co-worker. If you have ever read this blog you are familiar with that story. I woke up 12 hours later, naked and damp, on the sixth floor of the Hilton in Midtown, New York City. He was waiting, as I was throwing up in a bathroom, and when he spoke to me he asked me what I remembered. I said nothing. He said, “We just had some fun.” I will never forget the Bud Light bottle on the TV stand. I will never forget that shower, or the rest of the day, or the rest of the rest of my life. That day, I told no one. I later told my bosses. Three months later, I had an emotional breakdown. It wasn’t until way after that that I told my mom. I tell my mom everything. She knew. But she didn’t know exactly what. It was that. The weekend I got home from New York, I cried for 8 hours straight. I sliced my thighs with a wine opener so I could feel something and stop crying. No one knows that. My brother came to my door that Saturday while I was completely immobilized by tears, oblivious to what was going on, because no one knew, and told me he wasn’t sure what was going on, but that he loved me.
When I was 27, I was drugged at a party. My then-boyfriend came back after being gone for a bit to find both myself and his male cousin not okay. He spent the night taking care of me. It was almost Easter.
When I was 29, my then-boyfriend dismissed my explanation of someone touching my breasts inappropriately at an acro yoga event, saying that because we’d had prior history, I had welcomed it. I hadn’t. I hadn’t welcomed the prior history, either, but I’d frozen then as well. It had been preceded by unwelcome fingers finding me in a hot tub. I had moved, immediately, to another place. I did not say anything.
There is more. There is always more. There’s me at 19 being thrown to the floor of an acquaintance’s apartment; there’s me in Chicago being groped at a bar, shuffling against the wall to prevent it from continuing; there’s more; there’s more; there’s more.
This circus we’re currently undergoing in the political sphere is ridiculous. Not for a single reason. For a hundred reasons. I can’t explain to you the terror and discomfort I feel at night, in the morning, always. I can’t tell you what it’s like to relive my assault over and over again as I read the news. I can’t explain the tears I cried on Election Night 2016. I can’t explain the hatred, the rage, the shame.
My Facebook feed today – and not just today – is full of friends detailing their assaults publicly. This is both beautiful and horrific. Coming clean, coming out, explaining is so freeing, but also so exposing. And of them, most went unreported. There’s a sick statistic out there that says that something like 6% of rapists go to jail.
I don’t doubt that, and I honestly doubt that it’s not a lower percentage.
I can’t report mine. I was naïve at the time, and wasn’t aware that I had options. Honestly, I was more worried about my job than anything else. I didn’t know that I could have sued the company. The statute of limitations has since passed. It’s two years. An ex boyfriend, who was a lovely and supportive human being, looked into it for me. I won’t call New York State and explain to them what happened to me in 2013. Because I can’t and won’t be able to meet the burden of proof and I can’t and won’t handle the emotional damage it would wreak upon me.
I dated older men. I am kinky. I had drunk alcohol that night. Therefore, I must have been complicit. I must have wanted it. I must have invited him in.
I can’t prove otherwise. I don’t have blood tests to show you that I was drugged. I don’t have semen samples to show you that I had sex. I don’t have shit. It is me against the world on this one, and it always will be.
I don’t know what happened to my body in New York in January of 2013. I never will. But something happened, and everything changed. My life will never be the same. I’m lucky, because I wasn’t there for it, consciously. People far stronger than I have weathered the storm that comes from sex they’re there for. It wasn’t until I read an article in April of 2013 about the Steubenville rape case where an economist theorized that rape while you’re unconscious does no lasting psychological damage that all the hell came loose inside of me. I cried for two days; I didn’t sleep; I didn’t eat; I tore at my skin until I bled. It was then that the assault landed in a very real way. It was then that I called my therapist, and he came home from skiing to hear me, and it came out of me for the first time.
My life will never be the same. I have grown and overcome and learned and accepted. And I will never be the person I was before that night. I survived an unemployment hearing in which I was ripped to shreds by my former employer. I spoke bravely and certainly and calmly. And I felt relief. Someone finally heard me. Someone finally asked questions. It was horrible. I won.
To this day, I wonder what will happen if I ever run into any of those people who were complicit in covering up my sexual assault. My boss told me that the HR report was “inconclusive” and that if I told anyone at the company, and my assailant sued the company, it would be on me. He said that to me. I crumpled against the wall after he left my office. That was June of 2013.
I went to work at a Dairy Queen and my life has never been the same. My career never recovered. My sense of self esteem that I had worked so carefully to build has never recovered. I have been treading water ever since, staying barely afloat and alive. I do work. I live. I date. I am. But I am not. And I never will be. I am alone. I live on an island of discomfort and fear. I live on an island of uncertainty. I have lost my confidence, my glow, my radiance. I am a shell of the person I was supposed to be. I am darkness and sadness and hurt. I am functional. I am outwardly happy. I am outwardly supportive and focused and attentive. I am none of those things. Not anymore.
I wanted to die.
My friend Gina asked me who would take care of my cat if I were to die, and that’s what saved it. I think of that, often. Carl is still alive. So am I. But what will save me when Carl is gone and the darkness resurfaces, as it does? I can’t die because I’d be letting down my mother. I can’t die because I matter to children. I can’t die because my room isn’t clean and I don’t want to bother anyone.
These are real thoughts.
If you watch these Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and don’t imagine yourself in Christine’s shoes, you’re wrong. Think. Think hard. Think of your whole life and think of everything that has happened to you. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has somehow managed to escape the touching and the groping and the sexual objectification and the assault and the rape and the disbelief and the cover ups and the fucking torture that is the cross-examination, you’re lucky. And you damned well better believe that it could happen to you. Because it will or it might. You can take every precaution and prepare every safeguard and you’re still at risk.
Life is hell. Sexual assault and rape and everything else associated with it is hell. For white men to stand up and deny this is disgusting. I am disgusted with our country, our president, our leadership. I am sick to my stomach tonight.