This post is NOT about ANYTHING sexy, erotic or uplifting.
I am in an odd mental place. It's been a rough week. Of course, it can't just be one thing, it has to be a series of things which have happened this week. Many of which have been rough. But this is one that I was trying to work through and decided to write my way through my thoughts. Please bare with me.
I was listening to a story on NPR about Date-Rape. The woman on was discussing her own situation where she had been date-raped. Part of her story included the fact that even though she thought she was yelling for the person to stop, what she realized was that she was silent and only after a long time, began to vocalize at a whisper. She said that this is a common thing, vocal paralysis in great stress or trauma. She also said that as soon as it was over, she could tell that she was beginning to block the event out. She only knew the details of what had happened because she wrote about it in her journal. Another expert came on and was discussing how she goes to groups and talks to kids and parents about boundaries, sex and date rape. She said that she has been in the room where a boy and his parents are being confronted with an allegation of date-rape (on the boys’ part.) At times, the boy is genuinely shocked and dismayed and upset that he has hurt someone. She said that there are many boys that don’t understand that they are going past a girls boundaries…especially if the experience is one of their first sexual encounters or if they are very young. If the girl isn’t forthcoming with her consent or if she isn’t “loud and proud” about her boundaries being crossed, then he may not be clear headed enough or astute enough to make that mental leap. That boys need to learn to have clear consent and girls need to be clear about their boundaries.
So for me, my assault was a LONG time ago. But I had an OMG moment while listening to this show. Does the boy who assaulted me, know what he was doing? Did he know he was crossing a line? Does it matter if he knew? So in the shower this morning, I was thinking. Does it matter to me? Well, kinda. I villainized him - in my mind. He willfully and knowingly hurt me. Pushed me. Violated me. But did he knowingly do that? I will never know. Did I say no loud enough for him to get that across the fog of hormones? I don’t know. Does it make what happened my fault. No. I know I didn’t cause it. But it bothers me. I don’t know what to do with this information and lack of clarity. I don’t know if there is anything really to do with it, but it has put me in an odd mental place.
On the other side, it was gratifying to hear how normal it was for people to block out such experiences. That is exactly what I did….until it was triggered. I knew it had happened…but the specifics I chose not to recall or relive. After being triggered, and the trauma of naming the experience as rape or assault and the sexual distress of being in that position again, this time consensually, but trying to have the same sexual experience was really difficult. It was worked through at the time with an insane amount of support from my boyfriend. Sadly, periodically, after something triggers that emotional place, I work through my issues … again. I am the most fortunate person to have a loving, supportive husband (that same previous boyfriend) who both understands me and works with me and helps and protects me. But damn, it sucks to go back to that mentally uneasy place. I hate that I can’t just be over it…forever. It’s not fair and it sucks.
On a whole other side, I realize that boundaries, of a sexual nature, are things that really should be discussed with our children. I haven’t done that with mine, yet. They’re coming up to the age that it really should occur sometime. I also wonder if I should talk to them about my unfortunate experience. I know you learn from other’s mistakes, but I haven’t shared this experience with ANYONE in my family – other than my husband. Is it something that I want my children to know? What if other’s find out. Why would that matter? Well, I don’t really want to go there with my parents. I don’t want to have those conversations. We don’t have the same beliefs of what constitutes rape and when no means no and girls asking for it…you get the point. I just don’t want to go there. But, It’s part of my life. I don’t know.
So here I sit. Uneasy. Sad. Questioning. In a funky place.