Friday, January 31, 2014

Released into the Wild

After I finally confronted my ex fiance face-to-face and I was SURE he had left me, I spent a week in one of the darkest depressions of my life. The look in his eye was not that he was freaking out in fear to what had happened to me. No. He looked at me in a totally new manner. Suddenly he no longer looked at me in respect and trusting love. Now he looked at me as if he stared right through me. I was not even in the room. It gave me a weird feeling of not actually being in the room, like I was watching from a corner of the room, and even though I was me, in his mind I was someone else.

This sensation I felt is called dissociation.

A whole 14 months had passed while he had been gone, and yet it was a difficut moment for m because I felt he could not see me. Those movies in which the person is transported into another persons body and they struggle to be seen for who they are suddenly became a real moment for me.

He looked me dead in my eye and did not see me. I was crushed.

Then he went on to say incredibly cruel things about me and the rape, as if I had chosen to be raped, or that I was using that as an excuse to cheat on him. There is no need to cheat on someone when you can break it off. Finding a replacement for him is easy- I can get a sexual relationship. Shoot, I could even get a sexual relationship where I could be a trophy wife. There would be no worries.

But that has never been me. Matter of fact, the idea is repulsive to me. My mind cannot even fathom me not contributing to creating a family in an equal partnership.  What he said to me was devastating. It meant that in an instant someone had not only violated me in the most intimate way, but that they had stolen the most important thing I had waited my whole life for: A man that loved and cherished me and my son.

I could never trust this man again, even if I wanted to. Everything I had ever believed in died in that moment.
Delayed gratification.

The whole month before I saw him face-to-face I could not function from the fear of losing him and the overwhelming emotions of what had happened to me. To add an excruciating element to my pain, I was also incredibly horny from a year of being sexually deprived. My body was committing mutiny. All my body desired was his sweet, loving touch, yet I was struggling to ignore the physical sensations of being raped and the emotional trauma of being abandoned in my most vulnerable state. My body literally ached from the sexual frustration.The frustration was so intense that I did not know whether scream or cry. The last thing I wanted to do was think about sex with anyone else, or masterbating. All I wanted was my fiance. Yet I was continually having the sensation that someone was raping me and touching my body. It was a unique form of torture.

So as hard as it was for me to walk away, wounded and devastated, I knew that my body needed me to get back up and start looking for someone new. Since it takes me a while to find someone I am attracted to, I knew time was of the essence. This continuous torturous feeling was only getting louder. If I did not begin my search, I was afraid of what I would compromise in the future.

For 14 months I had waited for this man. I had kept myself for him, staying busy, avoiding men, never being alone with another man even if only for the way it would look, working on my own baggage. Suddenly, he was home and he wanted nothing to do with me. The closest thing I had to touching him was when I cried on his shoulder uncontrollably. He had just delivered the most painful words to me, and yet he held me as I sobbed uncontrollably on him. That was the last time I touched him.

And that is how I started dating again. I felt like a mess. I was afraid. But I was very aware that it was only going to get worse if I did not get back on the horse. So I cautiously took a mental and emotional inventory of what I wanted and where I felt I was likely to fail, waited until I was able to control myself in public, and then got my toes back in the water in preparation.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

True Sexual Healing- because of my now ex fiance

While I have already detailed what happened in succession in the Date Raped blogs. Also, I did already in detail, discuss what happened when my now ex fiance did to help me heal from what happened to me in, but I want to visit it again by looking at it in another manner.

After I had been what I felt was pushed aside by the guy I was dating, I began to date other guys. Dating is so difficult though! Just when you think you have a winner, you go on a date and you find it was all a dud. Totally disappointing. In case you did not catch on, I probably went on over 50 dates in a short period of time it felt, but I never went on a second date.

My ex and I had remained friends, sharing dating tips and swapping horror stories. After almost two months I proposed that we discuss adding benefits into our relationship, since now that I had spent the better part of a decade married, I found sexual deprivation extremely hard to endure. True to form, my ex was excited at the idea. Men! The rule was that once we found someone else we would end it for good.

It happened to me first. I found someone I really liked and I was really excited about meeting him (yes I was dating online). He was a pilot for an Apache Helicopter in the Army. He was a year or two younger than me, but we really seemed to click. After a week of talking with him, we decided we mutually would like to meet. Unfortunately he was busy training for the Army and would not be back in the area and available for a date for over a week. We set a day for the big date and I was extremely excited to meet him.

Having sex with my ex seemed wrong at this point, so even though I had not met the guy yet, I cut it off with my ex. It seemed the right thing to do out of respect for the new guy. If we hit it off, I wanted to be available for him, making him feel honored. Besides I cannot share my heart between people. My ex and I were excited I was moving on and that a new opportunity was happening for me. There was also a tinge of disappointment, but this was what my ex wanted- he did not want a relationship, so he came to terms with what that meant eventually.

That is why I think he noticed that I got date raped. Normally I would have been elated, or frustrated to the point I would have been venting to him. Instead I only avoided the conversation admitting that he had in fact not been as great as I had hoped.

When he came over to check on me, his extra effort to assure that I was ok made me feel that he genuinely cared. I totally expected him to give me the awkward distance that people tend to give when they do not know how to handle someone struggling in an awkward situation. Since I hate to show my weaknesses, I was ready to bear the brunt of my shame and disgust by myself. And yet here he was, next to me, ignoring my efforts to absolve him of any need for reassurance, giving him every opportunity to feel like he had checked his I'm-a-friend-who-cares box so he could move on with his life, ego intact. Yet there he was, next to me, respecting my intimate space, yet touching me when appropriate to show concern, and most of all, looking me in the eye to make sure I was ok.

Looking him in the eye was difficult. I spent most of the hour avoiding it, trying to get him back out the door, but he stayed until he was sure I was ok. But I was not ok.

Once I looked him in the eye, I knew he could see past my facade, my carefully planned presentation- the clothes i was wearing elegant, but modest and comfortable. My makeup had been done, but it was played down. I had freshly showered before he came over, mainly because no matter how much I showered I still felt dirty. However hard I was trying, my normal emotional exuberance was dulled. I tried to hide it by acting grumpy. Short of being rude to him, my answers were cold and biting. At times it felt and sounded like I was angry at him, or at the very least cold and disinterested in his presence.

Instead of reacting to my facade, he pressed through my coping mechanisms and confronted me with gentle, but deliberate warmth. Once I realized he actually did care, I forced myself to become vulnerable to him. As I looked him in the eye, I showed him my vulnerability and pain. My mask broke as I looked into his eyes and saw he was still there, vulnerabilities and all.

My skin had not stopped crawling from the feeling of the rape. Every other moment I was physically reliving the rape, no matter how I tried to distract my mind from what had happened. Torture is the best way to describe it. After living through something so emotionally disturbing you just welcome the relief of the moment when it ends. But when it does not end, it eats away at your strength and emotional fortitude. At this point I was on the verge of screaming in wild agony. The absence of touch made the physical sensations of the rape feel real and ongoing. Once I felt safe with my ex, a frantic urge overtook me. All I wanted was for him to touch me, every part of my skin so I could ignore the less powerful memory sensations. At times, even as I sat next to him pretending nothing was wrong, I could feel the penetration of the rape, the in and out of his shaft as he held me against my will forcing himself into me.

Please do me a favor. I know it sounds weird, but will you have sex with me? I cannot stop feeling the rape.

As he obliged my request (with what I think was excitement), he began to take my clothes off of me as I froze. Not that I wanted to freeze, I had just begun to relive multiple rape experiences. I struggled to take control of my body, so every move I made looked robotic and clumsy. Halfway into him undressing me, the feelings of disgust overwhelmed me and I begged him to stop saying I was so disgusting that he did not want to have sex with me. I was vile. Repulsive. But he just looked me in the eyes with strong, caring calm and told me how beautiful i was. How I was not gross. I was not revolting.

For every horrible feeling I felt, every horrible sensation I had, he calmly and powerfully counteracted it. At some point I just gave in to him. Not that I had the power or strength to take control; I had to hold on to him as he erased the memories of the rape and rewrote the emotional damage I had been left with. MY body was half limp, half rigid from the mixture of emotions. All I could do was hold on as deftly as I could manage. To spare him the added mess of me crying, I let the tears run down my face in silence, hugging him so he could not see.

As the sex went on, I gradually began to relax into it, becoming more involved in the present than the sensations of the past. Eventually, I even began to enjoy the sex, albeit, it was a muted sexual response. My rigid body that was holding on for dear life began to respond to him. My grasp on him began to relax from fear, then it began to softly express my desire. Even though I was hiding my tears, I quickly moved my mouth to his and began to kiss him, soft, expressive kisses.

The rhythm of the sex became passionate as I responded to him finally. The sex became intense slowly as the emotional baggage fell away. Soon it was just us having sex, incredible, passionate sex, and no longer were the sensations a part of the experience. As we both orgasmed, I held him tightly again, as if for dear life. He would never understand how important that was to me. It felt as if he understood it was more than normal, but I don't believe he will ever get it.

The truth of the matter is that having someone else negate everything that someone else had forced me to endure was difficult for me to experience, but it was the quickest, most effective way to overcome those feelings. Never had I suspected that I could trust him enough to do what he did. Personally, I was used to people taking the easy way out and walking away from me, leaving me to deal with my emotional struggles alone. This was a new experience. My husband had done that in a sense of obligation, but this man I hardly knew pushed past my defenses, stood his ground against my coping mechanisms, and had even argued with my devastated self esteem until he healed me of my pain. He single-handedly changed the way I viewed people, trust, and the world.

Something that deep can never really be repaid.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sexual Healing- my ex husband

Most people do not understand that rape is not sex. Rape is a physical assault that involves sexual organs, a person's most intimately physical places.
Over the years I have used my bonds with the men in my life that I trusted to heal sexually from these assaults. One of these times has already been detailed intimately in my blog at, but I want to revisit it later. However, first I want to bring up the "sexual healing" with my now ex husband.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs frequently in people who suffer a traumatic event, such as war, natural disasters, abuse, or rape. The symptoms include flashbacks (reliving the event), trouble sleeping, nightmares, overreacting to being startled, among others. People often cope with the trauma by becoming self-destructive. Sadly, until the self-destructive behaviors stop, and the sufferer bonds in a trusting relationship with another person, the trauma cannot be worked through.
This knowledge is new to me through my training with trauma informed care and working with severely abused children, but it has always been natural for me to feel it. So when I was with my ex husband, I was never able to work through my trauma because my husband had been constantly re-traumatizing me through abuse and neglect. Until it became a "safe" relationship, I hid myself in my shell awaiting the end of the battle. One day a few years into the relationship, he finally got me out of my shell for a little while. Suddenly, what I had gone through was more pressing than his current issues.
As the trust built between us, I was finally able to confide in him a detailed account of the rape. Over the next few days we discussed it slowly, so that I coud give him time to process the details and my emotional destruction from it. Finally it became time.
After a rape, you do not just feel gross inside and revolting to others, you do not just relive the memory of the events, you remember the way it feels, it sounds, it smells. One minute you can be sitting watching tv, the next you are transported to another time and place. It is a place where you feel helpless and afraid all over again, and as hard as you try you cannot stop it. It is not just a memory of events, the next thing you know, you feel the rhythmic pounding against you, hands touching you, you trying to fight unsuccessfully, the internal cry for help that no one seems to hear, his breathing as he orgasms, and the stench of his breath and body.
All that stimulus makes it easy to understand why rape victims typically shy away from sex, or run to it. Both are coping mechanisms to avoid reliving the event. Understandably, a lot of survivors, even in committed, long-term partnerships will refuse sex. Oftentimes the partner may never even know why the survivor has such a strong aversion to sex. On the flipside, other survivors run to sex. Not because of the "enjoyment of the rape," (which is an incredible perverse way of thinking of it) but to cover up the flashback of the rape, to silence the physical sensations, and even to gain power over the choice to say yes, since even that was stolen from them.
Back to my story. At some point I was finally able to trust my (then) husband to help me through the trauma experience. We had spent days discussing the event, and a some point it happened- I became vulnerable to him. As the vulnerability hit me, my voice became much softer, weaker. I grabbed him and asked him quietly to have sex with me, even though I would likely relive the experience. As he reacted in stunned silence, I reassured him that I needed it; I needed him to keep going, even if I cried, screamed, or acted in some weird manner. He nodded his head and agreed to it. But before we began, I made him swear to me not to stop, since stopping would be interpreted by me as his disgust in me and traumatize me further. He promised me.
With that he neared me and began to kiss me passionately, removing my clothes. The terror of the event flooded into memory, and I was suddenly frozen in fear. Soon he had penetrated me. My kissing became awkward and then I could not even kiss. My whole body went limp and I began to shake in terror. That is when I began to scream and cry in terror. Luckily my husband responded by holding me with his arms and whispering he loved me as I screamed in an uncontrollable panic.  My body remained completely limp. The physical sensations became the current sensations, not the past. First the past had overwhelmed the present, but slowly, the present sensations began to infiltrate that old memory. As it ended, I for the first time felt I was living in that moment, not in two- the rape and the present.
Having sex with someone you trust as you relive the rape, to me, was like rewriting a bad story, this time with a better ending. So even as the rape memory began to become incredibly real, the reality of having sex with someone I trusted began to overwrite the memory. I could not erase that memory, so overwriting it became the only logical next best solution.
After it ended, I lay in his arms for nearly an hour sobbing and him holding me tightly.Once I was finally done crying, I sill hung on to him, as if for dear life. I needed to feel the feeling of safety in someone's embrace. I lay in that embrace until I fell lightly asleep.
Over the next few sexual encounters we had, I noticed a marked improvement in my sensitivity, the ability to lubricate (which had always been an incredible issue- it was practically gone overnight), and the feeling of the sex itself, the intimate encounter, felt more exciting, more natural, less disgusting.
My husband and I were never able to bond again like that, since he went back to showing signs of being abusive and neglectful only a few weeks later, so I was always disappointed I did not heal more fully from the first rape. Looking back, I never really trusted him, and rightly so. He never deserved my trust. It is also extremely apparent to me that our relationship only occurred because the trauma of that first rape and the previous abuse made a life that he provided what I perceived to be acceptable living conditions.
This story is important to me to share, because the weight I felt lift off my shoulders that day, is what everyone deserves to be relieved of. If you are in a committed and safe/trusting sexual relationship, please have the courage to confront the terrors of sexual trauma with empathy and courage. Your life will be all the better for it.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My own personal Hell

Every night is a battle to go to sleep. It has been since grade school that I had issues sleeping. Most of my issue has always been about Wanting to go to bed. Stopping what I was doing to actually get ready for sleep has always been the issue. The final battle was getting to the bed without being distracted. But actually falling asleep has never been an issue for me since I was a kid.

But everything is different now.

For hours before I go to sleep, my anxiety races higher. At some point in the early evening, I become frozen with fear because i realize i will have to go to bed soon. Somehow time races away from me, and I lose time- 3 hours goes by like 30 mins. Then I finally get up to brush my teeth and change for bed, but it takes me another hour, literally, to accomplish those tasks. Part of the issue is fuguing- where I have a dissociative experience from my body and time slips away without me remembering (dissociative is like being asleep behind the wheel or another way of saying it is your brain is detached from what your body is doing). The other part is the anxiety- I am afraid to go to sleep. The nightmares are uncontrollable and reliving the wake up fro when I was raped, is equally traumatic since I do that multiple times per night.

These are the long-term gifts that only a rape can give you.

So, when I finally lie in my bed, my heart races, fear hits me and makes my chest hurt, my eyes well up with tears, and my mind begins to unwind from hours of build up. Every night I have to relive the story before I can go to bed.

Sometimes I just want to go to bed, damn it.

When I try to think about other things, focus my mind on other thoughts, it somehow incorporates the rape into my thoughts, or the other rapes, or the abuse and neglect that I have suffered. I end up being a crying mess. One time I cried so hard I woke up my son. The fact that it had scared him, made me feel even more helpless. For hours I have to lay there crying before I can fall asleep.

That's when the nightmares start.

My ex fiance is almost always in them. It hurts to see him even in my dreams. He usually calls me a whore or tells me he hates me. I continue to relive the rape, or some trauma in various dreamlike forms- either exact reenactments, similar reenactments, or archetypal dreams. My body profusely sweats like I am running in a marathon, and I twitch uncontrollably, sometimes waking up either from the sensation of an internal twitch, or the sensation someone is shaking me awake. By the time a normal person is supposed to wake up, I am more exhausted than I was when I went to sleep. Then throughout the night and morning, I wake up about every 45 minutes, sometimes hours later if I'm lucky, startled and in full fight or flight mode, or frozen terror. I'm glad I am not screaming anymore when I wake up, but that first month and a half was a full on horror shop for me. But the worst is the physical sensations- I can actually feel my skin crawl, or someone touch me, or the air move by me as someone walks towards me. No matter what I do I cannot get away from it.

I wake up either in terror, or depressed when I finally do wake up for the day. Totally exhausted, I try to put on a happy face and make sense of my life. My ex was so kind and sweet to leave me without any support system. I lost my best friend, lover and life mate all in the same moment. I moved here to be with him, and now even he is gone because of this rape, so I trudge along via Facebook and this blog hoping for  connection. Turns out that the social support system is one of the most important factors in a person's recovery from PTSD. Yup. My ex even took that when he left me.

Luckily I have the best friends across the country in multiple states that I can reach by phone or internet. Otherwise I would literally have killed myself.

But let's be direct here. I get up- in the afternoon because of the exhaustion- and put a smile on my face and believe that good things are going to happen. Why? Because if you don't change the way you view the world, you are stuck in the world you have. So I struggle to create a piece of happiness each day I can that I can call my own.

That's all I have left.

But by the time I am done with it, it will be a magnificent encompassing reality. I cannot wait to share it with the world! This is not the first rape I have endured, so I know what is in store for me. It is only going to get harder before it gets better. I am holding on.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why my fiance left after the rape

It is so easy to vilify my ex fiance for dumping me because I was raped. All I could think was he was the biggest jerk in the world, and yet he had not been insensitive to me about rape before. Personally, sometimes I think he is a monster- how could I not have seen this side of him? But then I have to be honest with myself. No one ever really handles the news of rape well. The man I knew and loved was not a cruel jerk, but he did not put up with nonsense.

Unfortunately instead I have become to him the worst type of woman: a manipulating whore.

When I look back upon our relationship, I never saw this coming. Especially with the way things ended, I never thought he would confuse me with a lying, manipulating, cruel bitch and slut of a woman. He definitely did not like everything that I did, but he did have an incredible amount of respect for me. While he knew me I typically worked and went to school, or worked two jobs, or worked two jobs and went to school. For some reason he always made a point to offer to loan me money. After months of him offering, I finally asked him. The funny thing was I did not need the money, I had heard that psychologically people develop a deeper bond between people they loan money to. Silly, I know, but I knew refusing his help so often was going to hurt his feelings soon. Once I borrowed the money, I kept it for a few days in the same spot and then returned that exact amount- the same two $20s he had lent me. For some reason he was surprised I had returned the money. He did not even know that it was the same money he had given me, he was only surprised I had come good on the loan so quickly.

There is a lot I know about my ex, and I do know enough about him to know why he left. Even though I want to be mad and I want to hate him, I cannot. Not that he did not hurt me worse than any man ever has, but he could not handle what happened to me. Truthfully, I wish I did not have to handle it either. I wish more than anything that I could wake up from this nightmare and it would return to the happy life I was finally beginning to enjoy.

I will never be that lucky.

There were three main reasons my fiance left. The first is that he was addicted to porn. To this day I don't think he even understands what that did to our relationship. He spent over a year overseas serving in the military, and I can bet you he masterbated to porn nearly every day of it. Never having been a fan of porn myself, I can at least understand that men are visual creatures. I get it. But he spent an entire year fantasizing about having sex with other women and did not even share those fantasies with me. We never had phone sex. Even during our phone conversations he would not let me talk dirty to him. This caused a weakening in our relationship.

The reason I say it was weakened so badly by porn was because of his bonding issues. Sex to my fiance was the way to bond with him. Maybe I am wrong (this is PURE speculation), but I always felt like he had been abused and maybe even sexually abused by how different he acted when he was in a sexual relationship. He was vulnerable in a distant way. Being such a kind, funny man, every time I saw that side of him it broke my heart. I knew I loved him. He never knew it, but my goal at one point in my life was to love that part of him right out of existence. Months it took me to get past that mile thick, mile high wall he kept up to keep himself safe. With patience, I loved my way right through it. I Earned his respect and trust. When I got hurt, it hurt him. He was hurt very deeply by what happened to me, but because he is what is called an avoidant personality, he turned it around on me to help him detach from the situation.

Super short lesson on attachment: everyone learns how to trust people- or not trust people- as children and then on into adulthood. It governs how we want to be near the people we cherish, how we return to them in times of need, that they provide a sense of safety from which we can base our lives and that without them around, we miss them. There are four main types of attachment: secure, and three types of insecure attachment: avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized.

  1. Secure means they have lasting, trusting relationships, will seek social support, are comfortable sharing feelings, and usually have high self-esteem.
  2. Avoidant is where they have or may have trouble developing intimacy in relationships, social and romantic relationships have little emotion invested into them, and they are unwilling or unable to share their thoughts and feelings with others.
  3. Ambivalent is where they try not to develop relationships with people, they worry that the partner does not love them the entire time during the relationship and then become extremely distraught when the relationships end.
  4. Disorganized is a mixture of these attachment styles. This is a style of attachment that is a sign of severe abuse and mistreatment and can develop into mental health disorders. Typically people with this sort of attachment style have severely volatile relationships and have an incredibly distorted view of relationships, not fitting any pattern.

**Mind you- This was an incredibly vague description of attachment theory and styles. I will do a better job of describing it in another blog some time from now, but I felt a small descriptor was necessary for this blog's explanation of my ex fiance's reactions.***

All that to say, my ex fiance was a very nice, very sweet guy, but getting him to tell me about things besides his frustrations when it came to emotions, was short of magic or mind reading. as hard as I tried I could never seem to get him to tell me how he felt, so instead I just told him sweet things, such as how I felt about him, how proud I was of him, how much I respected him, or liked what he was doing.

When it came to sizing up a situation, he was like most men- very logical- everything was extremely black or white. When it all came down to it, there was no excuse for what happened, it was a simple choice.

The third and final thing that ruined my relationship with my fiance was his history. His first wife had been cheating on him fairly frequently, and when she was not betraying him sexually, she was very psychologically abusive. His other relationships were short lived and self described by him as including a lot of drunkenness and arguing. He claimed to have been physically abused growing up by both his father and stepmother as well as a number of husbands and boyfriends of his mother's. Most of his relationships with women had involved a vast amount of manipulation and betrayal.

Truly, when I look back at why my fiance left, I cannot be mad at him. He left because someone shattered the trust I had worked so hard to build. Someone had caused me to betray my fiance in the worst possible way he could imagine. The person who raped me, destroyed not only my feeling of safety, but the image of honor and faithfulness I had worked so hard to establish for someone who had never known that before.

Avoidant attachment styles run from relationships, they shut down emotionally in troubled times, they can deny the importance of having relationships and detach from them easily. This is exactly what happened to my fiance. While we enjoyed what I thought was a secure relationship, at times, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to open up to me. After many long months of trust building and creating sexual intimacy, the distance of him living overseas created an easy withdrawal from the intimacy I had worked so hard to build with him. Once I was raped, the bonds of trust broke, and the unbridled fears he had long suffered overtook the years worth of evidence that I was who I said I was and that I was trustworthy. My love for my ex fiance stung in my chest because as much as I wanted him to see me again for who I was, he could only project on to me the image of every other woman who had hurt him. Since that day he has never seen me- who I really am- again.

Not to say that I have not done anything stupid- I am great at doing stupid, annoying things. Like when I bought airplane tickets- I corrected the date before I bought them, but did not check the confirmation email. The computer had glitched- a $600 glitch.... Or my other mad cap schemes to save money that backfired, or annoyed him with clutter. However, we NEVER fought. Not once the whole time we were together. I would tell him to fuck off, he would say something I did was stupid, but we either called each other on our b.s. and took the constructive criticism, or we agreed to disagree. We were great at respecting the other person's opinions and beliefs and apologizing when we did wrong. We also made a point to enjoy our time together, enjoying each other's company, laughing as often as we could and enjoying the feeling of being close to one another.

That he no longer sees me for who I am is a pain I endure with incredible torture. Hating someone is so much easier than loving them in spite of their faults. His image haunts my dreams literally every night. Whether its him in person, or the image of him in my dreams, I still love him. To think that the sweet love we shared could be shattered so easily- but not by our own doing. The person I love the most will now forever see me as the archetype of everything he dislikes about women. My last hope was him looking me in the eye, and seeing me still there. When he looked me in the eye, it was if he was looking at someone else.

The hardest thing was letting him go. Partly because I had no choice. Partly because it destroyed him. Imagine my pain every day living with the rape, and then looking him in the eyes and seeing his disgust for me. As hard as it was, it was better for us both.

Rape doesn't just destroy the victim- it destroys every one that loves them.

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Bonding Issues

As a nurse, I have spent an extensive amount of time studying the social sciences (anthropology, sociology and psychology) as well as physical sciences (biology and chemistry). Since I started my career in the medical field, I have almost exclusively worked with psychiatric patients.

My favorite thing about the psychiatric subfield is that I still get to do medical work, but I spend a lot of time focusing on the social and psychological issues. Challenges are my favorite. Plus spending time an getting to know my patients is important to me. Nursing would not be worth all of the hardships if I was not able to bond with my patients.

All that being said, I am still a human with my own personal trials and struggles. My life has been one of hardships and disappointments, but I keep a good attitude and take it all as it comes. Sympathizing with my patients is sadly all too easy.

My life has been lonely and I often feel detached and ungrounded without a family or a place to call home. Making home and family everywhere I go, I have friends and family all across the United States, but I always feel alone and I never feel that I can call on people, unless it is convenient for them as well. Instead I can share my story with anyone- and at times I did talk to anyone who would listen.

For years, my brothers physically abused me. Learning to keep to myself, and getting a lot of practice with problem resolution, I learned how to manage abusive relationships. There were a few times I was actually seriously hurt, and once I nearly died. Each time I had to fight for myself to get my most basic needs met.

Playing around with my brothers I accidentally broke a bone in my foot. After a week my brother finally convinced my mother to take him to the doctor. Yes you read that right. My younger brother was mimicking me for attention, literally following behind me as I tried to walk. My mother took him to the doctor. Luckily I was able to beg and plead my way into going with them. Finally after betting my mother I was genuinely in pain, she resolved to prove I was faking my injury. She acted in shock when she realized I had a broken foot, not my younger brother. She never gave me an apology.

My father was watching all four of us as we played at the indoor pool at the apartments he lived at. Curious by nature, I liked to look in the bug catch thing by the side of the pool. Though I thought I put the lid on it correctly, I apparently did not. My eldest brother ran around the pool and misstepped into that hole. Once he got hurt he became furious. He realized quickly that I had been responsible for his accident and jumped into the pool to get revenge. He held me under water for so long that I began to pass out. Luckily I had been playing with a life jacket that day and it lifted me up when I was too weak to struggle for air. By the time I made it out of the water, I was blue. My father never even got up to punish my brother or to check on me. That moment created a lasting effect on me that I still struggle with today.

Between my mother, my father, my brothers, and then my stepfamily, I knew without a doubt that I was alone in the world. Although I have always thought there was something wrong with my family, I did also internalize a lot of my worth because of how they treated me. After the rape and trying to make it by myself for a few years in high school- with being kicked out of multiple families because an extra mouth to feed is apparently so much trouble- I began looking to sexual relationships to survive. The fact that I needed a man to have a roof over my head and a car made me furious- it had nothing to do with how hard I worked ( I had 3 jobs at the time and was still dependent on a man). It made me feel like a whore because my roof was dependent on me having sex with someone- not my intelligence, work ethics, dependability, or character. Nope. Just sex.

Falling into abusive relationships was easy for me. Not that I looked for them, I just apparently attracted only the biggest jerks. No one ever hit on me. For the longest time- only until the last few years- I was under the assumption that there was something wrong with me that kept guys from wanting a relationship with me. Well decent, handsome, intelligent guys. It turns out that many men in my home town have incredible respect for me, and were quite attracted to me, but I was "unattainable." How I blew that I will never know.

Please do not misconstrue the abusive relationship attraction. The sexiest thing in a guy is a nice, respectful man. But I managed to get nice guys with serious issues. But I am so great at relationships- or at avoiding/resolving confrontation- that I would end up in a long relationship with someone who had serious drug/anger issues.

After nearly 8 years of a tumultuous, abusive relationship, my husband had beaten me about 5 times. However, I always felt it was due to his own mental breaks and I did not take it personally. He mainly abused me through neglect and the threat of violence. It wasnt until I was cooking dinner one day, that he walked up to me after the mood had been happy in the house and began to choke me. In that moment I realized I was going to get killed if I kept my marriage. Divorce was not an option I had ever considered until that attack. The way he choked me with a sneer on his face looking me straight in the eyes struck this deep fury in me. I HATE IT when people try to kill me (yes, its happened before).

After leaving my husband, I spent a year to myself before I began to date again. That is when I met my ex fiance. He was the first man I could trust, but it scared me. I kept scouring our interactions to see where the abuse would come in. Feeling as though I had a natural attraction to abusive relationships, I kept my guard up. However, he earned every bit of my affection. We never fought, so I tried to confront him with every issue as it came, to keep myself from avoiding conflict- I ran to it!

Now I am sure that I have bonding issues. A person from my past sought to compliment me by saying I had that gypsy quality to me. They did not realize it was because I have trouble engaging in relationships. My friends are either super close or practically deeply personal acquaintanceships. Having a conversation with me, you would probably disagree, but my oldest friends know better, even if they could never identify it.

So look, every issue we go through shines light on places in ourselves that we need to grow. As I have suffered through my own personal losses, I realize that I stay detached from people, I avoid situations that can be confrontational (but I am considerably better), that I search for relationships to "save" people (much better at that too!) and I move across states away from people because I feel like I dont belong anywhere. As much as I have tried to create my own "family" I have failed Miserably by settling for relationships that further destroy my trust in the "family bond." This time I am resolving to face these issues head on- openly- to keep myself in check.

Waiting. Alone. These have been my most deeply, painful experiences. But if I want my real relationships- not the mirages of what I want- I have to be ready for them when they come. Here's to the other side.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Date Raped (part 4)

The numbness had infiltrated every part of my day. That night I went to sleep- a deep, heavy disturbed sleep. I was trying to escape from my reality. Plus my brain had been working overtime trying to process what hd happened- making me relive the rape. Him forcing himself inside me. Me covering my vagina to keep him from penetrating me. It not working. Him cumming like some creepy spoof movie, as if he wasnt even having sex with me- just my hole. The look of sheer pleasure as he won, getting to put himself inside me, not actually having an intimate encounter with me. Only adding another notch to his belt.
I shivered with disgust. The experience was revolting.
Through out the day following the rape, my ex texted me like he normally did. We had become best friends really, over the last few months. Truthfully, we were great friends from the day we met. While I knew I could not ignore him because he would only get more concerned, I tried to minimize what happened, keeping all the answers to his texts short. Closed. Cold.

Can I still come over and check on you tonight?
Sure. Do whatever you want. Im home tonight.

In numbness the day passed slowly. I put my son to bed a little early that night. My ex texted me saying he was coming over. Wow, he's really coming over? I figured he would have given up by now. Or forgotten about me. Or have put in his sympathy enough to earn his way out of seeing me. I texted him saying the door was unlocked so he could just walk in. It was a way I could avoid looking him in the eyes. If he looked me in the eyes, he would see, and I would struggle not to cry.

About 15 minutes later, I heard his motorcycle drive up. A couple tears fell out of my eyes, but I quickly wiped them away and got myself back under control. I did not want him to see me cry.

Hey. You doing ok?
What happened?
I don't know. He seemed so nice and polite. But he was not quite my type. So in the end, I thought we could just cuddle- that's what we agreed on. That even if we didn't like each other, we could at least cuddle. I laid down to cuddle him and the next thing I know he started taking my clothes off. I tried to stop him, I even covered my vagina with both hands, but he tricked me to move my hands so he could penetrate me. I tried telling him no for over half an hour. He wouldn't listen. I didn't even enjoy it. And the worst part is the way he came. It makes me want to vomit just thinking about it. He came like the guys in the movies all crazy loud and over dramatic.
Are you ok?
No, but I'll be fine.
I'm sorry he did this to you.
Choking back a sob and a tear, I quickly recomposed myself. Thanks, but it isn't your fault.
What can I do to help you?
What? Again, choking back an audible sob, I had to work to control myself. After composing myself, i took a deep breath. Would you just hold me and tell me everything is going to be ok?

And there we sat on my couch like so many other times before. We always had a connection. At times like this, I tried desperately, but could not deny it. He held me tightly and I put my head in the crook of his neck. Even though I struggled to control my sobs, I let my tears fall. They soaked into his shirt, making a large wet spot that I realized he was beginning to feel. Until now, I had not cried.
We sat in silence. He held me tighter and tighter. It made me feel safe. It was the first time I felt safe since it happened. Finally he reached over and sat me in his lap so he could hug me tighter. Sobs finally escaped from  me because I was safe enough to cry. But i made sure I did it quietly. This was not his problem.
Finally, I couldnt take it any longer, plus my nose was getting runny. I pushed myself out of his grasp and walked away coldly to blow my nose.
After I composed myself I sat down next to him again.

Are you ok?
What he did made me feel so disgusting. I cant stop thinking about it. I feel so worthless. But I dont understand why you are here. What do you care?
You know I care about you.
Ha! yeah- you care about me so much. What you meant to say was that youve gone 2 weeks without getting any and you are so glad that I am yours for the taking again.
That's not true.
Tell me it isnt.
It isnt.
That's a bunch of crap. Otherwise you would have made me your girlfriend.
Thats different.
No it isnt.
Everyone already thinks you are my girlfriend.
Everyone but you. The most important person.
Come on, It's nothing like that.
I dont know what's worse, some guy, basically a stranger, treating me like I'm just his personal fuck or you not caring enough to make me your girlfriend, coming over here pretending to care. You dont give a crap about me. You just want to get laid.
That's not why I am here. You know I care about you.
No. I dont. And I'm not saying that because of what happened. What happened happened because I did not think you cared about me, otherwise I would not have started dating again.
Come on. You know I care.
I feel so disgusting.
You arent.
But I FEEL disgusting.

With that he began to touch me delicately, gently. I couldn't help but start to cry again, unable to keep the tears from falling, I sat there instead rigid, numb, and with my eyes closed. I did not want him to see me frail. I reached for him and he again hugged me in silence, simply holding me. This time I put my face in the crook of his neck. As the moments ticked by the animalistic attraction we always had for each other became unbearable with our lips so close to each other. He knelt his head down to kiss me, but stopped before he could kiss me. Closing the gap, I met his lips.
We kissed so sweetly. He kissed me like I was the only girl in the world, and it made me feel like I for a second there I was actually worth something. The kiss became incredibly passionate. Short of saying he was making love to me, he kissed me passionately deep into my soul. His kiss spoke more about his gentle concern for me, than any of his words would ever be able to convey. He stroked my hair and held my body as if protecting me, holding me up against the weight of the world.
When the long, beautiful kiss ended, I got up and pushed him away.
You cant have sex with me. Im disgusting. That guy defiled me.
Theres nothing disgusting about you.
Look, what he did made me feel horrible. I cant get over this feeling of how disgusting I feel. Im revolted by my own skin. If it could crawl right off my body, it would.
You are a wonderful person. You are not disgusting.
I FEEL disgusting.

With that, he got up and closed the distance between us. touching the small of my back, stroking my hair behind one ear so I could not hide behind it like I was trying to do, he cradled my chin, and looked me in the eye.
You are not disgusting. You are not worthless.

I had to close my eyes to hide the pain of what he was saying to me. Not because what he was saying hurt me, but because how I felt warred against what he was saying. And that's when it broke me. There was nothing protecting me from him anymore. I was completely at his mercy.

Will you do me a favor?
Sure, What?
Will you have sex with me right now? And even if I start crying, will you keep going until its over?
Look- I cant stop thinking about what happened. I need a new memory so I can forget what happened. So I can think about something else.
But you might have to take it slow or even stop a few times.
Whatever you need. Just tell me.
And if I start screaming, please just ignore it. Or if I start crying.
He simply nodded, looking into both my eyes with concern.

He helped me to my room because I was suddenly very weak. I froze as we started to undress.

Help me. I cant take them off.

He very slowly and sweetly helped me remove my clothes with some extra effort because I had frozen and my body fought in its own way to keep the clothes on- by not cooperating.

I started to cry. No. Im disgusting. You dont want to have sex with me.
Stop. You are not disgusting.
What if he gave me something. Maybe we should wait until I go get tested.
Stop. And with that he went to touching me sweetly. Kissing me passionately.

Help me to the bed. I had to ask him to help me walk the 10 steps to the bed because my whole body was revolting against what was happening. And he did. Every move was smooth, strong, gentle and deliberate. Even though he was guiding me and supporting me, when I pushed back or stopped completely, he slowed down until I could get my body to move- that way I was in control and he wasn't forcing me- only helping me.

He layed me down on my bed. We were naked and we just kissed for a minute or two. As I began to relax, I took a deep breath and said, ok. Looking into his eyes, I nodded.

As he penetrated me, I began to relive the rape. Tears welled in my eyes, but I struggled to maintain relaxation in my body, to regulate my breathing to a slow and deep normal breath rate. He never stopped kissing me. Every once in a while a sob would escape.

As my ex penetrated me, I remembered fighting to keep the date raper from penetrating me. And even reliving part of my first rape, the memory of my stepbrother pulling my legs apart and forcing his way in. But sex with my ex felt totally different. It made me feel valued and wanted, not trashy. I held on to his skin as if desperate to be wanted. I was completely vulnerable with him. Over and over again the details from both rapes played in my mind, but as the minutes went by, they faded away until it was just me having gentle, sweet sex with a partner. Eventually I was able to orgasm. It took me quite a while, but he made sure I orgasm a few times before he did.

Afterwards I just layed in his arms and sobbed. He lay there in my bed and held me until the crying stopped.

Thank you. I couldnt get that disgusting sensation of his body off of me. I couldnt stop feeling it. You just helped me more than you will ever understand. Thank you.

I layed in his arms, in my tear soaked sheets, holding him as tightly as I could until I drifted to sleep. He lay with me all night.

I will never be able to repay what he did for me that day. What he did made my life bearable. I was able to recover very quickly after that. I shied away from dating anyone else. Within a few months, we got back together- this time becoming officially girlfriend/boyfriend. Our relationship was sweet and nice, passionate and fun. Before he left for Kuwait, he admitted he loved me and wanted me to marry him and have his children. I moved to Texas, to his next duty station, in anticipation of his return from Kuwait, to make a life with him. I had never trusted or cared for anyone as much as I did him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Date Raped (part 3)

Are you ok?
I'm fine.
You don't seem fine. Can I come check on you?
Sure. Whatever. But I'm busy tonight. I have to work. You can come over tomorrow night.
Ok. That works for me too. I will see you tomorrow night.
Ok. See you then.

Yeah right. What does my ex care? He'll forget or find something else to do. It will all blow over by then in his mind and it will go back to business as usual. He's not really worried about me. Not genuinely concerned, it is a fake concern, or even a well-meaning concerned that is fickle. Give it time, it will go away.

Finally after about 2 hours, I was able to tell my friend what happened. She only reacted with a, "Oh, well that's what happens when you are alone with guy. You should have never have been alone with him."
But he earned my trust.
Well that's what happens.

After talking to my ex, the idea that I had been date raped hit me over and over again. I could not stop thinking about it. Finally it became too much, and I decided to confront my attacker. I asked him to meet me at a Starbucks halfway between us, without letting onto my intentions. He tried to blow me off for another day, but when he tried to refuse, I made him an ultimatum, trying to force him to meet me. There was no way I could wait another day without confronting him.

He seemed pleased to see me- enjoying the gratification of winning a woman over. It was a weird mesh of being valued as a person and yet he treated me like I was a number, an object of his gratification, another number on his scoreboard. Getting me into bed had been his challenge, and now he thought he had me, hook, line and sinker.

We made small talk in the coffee shop as he bought us both coffees. Standing there acting polite to the man that had just raped me made me feel weird. But I waited until we could go sit outside in the relative privacy to confront him. It seemed forever before we got our drinks and walked outside. We found a unique place to sit outside near the drive thru window. I am pretty sure they could hear our whole conversation.

Sorry I forced you to come all the way out here to see me, but I really had to talk to you.
Oh dont worry about it.
I wanted to slap that smug look off his face. The reason I brought you here was because I wanted to talk to you about what happened last night.
Oh yeah it was great.
You do realize you date raped me, right?
You date raped me.
No I didnt
Yes you did.
No, I didn't.
Yes, you did.
No I didn't.
YEs, you did.
You wanted to have sex with me.
How in the Hell do you figure that?!?
You loved it.
Choking back on revulsion, I literally choked on my words as I spoke to him. Oh really? Is that why I covered my vagina with both hands and told you no for 45 minutes? Because I Wanted you so badly?
You wanted me.
That is not how I look when I want someone. I dont tell them no, cover my vagina, and refuse to let them stick it in me. I say yes. Why couldn't you respect that I didnt want to have sex with you?
But you did.
Only in your mind, not in reality.
Well then why did you give me head?
Because after you forced yourself into me, I was trying to enjoy it. But I couldn't even enjoy that. But how would you know the difference?
See. You enjoyed it.
Again, I audibly gagged out of reaction. Believe me, sex with me is much more exciting than that. If I wanted you so badly, why didn't I enjoy it? Why didn't I orgasm? Why didn't I ask you for a repeat, because I'm not a one time a night kind of girl. We would have had sex all night long.
But you did cum.
HAHAHAHA! Oh yeah? Maybe in your mind, but I went limp, not became more rigid. Are you always this bad at sex that you thought I was enjoying it?
With that comment, I sparked a ripple of anger that at the first time scared me of him. You wanted it.
I did not want it.
You wanted me.
No, I was not that into you. Actually, I wasn't attracted to you.
Yes you were.
Believe me, I would have been all over you, and last night, the best you were going to get out of me- ever- was a cuddle.
You wanted me. You enjoyed it.
No amount of you telling me that changes how I feel. You can't just tell me I enjoyed it, because I didn't. But the reason I wanted to talk to you is because I wanted you to know I Didn't want it. That I didn't enjoy it. That you Date Raped me. You should respect a woman when she says no, not force yourself, literally inside her, hoping to change her mind. If you were so amazing and charming, I would never have said no. But I did not want to have sex with you.
Yes you did. You loved it.
You date raped me.
Don't make me lose my wings. I dont understand why you are doing this to me.
Im sorry, What?!?! I'm doing this to you?
Just because I didn't call you this morning, you want to get back at me by saying I raped you?
Wow!?!? WHAT?!? That's what you think this is? OMG! I hold my hands over my vagina and tell you no for almost an hour before you trick me into penetrating me, and you are the victim here?
Please dont make me lose my wings.
I came here for an apology. I came here to confront you. I came here to make sure you never did that again, to any other girl.
Im not going to apologize because you wanted it.
You wanted me.
Only in your mind. Look I can see we are going round and round on this, so I'll quit wasting both of our times and leave.
Dont make me lose my wings.
Never. Do that. Again. To anyone else! Because If I ever find out, I'll tell them what you did to me, too.
 You wanted me to have sex with you.
Whatever, dude.

That whole day was a blur. I am pretty sure I worked that night. Over and over in my mind what he said repeated. How he could think I wanted him- that I was trying to be a challenge by saying no- bothered me. I made it exceedingly clear I did not want him. How could he not see that? He was not even apologetic. He tried to convince me I had wanted him. He is going to do it again.
As badly as I wanted to turn him in, I felt bad. He had worked hard to work his way up the ranks to fly helicopters. I felt sorry for him. Guilty. In his mind he thought what he was doing wasnt wrong.
Bullshit! HE knew it was wrong! Im being stupid.
But to lose his hard work over one mistake? But he wasnt even willing to apologize, to concede that he had pushed it too hard. That he had not respected my wishes. That he didn't listen when I said no.
Just when I finally had the courage, and the anger, to turn him in, it hit me. It is going to be his word against my word. And even though I am a nurse, he is a captain in the army. They will drag my name through the mud. They will make me look like a whore and make a big production about how I wanted it. No one will ever believe me. I could end up losing my job and having to move to escape what he would say, because once we open up that issue, he can say whatever he wants to protect himself and none of it will be pretty.

It sank in. Not only would I never get an apology, I would never get justice. Not saying anything was the best option. Living with rape was something I already knew how to do.

And as the minutes passed, I felt more and more disgusting. The feelings of worthlessness overwhelmed me before the day was over. My body slumped over. The feeling of numbness made every interaction dulled.
IF you know me, you know me for my charisma, my animated expressions and the liveliness in everything I do. I could not laugh. I could not sing. I was on autopilot. Over and over again, the only thing that played in my mind was how dirty and disgusting I felt. How worthless I was. Fighting every moment to keep my mind on something else, I tried to cope with what I was going through by thinking in the moment and staying busy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Date Raped (part 2)

How is this happening? How did I not see this coming?

As soon as I would move one hand to push away off of the bed, he would push against me. The only thing keeping him from raping me, was my two hands. Squeezing my legs together wouldnt work because he had wedged his body between my two legs. Trying to use the backward thrust of my legs squeezing against his body, I tried to roll off of my bed, but he easily put his arm between me and the floor stopping me. Every wiggle I had, every push I could summon, all my lower body strength to push him off of me- or even give me a break away. None of it worked.

Over and over again I told him no. Firmly I said NO. Sweetly I said no. I laughed and said no- in a nonjudgmental way. I begged No. I tried reasoning with him.Nothing phased him or even slowed him down. Finally, he stopped and leaned back, still keeping me pinned- but in an illusive way, to lower my defenses, but not actually go anywhere.
Just let me.
Look Im not going to stick it in.
Yes you are. You've been trying this whole time.
No All I wanted was to rub it against you, on the outside.
That is total crap.
No really.
You actually expect me to believe that? I've been covering my vagina with my hands and that's the only thing thats kept you from getting inside me, and even then you almost got in. You actually think I believe that?
Look I just want to please you by rubbing the outside of you.
Well I dont want that. I also dont want to have sex with you. At all. You need to let me go. Give me back my clothes. Im done.
No. You're going to love it. Trust me.
No! I don't want to!

This went on for some time. He spent about 5-10 minutes trying to persuade me to drop my hands. He finally persuaded me. I was hoping to use that momentary lull to push myself off the bed, but he had himself inside me before I even had my hands down to push off against the bed. He groaned with pleasure. I was shocked.

After about a minute I decided I wanted to try and enjoy it, since I couldnt stop it. In some way it was as if enjoying it would change everything- make it less horrible. But as he thrust over and over again, it hurt. I was dry because I just couldnt enjoy it. Yes! Haha, now he will have to stop.
But he kept going.
And going.
It was probably only a few minutes, but it began to hurt. Finally I stopped him long enough to wet it, but it made me disgusted having him inside my mouth. I pulled away in revulsion, and he already had himself inside me again.
Thats when the realization that I could not fake myself into liking this. No, I did not want to have sex with him. He tricked me- fooled me completely. I went completely limp, reliving that feeling I had when I had first been raped as a child. That disconnect hoping that i could leave my body.

He continued to rape me, but in a loud way, groaning and shouting in pleasure. Truthfully, it was like a movie. A bad movie, a spoof of a dumb movie. The way he exclaimed brought me out of my disassociation. He ended with a weird over dramatic ending. I felt like I was watching a scene from the movie Scary Movie.
How was he able to get off when I was completely not into it? I literally stared at him in wonder as he did his deal. It was like he wasnt even having sex with me. He did not try to please me. He did not care that I was not enjoying it. I cannot even imagine as an adult how anyone could enjoy that.
It made me feel disgusting.
I do not even remember what happened after that.

The next day I went straight to my friends' house where my son had spent the night. Sitting there with my son, holding him in my lap, my best friend talking to me, I could only stare off into space. All I heard was noise. My friend just talked and went around the house. We were both nurses. She did not notice it. Still not ready to deal with it, to admit it myself, I was half glad, half horrified. At one point I looked my best friend in the eye, trying to catch her notice, but she looked into my eyes and did not see it. Still I did not know what to say and she would not stay still so I could tell her.

Then my phone went off.

The big date- How did it go?
OMG My ex. The guy that doesnt even care enough about me to make me his girlfriend. He's the last person I want to talk to right now.
It went ok.
Ok? I thought this was the guy?
Yeah, no. He was too young, just like I thought.
Well tell me what happened.
It was cool. We went out, had a few drinks, ate a nice dinner, danced and that was it.
That was it?
Pretty much.
That's it? What did he do?
He was nice. Smart. Funny. But it isnt going to work out.
Are you ok? Something happened didn't it?
You are acting funny, what's wrong? Did you guys make out?
No. I did not like him like that.
Theres something wrong, did he do something to you?
Why do you care?
He date raped you didn't he?
Yeah he pushed it a little too far.
No, he date raped you.
Yes, he did.
Are you ok?
I'll be fine.

OMG. He's right...........
Wait....How could he tell? My own best friend is right in front of me, and he knew over text messages.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Date Raped (part 1)

My ex fiance, before we got serious, had dated me for a few months. We were close from the first day we met- spending nearly everyday together. When we weren't together, we texted all day long. After 5 months I told him I was ready for hm to call me his girlfriend, but I expected him to ask me to be his girlfriend- not just assume it.
I don't want to make you my girlfriend.
As soon as I give you a title, you will change.
Not me. Im not going to change just because of some stupid title. I want a title because I deserve it and its getting ridiculous trying to explain who you are to me. Boyfriend is much easier than this guy ive been dating for months and spending everyday with.
Well I do not want to call you my girlfriend.
Well I deserve it, so I guess we are over.

After he clearly made his decision, I stopped talking to him and started dating again. Finally single in my late 20s after my separation from my husband, I had met him early in the dating game, so I began to enjoy a string of dates after we split that I had yet to do before we met. A few weeks into dating other people again and probably only a week of not talking, he called me up. It was obvious that I was still frustrated with him by my tone, but he won me over quickly.
Will you come eat dinner with me?
I already told you, you are cut off. I deserve to be someone's girlfriend and if you cant make me your girlfriend, I dont want to be with you.
No. I mean as friends.
As friends? Oh, so you think I am just going to roll over and let you be with me without the title? Not happening!
No. I am lonely and I enjoyed your company.
And I was hoping you would just come and eat dinner with me so I didnt have to eat alone.
Well I have my son with me.
He can come too.
Oh yeah? This is just friends eating dinner together?
Dont expect to get any because it is not gonna happen.
No. I just want to be friends.
We always were good friends, huh?

From there we became friends again. We dated other people, getting and giving dating advice to each other. I was much more open with him- plus I had more people to date than he did. The day came when I asked if I could have a friends with benefits relationship so that I wouldn't "settle" for a new guy I normally wouldnt just because I was sexually frustrated. The rule was if there was anyone else, we had to end it immediately.

There must have been over 50 men I dated during that time, but I could not find anyone I was remotely attracted to. Not a single guy I even wanted a second date with. Finally I met someone online I wanted to meet in person that I was genuinely excited to meet. He flew helicopters as a captain in the army. We talked and got along great. Physically we both found each other attractive. There was one thing I was worried about- he was 2 years younger than me, but I was hoping that his maturity would make up for his age difference.

There has never been a guy I dated before that was even my age, so that was the one thing I suspected would derail his chances. However I was so excited about the idea that I would like this guy that i told my friend (who would end up being my fiance later) I couldn't sleep with him anymore. There is only room for one man with me, and this guy deserved a real shot; my friend and I had already ended our relationship.

The new guy and I set up a date- a Saturday night where we could hang out late and I could sleep in the next morning.This guy was nice and sweet and funny. I trusted him and found out his info so that if he tried anything stupid I would report it to his commanding officers. It was a safeety precaution I took for when I dated military men. We agreed even if the date went bad that we would snuggle- no sex- because we both were lonely and enjoyed snuggling so much.

This guy had created a night for me in Seattle to woo me. First he picked me up and drove me an hour to Seattle downtown. We had a drink, then went to a nice restaurant, walked around downtown, and afterwords, went out to a dance spot that was supposed to be a fun place. We had a few drinks over the 4 hours- but we were not drunk. At some point he tried to prove how great of a dancer he was. Instead of dancing, he humped my leg to the beat. Literally trying not to gag, I tried to help him dance better, but he really thought he was dancing well. Didnt see that one coming!

The date ended and he took me home. As hard as I tried, the damage had been done. I really wanted to like him, but I was right; there was just something about him that I did not like. Maybe it was his age. The dancing did not help! Whatever it was, he did not have the je ne sais quoi, that indescribable character that I was attracted to. However, I was definitely wanting to try to make it work- maybe end up being friends? As hard as I tried, I did not even want to kiss him. Maybe the snuggling would change things for me. When a guy can lay next to me and keep his hands controllably to himself, I find that incredibly respectful. That becomes a positive and sometimes can turn the tide for someone i am on the fence about.

After I got ready for bed in the privacy of the next room without him watching, I lay down next to him in my bed. It was just the two of us in my apartment and he had treated me respectfully the whole date. There was no inkling in my mind of what was about to happen. No crazy strip tease or disrespect for my boundaries. No forcing ideas onto me, instead he let me choose what happened all night.

I lay down next to him and took a deep breath as he put his hand on my hip. Cuddling was definitely something I missed after being separated from my husband. But instantly I realized this was not cuddling as he pulled my panties off quickly and smoothly. I rolled onto my back and tried to grab my underwear before he stripped them off of me completely.
NO! What are you doing??
You won't be needing these. 
No. I said looking him firmly in the eye in a panic. Holding both my hands over my vagina to keep him from penetrating me.
No! (How the hell did he get naked so quickly? He was JUST fully dressed except for shoes!)

No. Seriously no!

Every time I tried to use my hands to get him off of me, or to roll over and out from underneath his frame, he tried to penetrate me. When I held both my hands over my vagina and tried to roll or kick my way out from under him, he deftly kept me from going anywhere. Even with both of my hands over my vagina and my legs struggling to get between his to close better, he still tried to push himself inside of me as he used his legs between mine to keep my thighs open. We were at a stalemate. The only way I was going to get out of this was to talk him out of it. To reason with him. To make him understand that I did Not want to have sex.

For the next 45 minutes I squirmed and pushed as best as I could with both hands covering my vagina and exhausting every approach to get him to stop or get out from underneath him. Nothing worked.

How did I not see this coming? There were not any signs!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Don't tell me At Least You Still Have Your Son

When I got raped, I was not the only one that suffered. My fiance lost his soon to be wife and my son lost his soon to be step father. So when people tell me to buck up and be strong, yes, I want to be strong for him, but this "at least you still have your son" is a bitter double edged sword. Because when I look at him the pain of what happens only increases.
My son has not lived a fantastic life. The most important thing I could give him, I could not provide for him. Instead of having a mother and a father, I left his father when he would not sober up. Being a single mom either means having a good job or living on welfare. Sometimes you can get lucky by having a great guy marry you or parents that fill in where ends meet. I had neither. That left me with finding a good job because I could not live on welfare.
With my many talents and interests, as well as my intelligence and love for people, I found nursing. When I decided to leave my husband, long before I did, I went back to college. Plus I worked. So when I left his father, it was just my son and I - mainly just me working and going to school while my son stayed with strangers. Luckily they were nice strangers.
After the first rape, I was left with nothing. I had to leave high school during my senior year because one job was not paying the bills. Instead I got three jobs. I worked one or two jobs for years and still only lived paycheck to paycheck.
After my ex was gone, I had to do it all by myself. There was not help from his father or my family. I worked full time and went to school fulltime. I still got great grades, but my son is the one that suffered.

My son's father never tried to take him for visitation after the judge ruled he needed third party paid visitation. My son started chewing off all his fingernails within about 2 days. Within that same week my 2 year old son screamed, "I HATE YOU!" as hard and as deep as he could. All my brothers are active military. He has never met my father or two of the three brothers I have. He has no male father figures. Every day he fought me because he is mad at me for making his father leave. Thats how he says it.
This whole time it has been just him and I. It was not supposed to be like that- my son was supposed to have at least one or two more siblings after him, in addition to the brother and sister he no longer gets to see. My son has been alone, even though I have tried to take care of him alone the best I could.
When I met my fiance, I was not ready yet for a relationship that ended in marriage. I did not want to be fixed. I wanted to have a break from my crappy life. I wanted someone to hold me and make me laugh. My fiance happened unexpectedly. He was supposed to be a rebound relationship before I found a husband. Trouble was we were fantastic for each other. After over a year of pretending it was just a fun relationship, I finally told him we were a relationship and that was the end of it. He started sticking around and playing with my son. My son finally stopped chewing off his fingernails that same week. I cried with joy. Not wanting to put pressure on my boyfriend, I simply thanked him for hanging out with my son. In the silence of that dialogue I said to myself everything I wanted to say out loud to him. He never heard how thankful I was. After another six months he finally admitted to being in love with me. For the next week every day he made a deeper profession of his love- that he wanted to marry me, have kids with me, and adopt my son. I was so afraid that if I let go and enjoyed, that if I believed what he said, that I would jinx everything for us.
Slowly, over the next few months, my fiance made me believe that what he said was true. That I could trust him. He took more and more interest in my son. I "saved" things for him to do with my son so my son would have "special man memories" with him.
Once my fiance left for Kuwait, my son started chewing off his fingernails again. Still I can remember calling my fiance crying to him in pain. My fiance would call my son and send him presents to make him feel special. It was not until after we moved to Texas that I started telling my son that instead of having a "guy to do dad stuff with," my fiance would be his new stepdad because "everyone wanted to be his dad."
The look on my son's face when he realized he would finally have a dad was one of relief. For the first time it was as if he finally felt he was worth something. So many times the word dad was thrown around him and he knew he did not have one. His father was a violent drug abuser that almost killed his own mom with him in the same room. It is a secret I have kept from him, but it has not been without its own consequences. Instead I toiled away in silence trying to create a better life for him- one that meant I had to give up something incredibly precious to me- my son's early years. This being someone's son made him feel great. He stood taller and fought me less. He was happier. For me, that deeply painful part of my soul where I hurt because my son hurt- it hurt a lot less.
Before we moved across the country and left everything my son knew, we got rid of and sold everything except for a small 5'X5' storage unit worth of stuff. We wiped our old life away clean. My son didnt get presents for his birthday- only giftcards for new toys "in his brand new better life." He was told to get rid of all of his toys except for a small box worth. The Christmas before he got fewer presents, "because we would only have to get rid of them- besides we would buy a whole bunch of new toys in our new house, in our new life." My son hated it, but every time I told him to wait for our better life, we talked about how cool it was going to be, and the dream made him sleep better that night or soothed his frustration.
When my son started school he bragged about his new stepdad when all his classmates asked where his dad was. The time came for my son to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels, so instead I found other things to do, so I could yet again "save a memory" for him and his new stepdad.
For my birthday- well a few days after my birthday, my fiance was supposed to return home. Roughly two weeks before my birthday, we received the call that he was going to be delayed 30 days returning home. So no fiance and new life beginning for my birthday present. That was fine. The silver lining was that we would have more money for Christmas presents. My son deserves more.
Then the drugging and the rape.
Then my fiance blamed me everything.
Then I had to tell my son.

First I had to tell my son delicately what happened to me. He was awake when I came home to him at my friends' house that morning I was raped. He was awake when they were trying to figure out where I was. He saw me acting really crazy as the drugs wore off and the realization kicked in. He was there at the hospital.

Then I had to tell him that his stepdad was not going to be his stepdad. That we were alone again.

We stayed the holidays with family and friends. I will never forget the look on my son's face when my friends' fiance tickled him, telling my son , "Who's Your Daddy?!?!"- like he had just done to his own kids. My son just stammered and said I dont know. Quickly my friend rolled with it and cushioned the awkwardness of the situation. Later that day, he took a little extra time and sat with my son while they watched football. I cried.

I was not the only casualty that day when I was raped. So was my son. So was my fiance.

Part of my grief is seeing my son everyday with this new pain. So when people try to console me by reminding me of my son, it backfires. It only reminds me of how one person can hurt everyone I care about, and I cannot stop it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Precious Moments

As the New Year strikes, I know I am supposed to feel excited, hopeful. Truthfully, I am struggling to even smile.
Looking back over the year, this year was different. It was supposed to be a hard year, but not like this. On the eve of 2013, I was sad but hopeful, depressed but excited, happy but hurting. When I said goodbye to my fiancé for the last time of 2012, he had been gone all month and flew in for my birthday at the end of October. For less than 24 hours, he came to visit me on my 30th birthday. It was the only present I wanted. The next morning we lay in bed staring at each other, holding each other. Before he left, I made sure he knew I was waiting for him faithfully and that the only thing I was afraid of was him forgetting about me- letting go. He denied that would happen and told me how much he trusted me to stay celibate for him- that I was the only one he ever trusted at that level. When he said goodbye I made sure he knew I loved him. You can never be sure what will happen, so I made sure he admitted he knew I loved him. Then I let him go. Man it was difficult!
To touch someone, to let go when you know you may never see them again, to willingly walk away has always been the hardest thing for me. This man had my heart and I would do anything for him. With my past, letting him walk away was incredibly painful. Being strong for him was important. It was not until I knew he would not return and catch me that I let myself cry. Leaving me for a year was hard, and crying in front of him was only going to make it harder for him. The thought of hurting him or making him hurt any worse was unbearable, so I clenched my teeth and focused hard to make myself sound cheerful and loving- but not sad.
My ex husband used to abandon me with the kids, no money, no food and steal my car. He would leave me for days, weeks, and sometimes months, even though I still had to work and pay bills. When he left it was for a binge, so he took everything of value, like money for rent or food. The sudden emergency mode I would go into helped me cope, but the fear of being homeless was always there around the corner. When I realized he was gone, or even times when I was just alone for a few hours, I would be overcome with anxiety. Laying in bed waiting for my husband became torture, so I would wait by the door on the couch to hear him the second he came home.
 After I left my husband, that coping mechanism was still there. Effectively, I have only slept on the couch since my fiancé left. Again, staying strong for him was paramount for me. Suffering in silence was a vow I made to him, but not one I shared with him. Instead I would tell him when he returned. Until then I kept my guard up. No other man, not even movie stars, crossed my mind in some emotionally or sexually intimate way. My fiancé was the only man I had in my heart; he was the only man I thought of.

I missed him terribly.

When I felt a naked man next to me, I woke up startled. The dream I had just had about my fiancé was sexually charged and I was elated because it felt like he was there with me. I had been waiting so long at this point. But then my mind realized he was not home yet, so this naked man would not be him. Fear overtook me as I breathed in sharply, waking up. Without making my movements noticeable, I registered my situation. My heart broke when I realized what had happened- but the drugs I had been dosed with buffered that feeling until they wore off. This was the closest I had come to cheating on anyone I had ever dated, and this was the person I loved the most. None of it was intentional- I had been taken advantage of by someone who noticed there was no man with me. 

Staying strong and celibate, staying home with my son, working hard at full time college and working full time as a nurse, moving across country by myself, spending each holiday alone, staying in instead of going out, carrying everything up three flights of stairs in a strange place with no friends and no help. All of it had wiped me out. Fortunately I was only weeks away from it all being worth it.
That’s when it happened-my lowest, hardest moment. I begged my friend not to leave me alone; to cheer me up because I was losing the strength to stay strong. All I wanted to do was call my love and beg him to come home, even though I knew he couldn’t. He would be powerless to do anything. Hearing me break would be too painful. Every moment of that day was agonizing. I tried to get drunk to help me pretend to be happy- to make the day go by faster, but I could not even drink I was so sad. Plus it gave me a wicked stomach ache from all the beer fizz and nerves.

When I woke up and it began to slowly hit me what happened, I paced next to my phone waiting for a charge to use it; waiting to hear from him. Instead of comforting me, he blamed me. I did not get drunk and cheat on him like I had first thought; I had been manipulated with drugs by being slipped something into a drink I do not even remember having. The weeks building up to this day had been difficult, but the deadline had only been extended a few weeks. I could handle that- maybe not that specific day, but I could wait a few weeks longer.

Running to the only person I felt completely loved and safe with, only for him to kick me while I was down and blame me for something I never wanted and had been unable to control was the biggest betrayal I ever felt. Now I couldn’t trust my family, trustworthy seeming men, friends, strangers, or the man I loved the most. Nowhere is safe for me now. Not home, not public, not drunk, not sober. At any moment my life can be stolen from me, wrecking the lives of all those I care about because someone wants to rape and chooses me as their victim. Rape happens in private, so public was the last place I felt safe. Now not any more.

So as the New Years approached, all I saw was the emptiness of all my hard work. The unhappy ending to all of my struggling and delayed gratification. The futility of trying. Its called helplessness and hopelessness. That makes you incredibly vulnerable to suicide, and believe me, I have struggled with wanting to live ever since my fiancé abandoned me. NewYears Eve is a celebration of new beginnings and exciting new possibilities. People like to talk about the new engagements of the holidays. They spend time with family and friends, all of which has been stolen from me.
So instead of feeling happy or even hopeful I have been incredibly depressed for the last few days. 

You question what life is worth and what is important when it has been all stolen from you. You feel powerless to affect change in your life when someone rapes you. They steal the power of your most intimate space. Physically there is nothing more that you can give them. Emotionally and spiritually you question nearly everything you know.

For me, I struggled to smile New Years Eve, but I smiled anyways. Instead of making resolutions, I told myself it was ok if I was depressed and disappointed. I chose to grieve my losses- my dreams and hopes and loves. I told myself it was ok, giving myself the space to let it out. Some days are harder than others. New Years Day was one of them. The only hopes I had for the future was an end to my grief and a silver lining for my pain. One day I will be whole again. Until then I will live one day at a time, trying to see the beauty of each moment. 

That’s what rape taught me- that there is beauty in the small things that people take for granted. Don’t waste those moments. You will regret it if you take the most precious moments for granted.