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August 18, 2013

When I Was Fourteen

I was raped.

Many people who know me intimately don't know that (guess they do now).

The experience is mostly factual for me now, so I'm often unaware that saying it out loud and/or admitting it could be construed as dropping a bombshell.

Interesting that I just used the words - "admitting it". Makes it sound as if I'm confessing to something. Like it was my fault.

And in fact, I did neatly absolve that asshole from any responsibility for twenty three fucking years. Funny how girls/women do that. Like we're Jesus Christ himself, sent to take your burden and relieve your guilt.

The term "date rape" did not exist then. Rape happened to females who "asked for it" by wearing their skirts too short; rapists were strangers who lurked in bushes, not popular sixteen year old high school boys.

But for my best friend at the time, I would not have had the fortitude to slog my way through the shame and embarrassment of each school day, (ninth grade! Can you imagine?!), because that fucker told what felt to me like the entire god damned school. What he told them I can't imagine, but pretty sure it wasn't, "I raped her, then tried to suffocate her with a pillow after she passed out from the pain and came to, screaming."
She threatened to kick the ass of any sniggering girl (wtf happened to sisterhood?!), and kept assuring me I was not going to die, in spite of barely being able to walk for three days and bleeding for ten.

And as if all of school knowing wasn't enough, through a twisted, fucked-up turn of events, my parents and grandmother were aware of the situation. Because I had invited him over to where I was babysitting - IT WAS MY FAULT (said my fourteen year old self), I ASKED FOR IT. They sent me to a psychiatrist, who asked me myriad questions about my sex life (my sex life?! what sex life?!). I refused to go back. And we never spoke of it again. And they thought I was a slut.

It was all too much. I took a shitload of my grandmother's Darvons (for numbing purposes) and climbed a hill with a razor blade in hand to finish the deed.

But Kodiak turned on all her glorious glory for the sunset that night and saved my life. (up on that hill, if you dig down far enough in the right spot, you'll find that razor blade) This little Libra just couldn't leave all that beauty. I woozily shouldered the cross, climbed down the hill, and got on with it.

Many years later, a friend of a friend, a runner, was raped. And suddenly, I could not stop thinking about what happened all those years ago, but what happened to me did not equal rape yet (I invited him over...).
When my friend said their runners group was taking a self defense class called Model Mugging, (just can the "oh you learn how to mug models?" jokes.), I was in. (The BF and I watched a news program about MM; I said if I take a self defense class, it's going to be that one.)

Model Mugging Weapons Class. That's the instructor, J. I was monitoring the "fight".
I signed up to volunteer immediately after the class was over and was an assistant instructor for the next three years. It was always incredible to me that these women, who had lived through the most horrific experiences (thankfully I remember only a couple), had soldiered on, married, raised families, were productive members of society. We women really are amazing. We take the shit and grow a garden.

During those three years, while listening to them pour out their stories, watching them face their fears head on and win, it slowly began to dawn on me that what happened me at fourteen was indeed rape. It didn't matter I had invited him over. It didn't matter we were making out.
I said NO! I said STOP! I said I didn't want to.

I cast down that cross and put the blame squarely on his fucking head. And then they helped me grieve for my virginity, my innocence. (thank you)

That bastard probably deflowered half our high school. I've often wondered how many of the other girls' experiences were non-consensual. But we were all, each of us, keeping it secret, keeping it safe.

Carrying his blame. Carrying his guilt.

1 comment:

  1. This hurt my heart and soul when I read it. Shame on your parents and your grandmother for not taking care of you. (I can easily imagine that attitude holding fast to most American families of that era, unfortunately.) To think you could have been lost, with him going on to lead his life any way he pleased. Thank goodness for that magnificent sunset. And what a fine thing to go on to empower yourself and other women.