This is one of the things I’ve known for a long time that I needed to write about, but I kept finding other things to write; fun things, sad things… anything but this. There is nothing sexy, amusing, or even mildly entertaining about this one. This goes back 19 years to something I’ve shared with very few people. Something that, to be honest, I’ve never even dealt with internally. Not in therapy, not in rehab, not in recovery, not even when I knew I needed to.
Why am I writing this now? Because I got a phone call from one of the few family members I speak to, one of the only ones I trust, and she asked me an outright question that I wasn’t prepared for — and I couldn’t lie in response. So I told her. And I know telling her hurt her almost as much as talking about it hurt me. Because she suspected — nothing of the details, but suspected SOMETHING. The few times I’ve talked about it have left me feeling numb, but last night was different. She’s lived through this as a parent, and knew the questions to ask, the things to say, that would make me think –- that would shift the view of the whole thing in my mind. Things that no one I’ve shared it with ever knew to ask. So to her, I’m grateful. Because burying it doesn’t make it any less real, it doesn’t make it go away. I’ll stop talking about writing it now, and just write it. It’s probably going to come out sounding very clinical, and for that I apologize. It’s not that I’m not willing to share the emotion, it’s that I haven’t learned what the emotion is yet, I haven’t even begun to process it… not even after 19 years.
I was 11 years old… already “older” than I should be, hanging out with kids a few years ahead of me because I felt more comfortable with them. I’d had enough responsibility caring for my younger brother and sister that 11-year-old’s seemed so immature to me. Our interests and maturity levels just didn’t mesh. I also spent a lot of time with “the guys” because I’ve never been able to make female friends easily, though I’m not sure why. I’m not going to go deep into my mental and emotional state at that age — I’ll just say that like most girls without a father in their lives, I was desperate for attention, affection, and love.
As usual, mom was out getting drunk — only this time it was at a family member’s house, so she had taken the two younger ones with her. I didn’t get dragged along because I was supposed to babysit for someone that night, and had things to do at home first. I wish I had gone with her, as much as I hated seeing her that way, then having to get in the car with her wasted as she drove us home, my eyes closed and praying the whole way that we’d all make it there alive.
It was me and a female friend, plus one of the guys from the neighborhood. He was 15 or 16, and his friend was visiting. I’d never met the friend before that day. He was even older, either 17 or 18. We were hanging out in the living room, watching some stupid movie, nothing out of the ordinary, joking comments being thrown back and forth between all of us. The guy threw out a “fuck you” comment in response to something – and being the smart ass that I was, my response was, “C’mon, let’s go — right now.” I was mouthy, it was the only way I knew how to assert myself. Besides, the guys I hung out with were used to me. They knew me. I’d kissed one or two guys by then, but other than that had no experience. Hell, a year before that I hadn’t even known what a french kiss was. He, apparently, didn’t see me that way. He grabbed my arm and walked me upstairs. I went, willingly, because I figured we’d kiss for a little, and then that would be it. I was so very, very wrong.
This is where it all gets fuzzy in my head – I’ve buried it for so long, it’s hard to remember, and I think I prefer it that way. I know the details are going to come back to me, but I honestly don’t know if I can handle them.
We went upstairs, leaving the other two downstairs to watch the movie. Writing this has me wondering what they were thinking – but I don’t think either of them could even comprehend what was going to happen… they knew me, and my male friend (thought) he knew his friend. Another wrong assumption. I remember him kissing me, then starting to touch me – I started to back away, but he was right there, and so much bigger and stronger. He kept going… I know I didn’t scream, I know I didn’t fight as hard as I could have. But I also (now) realize that probably wouldn’t have made a difference. I do know that words and phrases like “I can’t” “wait… don’t” “I don’t want to…” — things like that were said by me. But at some point, I stopped pushing him away, I stopped fighting him, I stopped saying anything, because nothing I was saying was making a difference to him. I shut myself down. I closed my eyes and my mind to what was happening. I hid inside myself. And he raped me.
When it was over, he went back downstairs without saying anything that I can remember. I cleaned myself up and did the same. When I got down there, my friend pulled me into the kitchen and asked what had happened – I told her I didn’t have time to talk, had to get ready to go babysit. And that’s what I did. I went to work, took care of the kids, and came home to her waiting for me. Again, she asked… and I told her a glossed over version of what happened, leaving out the fact that I didn’t want to. She knew me, so she pushed, but I refused to call it what it was, or admit that there was anything wrong. She, who was a good 4+ years older than me, was still a virgin, and couldn’t believe that it had happened. But she couldn’t budge me from claiming it was a choice that I made, even years later when it would come up in conversation.
That’s where I changed… from the child I was into the teenager I became. Sex was no longer something important, something special. It was something to endure, a tool to get that affection, that attention, that sense of love – even if it was for just a few minutes, and I hated myself every time afterwards. I learned (quickly and suddenly) how to disconnect myself from what was happening to me. Where I went from there is another story, one I’m not ready to write yet. Hell, I wasn’t ready to write this one yet, either. But sometimes what you’re ready for and what you need to do are two different things. This needed to come out, for me – it needed to happen, because for 19 years, I’ve buried it. And I can finally see that until I deal with THIS, there is no dealing with the rest of my issues. And yes, 19 years later, I STILL struggle with remembering, with realizing, that it was NOT my fault. I know that on so many levels… but there’s still parts of me that believe that I put myself in that situation, that I could have done this, or should have done that, or whatever. And that’s the next thing to deal with – realizing, completely, that this was NOT MY FAULT. I’ll get there.
I can’t get anywhere else until I do.