I write this from a place of semi-sobriety and complete honesty. It may contain triggers for those of you who have been affected by sexual violence. My hope is that through my sharing I gain some peace and that maybe am able to connect to others, helping them move closer to their own serenity.
There is a piece of me that hates the whole of me for that night. I just laid there. After saying “no” repeatedly he told me to stop telling him no. That I was not to ever tell him “no”. So I was compliant. I didn’t know then that my complicit silence would be the grey area making it difficult to charge him with rape. Why didn’t I fight? It was a question the detective asked me. It was a question I’ve repeatedly asked myself. And perhaps it’s a question that those who know me who have never experienced rape have wondered. The truth is, I always figured myself for a fighter. To be assertive and aggressive and clear about consent and my own discomfort. But in that moment being held down so forcefully I would have bruises on my back for days after, silence was my only weapon.
When the detective for sex crimes asked me to describe the event I did, in explicit detail. There were, it seems, many times where I could have gotten away or fought back or stressed “No” beyond the initial iteration. Why didn’t I seize those opportunities? They asked me waiting for an answer I didn’t have to give them. I wish I knew. Beholden to a man who’s grip would leave scars while tears streamed down my face and a mantra echoing through my head, “just don’t make him mad.” Jennie says it was self-preservation. But I have not yet come to the place where I can forgive myself for my weakness, my silence, my presumed compliance in that moment. I am not sure I ever will.
And then in the aftermath. The grasps for control. The breakdowns. Five of which I’ve had today alone. The ocean of tears I’ve cried. The deep desire I have to quit my job because it physically wears me out to have to perform the act of normalcy. But knowing if I do I lose access to my mental health care. It is a pressure that feels like the weight of him on top of me. One that I can’t seem to get out from under.
My biggest plight right now is not knowing how to find relief. I hate the question are you okay? No. I’m not. And I’m afraid I don’t know when I will be. It scares me more than anything else in this world right now. I want my mom but I don’t want her to see me this way. Broken and unable to be fixed, even by her love. It’s an impossible feeling to not know what you need. To be told that time is your serum for healing but time is the noose around your neck and the sand in your lungs.
I hurt and all I can do is cry out through my fingertips. Because for anyone who asks, I don’t have any words. Just like that night I guess. Which makes me cry even more. Where was my voice when I needed it? Where is it now? Can I be brave enough to speak even if it’s through tears and short sharp breaths? I hate the part of me who thinks I can’t. She was born that night.