‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Post I Never Wanted to Write

I've avoided this subject in my life, and hence, in my blog, for thirty years. Shame does that to you. It is so insidious, so powerful and so lethal that I can hold a person hostage their whole lives. 

And it shouldn't be that way. 

I am writing this post as part of my need to heal a horrific wound I carry. I thought I had it bandaged up enough that I never had to look at it again, ever. But this month I have experienced such profound despair, and I could not get deep enough to discover the reason. I held the pain in, but it got worse and worse. I cried out to God, and He seemed to turn a cold shoulder. I tried to run away from it, but it wouldnt go away.

When I was fifteen years old, I was raped. And not once. But multiple times.  It was someone I knew. I can't give any details about where or when, because there are people in my life that knew this person and would be devastated to know their family member did this to me. He is deceased now, and it wont serve any purpose to 'out' him. So forgive me for being cryptic about the details.

But let me put the experience into perspective for you. I was a very naive girl. I had never even kissed a boy. I was at a point in my life where I was inwardly trying to decide between becoming a nun or 'saving myself' for a future husband. I knew next to nothing about sex. In fact, even as a teen, I thought that every sexual encounter led to pregnancy. If you had sex, you were pregnant. Naive I know, but my irish-catholic parents never told me anything different, and there was no sex education at school. Anything you learned, you learned from gossip on the playground and lunchroom.

So I entered this experience at a huge disadvantage -- not that anyone could possibly be prepared for the experience of rape, but lets just say I could not have been less prepared. 

In the seconds before it ocurred, I saw clearly what was about to happen, and I screamed inside my head for God to stop it. I begged and begged as this person climbed on top of me. I knew God would save me from this experience. There wasn't a doubt in my mind. He'd come to my rescue. He'd know what to do

But then the hand that smelled of sweat went over my mouth, and in that dark room I felt the weight of his huge frame on my body, I fought as he removed my clothing, and then a piercing pain that made me think I was being ripped in two. No going back. This was happening to me. God had abandoned me in my deepest need. I felt my soul slip out of my body and a blanket of numbness settle across my skin. My first sexual experience of any kind -- a psychic tearing of my very soul. I felt the blood pool under me, and more than anything in the world I wanted to die. I just wanted to die. My world had changed in an instant. 

I hated myself from that very moment on.

And so, when this person came for me again, and again in the days and nights that followed, I did not scream. I did not run to get away. I did not fight. I pulled that blanket of numbness over me. I went someplace far far away in my head. My body was not mine anymore. I left it there, with the thief who took it. And I went someplace where he couldnt get me.

I felt a small grain of power, that I was in this other place and he didnt even know it. You think you are raping a person? Haha....joke's on you.....I'm not even THERE.

When after two weeks of this horror the monster moved away, and I was free of his physical presence, I did not tell. I was damaged goods. I was worthless. I cared so little for myself that I remember making a conscious decision to stop brushing my teeth. Wierd, I know. But I had lost all sense of normalcy along with my virginity. And so, in this new place, in this world of self-loathing, I thought 'why brush my teeth when I'm nothing?' And so started the slow decline into the black abyss of self-hate. The rapes may have been over, but the self-abuse had just begun.

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