Well, my dearest reader, as you may already know, society and I don’t always see eye to eye. Today reminded me of just that. Many things have been going on, some of which I can control, others which need some help to change. Either way, I’m taking the initiative, but I’m finding that it is going to be a strenuous road ahead. Over the years I’ve dealt with some things that, no scratch that, I’ve been involved in some things that were not great experiences. I have yet to deal with them. Those demons are now rearing their ugly head. It’s because of everything that has happened over the years and the things that didn’t happen which has made me who I am today, and I don’t like it.
There’s usually only so much you tell people about a trauma in your life. If you’re like me, you tend to hide behind many walls. You conform to those around you and “play along”. It is difficult to find your own identity, and when you think you have, suddenly, one small thing can bring all those walls crashing down on you making it hard to breath and even harder to move on like you know you must. It doesn’t get any easier.
I’m realizing that growing up in my family, things were not normal. I’m not even sure what the definition of normal really is at this point anymore or was back then for that matter, but what I do know is that I don’t ever really remember having good affections in my house. I remember a lot of yelling, a lot of being dragged throughout the house, dishes being thrown at me from across a room and lists of chores that needed to be done, or else. I remember feeling like the person who was only around to do all the work and if it was done wrong, there was hell to pay. I never realized how this could affect me in my 30’s.
I was recently told that I could very well have a codependency problem. (For those of you who are unaware of what codependency is, it is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns. – Wikipedia) I won’t lie to you, this scares the hell out of me. Knowing at this moment that all the things I’ve been doing for this long I have been doing to please others because it was how I was raised and the consequences it has led to over time, it is NOT pleasant to say the least.
I hate feeling like a victim. I don’t even like considering that I could be one, but the honest reality is that I am and I have been more than once. I still don’t fully understand why I do certain things, but I have been learning (unfortunately too late) what things are inherently wrong. I’m just not good at avoiding them…yet.
Growing up and going through school, I was bullied. It was the 80’s. It happened. In fact, it happened a lot, even through high school, but because I wasn’t being shown any type of love or affection or attention at home, I felt I needed to find it somewhere. I just wanted to feel needed. It didn’t work out the way I had planned. One of the first times a guy had ever shown me affection, I think I was maybe 16. Somehow I had convinced my parents to leave me with a friend of mine in another state. This “friend” was anything but a good influence. She invited over a boy who I can remember putting his hands in places where no one had ever touched me before. I didn’t know him, I didn’t know what he was doing and thankfully (from what I can remember), it stopped there. That was encounter one. Not something girls dream about, let me assure you.
Some time later, I found myself dating a guy who was a year ahead of me in high school. Looking back, I know I only dated him because he showed interest in me. I don’t remember how long we dated, I don’t remember what we used to do other than having him constantly pressure me to have sex with him. Finally one Sunday morning, around 11:30 am at my parents house to the song “Feel Like Making Love” by Bad Company, I gave in. (I wish I didn’t remember all those details.) He took my virginity from me basically because I wanted him to like me. I didn’t want to displease him. It’s what was ingrained into me. Please my mother so she doesn’t lose her temper. If I give in to him, he’ll want to stay with me. I was VERY wrong.
This pressure to have sex continued throughout the whole time we dated. I remember my junior prom. I wish I didn’t. I hated everything about it. Feeling like the one who everyone disliked for whatever the reason, having a dress that my mother made because she refused to let me buy one, and to top it off, the only other thing I remember about my prom is being coerced into having sex in the back of his mom’s ’70 1/2 Camero. I wish I could forget. Just another unpleasant memory of things I “let happen”.
This same guy also videotaped us having sex, which looking back on it now would be great evidence for statutory rape considering my age at the time, but, I was young and stupid as they say. I didn’t know any better. No one told me how things should have been in a healthy relationship. I only went by what I thought was right. Make him happy and he will stay. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
That was the start of a LONG string of bad encounters, bad relationships and more bad memories I wish I could forget, along with a couple added STDs for good measure. Guy after guy that I met, I thought I had to please. I never did anything for myself. It was always in hopes of keeping the attention, the affection that I thought would be enough. It wasn’t. They always used me up and threw me away. It become more of a feeling of obligation than something that I wanted to do with someone I truly cared about and wanted to share something special with.
There is no more intimacy in sex for me. I honestly don’t know if there ever was, but now I’m realizing how deep this need is for the affection and the attention that I can turn a blind eye to rape. I realize I’m going to piss a good number of people off on this one, but the realization is, that is what it was. Rape. I met the guy at a bar with a mutual friend. He tried to give me his number. I wouldn’t take it. A few nights later, another friend of mine and myself went back to the bar. He fed us drink after drink. She and I were both completely shitfaced. I remember her leaving with the guy that she was dating at the time and telling the bartender “Take my girl home and fuck her.” Apparently in his mind that was consent. I don’t remember leaving the bar. I vaguely remember stepping into a truck. I don’t remember the ride to his house. I remember walking up some stairs and getting partially undressed. The next thing I remember is a few seconds of having sex. I woke up the next morning in his bed, naked. I distinctly remember seeing a US Army certificate with his name on it and thinking “hmm, so that’s his last name”. I got dressed and he drove me back to my car which was still at the bar. I don’t think he said much of anything to me that morning.
Now most people would probably not have the mindset I did after that incident. All I thought about was that this guy was going to go around and tell people how bad in bed I was and I couldn’t let him do that. I wouldn’t ever be able to find affection from another guy if he thought that. I see how wrong it is now, but then, it made sense to me. I told him he owed me redemption sex. I then also found out that he was sleeping with another one of the bartenders at that bar. He turned me down for a couple weeks and then we hooked up again….and again…and again, but we weren’t dating. We weren’t in a relationship.
Somewhere along the line we became friends. I think it was the affection and attention. I always seem to NEED to have at least one friend to talk to daily to keep sane. I need to learn to be okay alone, but I’m not there yet. He and I hung out a LOT. We talked a LOT. Over the last few years, we slept together off and on and at some point, things got complicated. People would ask if we were together, and we’d always say no, but it kinda felt like we were. I got attached to him. I thought I may have even loved him. I was wrong. I don’t think I know what love is. Anyone who I thought I loved in my past has done nothing but hurt me. That’s not love.
So skip forward to the recent past. His drinking got out of hand more than once. He hurt me. I told him I couldn’t do this anymore. We stopped talking for nearly 2 months and then at a mutual friends going away party, things seemed like they were coming around. I was wrong…again. He professed his love for me in front of the group, told me how much he missed me, told me he wanted more. I wanted to hear what he had to say. It made me feel good. I went home with him. I didn’t want to have sex. He tried, multiple times I grabbed his hand and moved it away telling him I couldn’t. I broke down telling him I didn’t want feel obligated anymore. That I didn’t want to feel violated. He told me it was never an obligation and he wanted to kill all the guys who had violated me in the past. He held me as I cried uncontrollably because I knew this couldn’t be good. He told me again and again how much he loved me.
The next morning, still half asleep, he started again. I let him. I participated. I wanted to make him happy. I thought he wanted to change. I was wrong. I let him do it again. I was SO wrong. He kissed me goodbye as I brought him back to his truck from the night before. We texted a bit during the day. That night, as I was leaving town, I wanted to show my own affection (something that I never instigated with him before because I was keeping my walls up). His door was unlocked. I could hear him talking and thought nothing of it. I opened his bedroom door to find him in bed with another girl. He’d slept with her multiple times. EVERYTHING he had told me was a lie. I had let my codependency get the better of me, again. I feel so ashamed, so stupid, so used.
I tell my friends what happened and the only responses I get are that “he’s always been that way. He’ll never change. You should have known better.” I don’t understand. I feel like I’m taking the blame for this. I didn’t want to have sex with him. I don’t know how to say no. I wish I could, but the words just don’t come out of my mouth. After so many years of feeling like I had to let them have their way, I don’t know how to change, but how is it MY fault? I NEVER said I wanted to have sex.
It took me nearly 2 and a half years to accept that the night I was blacked out and he slept with me, he raped me. Third degree sexual assault had I pressed charges, but in my mind, it was affection. It was still wrong. Saying he’s just that way and that he will never change without expressing that it is wrong to me essentially says that his friends (both male and female) condone his behavior. Their expression of the fact that he and I slept together more than once, regardless if those times were consensual or not, has them essentially blaming me for everything that has happened and how I feel.
Our society has become such a rapist society it makes me sick. Literally. I sit dumbfounded at the ignorance of people that say “she deserved it”. How did sexually assaulting someone suddenly become okay? There should NEVER be a time in a person’s life when they feel obligated to have to have sex with someone else. It’s not always a physically abusive forceful event when someone is sexually abused and it’s not that grey of an area. If there wasn’t consent, then there should have been no sex, of any kind.
I’m sitting here in awe that throughout the day so many people have expressed to me that this guy is their friend, that “it’s bullshit, but it’s just the way he is”, “he won’t change”, “you went back after that so he’s not a rapist”, “he’s an ass but I don’t think I’d call him a rapist”. I don’t understand. I know there are a lot of people out there who have been through a lot of traumas of their own, but it only takes ONE time for someone to have sex without consent to be, by definition, considered a rapist. I don’t see how the argument can even be valid that he is not.
It’s a huge deal to be honest, especially with yourself. If the same things had happened to you regardless of the type of relationship you were in, if someone took advantage of you sexually without your consent, don’t you think you should be mad? Stop encouraging rapists as a society and stop blaming the victims. Next time it could be your sister, your daughter, even your little boy. Would you feel okay with it then?
Please remember that condoning behavior is not any better than encouraging it. These sexual assailants will continue to do what they do because without their “friends” or society telling them it is wrong, they “will never change.”