Rape is the most humiliating thing that can be done to you; it’s the most vulnerable that you can be. But once I realized that, I became a stronger person and faced all my fears. – Fiona Apple
Trigger Warnings* Abuse, Sexual Assault, Suicide
IF you’ve been watching TV or on social media then you’ve heard about what’s going on in our government. Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court and there is a huge firestorm brewing behind this. Not only because its really questionable if given all the investigations and convictions that Trump should be able to even nominate a Supreme Court Justice, but also there seem to be growing numbers of women coming forward with very strong accusations against Kavanaugh, including attempted rape.
Trump remained unusually tight-lipped until this past Friday when he attacked the victim of the attempted rape on Twitter suggesting that maybe she wasn’t being honest because after all who doesn’t report sexual assault if it really happened. This was disgusting and very distasteful. I don’t even know where to begin with this, but this idiotic statement (not really surprised. It is Trump after all), sent the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport trending.
For me this has been a huge trigger. I found myself tearing up as I read through the stories of all the brave men and women finally breaking their silence and explaining why they did not come forward. It wasn’t just that I am sensitive to emotions, but because I’ve never dealt with my own trauma. I shared a brief explanation of why I didn’t report my own rape and after a bit of crying, I thought I was okay. Over the past weekend though it had all been sitting with me and I could no longer push these feelings and that night behind me.
I’ve shared with one very special person what happened to me that night, but I don’t ever think I explained to him why I never reported it. It’s not something that is easy to talk about, but I find myself crying a bit everything this subject has come on the TV the past few days. I want to confront my attacker. I want him to know how much he fucked me up. I want him to know how deeply this shit still affects me. I want him to face what he’s done, but its just not a conversation I want to have with him. I hate the sound of his voice. I never want to look at his face again. I’ve let go of the pure hate I’ve had for him in my heart. Not for him. Honestly, I don’t give a fuck about his feelings, but for me I couldn’t experience the growth I wanted without letting go of the hatred. What I did instead was not much better, but I pushed all that pain and the memory back into the shadows instead of addressing it head on.
My Story & Why I Didn’t Report
I was in a relationship with my rapist. It was a relationship that was doomed from the start. I knew this, but why I continued is a whole different story for another day. The beginning was marked by cheating and lies (on his behalf). We did break up for a moment and during this time I learned I was pregnant with my second child (we each had a child from previous relationships). With the birth of our child I was adamant about stay away from him, but against my better judgement I listened to friends and family who believed our child would make him do better and for awhile it seemed that way.
His drinking increased and I would find out drug use was also an issue with him. He eventually overcame the drugs, but the alcohol he just couldn’t let go of. Alcohol wasn’t all that increased in his life, other women did too. Eventually I began to grow tired of all his bullshit. Things took a turn for the worse when we were hit with tragedy. Our second child together died in infancy and that sent things spiraling. Months after our loss I knew that I no longer wanted to be with him and I told him so. That was the first time he hit me. Not only was he becoming more violent, he also became more controlling. I was very vocal about not wanting more children after the loss of our child. He went through great lengths to prove he didn’t really care what I wanted from poking holes in condoms to sabotaging my birth control. Two more children came.
I wanted to leave, but I was the responsible parent of four young children, I had nowhere to go, and even the DV shelters were full. As time went on I became even more distant from him avoiding sex whenever possible. Sex with him was more like a punishment and physically painful. This often led to accusations of me cheating because if I wasn’t willing to sleep with him then I must be sleeping with someone else. I wanted to reach other for help, but the fact that my own mother knew what I was going through and didn’t do much to help made me think well if my own mom won’t help, then who will?
It was pure hell. You always see abused women and people ask “Why don’t you just leave?” and her replay is “But I love him”. This was in no way me at all. I hated him and I wanted far away. I just didn’t have the means to leave. He had been to jail many times for the abuse, but he always seemed to escape with a slap on the wrist. I couldn’t understand it. Every time I went to court, I would sit and wait for my case to be called. Hours would go by and then someone would come out and say “Oh, no one came to talk to you?” in which he had already been released. The police were frustrating. Some said just throw his shit out others said if you do that you could get in trouble. Some said Just lock him out. I did this twice. The first time he climbed up the balcony and kicked the glass door in. The second time I found out he had stolen my keys and had copies made. Everything I had gone through was humiliating, but it was nothing compared to that night.
He had a habit of coming in all hours of the night and he would either pick a fight or just pass out. I stayed up many sleepless nights never knowing what to expect and quite frankly, I was afraid to be caught off guard around him. This particular night I figured I’d sleep in the kids room. I climbed in bed with them and fell asleep. I remember waking up hearing him come in pretty loud. When he didn’t find me in the bedroom he came into the kids room. I didn’t want him to wake them so I sat up to leave, but he pushed me back on the bed. The name calling and the hard grabbing at my arms started up. I could smell the liquor and a woman’s perfume all over him. I tried to sit up again when he threatened to punch me in my face if I moved or woke the kids up. Laying in the bed, beside my kids, he wrapped his hand around my throat and raped me. I said no. I fought. Part of me wanted the kids to wake up to run and get help, but at the same time I was relieved that they hadn’t waken up to see what was happening. He passed out on the floor beside the bed afterwards. Slept like a baby in fact. I was sick and didn’t sleep, too afraid to move.
The next day when he tried to kiss me I pushed him away. “You raped me”. His words struck me hard. He laughed. He actually laughed at the thought. “It’s not rape. I own you. We have kids together. Who will believe I raped you? A man can’t rape his woman”. Those words were so hard to hear. And I believed them. How many times had I called the police and they couldn’t or wouldn’t do much? How many times had the courts let me down? Shortly after, I tried to commit suicide. I figured if I couldn’t get away from him, then I’d have to take matters into my own hands. I knew that if I were gone and people knew why, they would keep my children far away from him. I’m so very thankful I wasn’t successful and it did alert other family members and friends to what was going on.
Next month will mark 5 years since we were able to get away from him. 5 years has not erased the pain and humiliation I feel. When I think of that night, I feel those same exact feelings I did then. I feel like something was stripped away from me. Any physical pain I felt has long gone, but the emotional and psychological shit remains. People don’t seem to understand that when they ask why victims don’t come forward or why they wait so long to say anything. I have children with my rapist. He has never taken responsibility for anything he has done. He plays the victim and will deny any of it ever happened. This is a guy who once told the police after beating me that we were only playing and things got out of hand.
This country has got to stop vilifying victims and we have to start teaching our children accountability when they do wrong!