TW/CW sexual assault
I wrote this last night, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
Well this is a difficult but overdue ramble.
Part 1.) in the last few months I have been struggling to come to terms with a long history of sexual assault, abuse and rape. Getting my head out of the programmed self blame bullshit. Allowing myself to be angry, at ALL of the people who hurt and abused me. Including my mother for mind fully putting me in situations where I could be assaulted. Whilst simaltainiously accusing probable innocents of abuse and denying me the right to know certain family members, permanently ruining that relationship for her gain. Not for my sake, for her so she could get attention.
I was 8 the first time a fully grown man many times my age touched me in ways I really didn’t like. One of her boyfriends, the first in a pattern of partners who were more interested in me and my younger sisters than her. She was so obsessed with paedophiles that she was drawn towards them, married one of them, but wilfully blind and obstinantly disbelieving of my claims. Nothing new there.
She made me afraid of men particularly my uncles. When they had never shown the slightest hint of being interested in me sexually, she literally jumped at the chance to accuse other men of assaulting me while watching her boyfriend grope me. One day I came home from primary school upset by something that the deputy head had said/done.
She asked what was wrong, a small miracle in itself, as soon as I mentioned his name
THE FIRST THING OUT OF HER MOUTH was did he touch you inappropriately?? Not, Are you okay? Not, can I help? Not anything that would imply she gave a fuck about me. I hadn’t even finished what I was saying before she jumped in with that all too eager question. As soon as I did say what had happened she lost all interest. The epitome of the loving caring parent that she was.
This was just the beginning of approximately 30 years of abuse, manipulation, internalised misogyny, casual assaults and rapes. Every time that I dared to tell someone I was told I was over reacting, that id provoked it, that I deserved it or that I’d simply made it up. Such as when a “friend” assaulted me while I was blind drunk and trying to sleep, my boyfriend and several friends were in the next room. He later claimed to my bf that I had fantasised it, because obviously everyone with a diagnosed mental health condition is never to be trusted and Id clearly imagined it, halucinated it. My arsehole boyfriend chose to believe him, convinced me not to discuss it with anyone else, lied to me about the deal they’d made between themselves and basically treated me like shit, nothing new there… Picking up on the pattern yet? It was a couple of years later I found out about the lies and my friends found out about the sexual assault and cover up pact.
Or the time I was raped on holiday. The friend I was traveling with did and said nothing to comfort or help me, obviously it was my fault. It ruined what had been a fun holiday and being my last night there it tainted the whole thing. No matter my age, the situation etc I was expected to shut up and be grateful. Not to cause trouble or was simply not believed.
Even when I was believed there was “nothing that could be done to prove it” a favoured line of the police, even with evidence.
Thats not even to mention the countless times in my life a man has touched or groped me without consent, to then get pissy at me for being displeased, usually outright denying what they had very clearly just done. Because of course, its them who’ll be believed, its them who have a “right” to mine and any other feminine body, its them who have old society and the law on their side. And of course every time I was assaulted or raped by a partner I told nobody, because, well I’m sure you can work out why.
Obviosly this stuff has been with me my whole life, but the #MeToo movement brought up a lot of buried memories and feelings. And I’ve been having yet more nightmares of late, whole days of laying on my bed staring at the wall, weeks of isolating myself unable to communicate with anyone.
It’s not the only thing going on inside my head, it’s a cluster fuck of demons up in there. But it’s front and centre most of the time.
The recent accusations against a certain “Nerd mogul” hit me hard. I don’t want to but totally do believe it. I’ve been extremely uncomfortable feeling like I’ve allowed myself to be duped again. I had been drifting away from their podcast due to some red flags that I was picking up mostly subconsiously. I’ve been betrayed and so has everyone else.
I’m not a big crier, even when I need to I can’t. In the last couple weeks ive cried three times. Make that four. Which brings me to
Part 2.) I have just watched the 1990 adaptation of The Handmaiden.
I’ve not watched the Hulu show (yet) as I didn’t feel able to deal with it, nor have I read the book. So even though I knew I was in for a rough night, I knew the basics, I was not familiar with the story itself.
Fucking hell its ptsd city here right now. I’ve just had an alcoholic drink, which I feel guilty about, not for the drink itself but because I chose to still have a drink and carry on with my plans instead of getting myself away and home. and have started punishing myself for doing that. Alcohol is Not the answer, neither is punishment. And I’m not home. I can feel an angry manic period coming on and am worried about my typical coping mechanisms (such as drinking)
This stuff clearly needs facing and embracing as my truth.
I did at times put myself into risky situations, those rarely resulted in sexual assault even if I did things I regretted. Its nearly always a partner, lover or so called friend that will claim their right. It was the “safe” people who needed to beware of, not the randoms I met while doing stupid or risky things. I did this because I grew up having been put into risky situations, with no self esteem and a belief that I was worthless.
I ended up in abusive relation after abusive relationship, repeating patterns until, with help, I could start moving away from allowing abusers to torment and manipulate me.
Right now I am all kinds of angry and hurt. Blaming my mother but not wanting to as is does me no good and she was/is clearly very unwell herself. Not that that excuses her behaviour as she would have me believe. My mind is full of memories that are so horribly familiar within that film, I feel sick, I want to tare my heart out.
I now believe that I am worth more, that I have power and choices. And that someone else saying that my experience is nothing to complain about does not invalidate it.
There is a huge amount of survivors guilt, self blame for letting it happen and for not always pushing for recognition or justice. For allowing these people to continue to hurt other people. For not protecting my sisters despite not having been in a situation to do so safely.
However, there is a small feeling of progress at having felt able to go watch a film that I knew would be difficult. I do have a habit of deliberately triggering myself though historically that would lead to various forms of self harm. Hopefully this will be cathartic. And while I’m under no impression that this rambling is going to save somebody else, I do hope that my post will contribute to the growing confidence of survivors to speak out and be believed. Without shame or doubt.
It was not my fault, ever. I can’t heal until I accept that. Though I expect a lot more nightmares while I process, here’s to the beginning of a life free from the pain I’m currently in.
If anyone is experiencing abuse, has been assaulted, there are options. Get help if you can. Talk to someone. Decide how you want to progress, keep yourself safe by looking after your needs and know that I believe you.