I want to say right now, I didn't want to write it. It took two years to write, it came and bugged the hell out of me. I was stuck at four thousand words for what felt like months. I knew what was coming and I didn't want to go there. I don't like reading books that make you cry, all those Oprah book club books are not for me. Cancer-nope, death-nope, rape please fuck no. Here's the thing though as a writer you don't always get to choose the stories that come to you. So I opened it up again and started to write and I cried often like a two year old who had their binky taken away. I didn't want to write this but I feel it's important for women who have gone through it. There is a way out of all the pain but here's the thing, love isn't a magic bullet and it isn't fair to put all that you've been through on the one who loves you. Get counseling and not all counselors work the same, for my physical abuse it was EMDR that saved my life. I am not exaggerating and I'm not kidding, I would have overdosed or found a violent for sure way to end my life, the mental pain was too much and I crawled into bottles of wine until I realized I couldn't keep doing it. I had a choice, counseling or one more bottle of wine and a bottle of a pain killer. EMDR is painful it isn't one and done but it can work, and it worked for me. (I'm not telling you it will save your life and endorsing it above all others so don't sue my ass if it doesn't work for you, all I'm saying is it worked for me.)
I've always been the kind of person who wasn't just a watcher, an observer of life, I've also been a listener who doesn't make judgments, I simply listen. If you want advice make sure you're ready to hear what you need to hear not what you want to hear. One woman who was my age but so much prettier and she always seemed so happy 'confessed' that's how it felt, that she was sexually abused by her step-father for over two years. It tormented her to that day, more than fifteen years later. She spoke of dreams where she wanted it and begged for it. I had had glancing knowledge of victims of rape but the vicious sneak attack rape not the silent for years by someone you are supposed to trust and feel safe with. I offered the explanation that seemed right, her mind was trying to make sense of it and the dreams were a part of that not that she wanted it and even if for some reason she wanted sex that at eight when he was the adult he should have said no but that's never how it happened in real life. She seemed relieved as if I had unlocked her but still it was clear she needed more help. I encouraged her to seek counseling but she backed away, she didn't want anyone to know why that she was dirty from what had been done to her. I wanted to cry, she had been the victim for two years and still fifteen years later she was still a victim not because she wanted to but because she believed she was dirty because she was raped against her will.
Another woman I met told me of a somewhat similar experience but by her brother and for longer. When she made it stop her brother shot himself and she had to watch her family grieve but not know why and now that he was dead she felt she couldn't tell the truth. She became sexually aggressive to the point where when she talked to me she admitted she had no idea how many men she slept with she admitted to group sex but admitted she hated herself and everyone who had touched her when it was over. Her problem was she didn't want to be that way anymore but she didn't know how to break her pattern and by then she had a reputation. Once again I talked to her about counseling. She said she would go if I would go, as I've said before I was physically and mentally abused by my mother for years and there were times I still had problems with it. A handshake was done and our job (sometimes big name companies are worth the benefits) would pay for six sessions and we agreed to go for the six, honor system. She went, I know she did but I have no idea how it helped her. (This was one of those times when it didn't work for me. It took three different therapists to find the one who worked. Don't give up.)
As so often happens when someone shares something deeply personal with me, she pulled back and away as if it hurt her for me to know her secret. I do know less than six months later she transferred and I like to think it was the beginning of something new for her. One thing she said again and again that tortures me to this day is, 'Who could love someone, want someone after everything I've done? All the men, all those nasty things I did. Who would want someone as gross as me?'
All I could say was, 'Someone will, someday.'
Often I think of her and I hope she found her peace, after what she went through she deserves it.