Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rape and rape fantasies

As I sit here deleting and retyping words, I realize there’s no way pretty way to say I was raped.

For years I wouldn’t even use the word at all. If the need arose, I would say I was “sexually assaulted.” The word “rape” is complicated and people don’t know how to deal with complicated. It’s a word that forces us to feel and question and relate to other human beings. It’s a word I hate and hope to eventually be unneeded.

Just typing the word is like ash in my mouth.

But I want to share my story. Someone who writes a blog I follow, Oh My God, That Britni’s Shameless, has recently had to deal with being raped herself and I’m hoping my story might help her or someone else. This isn’t something I talk about, so I’m not sure how it will come out. I’m not looking for sympathy, just understanding.

And if I only ever give one honest, naked piece of myself to this blog, then I want it to be this.

The first thing you have to understand is the way I grew up because you shouldn’t be surprised when I tell you I was only thirteen when this happened. Sad to say, that any rap video will give you a pretty good description of my childhood. Drugs, alcohol, sex, dropping out of school, prison, shoplifting, and foster homes were the norm where I lived. It wasn’t strange for girls to have kids before they were fifteen or to date men twice their age. Both my parents were tweakers and though my mother tried, she didn’t really give a shit what I was up to. So even though I was thirteen, had been drinking Cisco all day (yes because I really was that ghetto) and he was 22, it wasn’t some astounding significance. It just was just the way things happened where I lived.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I said no.

I’m not going to get into the details of what happened, but the first step was admitting that I really was raped. I’m ashamed it took me as long as it did. For a long time I thought maybe it wasn’t rape but somehow something less. I may have said no, but I didn’t fight or scream so how can it really be rape? I wasn’t beaten up or bruised. I didn’t press charges. I figured it must have been my fault, especially since it was someone I knew. Someone I had slept with before (once). In fact, he was the first person I ever slept with. How can it be rape? There a hundred thousand lies I've told myself to believe I wasn't raped.

But I’ll never forget the brief words, “It’s so cute the way you say no,” that he whispered in my ear as he took off my clothes.

That’s the part that’s really stayed with me all these years. The fact I still hesitate to say I was raped is one of the most upsetting things about the whole situation. That and the fact I can look at my situation with such detachment. It’s like it happened to someone else. I can look back and see it, but I can’t feel it and I want to be able to feel something. Anything. Rage or despair, it makes little difference.

Instead I feel nothing.

This happened ten years ago though so I’ve had a long time to come to terms with my situation and cope. That being said, I want to touch on another subject Britni brought up which is her fantasies involving rape since I have them too.

Personally, I don’t think there is anything shameful about being raped and then having rape fantasies. Fantasies are an unrealistic way at looking at sex. Even though a lot of fantasies can be achieved, they still derive from the imagination and are therefore outside of reality.

Rape fantasies are usually about being overpowered and taken by another person. This other person is overcome with lust and want and therefore can’t control themselves. The woman is absolved of any responsibility and walks away feeling wanted and desired. We see this time and time again in books and movies. Nancy Friday wrote in her 1973 classic My Secret Garden, "Rape does for a woman's sexual fantasy what the first martini does for her in reality: Both relieve her of responsibility and guilt… She gets him to do what she wants him to do, while seeming to be forced."

In reality though, rape is none of these things. It’s about power and violence and sexual fulfillment of only the offender.

The sad reality is our bodies were made for sexual reproduction and therefore respond to sexual arousal whether we want it to or not. The betrayal of a persons body (responding or having orgasms) while being raped is one of the most complex feelings we can experience and is one of the hardest aspects to deal with.

So I guess that's it. If you're reading this and you've been sexually assaulted, remember you're not alone and it does get better.

Here is a link to RAINN, The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. I hope you never have to use it.


  1. “It’s so cute the way you say no,”

    My stomach dropped reading that. I am so sorry that you had to experience that. This is an amazing post, and thank you for helping me realize that I am not alone in fetishizing and fantasizing about the sexual assault, even though it was anything but pleasurable.

    I don't know if I would have been able to cope as well if it had happened to me at such a young age. You are an amazing woman.

  2. As a guy i fined it hard to comment on things like this, I dont really know what to say. The gravity of the issue is so overwhelming that good, right words fail me.

    No is no! end off. I have a suspicion this may have happened to my mother as she has once made a passing reference to it some years ago to me.

    I now understand your view point on certain issues and see where you are coming from.

    Also i think that telling your story was and is a very hard thing to do and that it was the right thing to do to help another person.

    Talking about these things is good especially for those that have been raped. It lets them know they are not alone and that it was NOT thier fault.

    Ant x

  3. I was a good girl my whole life. I waited to have sex, I waited to get married, I tried to do everything right.

    And then he took my life and ended it. He would have been more merciful if he'd just killed me dead and dumped my body somewhere. God knows it would have been easier on me.

    In some ways, you're lucky not to feel anything. It's called dissociation. It's healthy believe it or not, it's your mind trying to protect you from the horrors of what happened.

    Fantasies? Yeah, wow. I was a good girl. All those years of being a good girl I fantasized about falling in love, getting married, building a future, a family, an enduring love that makes life more than marking time between cradle and grave.

    That was before he killed me. Before I died. Before he introduced me to a horror so real, a death so hard, that I don't know why I'm still alive at times. Other time I wish I wasn't, so I didn't have to keep feeling the helplessness, the isolation, the filth, the shame, pain, flashbacks and nightmares that make me want to kill myself so I don't have to do THAT again.

    And then of course are the fantasies now. That I'll be walking somewhere and some complete stranger will rape and murder me one more time. Slowly, painfully. ONE. LAST. TIME. So that finally I really will be dead, and the pain of it all will be behind me, and I don't have to think, feel or remember it again. So that I won't have to stay locked away in my house forever because once you've been destroyed like that, it's so over. Life. Love. Everything and nothing. Done.

    So I'm numb in a different way. I go shopping at three in the morning at well lit, well protected grocery stores with self check out lanes so I don't have to be near people. I don't let people close, because once someone you gave yourself to willingly, uses and abuses you and then throws you away like garbage how can you ever trust anyone again. Once someone uses your heart, mind, body and soul against yourself, and violates everything, what's left?

    When someone tell you that your feelings, your desires, your boundaries mean nothing, and will just be ignored, well it more than hurts. I kinda envy you in ways. You and Britni both, because you're both stronger than I am. Britni's right, you are an amazing woman.

    First time I was raped was ten years ago this year. But it was a slow, painful, abusive build up to it. From there it was all down hill. I was just a thing to him, less important than his cat. But I stayed and it happened again, and again . . . But that's a whole different story.

    So I guess what I'm saying is in ways, you're lucky. Growing up, I dissociated. God knows I had plenty of reasons. My father abused me from the time I was five until he threw me out of the house at seventeen. I still don't feel anything about that, and I hope I never do. Living with what my husband did is enough like hell.

    I'm dirty, damaged, worse than a . . . I don't know what. The darkness he poured into my heart and soul onto my flesh, I'm trying to get it off me, out of me, away from me. So yeah, I have dark, horrific fantasies that both horrify and repulse me, and at the same time turn me on. Why? Because HE told me, showed me, that was all I was good for. Rage and despair? Yeah. I feel some of that. I'm so terrified of anger that it all turns to soul crush despair. So I fight every day to stay above the water and keep from drowning in all the darkness. To find some bright spots, to hold on to whatever bits I can and slowly heal and grow.

    And I wrestle with the demon inside me that makes me want to go out and put myself at risk. To have someone take me again, and this time as he's raping me to say, by the way bitch. the moment I have my fun you're life is over. Because I'm going to fill you with AIDS. And have him laugh manically as he's raping me. And in that fantasy when he tell me that I'm going to die from this, I just lay back, relax and enjoy myself. Not because he's raping me, but because I will know finally, that death is coming for me. That I'll finally be able to sleep, that it will be over. Or at least I tell myself that, even if I know it's not true. And because it means it really was my fault all along, and that it was my fault and I should just get over myself. That I brought it on myself. That I asked for it.

    Wow. I'm sorry. This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to write. Harder even than "Everything and Nothing" that I wrote four years ago. Why? Because I wasn't detached from it quite the same way as I was back then.

    This is a long, long way of saying that I hope you find your way slowly and gently to some feelings. Or that maybe you get to skip past the worst part and find yourself at the end of the grieving cycle. Cause I wouldn't want you to have to go through some of the stuff I'm . . . dealing with. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to cross post this on my blog. In part because I can't believe I wrote this and because somehow, and I don't this, I feel a little better than when I started reading you post, after finding my way here from Britni's blog.

    Yeah, deleting and retyping words? Oh yeah, I get that. I get how hard it was to say "I was raped." Wow, there, I said it too. Wasn't exactly my first time talking about it, and I don't know if it's the first time I've said it in so many words, or those words exactly. Why? Because while I can remember in perfect detail what he did to me. I cannot always remember other things.

    I feel quite often like "Sam Beckett" in "Quantum Leap" my memory all Swiss cheesed. Can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I remember everything he did in startling clarity. I'd much rather remember breakfast. Heck I'd even be happy with not remembering how it all felt. That would be a start.

    Wow. I'm sorry you had to go through what you did, and I'm sorry I kinda vomited all over your blog.

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