my journey through the pursuit of love & happiness

the dirty b & r word– it gets better

Posted on: October 21, 2010

Every time someone told me that my blog is personal and reveals a lot about myself, I always disagreed. Below is why.

I started writing this blog post about nearly a month ago after my last sexual assault. I never posted it but writing many things out helped me and proved a needed catharsis.

The irony (?) had not been lost on me that I read this article one day before the fifth man in my life would trespass against me. The article had been thinking and rethinking about a lot.

This blog is my early experience with almost rape, rape and bullying.

Yes it does get better.

….

My most prominent memories of both the b & r word are associated with one of my first dating relationships.

This was my first experience with almost rape and actual rape. Like many females my age I imagined rapists as strangers, someone who jumped out of a bush and attacked you blindsided. What I didn’t know was that there are many people out there who will prey on you, ware you down, bully you, emotionally and physically abuse you. These people will claim to love you. What I didn’t know at such a young age was that someone who professed to love you could hurt you in such a horrible way.

My friends didn’t know this either. When I told one of my best friends in high school (who went to another school) that my boyfriend had hit me she said, “what do you mean?” It was a concept foreign to both of us at our age. She did not know what to say or do. And why would she, she was only 14.

I finally pulled myself up from the boots to leave that relationship. It wasn’t easy. There was so much social pressure on me from female peers to stay with him. They still looked at and valued him as a catch. Of course, no one at my high school knew of any of the abuse he inflicted on me (one friend didn’t like him). What my peers did know was that he had cheated on me with~4 girls. You think that would be enough to leave a relationship, yet he painted me as this ungrateful girl who didn’t deserve him and publicly flaunted his so called devotion–and to my dismay nearly all my ‘friends’ agreed with him.

It was at that age that I knew I would never fit in. And I was content for the rest of my high school experience to not fit in with those girls.

I’m glad I didn’t let their pressure –or bullying– to fit in, to belong to their social network get to me. Their price was too high. I could not stay in that relationship and keep myself. Yes, it really did seem to me that their approval of me in their social network was contingent on me being in this relationship. I know this might be a hard concept to grasp but it is true. He had worked hard to get them on his side on now their friendship was at the price of me being with him–his approval meant their approval.

So I went through high school and kept walking as my ex’s friends bullied me I would be harassed at school. I would have many lies spread about me. I would have girls imply they would physically harm me. I would be harassed by some of his lady friends at parties and was asked why I was there and told to leave. I would have trash and food thrown at me.

I retreated more into school. I had friends outside of this peer group at school who had little to no idea what was going on. And why would they? We all had our problems at school. We were all experiencing teenage angst and I never said anything. None of us were trained to see a person being abused. We were children.

For the next couple of years I struggled with what had happened to me. The rape. The emotional abuse. The physical abuse.

The physical abuse was the beginning of the end. The physical abuse is something I had been taught was wrong. What I hadn’t been taught was what people who love you are capable of. But I suppose those are life’s lessons.

I struggled with shame and guilt. And although I attracted male attention it continued to make me uncomfortable and made me feel like I fit in even less. Girls don’t like you too much when their boyfriend is hitting on you.

It wasn’t until my senior year that I finally uttered the words ‘rape.’ It took me a while to be comfortable saying it– I know that sounds bizarre, but it’s true. And thank the heavens the first person–boyfriend– I told believed me. To this day I hate to think what would have happened to me if he hadn’t.

Some people learn early on how to lie and manipulate. I had no idea. I could not compete and didn’t want to. I always chose not to defend myself. I figured—as I do today— the people who are my friends and know me won’t believe this, people who are rational won’t believe this… but people are people and people want to believe what they hear.

It was worse in high school when girls rallied against someone–a villain. Someone they could easily accuse in the same sentence of stealing a boy and not deserving him. I hope for the sake of these girls that they grew out of that phase. That they grew to become confident women who do not need to tear down another female.

What I learned early and often in my life is the myth of sisterhood. There is no immediate bond between two people because they are both genetically female. There is no call for sisterhood to band together and make things better for all of us. And the only person looking out for yourself is you.

What persists is the competition between females. The need to be on top. The need to get more attention and be wanted more. I’ve always considered myself a non-player in this game because from such an early age I learned to loathe the attention from men, I learned to turn away when a man smiles–give dirty looks even. I learned to pull myself out of that rat race. It wasn’t worth it in high school and it’s not worth it now.

Male attention still makes me uncomfortable. I still turn away when a cute guy smiles at me. I still get surprised when a guy is interested–don’t they see I’m asexual?

I also learned that people place undue blame because they are afraid to admit the truth. If they admit the truth then that makes their lives harder. If they admit the truth then they could potentially be that girl, and mentally sometimes that is just too much to take. It makes dealing with these things at a young age that much harder.

I, like most girls, learned about rape and almost rape the very, very hard way.

I also learned to stand up and call people out. As much as I do not want to stand out I do want to let people know that this is not tolerated. This has come out at parties in college where one guy bragged about sleeping with a girl while she was passed out drunk. Who did he think he was? I told him that was the legal definition of rape. He didn’t like being called a rapist and left the party. Why was no one else upset? Why did the female friend I came with seem to not care? Didn’t she realize that could be her?

What I’ve experienced I would not wish on anybody.

So this is my own personal testament to say that life will always be hard and people may always suck, but it does get better. Life is worth fighting your way through.

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1 Response to "the dirty b & r word– it gets better"

Wow – really powerful…had no idea you had been through such severe experiences

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"IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE ME AT MY WORST, THAN YOU DON'T DESERVE ME AT MY BEST" -marilyn monroe

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