It's been one year since my rape. Funny how things change in a year. When it first happened there was a lot I didn't remember because I was drunk and had blacked out. One year later I don't remember all that much, just things I felt were warning signs of abusive behavior. Those memories aren't of that night necessarily, but rather of a pattern that was slowly becoming clear. T was a masochist. He truly enjoyed dominating others and making them feel small. I can remember one time I was going to leave his apartment and he was laying on the couch. I sat at the edge to kiss him goodbye and he told me he thought I should go down on him. I told him no, and kissed him. He had unzipped his pants and told me that he was serious and forced my head down. I didn't think anything of it then and just gave in because of the force on my head. He once made me cry from the force of pushing my head down and the fact that he wouldn't let me up. Again, all signs. I blamed myself for a long time, part of me still does. But a larger part of me looks to those warning signs, and in spite of the fact that I ignored them early on knows that it would have happened regardless of what I had done that night because in some ways it already had.
It took me awhile to realize that I was raped because I never believed that people you knew would rape you. I had heard of acquaintance rape but no one I knew had that happen to them so I thought it was very rare, or only in the case of children abused by family members or family friends. Naive, I know, but I didn't know better. And part of me felt like I might have done something to encourage it because we had previously had sex consensually and maybe I did something similar that night. But I know that I didn't. The only thing I did was have three drinks and get trashed, something that to this day still seems surprising because I can usually handle more alcohol than that.
A few weeks after the rape I was convinced I was pregnant. I wasn't on the pill at the time that we had sex and I knew he didn't use protection. It would have been at a time when I was ovulating, and when my period was late I was petrified I was pregnant with that bastard's child. I had always been a firm believer in abortion, but it's easy to feel that way when you're deciding on whether any woman should have the choice or not, not so easy when it's your choice and your body.
I put things out of my head for awhile, tried to convince myself I was fine and tried dating. The first time I was intimate with someone I cried. And I'm not talking a few tears I mean that I was bawling and shaking. It was horrible. Not only because it was the first time after the rape, but because I felt obligated to tell him. His reaction was not kind. He was okay at first but after we had sex voiced the opinion that he thought most women lied about rape in an effort to gain attention and sympathy. I was enraged and baffled by how someone could hold such an opinion. If I wanted attention and sympathy I could find a better lie to craft then rape.
I did not do the traditional route. I avoided therapy. I vented in my journal and talked with people who had been through similar experiences. I threw myself into my work and spent the 5 hours I drove back and forth across a state border thinking of what happened to me. For a long time I ran the scenario over and over again in my head. I felt that if I could just remember what happened I could view a turning point where I could have changed things and I would know better for next time. But it doesn't work like that, and I have to know that I couldn't have changed it. Because even if we had consensual sex that night or he didn't rape me, he would have raped me at another point in the future.
I had a slight moment of insanity when I discovered his Match.com profile. It's still up. I love just having fun and doing whatever the mood calls for. There are times where that statement in his profile bothers me, as if the mood ever calls for strangling a woman while you rape her. What didn't help was the fact that he still emailed. Actually he still does to this day. If there is a holiday he sends me an online greeting card. It disgusts me.
And yet in spite of all of this there is part of me that for the first time feels as if there is hope that I can be normal, and that I can be with someone that does not cause me to have a panic attack. I started seeing someone three months ago. It is still early and new, but he knows. It came up in conversation and I told him. He only knows that I was raped, he does not know specifics or that it was videotaped. And in spite of that he still wants to see me. Maybe there can be nice people out there.
Eleven months ago when I had my first mini anniversary (one month) I wondered if I would be insane by the time I reached a year because at that point I was pretty crazy on this subject. Never did I envision that I would be this calm about it. I can't change what happened. I can't change my behavior. I can't change his tendencies. I can change how I let it affect me. And maybe that's the biggest change of all.