How did I not know I was raped when I was 12?
This is the story of how I remembered the full experience and took a turn back to myself.
I was 22 years old, in my first monogamous relationship with a man I thought I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with. It was not the first time I had been in love, but it was the first time I chose to be monogamous.
I had been in love a few times before but always wanted all of the things, all of the boys. I know now that there was also an insecurity that was avoiding rejection by being the kind of person who insisted on polyamory before we knew what to call it.
This man, Bob, I was in love with in such a way that I had no interest in anyone else. Early on in our courtship, before sex (he was the first one I ever “waited” for), he told me that he wouldn’t see me if I was with other men; it was easy for me to agree because I didn’t want anyone else. It really wasn’t a sacrifice, it took no discipline.
This was a pattern that continued throughout our relationship: actions that I took that meant a lot to him, but not much to me because they were easy. But I was incapable of the hardest thing: being truly vulnerable with him.
The eve of the winter solstice (December 20th), Bob and I were engaged in an intense conversation (this was common for this Scorpio man whom I loved) about sex, love, and us.
Bob gently nudged me to look at why I spaced out so much, especially during sex. I would go into ecstasy, but would rarely look at him. I had some awareness that as soon as I began to feel pleasure, I would leave my body and enter an altered state of disembodied euphoria. To me, this was normal, but for Bob, this left him feeling alone and disconnected from me.
I was motivated by love to be different. I wanted to be everything that Bob needed and wanted. I wanted to be all of things to him that he was to me.
I slept alone that night. I snuggled into the flannel sheets and tried to understand why I couldn’t connect sex and love. I felt alone, as if I was reaching across the cosmos for Bob and connection, but all I could see was blackness and night.
I thought if I went back to the beginning of my sexual history and retraced my steps, perhaps I would find where I went wrong. I went back to the night that I lost my virginity. I played it over and over in my mind. But every time I would try to move onto the next man (hardly any boys in my life), my mind would go back to that first night with “Dicky.” I knew there was something not right about it, but I couldn’t quite see it; it was obscured by 10 years of denial, justification, and rationalization.
I needed to make the experience of losing my virginity as normal as I could and hold it my mind in such a way that I could go on with life. I had myself convinced that I had consented, and had, in fact, consented a few times after that first night, just to prove to myself that I had wanted it. I needed to believe that I had been in control, that I had not been forced, taken advantage of, or manipulated in any way. I had spent years pursuing the same kind of random sex acts in public places with adult men to prove to myself that this is what I liked and wanted.
I could not, on my own, undo 10 years of cover-up. I skimmed through the rest of my sexual partners and love interests and went to sleep, feeling no resolution.
I woke the next morning with a suspicion that I had uncovered some clue, but still had no clarity. Bob and I shared coffee in the bright blue and white kitchen beneath the cozy cave where I had slept.
It was the morning of the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the light begins to return. The sun was its brightest, shining through the bare trees and filling the kitchen with warm light, joining the heat of the wood stove that sat in the middle of the room.
I began to relay the story of how I lost my virginity to Bob, as if I was reading the newspaper. I had no recollection or connection to the feelings of that night. Bob listened to the whole story, and then said to me in a quiet voice, “Blakey, you were raped.”
I stared at him. There was a ripple in my consciousness; somewhere, I felt the truth of this statement. I opened my mouth to start a protest, to insist that I had consented. Then he said, “What would you say if a 12-year-old girl told you this story?” That question shattered my wall of denial and rationalization. When I saw myself as a 12-year-old girl, there was no denying the truth of what he said.
I sat there, staring at the trees, which now looked different. I could see the edges of their bare branches much more clearly. The whole world that I saw suddenly had crisp, clean edges. The inside of my mind felt like a flip-book; I could almost hear the whisper of fluttering pages as my whole sexual life was re-written and examined from this new angle.
I spent the entire day wondering at this new perspective. I had taken an interplanetary journey in the space of a few minutes with one question. Going from denial to awareness, from darkness to light.
Awareness can be the first step of awakening, but it takes a lot more than simply stepping into the light to transform and transcend. Awareness was all I had. Awareness with no skills to process it or understand how to continue the journey of healing and integration left me in limbo. I continued slowly nursing the addiction that had started before I was raped, and preferred escapism and apathy to depth and connection. I began to sink into self-pity, despair, and hopelessness—also known as depression. My relationship with Bob deteriorated.
In this new real world, my attitude and relationship to sex was totally changed. I started having body memories and would freeze up the moment I became aroused or would become filled with rage, even kicking Bob across the room at one point. I came to dread any sexual contact because I had no idea how I would react, so I avoided it.
There were some feeble attempts on my part of processing, but I was buried under addiction and depression. Bob and I separated, and I dove headfirst into addiction, pushing my unresolved emotions and feelings into the corner.
Almost another decade later, I received the gift of utter desperation and made another interplanetary journey from addiction to recovery. That is another story.
Today, I live happy, joyous, and free. I thrive in my life, embracing all the ups and downs.
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