When you find yourself in danger, if you cannot fight or flee successfully, freezing is your next best survival instinct.
I’ve been allowing these words to sink in. Yesterday was the first time anyone ever said that to me. Of course, I’d never spoken about the guilt I carry for freezing up during the times I was raped and “allowing” it to happen. I know I did what I did because I was scared to death. But I’ve always had a part of me that said: if you’d have fought harder, it wouldn’t have happened. Dr T set me straight, and it was difficult to hear.
Did not walk into my appointment thinking that was what I’d be talking about. I thought I’d be talking about the sibling rivalry problem between myself and my siblings. But, no. Somehow Dr T got me to open up. Maybe it was because we were talking in Dutch.
I’m practicing saying ‘no’, I told him. But it’s easier in Dutch. I told him I knew how important it was for me to say no and take care of myself first. And then…and then the word ‘verkracht’ (raped) came out, and he asked when and I said it wasn’t so much when as how often, and then I started talking about the stalker and the beatings and how I felt like a caged animal for years. The conversation flowed from Dutch to English to Dutch in a comfortable manner. So now he finally knows that bit about me.
We talked about sexuality, about relationships. Have you been able to have a successful relationship with a man after the rapes? No. No, I haven’t. Not unless I can take sex out of the equation right away. If I can get a guy to just see me as a person, someone to hang out with and eat pizza, it’s fine. If they think me in anyway as a woman, as a female, as attractive – it’s a mess. Treating me nicely, taking me to dinner, asking me to dress up; all of it freaks me out. I suppose the two date rapes that happened to me do not help this situation. *sigh* Never trust a man that drops a hundred bucks on a meal for you. Never. The more they pay, the more the feel they’ve paid for you and the more likely they’ll take what they think they’ve paid for. That’s been my experience.
Did you ever tell anyone? No. None other than my brother, who’s had the overview but not the messy details. And then came the biggie: I thought my family would blame me. And I was right; they would have. They would have blamed my clothing, the fact that I was drinking, the fact that I went out ‘looking for it’.
I once built up the courage to tell my eldest brother that the stalker was hitting me. His response was a cool So? No ‘you’ve got to get out of there’ or ‘how dare he’. Just So? Like I’d just told him a bulb was burnt out in the house or something.
I was right to say nothing. I know I was. With that attitude, all I would have heard was how much of a slut I was, that I was already practically a whore so I might as well make it official, on and on, ad infinitum.
Trust your instincts, Beeps. The doc just told you you have good survival instincts. Trust them.
People here think I exaggerate. About my family, life in the states, etc. I’m not, naturally. A strange thing happens to people. They begin to act like they know an area because they spent a few days on holiday there. I’ve had loads of Europeans say ‘Oh, yes, I know the US’ and then go on to tell me how last year they spent a week in NYC or Boston. I look these people square in the eye and ask ‘If an American spent a week in Amsterdam would you say they know the Netherlands?’ Here in Rotterdam that’s a kicker; no one will say ‘yes’. Then I move on to explaining how large the US is. How different the states are from each other. The language, the customs, the laws, the taxes – all different. And finally I get them to admit that no, they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m happy that their logic allows them to follow my argument, that they can readily and easily admit their mistakes. I’m not happy that I have to lay the argument out, over and over, to each fool I meet. I feel like I’m having the same conversation continually loop. Goddess! And why do I have to be the one who teaches everyone? Can’t someone else do if for a few decades?
…How do you change the world? One human at a time.
The dregs of a hurricane from the Mediterranean are hitting NL today. High winds, rain. I’d like to get to the gym for a while. Work out and think on Dr T’s words. They’re having a big impact on me. They wash the last self-imposed blame from my body: I was not to blame. Nothing I did merited what happened to me. I went into survival instinct.
And they must have felt my head pulling away, or trying to pull away, as they shoved it down on their cocks deeper and deeper until I felt I was going to gag. They must have felt my fear, my frozen unwantingness. How dry my vagina was. How quickly I left afterwards. My lack of touch, lack of desire. It was all there. And they raped me.
I was not to blame.