A snapshot: an out-of-place teen in rural New Zealand

1.

She was back.

She paused at the door to her form room, blue and white checked skirt neat just above her knees (not yet rolled up). Crisp white polo, bag over one shoulder, all with her latest accesories: sweaty hands, dry mouth, heart beating up in her throat. She is 14.

Pause. Open. Smile. (Uncertainly).

The first person she sees is her ex best friend. Years of dance, sleepovers, petulant fights and secrets is discarded in her quick up-down, a glimpse of surprise quickly masked by “Oh, look, Grace is in our form room”. She says this with overly sarcastic joy, and no eye contact, loudly enough so everyone turns and stares at her.

Blush.

2.

She had to ‘re-adjust’. Every adult said this to her. She had to find her feet again (where did she leave them?). She had to settle back in (as if she had been settled before). These contradictions stayed unspoken, mostly, and she nodded, smiled and hid into herself, wishing.

Grace’s wish list: I want to go back to England to live, for good this time, not just a year. I want to be ‘the kiwi’, the foreigner in a friendly country, and stand out in a good way, as the shiny interesting person, not as the weirdo who left for a year and was now back, with a slightly different accent and stories that no one cared about. I want to be with my old friends, my wacky, loud friends with their total disregard for personal space. I want to talk about snogging, and Muse, and wear flares, and fantasise about Josh Hartnett.

These wishes started to pile up, and she was surprised at the weight of them. She fed and added to them by writing long letters to these friends, in different coloured markers, folded into intricate squares that only they knew how to open. In moments of solitude (and she found there were quite a lot, now) she would paw through the mementos her friends gave her, the ankle bracelets, the goth necklace with huge spikes, the tie-dye tshirt and rings and earrings, enjoying the feel of the different textures on her fingers as she gently remembered.

Slowly at first and then with a rush, this wishing and remembering starting hurting. It was an ache, right beneath where her ribs joined, and it was too much, it hurt too much and she would cry, in her single bed each night, arms wrapped around her middle and hunched right over, hurting and rocking and aching and crying. And wishing.

Grace’s wish list: I want to stop feeling. I want to stop experiencing my life. I want it all to go away.

These new wishes overtook the old ones. They filled her mind, every lonely, plodding day through school, through the dusty bus ride home where she would shrink and hope not to be picked on, through the cycle back to her house along the flat, gravel road, through the absent conversations and zombie chores and half hearted homework attempts. They would fill her mind until she’d be alone in her single bed again.

One night she found herself digging her nails into the skin on the inside of her wrist, tears wet on her cheeks, and unable to look away or stop herself as she slowly dragged one nail down towards her elbow. Only a centimetre or so. But it was enough for the skin to scrape back, the pricks of red blood to turn into drops and the pain the radiate up her arm, through her chest and down into that hole of hurt.

And she felt so calm.

This continued, not every night, but most. Her days would be exercises in invisibility and survival until she could retreat to her cocoon and hurt herself. After a while her fingernails weren’t enough and she searched around for something sharper, fingers landing on the goth necklace her English school-girl crush had given her, black and silver beads interspersed with centimetre long silver spikes. That night she pushed the tip of the spike into her skin, wiggling it around until the pain became too much and she sank into a dreamless, numb, sleep.

3.

Tess saved her life. (She said this to her, once, sharing her double bed and whispering to each other: “You saved my life”. She laughed it off like she always did, but under the sheets, reached down and gave her hand a light, brief squeeze). Continue reading

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These violent delights.

He has big features. He once said that to me, over a dazed breakfast. “I have big features. I have big hands, and big feet, and big facial features. People have told me that before.” He was right. His hands could fit (almost) all the way around my

throat.

He is a chef. (Was? I haven’t had any contact with him for over 8 months). He worked as aggressively as he fucked, by the sounds of it. Keeping his staff in line with verbal backhands, rewarding with a dirty joke, drinks and a joint.

You have to know what he looked like. He was stocky, formidably strong, with a chest you could punch and kick and your fist would meet flesh and warm, solid muscle. You’d be cringing, because the look in his face was

“You’re going to fucking get it now”

But, I don’t want to give the impression that he was a ranting, angry guy. He was sharpened as delicately as one of his knives. His aggressiveness was always under the surface, and if, like me, you were sensitive to picking that kind of stuff up then you could definitely notice it. The potential for him to fuck you up was very real, very present. But, he was also hilarious. God, he would make me laugh! He spent a lot of time thinking, wrote affirmations to himself on his bathroom mirror, had 2 tiny fluffy dogs, worked out, smoked weed, socialized, travelled, had girlfriends. We went to a party together, dropped some MDMA and danced and laughed and tried to pick up women.

We brought out the darkest in each other.

He made me bleed, by holding my jaw open and fucking my mouth so hard that my teeth cut a long, thin slice into my upper lip. He slapped me until he bruised my cheek and jawbone, which clicked for weeks. (By chance, a friend of mine who was an osteopath did some work on me, and after running his fingers down the sides of my face exclaimed, ‘huh, you’re a bit out of line’, and jolted my jaw back into place). He bit me so hard that I screamed “Red” (the only time) and  the bruise, the size of my closed fist, purpled my thigh for close to a month. He would work his fingers inside me until I would

bleed

and then go harder. While I’d be screaming in pain and

ecstasy.

Now, 8 months later, in therapy. I start making the link between

the prevalence of self-harming tendencies that she began acting on in her teenage years, and

asking this man to fuck me til I cry.

Eliminate violence? Love myself.

SO GLAD! Yelling it at 13,500 ft!!

SO GLAD! Yelling it at 13,500 ft. Tajumulco, Guatemala

I wrote this during an earthquake-y November in Guatemala, 2012. I rented a second floor apartment in the centre of Xela, and spent a month lying on sun-warm concrete tiles, surrounded by car alarms and relentless reggaeton, and took stock. This was the result of that.

I have written about violence before. Fear, pain, degradation, brutality, tears. Violence that, to any outsider, is graphic, visceral, and looks incredibly real, but to a kinkster is a magical creation of careful negotiation and trust. Consensual violence turns me on, I have fantasized about it for years and I practice it with relish.

However, here I am writing about a different type of violence. One that is often not portrayed accurately in TV and movies. It cannot be neatly pegged by stereotypical images or words. For the victim it can be secret, quiet, stigmatized. For the outsider it’s uncomfortable, embarrassing, horrifying, too close, too scary to unpack in detail. I am a woman who has survived this type of violence. And I am writing this on November 25th, three days before my 25th birthday, because it is Eliminate Violence Against Women Day and, for the first time in my life, this day is for me.

5 months ago, I was raped. I want to stop hiding this in the closet like a dirty secret that can’t be mentioned. I feel, now, like this is a part of who I am. This in itself is tricky- it’s as if by saying this I’m giving my rapist more of me, more importance. But then, on the flip side, this really was life-altering, and not *just* a bad experience to be forcefully erased. I AM a rape survivor. I feel like I’m going out on a bit of a scary limb writing about this, because in my experience people don’t discuss rape in detail. People talk about other awful things: car accidents, earthquakes, fires, assault, cancer. But I’ve found that once you say the word ‘rape’, that’s a conversation stopper.

So, on this day, I’m going to write about my rape. I’m going to tell you how it happened, how I reacted in the months afterwards, and what I feel now. My hope is that, with this small and highly personal step, I can contribute to an open discussion of violence. My hope is that by sharing this, I can experience relief, it’s difficult to feel so much and keep it so hidden. My hope is that, with this piece of writing, I can honor and draw attention to Eliminate Violence Against Women Day in a real, non-abstract way.

I feel like I have already given plenty of preamble, but just a couple more things. I do discuss my rape in detail in the following paragraphs, so if you’re prone to sexual violence flashbacks then here is a trigger warning. If you’d like to keep reading the rest of my writing, you can skip the paragraphs between the lines of asterisks. Also, this entire piece is highly personal and subjective. This is my experience, this is how I feel, and I am in no way saying that any other rape victims might feel the same way as I do, or have any reason to. Neither am I saying that how I’ve dealt with my rape is the ‘right’ way to do so. It’s what’s worked for me, but I am definitely not claiming that it is superior or better than how any other person may deal with rape.

************

I was halfway through my glorious year of travel and I had arrived in a new city. I was planning on living here for a few months, so I did what I’ve done many times before, without any incident. I looked for a room on Craigslist, and found one, cheaper than most, with one male room-mate. This time, however, the Russian roulette that is internet classifieds was not in my favor. I got the bullet. My room-mate rapist defies all prejudiced stereotyping, and lends himself to others. Tall, strong, white, same age as me. Owns his own business, university graduated, close to his brother and still-together parents. Heavy drug user. Holds misogynistic attitudes towards women.

My rape was confusing. I can’t remember any of the first assault. I was being celebrated with ‘welcome to your new home’ drinks on my first night at the apartment. I was given a tequila shot, carefully poured and handed to me by him. I next remember waking up in his bed, naked, bruised and disoriented. He’s snorting a line of coke off my ass. I blearily ask where his friends were, and what was I doing naked in his bed? Did we have sex? He is defensive, aggressive. He looks me right in the eyes and tells me I seduced him. He tells me he knew he shouldn’t “screw the crew”, but I stripped in front of him and begged him to fuck me. He tells me he wanted to walk away, but I was so sexy he couldn’t help it and gave in. He tells me I wanted this. He then turns me over and fucks me, without emotion, with propriety. I’m surprised at how sore I feel, and bewildered. What was happening? Did I initiate this? Did I want it? I freeze, kept my mouth closed, submit.

He leaves for work, and I spend the first day at my new apartment lying numbly on the couch, watching hours of reality TV, not thinking, not eating, not moving, not leaving. He returns, jittery high. Obviously my month’s rent, paid in cash the day before, was going right up his nose. A friend of his comes over, and he counsels him on how to “deal with that dumb bitch”: his friend’s girlfriend. My head is pounding, nausea, trapped. I can’t stand to listen to their conversation, to the rantings of an misogynistic coke head, feeling his huge hands clenching and unclenching on my shins as he pulls my legs into his lap. I feel numb. I feel powerless. I can’t think, can’t take a step back and evaluate the situation. I do the only thing I am capable of: quietly extract myself, tiptoe to my room, and fall asleep.

He crashes into my room around midnight. He is manically high, and holding out another tequila shot to me. Thankfully my indignation at being awoken partially breaks through my numbness and I refuse the shot, asking him to leave my room. He tells me it was his room, because I was in his apartment. He tells me I’m rude for not taking the shot. He tells me I am his. He undoes his jeans, pushes his cock in my face, takes out his phone and tells me to smile at the camera while his dick is down my throat. He leaves as suddenly as he had entered, muttering about going to score. I sink into emptiness.

3am, he strides in again. This time he slaps me hard, on my cheek, and then bites my shoulder. He orders me to put on a new dress I have, and then tells me to strip. I obey him, robotically. He fucks me again, telling me that he isn’t interested in trying to pick up at bars tonight, because why would he need to, when he has a sexy thing like me at home. I close my eyes, retreat into myself, ignore his manic conversation, his panting, his coke shakes. He leaves and I keep my eyes closed, frozen on the bed. He comes in one more time, laughs and smashes my cellphone on the ground, tells me he’ll buy me an iphone, and a car, and he’ll find me a part-time job. He fucks me again, pushing inside me brutally. I am like a blow-up doll.

I can’t fall asleep when he leaves this time. He’s ranting in the lounge to someone- I think it’s his dealer- for hours. He rants about dumb bitches. He rants about his big dick. He rants about nothing. Around eight in the morning his ranting starts to drive me crazy, like a never-ending car alarm. This finally breaks through my stupor, and I look around the room at my smashed cellphone, the untouched tequila shot, my dress crumpled on the floor. I look at my body with detachment; purply-red bruises on my thighs, scratches, sheets tangled in my legs. I look smashed and crumpled too. This makes me angry! My anger is pure, quick, lifesaving. I recognize that I’m not safe. I recognize that I feel scared, and have for the last 48hours. I recognize that I don’t trust this man, raging in the next room. I wait, huddling under the covers, wishing he won’t come in again, wishing for silence. An hour later I get it. Tiptoeing I pull myself out of bed and open my bedroom door a crack. I can see into the lounge, and see his feet on the couch. Holding my breath I peek around the door a bit more. He’s asleep.

My heart is banging in my chest, adrenaline rushes through me, delicately laced with fear. I close my door quietly, reassemble my cellphone and text the only person I know in this city, asking if I can come and stay with her for a couple of days. Miraculously she responds immediately, telling me to come right now. I start crying with relief, the tears surprise me, I didn’t realize they were so close to the surface. I pack quickly, efficiently. I’m barely aware of my actions, but my body is moving on autopilot, racing against the clock, racing against the fear of him waking. I call a cab, zip up my bag. I sit on the bed and fold my shaking hands in my lap. I wait. The phone rings, the cab is here. I pull on my backpack; palms sweaty, throat dry, heart pounding, head spinning, I step out into the lounge and start tiptoeing towards the door. Like a bad dream, he wakes, sits up, pale and gaunt, sweaty with drug come-down. I freeze, eyes wide, caught. He’s between me and the door. He asks me what the fuck I’m doing. A voice, it doesn’t feel like mine, tells him I’m leaving. I feel totally detached, I’m numb again, but the anger and fear is driving something inside me and I take a couple of steps towards freedom. I tell him the taxi is waiting. He jumps up, positions himself in front of the door, starts telling me I’m crazy. He’s looking right at me. He tells me I wanted this. He tells me I begged him. He tells me I’m sexy. He tells me he’s more than infatuated with me. He invites me to lunch with his parents. He tells me he’s never connected with a girl as much as he has with me. He tells me he thought we had something.

I think of the cab, behind that door, safe and yellow, with no coke or tequila or raging men with hard-ons. I look everywhere but at him. I tell him I’m not comfortable staying here. I tell him his coke use scares me. I tell him the taxi is here. I tell him I’m leaving. I start walking again, and wonderfully, unbelievably, he steps to the side, just enough to let me pass. I keep my head down, eyes unblinking, squeeze past him. I feel his eyes burning into my face, and as I open the door I hear the last thing he’ll ever speak to me: “crazy bitch.

********

I’m a pro-active rape victim. It took me around 2 hours after I escaped to realize what a scary, dangerous situation I’d been in, and around another 2 hours for the thought to form in my head that perhaps I’d been drugged, and raped. I found a rape crisis centre, I had a forensic examination at the hospital, I connected with a support group, I spent weeks advocating for myself for free counseling (and found an awesome, kink friendly counselor). I used what skills I had to help myself process and re-open: yoga, writing and BDSM. This is ongoing work.

Since I was raped I have felt the inescapable and judgmental gaze of Victim Blame. I experienced Victim Blame initially, and intentionally from my rapist; then inadvertently (I hope to believe, anyway) from well-meaning friends, family, police, general acquaintances, Ministry of Justice. In the months directly following my rape I felt ashamed that it didn’t look more like a TV depiction of rape, that I didn’t scream “No!”, that I experienced total numbness and detachment during the assault. I was ashamed that I didn’t even try to physically fight him, that it took me 48hours before I could leave. I was ashamed that my rape isn’t as bad as some people’s, and that I should just keep it to myself, because I was lucky and have, in all intents and purposes “bounced back”. I was ashamed that people might see that talking, writing, bringing attention to my rape as a call for attention, that I’m pulling the “rape card”, that I’m looking for pity. I was ashamed that I can’t remember the first night, that perhaps I did seduce him, that perhaps I got too drunk, that perhaps I was “looking for it”. I was ashamed that I was too trusting, that I didn’t protect myself better on Craigslist, but that now I have “learnt my lesson”. I was ashamed that when I asked for financial support with counseling, it was granted on the terms that it was “more likely than not” that I was raped. But they couldn’t say definitely.

I’ve been told all of the above, in the last 5 months. I’ve written about my feelings here in past tense, but honestly, the often subtle gaze of Victim Blame cuts so deep that I struggle not to turn it on myself. I’m most ashamed that I still repeat these things back to myself, and sometimes too, when I’m feeling low and vulnerable, I believe them.

I am not angry at those who inadvertently stray into Victim Blame, the opposite in fact. I feel acute sympathy for those who I’ve told about my rape. We aren’t really taught how to respond to the trauma and crisis of rape. I recognize that in the face of horrifically bad news, some people can resort to humor, accidental blame, cheery phrases, because that can hide the sickening feeling that someone you love has been hurt, by another person. That something so horrible can and does happen to People You Know.

I have suddenly been thrown into a world where lots of women talk about rape. Generally not in the detail I’ve discussed mine here, but I meet women in my support group who have been raped, sometimes numerous times, often by men close to them. I’ve become used to women outside of my support group, almost shyly, in half whispers, telling me that they’ve been drugged before too. Or they didn’t give consent to a boyfriend, but he fucked them anyway. Or they might feel brave enough to say they were raped, but that they didn’t do anything about it, or seek help, because they didn’t want to make a fuss. Even though hearing this no longer shocks me, it still brings to the surface a swell of anger and misery- at the injustice, at the hopelessness. How dare they…how dare these men treat women in this way?! How dare they perpetrate violence through something so deeply damaging and intimate!  How can it be that in North America one in four women will experience sexual violence during her lifetime?! Isn’t this shocking, that the odds are so high it’s almost incredible I’ve made it to 24 without being raped yet! How can so much violence and inequality exist in the world?!

Mulling over this violence filled me with anger and hate. I don’t think I’ve hated anyone as much as I hated HIM. My anger was ferocious, and terrifyingly, it started consuming me to the point where I turned it on myself. I attempted to control every little aspect of my life, and berated myself with a cruelty that shocked me. And when my grip on control became too much to bear, then I’d drop into a spiral of self-destruction. I engaged in emotionless sport-fucking, I drank myself into comas and drugged myself to numbness and fake euphoria. I’d push myself physically, running until vomiting, and then spending entire days forgetting to eat or binging on junk food. Feeling so much anger wasn’t achieving anything positive in my life, and thankfully, I recognized that it brought on more misery, more despair. It was taking me to a place that I haven’t visited since I was a depressed teenager. Then I would exorcise the pain with cutting. Now, I had other ‘socially acceptable’ outlets, but they were just as harmful.

Crucially, I recognized that the anger, helplessness, control, shame, and hate I was feeling was actually pretty normal. I was following the predicted emotional journey of a rape victim, to a tee. I intuited that I would be able to break this destructive and negative spiral though a sort of acceptance, but this seemed impossible. How could I accept that this man could hurt me SO much? Who thought he had the right to use my body without my consent? And then intimidate me into believing it was my fault? In everything we’re taught, this should be unforgivable. But thinking like this trapped me. Because the more anger I felt for him, the more self-destructive I became. The more he won.

But. But. I am in a place in my life now where I feel very lucky, and very grateful. I am aware more than ever of my privilege. I am university educated and was raped in a country where I speak the language and have legal status. I hold three passports, I have a savings account, no dependents and I’m highly employable. I’ve been raised in a stable family filled with love and support, by two very sane parents who encouraged independence and open communication and expression. I have boundless choice: on my sexuality, where I want to live, how I want to form relationships, where I want to work, what I want to study, where I want to travel. I can advocate for myself, navigate bureaucracy, communicate eloquently. I have a strong sense of self-worth. I have almost no limitations on my life. My mantra for the past month has been “So glad!” and I yell it with glee and happiness from the tops of mountains.

He perpetrated horrific, inexcusable and completely unwarranted violence against me. And I responded with detachment, fear, anger, hate. It was very satisfying to imagine standing over him, having cruelly beaten him, and smiling at his tears of fear and remorse. And I could very, very easily continue fueling my anger with these images, but then, simply, I would be continuing this pattern of violence. I was responding to violence with violence. And, most importantly, this violence was not just directed at him, but at myself too- physically, verbally, mentally.

On this day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, I’m a woman practicing non-violence. I am loving myself, and by doing this, cutting the cycle of violence following violence. I am happy, strong, grateful. I’m more than surviving. In place of anger and hate I choose pure and unselfish love.

This took courage. A letter to my oldest friend, about my rape.

Hey you,

your timing was perfect texting me the other day. I actually laughed out loud when I saw that you’d text me, it was as if the universe was like “hey love, you have friends!” and nudged you my way.

You asked how I was and I was so close to batting away the question with a flippant, “I’m fine!” and moving the focus back to you, but I decided that if i didn’t tell you how shit I was feeling then I was giving the universe the fingers, and that’s not cool. So, I said I was going to write you and since I said that I’ve been talking myself out of doing this quite effectively in fact, and now I feel like I’m stalling and possibly freaking you out more than you need to be.

Okay. So. Last year, over a weekend in June in Vancouver, I was raped. I found a flat on a website with one male room-mate, moved in and over that weekend he drugged and raped me, and then kept assaulting me over 2 days until I escaped. I know this is a shocking thing to read, I don’t feel the shock anymore, but I’ve very aware of how it would feel me reading it about, say you, for example. So, deep breaths, and that’s the worst of it. The story gets better from here.

As it turned out, I’m a pretty bad-ass rape survivor. I escaped, rang a rape crisis centre, had forensic evidence collected, found a safe place to stay, negotiated free counseling (that took WEEKS of bureaucracy and forms and statements), found a counsellor, talked to mum and dad. I decided that as horrific as this was, I was not coming home, I was still going to finish out my year of travel and have the Best Summer Ever in Vancouver, HE was not going to take that away from me. And I did. I had enough support immediately to get me through, until I could be in a safe place and really deal with this.

That’s what I’m doing now. I found a therapist when I got back to Auckland, and initially I saw it as a quick, “oh I might see her once or twice to deal with some issues I have around trust, but I’m pretty much fine.” I didn’t estimate how tough recovery would be. The last month I’ve been processing stuff I didn’t even know I carried, and it feels like it’s this endless slide down into crazy land. I feel like everything about me is up for review. Right now, I can’t decide what is me. It’s like, I see parts of who I am all separated, like puzzle pieces. And I can’t figure out if they are important to me, and where they fit. This is really bewildering and unsettling and depressing, but I do know that this isn’t endless, that things will get better and I’ll eventually be a stronger, whole person, all the better for having tackled this now.

I’m telling you this, because every time I tell someone important to me, then it gets a bit easier to accept that this happened to me, and helps me move past the unhelpful stuff I tell myself: that it’s my fault, that I could have prevented it, that it’s not that much of a big deal. People respond in lots of different ways, and often don’t know what to say, and that’s okay, we’re not really taught how to receive this news! I’ve had some people have unhelpful responses, so I’m trying to get better at letting people know what I need from them.

So, it feels really good to share this with you. It’s scary reaching out, but I feel that it’s important to my recovery.

If you’d like to ask questions about the specifics, I’m open to answering them, but if you’d prefer not to I completely understand that too. It would be great to talk about how my recovery is going, so feel free to ask how I feel and how I’m doing! Even though it’s hard to figure out how I fit together, I’m still the childhood friend you know, I still love talking about sex, drinking wine, dancing, dressing up, doing yoga and circus arts, being silly and laughing until I cry.

🙂

Okay, whew! I’m just going to press send now before I chicken out. Much love, I feel so glad to have you as a friend.

One night with the mohawk. A ridiculously sexy evening.

The BEST sex toy ever. Holy Fuck. Just looking at this photo makes me wet.

The BEST sex toy ever: Njoy Pure Wand. Holy Fuck. Just looking at this photo makes me wet.

Prolonged eye contact over sushi. Dark chocolate iris, steady, quietly self-confident gaze. I’m loud, bubbly, laughing- at myself, at my jokes, at my life. Nerves. He makes me nervous!

Our server, crinkly smile, “How about yam tempura?”

Oh no, I answer, too quickly. “I’m not in a yammy mood today”. Oh god, what am I saying? Where did that come from? He laughs, genuinely, making eye contact again and then looking down, shaking his head a little, smiling to himself. Fucking gorgeous. I’m grateful that he doesn’t think I’m being a total tool. Thankfully, the waitress laughs too, and moves on.

He orders for me. I steal glances at his chest, arms, shoulders, neck while he does so.

I make an effort to observe silence between us. I don’t have to fill the space with conversation. It’s ok.

And it is. We chat over dinner, easily. Laughing often, it surprises me how easy it is. He interests me, and I ask him questions about his family, background, work, kink. He does the same to me, and I enjoy telling him, divulging pieces of myself to him, morsel by morsel. I like opening, letting him in. I trust him.

Later. He’s restrained me to his bed, naked, blindfolded. He’s still clothed, and I wriggle in sexy vulnerability. I want him to have me, my body, my eroticism, my hunger. It’s for him. He teases me, slowly, deliberately, so so quietly. I thrust my hips up to meet the hard point of something that stops just…just…above my clit. I gasp, groan, thrusting into thin air. I feel his breath and lunge up for a kiss, pulling against the restraints. He rewards me with a brush of lips. Fuck.

Ice cold, tingling lube on my nipples and clit. He leaves it there, it’s pleasantly uncomfortable. It increases my need for his tongue, finger, cock (Oh! Please!) to warm me up. Shock! An ice cold, ICE cold something slides up and down, between my clit and vagina. Oh god! I want to be touched there so, so badly, but not with something this painfully freezing! I squirm, twisting my body in the restraints, trying to squiggle of out reach of this fucking cold THING. He pins my knees apart, rests his weight on my hips, and slowly strokes up and down, up and down. It hurts and I whimper pathetically, tossing my blindfolded head from side to side.

It stops. He quickly gets off me and I think I hear him walk away. The sound of water running. Then silence. Then…the same hard smooth object, but this time it’s deliciously warm. My body responds instantly, spreading my knees as wide as they can go I thrust up and into it, moaning loudly, rubbing my clit up and down it’s spa-pool-warmth. He pauses at the entrance to my vagina. Then, I feel pressure, width (oh god, and it’s big! Bigger than I thought!), and he pushes it inside me. Fuck. Head spinning, hips thrusting, pussy juicing, back arching, I grind and fuck onto this warm metal ball, pressing hard on my gspot. Gasping, breathing quickly, hands clenching, working my hips, all I can feel and think is my approaching orgasm.

Can you come for me? The confidence, and quiet command in his voice almost tips me over right then.

Yes! Please! I’m almost incoherent.

Then give it to me! Fucking come, right now! I oblige, wave after wave of pleasure pulsating out from the point of gspot ball connect. Fuck, it’s good. And hard. Liquid fills me, with every contraction and I can feel it squeezing out, warm on my pussy lips and ass. And still I’m coming, driven by his horny growls “Oh yes baby, good girl, just like that, give it to me, oh good girl.” I bask in his pleasure, my pussy gives one final contraction, and I continue grinding and thrusting, wanting to give him more, but unable, for now.

A new (or old?) coat of submission

This is how it goes:

K: Love you
Me: Love you too
K: Just remember
You’re mine
You belong to me

This is how it goes, the heart-beat quickening response, the breathy breaths, the stomach flipping Love. This is how it goes, the rejection of should and should-nots, the angst of semantics, the intellectual reasoning and double-checking and theorizing and reading and writing and endless, circular thinking…

This is how it goes. The unexpected familiarity of something deeply known, relaxing into submission. The sudden, peaceful calm. This is how it goes, full of perceived indecision when really, was there ever a decision? Didn’t I first make it, when we kissed and he tangled his hands in my hair, drawing me in and holding me? Was there ever really a question, after suddenly stumbling into him and waking up to who I really was?

This is how it goes, side-stepping the what-ifs, witnessing my frantic ego build walls, watching myself work up into a terrified frenzy and then, with three simple lines, just…knowing.

This is how it goes, this path to being owned.

Blissful nights. Toronto December 2012

Blissful nights. Toronto December 2012

 

A year ago today, I was raped.

From the genius hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

Photo from the genius hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

That look. That’s the one. Undisguised sympathy, horror, shock, pity. The “Oh!…”, then left hanging, mouth still forming the word, silence. Eyes searching me now, both of them, questioning, pity. “Are you..?” “Did you…?” So tentative it hurts me, it makes me want to shake them, to laugh it off, to pretend that I just told them I had the flu or something. To be normal about it. I over compensate: “Well, I am an excellent rape survivor!”

I force a smile, looking everywhere but at them, talking far too loud, cutting through the painful pity with bravado. “I did all the right things, sought help, found counseling, contacted the police. It’s fine, really. I’m fine.” I look at them now, make fleeting eye contact. “I’m fine”. Looking away, wiping sweaty palms, grinning stupidly, looking at ceiling, door, window, floor, STD posters, handbag, back at them quickly, glancing from eyes to eyes. Beseeching: be normal, I’m fine, talk normally, let’s move on, let’s forget about it, I’m fine, I’m fine.

“Is he incarcerated?” Of course they ask that. Of course. I lie. “It’s going through the legal system at the moment.” “Did they catch him?” Fuck. I dodge the question, unable to lie again, but not willing to tell the truth either. “He was my room mate.” Them, again: sympathy, horror, shock, pity. Me, again: glancing everywhere, wiping palms, grinning, nodding my head. It’s fine. I’m fine.

She turns back to her computer. Her colleague, a medical student from the University of San Francisco looks over her shoulder. They are suddenly fixated on that white screen and I have a welcome reprieve. Only for a couple of seconds, and then the questions come thick and fast. I’m pinned.

“Have you been treated and tested for any STDs since the rape?”
“Have you been vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B?”
“Have you been tested for HIV?”
“Was your attacker a drug user?”
“Was he an intravenous drug user?”
“Do you know if he was high risk?”
“How many sexual partners have you had in the last 3 months?
“How many of them have been new?”
“Did you use condoms with them?”
“Were any of them intravenous drug users?”
“Did you have anal sex with any of them?
“Did you have oral sex?”
“With all of them?”
“Have you ever had sex with someone you met online?”
“How long ago was that?”
“Did you use a condom?”
“Have you had anonymous sex before, where you wouldn’t be able to contact the person the next day?”
“How many times?”
“When was the most recent?”
“Have you taken any recreational drugs in the last 6 months?”
“Any thing else?”
“Have you ever been pregnant?”
“Are you allergic to any medications?”
Have you..are you..when was..did you..

They leave the room. All of a sudden I’m fighting back tears. Fuck! Why this, why now? I’m fine. I swallow a sob, breathe, force myself to look at my hands. I can’t look at the posters on the walls- syphilis, chlamydia, HIV. Diseased blood, diseased bodies, sickness, infection, viruses spread from person to person, through pleasure, through force. Infecting someone else with your genitals, semen, saliva, blood.

Trigger.

I’m in the emergency ward at Vancouver General Hospital with the sexual assault team- two young nurses and my two support workers from Vancouver Rape Relief. I’m wearing jeans that are too big for me now, an orange cardy, a scarf. Hair tied in a bun, unwashed. I’m numb. They’re doing a forensic rape kit- swabbing my cervix, outside of my vagina, looking for cuts. Documenting bruises on my arms, thighs, chest, neck. I get a paper bag to put my underwear, tights, singlet, dress in.

Trigger.

“He was so full of disgust, disgust at the world and at himself, that he could not weep. He was also disgusted by the murderer. He did not want to regard him as a human being, but only as a victim to be slaughtered. He did not want to see him until the execution, when he would be lain on the cross and the twelve blows crashed down upon him- then he would want to see him, want to see him from up close, and he had had a place reserved for himself in the front row. And when the crowd had wandered off after a few hours, he wanted to climb up onto the bloody scaffold and crouch next to him, keeping watch, by night, by day, for however long he had to, and look into the eyes of this man, the murderer of his daughter, and drop by drop to trickle the disgust within him into those eyes, to pour out his disgust like burning acid over the man in his death agonies- until the beast perished…” (Perfume, Patrick Suskind).

Writing my draft police report. Feeling the anger rise inside me, pure energy, rising up like a shout, a yell, trapped at the start of my throat. Like restless legs, trapped muscles, ringing ears, dizzy head, twitching fingers, cramping feet, nausea rising- physical. Racing, out of the crisis centre, into the quiet, drizzly suburban street. Racing, block by block, walking blindly, drizzle dampening my scarf, my hair, feet and body moving, not fast enough, not exhausting enough, moving moving moving moving. Heart pumping. Hate. So much hate.