Very recently, certain things have been coming out in the news, on the web, in investigative reporting, on Twitter, published in books, and in the general media. Sexual assault on women, specifically, is in the public eye. It’s sparked an entire movement, not just in Hollywood, but in our society to make it easier for more women to come out, and speak up. All you have to do is type the numeral symbol with “me too,” and you can be a voyeur to the conversation, which leads me into something I’ve been meaning to talk about.
Perhaps the events of today were the bits of straw shavings that broke the poor, old camel’s back. I don’t know. Something has compelled me to me write this blog post.
Earlier this week, I listened to an interview with Ronan Farrow on A1, a KPCC show hosted by Joshua Johnson. Farrow recently won the Pulitzer in journalism for his reporting the Weinstein scandal last fall. It is an enlightening Q and A about how the stories he reported on contribute to what is still happening today with the many women that now seem to have a platform to be heard. It’s profound.
Simultaneously, and maybe, not so coincidentally, I’m at the point in my memoir where I have to rewrite (and relive) an extremely difficult event that happened to me. It’s a chapter that’s particularly sensitive in terms of how I word it, how accurate the memories are, and articulating the feelings I went through as clearly as possible. It is not an early childhood memory, so it’s quite palpable.
I’ve never hidden the fact that I was sexually abused as a child. I’ve never given details about it publicly, but I’ve “come out” with the fact that I went through that. I think, while that’s bad, for lack of a more articulate word, compounded abuse does not define my entire childhood.
Nowadays with so many women coming out, I have asked myself, many times, is it really making it easier for all women to come out and speak up? I think it is definitely helping. Very much so. And I think people are finally listening and, and most importantly, women are being believed.
But I think, just as powerful as positivism and loving support can be, so is almighty fear. If Mary Joe talks about her rape — yes — it makes me feel safer to speak up about mine. However, it still isn’t a walk in the park. People may not realize how broken rape victims are in the trust department, how much paranoia they’ve been living with, and the power that’s been stolen away. Some of us are still hiding and perhaps fear that all this support will go away, or be told that we are just hitching a ride on the band wagon.
Some worries of mine have been about the #metoo thing becoming a sort of trend. That would be awful. If it does, people will stop listening and it would all go back to the way it was! Fear is frightening, I tell you! But, it’s no way to live.
I know I’ve been working on this book for far too long. I’ll be revealing some things about me that not everyone knows. Things I’m not proud of and things that were very hard to decide to publish. I know it’s not published yet. Maybe people have suggested I fictionalize it because of all my worries. A lot of people that know they are in the book also want me to fictionalize it or change their names, etc., for obvious sorts of reasons. And the thing is, I just can’t do that. I can’t come out with what has happened and not name names because I fear this person or that person, or some entity, or a lawsuit.
One things I was not going to talk about, or announce publicly, before the book comes out is the fact that I’d been raped when I was about 25 years-old by one of my best friends (at the time). We’d been very close for more than five years by then. After it happened, I only told two girlfriends. I didn’t go to the police, or even think about pressing charges. There are additional reasons why I didn’t that I talk about in the book. Not now.
Because of other complications, and a hodgepodge of shit resulting from my dysfunctional family and childhood, I could hardly even reconcile that I’d been raped at first. I was in a state of shock and didn’t want to believe he would do that to me. What’s worse, I went into such denial, I continued to be his friend — for another 22 years! I told no one. We never spoke of it. I wanted to protect him. I never wanted any of the people I dated to know. They’d think he was a bad person and, most likely, wouldn’t want me to continue the friendship.
And why would that be, I wonder?
The truth is, I was trying to fool myself into thinking he wasn’t a bad person.
Though, that is not what I’m trying to say here. I’m just saying he raped me.