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 Post subject: Trauma and healing
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 177
Since #MeToo I’ve been just one voice of the many thousands of women who have disclosed their experiences in the relative anonymity of the internet, in supportive communities and safe spaces. So many partners of sexual compulsives seem to have a history of previous sexual trauma, but then so do so many women. I would say there’s something in it, that sexually traumatised women seem to be attracted to the too-good-to-be-true kind of guy, probably because they are such experts in concealing “that” side of their character. Who knows? It’s my guess, but perhaps an informed one.

So last night I remembered something that happened to me years ago. These days it might be called ‘date rape’. I went out for a drink with a guy and ended up going back to his place. It was entirely unplanned. I told him I couldn’t have penetrative sex with him because I was not on the pill and I didn’t want to get pregnant. He understood that and respected my limits. We fell asleep and when he awoke he was physical with me but I expected he would respect my limits, as I had made it clear to him I was not on the pill and I wasn’t going to risk it. But he penetrated me and ejaculated inside me. It was unprotected sex in the middle of my cycle. I was angry but frozen. That evening I went for the emergency contraception, the so-called morning after pill. Thankfully no pregnancy. And that was that. He made it very plain after that he didn’t want anything more to do with me. I didn’t care at that. It was the fact he penetrated me and ejaculated inside me without consideration.

Now, I get that this could be regarded as a case of consent being unclear, but the fact is, I told him my limits and he did what he did without warning. It was all over very quickly. I remember being pissed with the guy. And thinking, WTF do I do now? The emergency pill was quite a new thing then, so that was my priority. I didn’t see it as rape. ‘Date rape’ wasn’t in the vocabulary back then. But last night, this memory came back to me, and I realised that that this was not a case of coerced consent, nor was i intoxicated and incapable of consent or refusal. I said what my limits were and why. No penetrative sex, I’m not on the pill, I don’t want a pregnancy. But he penetrated and ejaculated anyway. So, perhaps this is a kind of ‘date rape’. The more I think about it, the more I see it as rape. I didn’t at the time. I went there willingly, yes. But I did not agree to what he did.

So, here I am all these years later and I’m married to a man with sexual compulsions. Someone I believed was ‘safe’. And yes, he is safe in that respect. His sexuality became so compartmentalised that sex didn’t figure in our relationship. He’d never do what that guy did to me. But when I viewed the videos on his computers I remember looking at the blank eyes and disassociated manner of the women, and feeling disturbed by it, thinking that it was like being an onlooker and seeing someone who didn’t want to be there. The more I learn about the porn industry and the sex trade in all it’s guises, it’s rare for anyone to actually “want” the sex acts. It’s not really consent, is it? I mean it’s a version of “consent” but it’s more an agreement to be bought or hired. I don’t want to debate this point, people can argue it in a million ways, it’s just that weird disassociation and the way men are so oblivious to it in the pursuit of their orgasms. I had “forgotten” about what happened to me that night with that guy and suddenly I’m there again reliving that feeling of shock and anger, and all the worry about a potential pregnancy. And how I despise what he did. I sometimes wonder what has held back my recovery, why do I feel “stuck” sometimes. This is probably one more piece of the puzzle. It’s been a very secret shame too.


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 Post subject: Re: Trauma and healing
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
blue, I am sorry for what happened to you, and the emotions around it you relive now. I had two similar incidents happen in my life: one in college, where I kept saying no and he kept pressuring me. We were in a room with 3 other males (who were asleep) and in the end, I 'relented' in response to his consistent pressure. I know at the time, and in the years to follow, that night traumatized me. I know I didn't have a context at that time for what happened, but know now that I, like you, was very clear about stating my boundaries and my no. And that was not regarded or respected.

Later in my life, I woke to my then-boyfriend penetrating me anally in the middle of the night. It hurt. In absolutely no way did I consent to this. I AWOKE to it. Where I am at now is seeing clearly that that boyfriend felt my body was for his use.

Repeatedly, we are not heard. Repeatedly, we are given messages, both physical and verbal, that our bodies are not our own but rather exist for the whims of men. This is a cultural problem. It is an issue that gives rise to the excusing of sex addiction, of hiding compulsions from wives and girlfriends, of a lack of equality over the agency of bodies and boundaries. The current #metoo movement, as important as it is, in many ways serves to remind us just how invested many men (and women) are in maintaining the cultural status quo. The push back against this movement is breathtaking, yet not surprising. In watching this, our own traumas get festered. It makes it a challenge for us to heal.

Like you, I carry my experiences as a secret shame. I am glad you've given a voice to your experiences here. I find it's very healing for me to begin to talk frankly about what I've experienced and the dysfunction and outright abuse that pervades our modern culture.

It is systemic. It all relates. The porn, the paid sex industry, the physical and verbal harassment and assaults in the workplace. Cat calling. On and on. It all points to a society that places the desires of men above the needs and health of women.

Realizing that my healing will not occur with society's blessing is a blow, yet I am thankful for our connections here and elsewhere that help us reinforce our values and create meaningful connections with other women who, too, say "enough is enough."


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 Post subject: Re: Trauma and healing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 177
meepmeep, I’m sorry to learn that you too have lived with the consequences non consensual sex. Post #MeToo I’ve seen these issues being referred to as ‘gray rape’. In some cases it is rape, but as you say, there has been a backlash against women reporting their experiences and in some cases dismissed a ‘bad date’. It would seem that many people (often men, but not exclusively men) still carry around in their heads the notion that rape is committed by a stranger and involves a degree of physical violence — the cliche of the lone woman walking alone at night being set upon by a sexual predator. Yet on the other hand we are consistently informed that in most rapes the perpetrator is known to the victim.

The guy who penetrated me and ejaculated into me without my consent was not a stranger to me. I had consumed alcohol that evening but not excessively so. I’d had about two drinks and I wasn’t intoxicated. Besides, what took place happened several hours later. I was completely sober by then. I went to his apartment willingly. That’s another factor. Someone could tell me that I only have myself to blame because I put myself in that position, that if I had no intention to have sex with the guy I wouldn’t have been there. So surely that in itself constitutes “consent”. Then there is “why didn’t you report it?” as if that also stands in as “consent”. Last but not least, I was supposed to be dating another guy and instead I went out with my “rapist”. It doesn’t exactly paint the picture of the stereotypical “nice” lady who just happened to be dragged into a dark alley on her way home from church. Instead I typify the “other” kind of woman who cries rape after indulging in immoral behaviour that she regrets.

None of this takes away the fact that this guy had sex with me after making it clear it wasn’t an option. My priority was to get emergency contraception. I spent the next two weeks waiting for my period, after which I just wanted to put the experience behind me even though I still had to face this guy in my ‘normal’ life. Eventually I moved on and there he was no longer on the outside edge of my acquaintance.

I felt intense shame about the whole sorry episode. I felt not so much rejected but used and disposed of. I felt that I was the defective one, that I was pathetic to even have had the notion that this guy liked me — because THAT was the reason why I went out with him that evening. I was attracted to him, or to his looks, and at that point he paid me a lot of attention. He even said to me that evening in the bar “I think I’m in love”. He was very charming at that point. And I fell for it. So there’s another character defect — that I’m naive, vain even. That I’m susceptible to flattery. Of course he wasn’t “in love” with me. That’s what it took for me to go back to his apartment.

Right now, I’ve just hacked away the emotional clutter and I can see clearly the real issue. Non consensual sex. Penetration without consent. Ejaculation without permission. Date rape. Gray rape. Call it what you will. I now say #MeToo in response to the stories of women who went to someone’s apartment, or room or office or whatever, and unwittingly put themselves in harm’s way.

I feel certain that my visceral reaction to my husband’s addiction is informed by my own history. I’m still trying to make sense of it. I’ve had to rebuild myself from the inside out and that involves coming to terms with my own past. Trauma has many layers. I feel we need to make space for our voices in all of this mess.


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 Post subject: Re: Trauma and healing
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 177
I just discovered there is a book on this very issue called ‘I Never Called It Rape’ by Robin Warshaw, published in 1988. Another one to read but I’m very much affected by ‘recovery fatigue’ right now. It’s so draining because there is so many difficult emotions to be processed during our own healing.

My gut reaction to porn and the sex trade was that it was all coercion, and you don’t need to dig deep to discover the tactics of coercion by the people who profit from it. The production companies, the agents, the directors, they all seem to employ these tactics using threats to withhold payment or outright intimidation. It shows in those thousand mile stares. Or accounts of women who were illegally imprisoned by brothel owners. To me, it’s not far removed from rape. Given my history of early sexual assault and my experience of ‘acquaintance’ rape, the home page of a porn site is always going to trigger a trauma reaction. I still can’t come to terms with the fact that I married someone who spent years and years masturbating to this stuff. That feeling of having your needs disregarded because someone else was intent in satisfying their own sexual wants. And not feeling able to speak for myself.

Thanks for ‘listening’ meepmeep.


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