Most of the time, I don’t think about my rape. The majority of the time it doesn’t affect me one way or another. Every now and then, something will trigger me a little bit, but for the most part, I’ve coped with it fairly well. I still have the occasional nightmare. About a month ago (one of the last times we were together), I had to ask The Bruiser to stop fucking me for a few minutes because I started crying. But these instances are few and far between and I know that they are residual effects of the assault and as time goes on, I’ll continue to heal.

However, this week during the domestic violence group that I run, I had the most intense reaction to a trigger that I have had yet. The only time I’ve had a more intense reaction was upon seeing the man that raped me. Two of the ladies in the group shared stories regarding marital rape and I found myself reacting, and reacting hard. One woman said that her husband would “take what was his” and would force her to have sex with him whenever he wanted it, whether she wanted it or not. The other said that just that morning, her husband got so angry when she turned him down that she took her pants off, laid on the bed, put a pillow over her face, and sobbed while her husband used her*.
I can’t react in group. I have to remain impartial. I can empathize and offer support and encouragement, obviously. But I can’t get visibly upset. And I could feel myself starting to. Luckily, it was a group setting and not an individual one, because oftentimes the groups can run themselves for periods of time, with different members of the group contributing stories, advice, or support to each other. This meant that I did not have to talk as much, and could sit in the background, almost unnoticed, while the women shared experiences. But I felt sick. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had to bite my lip to keep from crying. I felt myself completely withdraw from the conversation. After group, I went to the bathroom and vomited and sobbed for a while (luckily my next client had cancelled).
I’m not sure why I was triggered so intensely this time. I’ve had many clients disclose incidences of marital rape, and rape in general, to me since my rape. Hell, I’ve heard A LOT worse than that. I’ve never reacted at all, let alone this intensely. I have no idea what it was about that day or that group or those women or those stories that upset me, but I definitely had a visceral reaction to listening to their experiences. I’m sure it probably had something to do with the fact that the men that raped them were men they were involved in relationships with, just like The Redneck and me were when he raped me. I calmed down after a while and my day continued normally and without incident. It’s crazy how much one event can effect you so deeply, even months (and I’m sure years) after it happened.
*Don’t tell me that this isn’t rape. Just because she laid on the bed and removed her pants does not mean that she consented. She had to make a choice between getting the shit beat out of her or letting him have sex with her. She chose the latter. And I hardly think that a woman crying the entire time someone is having sex with her is consenting.
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  1. Sa
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    What a powerful story. This is quite close to home as well. Thanks!

  2. Lori D
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Powerful indeed. I get triggered back to a certain negative thing that happened as an early teen, and I don't like it at all. Time does not heal ALL wounds, but we do fight for healing. You're an awesome fighter, B.

  3. PrettyPrettyPrincess
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    My heart hurts for you. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the fact that you can do the work that you do, not just because you were assaulted, but because it must be so hard to be exposed to so much pain and yet retain the necessary distance to be able to help. I say this as someone who got her degree in psychology but realized halfway through my degree that I didn't have it in me to be able to help without being consumed.

    You are so strong, B. <3

  4. Roland Hulme
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    What sort of sicko would actually be able to get hard and have sex when his wife is sobbing?

  5. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Roland, the same kind that beats the shit out of her for years and years. It's really sad but happens so much more often than you think. Not only domestic violence and not only rape, but marital rape happens far more often than anyone cares to discuss.

  6. Samantha
    Posted May 17, 2009 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Britni you are quite right. It's been years since the last time my husband raped me. But I still have nightmares and flashbacks and never quite know when (or why) I'm going to be triggered by something. I, like so many women, stayed with him for ten years and all the abuse. Yes, quite oftenh it was just easier and less painful to give him what he wanted than risk the abuse that would result from not doing what he wanted.

    What kind of sicko would bo that, the very same kind who would use and abuse someone for years without thought to their feelings and then scream "You know life isn't all about you all the time!!!" the one time I asked for anything. What did I ask for? A hug and some emotional support. To know that there was home, that he still loved me the way he did (I thought) when we first met.

    Turns out he never really loved me. He didn't even know what love really was. He was a sociopath. That's the kind of sicko.

    Britni, I'm so sorry you have to know what this is like, that you've ever (that any of us have ever) had to suffer this way.

    I have had times when I have no idea what set me off. I'd be out driving from one place to another and suddenly wanted to run the car head first into a bridge abutment as fast as I could in the hopes I'd be killed instantly. I've had to pull off into a parking lot somewhere, lock the keys in the turnk and sit there and shriek and cry, and die all over again. Then, when I was spent and looking like death warmed over, I'd call AAA to get my keys out of the trunk.

    There were times I'd wake up shrieking in the morning, in so much pain that it would trigger another flashback. Didn't want to be awake because I lived in terror of a flashback, didn't want to sleep because of the nightmares.

    Couldn't go anywhere or do anything for years because I was so immobilized with fear. Fear of flashbacks, panic attacks that would leave me wishing I'd die and get it over with. It's been a long, long road, and I still have a long way to go before I sleep.

    Yeah, rape of all kinds happens more often than anyone cares to discuss. There's also emotional rape, which I'm not even going to get into here.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I know how you feel, and I'm sorry that you have to deal with anything like this.

    For those interested, I wrote a piece about it four years ago that's no less true today than it was four years ago. Pleas be careful if you go to read it, it can be all sorts of triggery.


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