Thursday, August 23, 2012


I was telling Chicagofriend about the Abusive Ex. I said, "He was manipulative and controlling and emotionally abusive, and it was escalating and would have become physical abuse."

I said, "One time I was sitting on his lap on the ground and I said something that made him angry and he shoved me off his lap onto the ground and I looked up and saw his boot raised and I thought he was going to kick me and I screamed and he didn't."

And Chicagofriend said, "You do know that's physical abuse, right?"

I said, "yes," of course I did. Of course I know that. I'm not some asshole Republican who thinks that anyone without broken arms couldn't possibly have been raped.

But the truth is, I didn't think it until that moment. And part of me still thinks, "But he didn't kick me. Being pushed on the ground didn't hurt. And if it didn't hurt it wasn't physical abuse."

Just like, I never said "no."

It was a long time ago, and my memories are hazy. I have better memories of the stories I've told myself about the events afterwards than I actually have of the events themselves.

I remember the steel-toed boot and the concrete and the fear.

I remember sex that I didn't want to have, sex that made me feel degraded and worthless, or sex because I was degraded and worthless.

But I don't remember ever saying no.

I am thinking about this again, because a woman told me that the guy she's been seeing was shocked to learn that she'd been sexually assaulted.

I am thinking about how it shouldn't be shocking. Conservative statistics say that 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted. Some statistics say 1 in 3. So, assuming that this guy knows more than four women, he has already known someone who has been sexually assaulted. He just wasn't aware.

He wasn't aware because we don't speak out. It isn't exactly part of normal conversation.  No one says, at the water cooler, "Hey did you see the Dilbert today and did you know I was raped when I was 18?"

And so I want to MAKE it part of the conversation. I want to stand up and say, in every public forum available, "This is not abstract. This is not hypothetical. This is me, standing here, telling you that I have been sexually abused. We are not talking about "women" in some general sense, we are talking about ME."

But I don't remember ever saying no.

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