I am noticing a pattern here – every Friday I am struck down by an attack of the blahs. I don’t know what to write about, can’t think why anyone would be remotely interested in my ramblings anyway, and would generally rather go hide under my duvet. In rational-Katie land this is otherwise known as ‘post therapy syndrome’. Just as well it’s only once a week 😛
Today we were talking about the blog post I emailed to her last week about how I can’t quite shake off the feeling that I’m betraying myself by letting go of the anorexia. I’m not intending to act on the feeling, I’ve given up on the idea that restriction and losing weight can solve all of my problems, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still having the feeling and that it’s got to be either tolerated or dealt with. Anyway, I know why I feel that way and inevitably I ended up going into a few of the things that happened just before I was raped, when I was trapped in his house but before they did anything to me. In particular I ended up talking about how I was never sure whether they knew that it was non-consensual or not. For a start, the girl told me a week before that her boyfriend was putting pressure on her to find someone for the both of them to sleep with, and I just tried to be supportive and tell her not to do anything she didn’t want to. I didn’t think for one second that she meant me, for God’s sake, I was such a naive thing. A few days after she asked me to hang out with her that weekend, go shopping and stay over at her house.
On the day she talked me into going for a drink at the pub with her boyfriend. Then she moved on to asking if I wouldn’t mind if we went to her boyfriend’s house for a drink, and of COURSE we would come back to her house afterwards to sleep. Her boyfriend picked us up, drove to his house 15 miles away and virtually downed half a bottle of vodka within half an hour so he was far too drunk to drive us anywhere. I started feeling sick and desperately wanting to leave but all my stuff was at her house and I didn’t know the town I’d been taken to. Then they tried to get me drunk – I had one drink and hid the other three or four under his bed. Then they started talking about all the bad things they had done, him having been in prison for stabbing someone when he was on coke, her saying she’d been expelled for beating someone up so badly they needed a metal plate in their head. He said he’d killed someone, kept telling me what a ‘nasty bastard’ he’d been when he was younger. He actually brought out a handgun and made me hold it. None of this was said in a threatening way towards me, but I thought they were going to kill me. I told them I felt sick and that I wanted to go home but they convinced me that there weren’t any taxis around – and I was so freaked out I didn’t think that that was weird or that they might be lying. After all of that they started trying to get me to get in bed with them and trying to kiss and touch me, and although I pushed them away repeatedly and insisted on sleeping on the floor they kept making physical advances. After another couple of hours of this I got too scared to keep saying no so I gave in and let them do what they wanted. I thought they were going to kill me.
Part of me, the part that all people who have been subjected to non-consexual sexual activity have to fight with, thinks it was my fault. If I was traumatised by that night they weren’t to blame, they didn’t know I didn’t want any of it. I should have kept saying no – at the very least I should have continued to push them away until they actually overtly threatened me. But another, older, more logical and angry part thinks, shit, I was groomed. She told me her boyfriend was abusive, got me to feel sorry for her. She told me about her own mental health problems and abusive past. She got me to tell her that I’d had problems with depression, anorexia and self harm – she knew I was vulnerable. And I TOLD her when she mentioned that her boyfriend was trying to pressure her into it that I would never want to take part in a threesome. I told her that I was still a virgin and would never want to have sex with anyone I didn’t know really well and feel safe with. She knew that because I’d had problems I’d never really had a normal teenage social life – no parties, no wild drinking, I’d never so much as seen a joint. I was a bit of an innocent. I looked as childlike at the time as my social inexperience made me feel. I was a perfect target. And fuck, if four hours worth of repeating ‘no’ doesn’t say NOT CONSENTING to someone, they either have an IQ of 10 or they are a rapist. I don’t know if the talking about their violent pasts and making me handle the gun was an attempt to scare me or just making conversation (oh God, in what fucked up world does that constitute conversation?!), but…if I think about what I would say if this happened to a friend I would believe that it was more than likely that that was calculated rather than sponetaneous too. And afterwards, when I ran into her in college and literally ran away, she didn’t as much as text me to ask what was going on. They had to have known what they were doing.
As for forgiving myself for not fighting to the death, I read something by a feminist writer once who said that if she were attacked by someone who clearly wanted to rape her she WOULD fight until he had to either let her go or kill her, and if she ended up dead it would be better than being raped. I think she’s a fucking idiot. Not so much for believing it, although I think she’s naive if she thinks her survival instinct is that weak – but definitely for saying it. How many other abuse and rape survivors did she crush with that sentence? When you genuinely believe you are going to die then you do anything you can to survive. At one point during that night I was sitting in a corner of his room, two empty vodka bottles hidden behind me, ready to hit them if they tried to actually attack me. I didn’t even think about the fact that I was pressed up against his tarantula cage. I barely noticed this massive spider, my brain was occupied with far more important things, like getting out of there alive. I didn’t feel scared as such. I felt sick and numb and convinced I was going to die, but my breathing was calm and my voice level and I fed them as many lies that I thought might help as possible. I told them that I was a lesbian because I thought it might save me from him raping me (didn’t work). I told them that I felt really sick and was phobic of being sick, so that was why I couldn’t stop shaking, nothing to do with being scared. I got her to back me up – she’d been to my 18th birthday party and I’d told her that the phobia was why I wasn’t much of a drinker. I insisted that I would feel better if I could just get some sleep. On the floor, on my own, thank you. I didn’t consciously think about what I was doing or saying, it was all automatic. It just came out, as if I had gone into automatic survival mode. For a few years afterwards, when I was having particularly bad days (weeks, months, years), I wished that they had killed me. I wrote it down over and over, I was obsessed, I couldn’t think of anything else. But at the time I KNOW, logically, that I couldn’t have done anything differently. It’s just, knowing something intellectually – that they knew what they were doing, that it wasn’t my fault, that a hundred other terrified girls would have done exactly what I did – is very different from believing it emotionally. A small, scared, devastated part of me still thinks that it was all my fault.
I guess I have a pretty good excuse for feeling like shit this afternoon.
Three good things about today (more important on crap days, no slacking off):
1. I think I have found an answer to something which has been bugging me. About a month ago I had to change calcium supplements – I was taking calcium, magnesium and zinc in one tablet but it upset my digestive system, so I switched back to just calcium. About a week later that weird thing with my heart happened and my palpitations have been much worse since then. About a month ago I also realised that my tics had calmed down a lot, but around the same time as the palpitations got worse the tics reappeared with a vengence too. So, I googled. Apparently magnesium is implicated in the treatment of tourettes and heart problems, and in particular not getting enough can cause…tics and palpitations. I regard everything I read on the net with suspicion, particularly nutritional stuff, but this was on a lot of different websites and it does fit with my experience. I don’t seem to absorb nutrients very well because of my messed up digestive system. So, back to taking calcium and magnesium combined for a fortnight or so to see if it makes a difference. I am taking a brand with lower doses so I can spread it out throughout the day so there’s a lower chance of upsetting my IBS again. I am obviously still going to go to the appointment I have with a cardiologist in a month, buuut I will actually make a video of me doing the happy dance if this works. Seriously.
2. Lunch was pink potato salad again, this time with a boiled egg (I have peanut butter in the potato salad so I wasn’t missing a protein portion :P) and half an avocado. Salad consists of Jersey new potatoes, vegan cream cheese, peanut butter, beetroot, chives, coriander and turmeric. Pink potato salad, where have you been all my life!
3. I picked up leaflets from the local sports centre at last. Bugger the scars, I fancy going swimming again. I am definitely going to start going to a yoga or pilates class when they start up again in September too 🙂