Sunday, November 29, 2009

1981

I guess the people who were so anxious to hear my story were hoping to hear someone else's story. Too bad. I only have my own story.

In 1981 I was the victim of a sexual assault. That is the nice euphemism for rape.

I have written about it extensively here and I don't particularly enjoy doing so. Especially not on a Sunday morning before going to church and meeting an old friend for coffee. So I shall try to only briefly glance over it this morning... as if you can "briefly glance over" such a thing....

In the last year, due to some projects I have had to do at work that have had to do with sexual assault and due to the extremely creepy behavior of another blogger, I was sent into a PTSD tailspin. It culminated in an eye exam that I had to cut short because I could not stand to be alone in the room with the eye doctor! I knew I had to do something about this, so I went to see my psychologist and talked to him about possible therapies for PTSD.

He suggested EMDR (if you are curious, do a google to find out what this is, it is very very interesting, but I don't want to write extensively about it here and have my blog come up in searches for information about this therapy). We did this therapy and it was so enlightening to me. Because what I discovered by sort of "reliving" that night was the worst part of the whole thing was how horribly alone I was. He asked me to pick the worst memory and focus on that and I did. And as I picked it apart, the worst part of walking down that road, barefoot at 3 o'clock in the morning, trying desperately to get home - was how alone I felt.

I did finally get home. My husband did take me to the hospital. I did try to prosecute the case. But a drunken woman who was thrown out of the house by her husband and decides to walk to the bar and gets picked off the road by some rapist is not exactly a sympathetic character, so I had to drop it.

My life really changed that night. June 7, 1981. I became afraid. I stopped liking the nighttime. I only wanted to be at home. My husband's attitude changed towards me. He got very protective. I don't believe I ever set foot in another bar to drink after that night (I have been in bars since, but not to drink). In this small town, everyone knew what happened to me - and they even knew who did it. I tried to hold my head up, but I felt horrible shame.

In my first 24 hours of sobriety, I read the big book (they told me to read it as if my life depended on it, so I did) and found this in the story "Freedom from Bondage":
"...as a practicing alcoholic I had no rights. Society can do anything it chooses to do with me when I am drunk and I can't lift a finger to stop it, for I forfeit my rights through the simple expedient of becoming a menace to myself and to the people around me." Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. p. 549. By the time I got sober in 1984, I was so angry and twisted up about this, it was such a relief to me to admit that I might have had a role in the thing and that perhaps by being a drunk I don't have many rights. I didn't and don't believe that anyone had the right to rape me, but I believe that the police and the courts are not there to protect me from the menace of myself which is what I am when I am drinking. I am hellbent on self-destruction and no one can stop that.

After the rape, I knew that I didn't want to leave the house, but I certainly wasn't going to quit drinking. I needed to drink now more than ever.

10 comments:

AnyEdge said...

I have been fascinated Mary, I don't know what you mean by the opening sentence. You tell it well. I'd love to hear you speak sometime.

Scott W said...

"I am hellbent on self-destruction and no one can stop that." The truth of that statement is so scary.

Scott said...

Your recovery is a miracle, given all you've endured in your life. I love what your story teaches us about the miracle of AA and the Power of God.

enchantedoak said...

Like Scott, I am most struck by the remark that when we are drinking, we are hellbent on self-destruction. I am thankful you made it out alive.

Ed G. said...

Again, wow. Thank you for your courage and willingness to share about the tough stuff. The thing that makes your story bearable for me today is that I know, in a few days, a different story is to open up. Thank God for that hope.

Would that so many more who need that hope could get off the spiral of which you write today...

Blessings and aloha...

Lou said...

In the same way that many people still believe alcoholism and addiction are moral weakness (even though they give lip service otherwise), woman that are raped are still silently accused of being complicit. Drunk or not.

There are things about blogging I just love. You are one of them.

Pam said...

Oh girl i so identified with that story when I came into our beautiful prgram. I love that you take action when you are in pain.

Carverlane said...

Well...I am just spellbound. I wish a movie would be made about this. But only because I know there's a happy ending!

Syd said...

MC, the aloneness especially after something as horrible as rape must have been nearly crushing. I am thankful that I only flirted with self-destruction and that she never became my mistress.

Mary LA said...

I have waited to post this comment because I didn't want to draw attention to it. I believe that most women who are raped suffer afterwards for years with chronic and severe PTSD. I was very concerned about you earlier this year, the more so as it seemed that you could not speak out openly in your blog, a form of self-censoring which echoes some of what happens to us when we are raped and have to keep silent and the perpetrator goes unpunished and unnamed.

Do take care and thank you for this brave post.