Month: January 2016

Therapy and My Trauma Narrative

TRIGGER WARNING- Rape, sexual assault

Hey friends-

I haven’t posted recently so while I wait in the lobby of the DC Rape Crisis Center, I figured I would write a little somethin’ somethin’.

It has been four weeks since my last therapy appointment….and it has also been about four weeks since I have given a shit about myself.

These last four weeks I have distracted myself with friends and family and a sort-of boyfriend (who, I am sure, would not appreciate that title)…distracted myself with work and binge-watching Netflix.

It is actually sometimes a solid choice to distract myself. It is an effort to not feel feelings and an effort to not succumb to the healthy act of just feeling a little bit shitty and allowing myself to process my shitty feelings.

I am scared to go to therapy today. Because I know what is on the docket to talk about…

Today will be the first time I have ever talked about the two rapes that followed losing my virginity. Both in my sixteenth year of life. One sick and violent and almost life-threatening. One sad and depressing and a moment of almost rock-bottom.

These last four weeks have taught me that I really do rely on therapy to keep me accountable. And that is good- it keeps me accountable! It is also kinda shitty- because I have been bad about keeping myself accountable in my self-love. I have fallen off the bandwagon of working out, my self-love-activity shortened to just three or four minutes of stretching in the morning in place of the 15 minutes of yoga I was doing, which was a replacement for the 30 minute full-on workouts I was keeping up with so well. I missed my last two classes of my Financial Peace University class because I was on vacation, and thus I fell off another bandwagon. Not like I had much money to waste, though.

So…yeah. Four weeks of distracting myself. Partially because I think that I moved my source of validation. I went from being really awesome at loving myself and saying “good on you, Jess! You’re great!” to searching for external sources of validation (namely, boys). That’s dangerous. Because I went on a spree of needing attention in order to feel good about myself. Which is what all of the fucking therapy is supposed to be changing. Jesus. So I went on a shitty bender of bad habits. And I knew I would have to fess up to the therapist as well as talk about these two assaults and I am nervous as hell. So I kept ignoring the problem instead of fixing it.

After Therapy

Balls. That was a rough sesh. I think it was the second time I’ve cried while in therapy with the DCRCC. Talked about the ups of the last month- vacation, boyfriend, how incredible my support system (housemates!) in DC is, new job. Then the last 40 ish minutes were a continuation of my trauma narrative. A part of my story that I’ve never told before. I talked about the two sexual assaults that occurred after I lost my virginity to rape. Unfortunately, they were also the next two times I had sex.

A few months after my first assault, I was invited to a birthday party of a moderately close acquaintance. I had met her through J, my first assailant. I was hesitant to go, but she apparently wanted me to come really badly, so I convinced my mom to let me have a sleepover at a different friend’s house….and I did the shitty teenager thing- went with the friend my mom allowed me to spend the night with to this “rager” of a 17th birthday party. Ha.

Got there and her stepdad was already drunk. He called me by the wrong name and told me I looked pretty. I ignored him ’cause he was gross, old, and drunk, and I was happy to hang out with a bunch of teenagers. Stepdad came to the gaggle of teens and asked if anyone would help him go down to the basement to get more beer from the fridge or whatever. I volunteered, because I am just too damn helpful. 

He calls me the wrong name again, and sends me down first. He said the light is out, but to make a left at the bottom of the stairs and go through the first doorway. The basement was smelly and unfinished, but seemed to have separate rooms. I went through the doorway, and the door shut behind me as he turned the light on.

There is a bare mattress on the floor and a set of chains on the wall. Fucking chains. He kisses my neck and pulls at my clothes (clothes I still remember and have never worn since).

And it wasn’t until he had just gotten me on the mattress that J, of all people, pushed the door open and got the guy off of me. I look back now and find some sick irony in my first assailant pulling my second off of me. At the time I was just mortified and broken. I rushed getting my clothes back on, and left with the friend who went to the party with me. She got her mom to pick us up…and I actually did end up spending the night at her house. She was the only person I ever told this story to. 

In my therapist’s office, a comfortable place that always smells like cookies and has a big, comfy IKEA couch, I sat frozen in fear with tears streaming down my face as I recounted that buried memory. Just thinking about it now, in my own dining room, surrounded by familiar and comfortable things, I feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Because I always think about the “what ifs” of that situation. And my stomach turns. And the tears come back. Because that was probably the single most terrifying experience of my entire life.

A few months later, I had gone through a hella rough time at home and school. I had gotten caught shoplifting (eyeliner and cold medicine for a friend- I know, I’m an idiot) and mom got called. She basically exiled me and told me that I was the scum of the earth. Fair enough, mom. Thieves and liars are the scum of the earth to ya, and I had fallen into one of those categories. (FYI- mom and I are cool now. I understand where she was coming from. She’s a damn good mom.)

So for the first time in my life I was grounded. And I was pretty depressed. And on the third night of my grounding, a boy from school texted me and said he was down the street from my house- did I want him to come over and hang out? I told him I was grounded and he asked if there was a way he could sneak into my house. I said yes. So he hopped in the window of my sister’s old room and we chatted for a while. I told him it was getting late and he should probably leave when he pulled a bottle of Kahlua out of his backpack and chugged some (super gross, I know. Silly teenagers). He offered it to me and, you know, how could I say no? So I drank that shit. And I got a little bit drunk off of it in like thirty minutes. And I told him he should go. But he told me I was pretty. So he wanted to stay. And he started to kiss me and I felt like that was okay.

Then he started to put his hands on me, and I pulled away. I told him I wasn’t ready for that. He just told me do drink more and it would be okay. I had another drink and he undid my pants. I kept pushing him away and saying no. 

Well, there’s a pattern with my stories so I won’t finish that one in detail. But that was big ‘ole number three. I never told anyone about him, either. Because once in that school another girl claimed he had raped her. And the fucking school turned on her. Now I’m inclined to believe she was telling the truth. But at the time I just didn’t want to get a nickname calling me crazy or having people put notes in my lockers that said “do you really want to get raped?” Because that is what happened to her. And I wish with all my might that I could go back in time and be the only person in that school to believe her.

It has taken me a week to write this post. Because these stories are hard as fuck to tell. And because yes, I want to make you feel uncomfortable, dear audience- but I don’t want to scare you or give you too much at once. Because I want you to come back and keep reading my trauma narrative. Because I want you to share these stories with anyone you think they might help. And because I want to give you the confidence to share your own truths.

I think this one is as good as its gonna get. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my narrative. I’m doing this for me and my healing process, but I am also doing it for all of the people who contact me and tell me that they read my story and it gave them hope, or gave them confidence. Thank you for being so brave and strong and keep on being the beautiful you that you are.

Until next time, friends! ❤