I have been thinking a lot lately about my vagina and the abuse that it, that I suffered. It is not a separate entity, it is a part of me, and yet I forget that because for so long I was objectified like a piece of meat. My “pussy”, as my abuser called it, was a separate thing. It had it’s own mind. Even if I didn’t want to have sex, my vagina did want it. He used the physical reaction as his justification. Women become naturally lubricated if they are stimulated, and also at random times throughout the monthly cycle. Men, even boys, on the other hand, if they get excited or stimulated they get an erection. It doesn’t always mean that the person wants to have sex. In my case, I didn’t. My ex-husband always initiated sex. On a weekly basis. I often said “no”, both verbally and physically, and somehow we would end up having sex anyway. Over time, this eroded my confidence, my self worth, and my sense of being. I doubted myself. I learned that my desires and opinions didn’t matter. But I didn’t realize that it was rape.
If a woman says no, and the man proceeds to have sex with her anyway, that is considered rape. But I always had this glamorized tragedy in my mind, that the woman gets drugged with a date rape drug and then finds herself waking up in a dark alleyway or in a dumpster left for dead. He never beat me. He never held a gun to my head. But the psychological hold that he had on me was intense and all-consuming.
People don’t seem to understand this. “You were a consenting adult because you were over the age of 18.” Yes, but I was trained from an even younger age to have sex with him. It was called statutory rape, for a year and a half prior to becoming of age. And then it just continued. I thought that in order to receive his love and affection, I had to have sex with him whenever he wanted it. I could have been just fine without it.
“You could have left.” But I couldn’t leave. I’ve been told that there is a term for this, the Stockholm Syndrome. A victim becomes emotionally attached to their abuser, and they can’t imagine a life without him, so they continue to choose abuse over choosing to leave. The psychological hold he had on me was just as if he had tied me up and kept me under lock and key in a basement. Only, instead, he dressed me up in sexually provocative clothing because, he liked the attention? Why did he like it? What is wrong with him? The answer is, so many things.
Now my vagina is mine, and I can do with it whatever I want. For the last four years I wasn’t able to use tampons when on my period because I didn’t want anything, absolutely nothing, to go inside of me. Anything of the sort reminded me of being raped and tortured with sex. Now, for the first time, I am finally able to use tampons again. It gives me a feeling of total freedom. It’s as if I’m living a whole new life.
But there are the memories. I can’t stop the memories of what happened to me. I will be speaking with a district attorney in one week about my case of abuse, and then it will be in the hands of the court to decide if it is a viable case to bring to trial. I keep hearing this, that they have to be able to convince a jury of 12 citizens “beyond reasonable doubt”. I have no idea how that’s going to happen because I have only my word against his. There is barely any proof, save a handful of photographs, some old emails and the log in to an old Craigslist account which he used to solicit sex. I hope that’s enough. I’m finally strong enough to tell my story to someone official, and then it’s out of my hands. The sexual abuse falls under the category of domestic violence, for which the punishment, if convicted, is pretty minimal with up to four years in jail. The case of rape is entirely separate. And then there was the child pornography that he was into which is a thing of its own and gets handled by the Feds.
I wrote out a whole outline of my abuse story. Just the outline is five pages long, with bullet points. This happened to me in this year. That happened to me then. It’s just a general overview but it covers almost everything I would want to share. The problem is, I only have up to three hours to present my case, and I’m sure I will need more time than that. And the sheriff and the DA will have their own questions, so following my outline as planned probably isn’t going to work. I’m grateful for this opportunity, that they are willing to reconsider my case. Two years ago when I first spoke with the DA office I was too suicidal and unwilling therefore to cooperate. Now that I’m not really (just a bit) suicidal, I am much stronger and feel that I can handle this. It will make me feel like I want to kill myself but I am strong enough now.
My vagina is mine. I can’t say it enough.