This little scratching of thoughts originated back when the maniac Chris Dorner was still out terrorizing L.A. Someone listed the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. I don’t remember the links, but I remember #2 totally struck a nerve. I’m going from memory, but social withdrawal and substance abuse. I thought, yeah, I can see that in me.
In the meantime the cyclical topic of rape came up in public discussions, and I got to reflecting on it. All’s I know for sure about my age, is it happened before I got my training wheels off at seven. So, either five or six. Anyway, all my years of growing up, I understood what happened to me, not really with labels or specific words, but as I hear other people put it, I knew I’d been sexually assaulted. I didn’t really consider myself a victim or survivor, or anything else, but I knew it had a deep impact on my inner sense of who I was. I actually believe in some ways that it made me strong. I sort of attribute my stubbornness to having had to fight off someone several times my size. (The attack stopped when a grown up came to hear what all the screaming was about, I wasn’t of super-human strength, or anything).
So I got to thinking, when it stopped being a source of strength and resolute determination, and became something that all of a sudden became, I don’t know, something that made me break down emotionally. It was when Katie Hnida’s story came out, that I finally sought counseling. The counseling sucked, although I would encourage anyone dealing with it to at least try. And nothing against the organisation, I am really grateful they were there. But somehow it was just making me feel worse. I also did some posting on internet forums and reading up on the subject, which led me to this. Once I sought counseling, which I probably really needed, I somehow started to view myself as a victim, instead of the raging indomitable person I believed myself to be, (a former marine sorted that part of my attitude pretty handily). One of the first things the internet forums said was stop referring to yourself as a victim, rather a survivor. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I’m pretty sensitive to semantics, so I worked on that. What occurred to me this afternoon is, before I made up my mind I needed counseling, I didn’t think of myself as either. I was just someone who’d been raped, (the one thing counseling answered, was if what happened to me was technically even rape. fortunately for me, I fought him off long enough that he couldn’t get my belt off before my girlfriend’s mom came out to stop it. but, yeah, he did get it in my mouth before I bit him and started screaming).
One of the the things I read yesterday was about a woman who’d been raped, and later in life took up shooting. She mentioned how just being able to carry a gun changed her outlook, (or maybe her inlook, how she saw herself).
Anyway, this is stream of conscious writing, with an as yet to be determined conclusion, but the take-away is how you define yourself is important. Learn a skill that will increase your confidence. Learn to deal with things that are emotionally triggering, (face it, don’t hide from it). Be strong, and be well.
That’s about all I’ve got right now.