It’s all a little too much, watching the tsunami of posts from assaulted women and men wash over the social media landscape. A little too much, WAY too late. The goal is to raise awareness, to let victims know they’re not alone, while creating an uncomfortable environment for their rapists.
It’s all too triggering. Even trigger happy.
I’ve been raped. I’ve been assaulted, catcalled, beaten, passed over for promotion, paid unfairly, choked, drugged, stalked, sodomized, and everything in between. Hell, a boyfriend once knocked my front tooth out while calling me a slue of names.
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to swallow was my need to explain what happened to me. However, coupled with that need is a need for silence. Explaining what happened to me was unwanted. It was insult to injury.
You see, what happened to me is common.
In childhood, my sister was assaulted by her father at the age of 3, which skewed her development. At the age of 12 she began molesting younger children, including myself. Her friend, Eric, also had certain known proclivities, and on occasion he would trade his brother for myself. Eric and my sister’s arrangement lasted nearly two years before my sister ran away from home.
By the time I turned fourteen, I was doing drugs. I also was top of my class, which seemed to validate my extra curricular activities. I met an older guy on the bus and struck up interest. One night, I was with my two girlfriends looking for pot. I called the guy from the bus, who explained to us that he would give my girlfriends weed if I would party with him for the night. I left with him and his friend. They asked if I liked opium. I had never felt that heavy. They took me back to their basement where the guy from the bus raped me in front of his friend. When I finally got him off of me, I was crying so hard I hugged my rapist and ran from his house.
I moved from home when I was sixteen. I had abusive boyfriends cycle through my life like a turn style. One threw me out of our apartment half naked. We had several physical fights and I went to stay with friends. Eventually I had to file a restraining order on him after he showed up to my work demanding to see me.
By the time I was twenty, I had a solid job on a strong sales team. For reason after reason, I was passed over for promotion. I decided to cut my losses and put in my resignation, to which I was immediately dismissed.
For the remainder of that year I traveled.
In my mid twenties, I met someone from Seattle and decided to relocate. This gentlemen introduced me to a tight knit group of people whom, unbeknownst to me, mostly resented his existence. He had hurt his ex girlfriend through repeated cheating and physically hurt her on more than one occasion. I knew nothing of this, so was surprised that I was put so far on the outside. Over the next five years, this man would rape me, hit me, abandon me, and of course cheat on me. He used me for money. Why didn’t I leave? Because I thought love would prevail. I was an idiot. Eventually this man eroded away my sanity and I started doing drugs and drinking heavily, I became violent and suicidal, and on more than one occasion, I almost died.
During a breakup in the relationship, I began offering Tantric sensual massage as a means to support myself. I had two part time jobs, but couldn’t make rent.
One night, my ex’s best friend joins myself and a couple of girls at the bar. We have a few drinks and at the end of the night he offered to walk me home. I thought nothing of it, and offered him the couch because he was drunk. When he came inside he started trying to follow me to bed. I made it clear he was going to sleep on the couch. He grabbed me by the throat, told me how my ex boyfriend told him I like to be choked, and proceeded to try to pin me down. The struggle woke my roommate who asked him to leave.
After the breakup, my ex and I had a fling. It looked as though we might rekindle and I suspended providing sensual massage. I ended up with an ectopic pregnancy and nearly died from blood loss. I had no means to support myself. My ex insisted I intended to get pregnant and offered no assistance during the two months I was unable to walk.
During this time, I left my ex and I began offering sensual massage again to pay for my medical bills. This turned into escorting the last six months I was in Seattle. I saved up and began traveling. In addition to the stigma I carried from working in the sex industry, I also carried the weight of every toxic man I encountered. Every guy who insisted on pushing my boundaries felt raw and real.
Once, I was drugged by a guy who followed me around an event I was performing for. I hadn’t drank that night because I was on shift. After my performance I was drugged on my first cider. My group of friends insisted I was drunk. I begged for a doctor. My ex eventually dumped me on my doorstep. A year after the event, I discovered the guy following me around the event was stalking me.
I’ve been told that I was asking for my assaults because of my choices to make “easy money”. I’ve been told that my photos, body, clothing, attitude, and woman-ness makes me a target. I’ve always been told it was my fault men couldn’t help themselves.
After a few months, I moved to Mexico and swore off sensual work. I traveled in Mexico for a year until a family emergency called me home. I returned to escorting for the first three months I was in Seattle. I was intent on going back to Mexico. I swore off relationships and men. (Until I met the man who changed my life. He is the first man who never judged me and truly loved me. Who gave me room to be honest and open. It’s worth mentioning that he was/is the exception for me.)
These days, my choices are better, but I still suffer the same harassment. I helped build a business to avoid the disappointment of hitting a promotion ceiling. I quit the sex industry. I quit imbibing drugs. I avoid eye contact at the bar. I moved away from the city. And I keep an early curfew. It’s still impossible for me to go in public without someone feeling entitled to my time, attention, or body. So, yes, me too.