Hard time for survivors

Last night my husband all night kept asking me what was wrong. He said as soon as he walked in the door I had a scowl on my face.

And finally I said told the truth. “I Just can’t deal with what’s going on in the news- it’s too much and I don’t know what to do”

And then I went up to bed. And I layed there and remembered the text chain he has with his friends. I don’t really care for this group of men- and their thoughts on politics that he shares with me always reconfirm that.

So I asked him “Do you guys talk about this? What are they saying? Are they calling them liars?”

He assured me that they don’t bring it up and I just completely broke down. Telling my story again. Reminding him we had to move. Telling him every horrible detail not about the event but the aftermath.

He kind of just stared. He really isn’t equipped to deal with these things- especially in instances he can’t help.
He can’t save me- it happened.

He can’t make me feel better. He just has to watch as the woman he loves is torn apart again by something he couldn’t stop.

He has to watch as she tells him whenever she sees that face on the television it’s not HIS face she sees. It’s somebody else.

He has to know that she is right now in a prison that she can’t get out of. And that she is so drawn into the sadness and wreckage of her heart that she cannot stop. She says she won’t watch the news but she does. And when she doesn’t she furiously refreshes CNN on her phone.

She knows that it’s got to stop. She keeps hoping some moment will come and perhaps a catharsis will happen. That maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Not for her specifcally.  But for all of the survivors. Somebody honestly anybody really getting what is due.

I used to fantasize about writing him a letter. Telling him how good my life has been. Telling him that I was and always have been unaffected.

I have sense changed my mind.

I started writing him a letter this week. And instead of painting my life like a perfect picture I told him what he did.

I told him how much it destroyed me and set me on a path toward self destruction I would have not been on otherwise ( I don’t think).

I told him I don’t hate him and I do wish him well (thanks to a wonderful and wise  friend for that) but I do hate the society who let it happen and let him get away with it and succeed beyond a normal citizen. I tell him that I hate the society who consistently let’s these things happen.

I told him that I didn’t even KNOW that people did what he forced me to do- and I still really can’t. Which makes me kind of an incomplete partner.

I told him- I am finally  at peace and I hope he is as well. But he has to know what he did and that he had no right.

I can’t stop looking at this train wreck. I can’t stop seeing my own.

And that’s why it’s a hard time to be a survivor. Because you don’t ever actually get done with the hard part . Because when it is everywhere you are having to survive all over again.

No- this does not define me. I don’t think I let it, but it is part of me and my story. Yes- I at times let it consume me more than it should. I realize I deal with things in a completely different manner.

Maybe I keep watching, because every now and then we see somebody charged. Every now and then if you pay enough attention some man’s life is ruined as it should be for such things.

And even as I sit here typing this. I FEEL better. I feel better for saying these things. I feel better for even typing out that it is very tough out here for some of us survivors.

Why we don’t speak up right away…

To make one thing clear- I never wanted my story told when I was a freshman in High School. I never wanted people to know that the It junior on campus had sexually assaulted me in a small office in the high school ( I still see this office every day). After I ran out of that room crying I paid my best friend $5.00 for a piece of gum. I don’t know why? I had to have it. To this day of that whole period that is one action that makes the least sense.

I didn’t even KNOW that people did that. WHY would they want to do that? I sure didn’t want to do that.

Being honest- I still really don’t but that’s another bag o’worms.

I told my two best friends. I made them swear not to tell anybody. I didn’t understand had happened and I certainly didn’t understand why. I didn’t want anybody to know.

By happenstance this man- had hit on one of my best friends. She’d already told her boyfriend what happened to me.

I’m not sure why she did. Young me was stupid to think she wouldn’t. But what did know.

One day (about a month after the incident) my teacher pulled me aside. Told me that my friend was very worried about be- because he’d heard this story. So- I came clean. I told my story.

Then I had to tell my principal. Who later called my parents and they came and got me.

I remember sitting in that fucking office.

I remember the principal saying “the school cannot punish him- it was on school grounds and if we did we would have to punish her as well”
I still hate that man. He could have stood up. He could have done SOMETHING he could have done ANYTHING but he did NOTHING.

We tried to take the case to the district attorney. But. They were all family friends. I wish I was kidding.

Every time I tried to speak up – a door was slammed in my face. I was called a liar. I was called a slut. I was called a goody goody. Or I was called what he called me when I didn’t want to be sexually assaulted “Frigid” .

Everything that I was called is nothing that I am.

A lot of the things I was called- I spent years and years trying to embody but in my own terms. Or I dumbly put myself in even worse situations but knowing they were worse. So at least I could have some control or ownership of the pain. At least I KNEW I’d caused it right or wrong.

The way I was treated- actually my family as a whole.. It was so bad that my dad applied for a job at a different tower and we moved out of the state. Far away from it all.

But we packed that pain and brought it with us. And for me it’s always been a box lingering in the attic. Like a dead persons things that you don’t want to go through -but know you should.

Our lives changed forever because I even TRIED to tell my story (when I didn’t even want to) and nothing came of it.

There was no justice for him in this choice in his life.

The next year- he was president of the senior class.

And this is how society works. No matter what the man is the stud. No matter what the woman is either a slut or a liar. Maybe even both.

That is my perspective.

That’s why we don’t talk.
That’s why we wait. That’s why some of us never say a word.

He’s now a doctor. Married to a lawyer. Very active in the community.

And I cannot even fathom what would happen if I tried to come out with this story again. What would happen. How I’d be treated. I have put myself in the shoes of these women in the news now. Imagining how scared they must be. Brilliant educated women still brought back to a moment they wish to scour away.

And I admire the strength they have. The strength I had whether I wanted it or not.