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Because I Didn't Think I'd Be Raped Again

Bethany Paget is a strong and brave woman. She’s surviving addiction and abuse, fighting back against the darkness, and raising a daughter in the light. I’m in awe of her relentless courage and her clear voice. She shared bits and pieces of her story as part of the #YesAllWomen movement, and she’s sharing a bit more here today:

( trigger warning: descriptions of rape )

This is the second time I’ve written about this. The first time was a few days ago. But the words didn’t sound right. They sounded, honestly like someone who has been scripted to talk about abuse in a nonchalant way. That is how I speak of much of my trauma and experiences that I have had in light of simply having breasts and a vagina.

The story that belongs to #YesAllWomen is all of our stories. I do not know a single woman alive who hasn’t experienced something on the spectrum of harassment, stalking, abuse, rape, or even death. Not one of our stories is identical, yet as women we are all intrinsically bound. Our stories are unique to us but with the power of speaking out and sharing our experiences we can stand together and say “ME TOO.”

There was so much attention paid to sex, sexuality, and the female body when I was growing up. The adults (who think kids don’t listen) who make jokes about sex, about their sex lives and eventually as I grew older; my sex life. At age 9 my father began making comments about the fact that he had bigger breasts than I did. He always made comments about other women’s bodies. Like ALL THE TIME, and they were perverse. Yet when he started to make them about mine is when I first felt that dirty feeling.

That dirty feeling had a root, an evil twisted root that grows down to the enemy himself. The branch from that root was my father’s molestation of me. He played the nice dad, the dad who picked you up for his weekend visit and took you shopping because he felt guilt. He was the dad who took me out to eat. He was also the dad who when we went to check out movies; he went behind the hidden curtain. I always knew what was behind that curtain and I knew what it meant when we got home.

After three years of therapy I have a pretty strong recollection of the things that were done to me even when I dissociated out of the majority of them. It’s a painful step to make as adult but putting those pieces together gave the foundation I needed to understand why I’d had the life I did.

It wasn’t just my dad. My mom and step dad had zero lack of regard for the three children they were trying to raise when they have weekly parties and weekend parties. The drunkenness and the sex stunk, like vomit. It doesn’t take much to see that my early childhood were fraught with neglect and abandonment at the core.

That little girl grew up to learn that what she had was a body. That body was important to people, people who do and give great things for that body. There were so many times that Abigail’s dad would show me off as his fucking sexy girlfriend knowing that if our male friends got a piece than we would be able to get a decent amount of drugs for the night.

That time when her father shoved my face into his penis and forced me to give him a blowjob while he laughed; I didn’t know that was abuse. I didn’t know it was abuse that he called me his property. He would give me money to go to the grocery store but demand the receipt and all of the change; because he assumed I was either shopping or hoarding the money. To me that was love, not abuse.

I thought I had moved on from all of pain when I walked away from EVERYONE. I’m a mom; she and I are good together. I have done several years of healing in there and, though I know I have more to go, I feel settled with where I am.

When you have C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) you learn to always have a contingency plan. A “how am I going to get out of this if it gets bad” plan. I lived for many years after thinking that the next man I saw was going to be my next rapist. I lived with the fear that a masked man would sneak into my apartment and rape me. Those fears were real, but they had started to lessen and I was feeling safe in my environment.

And then last weekend I opened my front door to someone.

I allowed him inside willingly. He was supposed to be there; we’d made plans. However the rest of the night is black like a movie screen in my brain. A glass of wine and I was out, waking up to violent vomiting for most of Sunday and no idea what had happened.

I didn’t really think I’d be a victim of rape again. In honesty it still takes big guts for me to say the words in therapy – and she’s seen my ultimate ugly. I am broken, tired, and afraid. I feel like everyone I see is again a threat and I need to reassess my contingency plan.

This is what woman are afraid of, what we are taught. “Watch your glass.” Why would I have watched my glass? He was at my apartment.

We learn how to not be raped or assaulted but no one, NO ONE teaches boys and men about consent and boundaries. No one teaches them that in the absence of a “Yes”, you DON’T TOUCH HER.

[ image: flickr ]

published May 28, 2014

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