The presentation of sexual abuse and rape in a show or movie is a surefire way to get me to stop watching it. I will probably sit through the scene and see the episode/film through until the end and then never watch it again. I didn’t realize this was something I did until recently.
Hemlock Grove, Sons of Anarchy, and Peaky Blinders are all good shows. They’re intelligent and well done. They are all shows I have started within this past year and they are all shows I have ceased watching due to the presentation of sexual abuse and rape.
It’s frustrating. I want to be able to enjoy the show and I don’t always have my partner with me to help me through a triggering segment. Pretty much I’ll get through the episode/film, decide well I liked these things and then rape happened, and then never watch it again. I have the same issue with comedians who use physical abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and “women who have Daddy issues” as ridicule material. I don’t have issues with comedians addressing the issue in a way that is meant to promote awareness or make light of a tragic personal story. Ridicule VS laughing at yourself is very different and often when I listen to comedians I have had the former experience.
I fragmented at three, when my sister started molesting me. We shared a bedroom and slept in the same bed. She was a product of the abuse done to her at the hands of her biological father (who I never met) and another male relation on that side of the family. She acted out on me the predatory behaviours acted out on her. I have been chastised for defending my sister, but I honestly can’t blame her. She is a victim and a survivor too. She was a child. A broken, damaged, child who didn’t have healthy coping mechanisms and was growing up in the same volatile environment I was. I spent years, YEARS processing the sibling abuse. It was the first major placeholder memory that cracked open in my brain.
I have discovered that most of the traumatic memories I have from childhood/adolescence take approximately ten years from onset for me to be able to access them and process them in a healthy way. Processing trauma in a healthy way for me looks like this: I confront the memory and allow myself to relive it as many times as I need to until I accept that it happened. I can continue to deny it and it will continue to torment me until I do. PTSD loops are emotionally draining and their own special kind of torture. Grieving is next, which includes the necessary emotional release like crying. And finally sharing, or getting it out and away from me, soliciting opinions, seeking validation from others. Self care and remembering my self care is super important during the acceptance process. It is very easy to get stuck in the PTSD loops or the grief phase if I allow myself to be consumed by it.
When I was twenty-one or twenty-two I remembered a lecharous fuck of a man that my mother was dating and had come live with us. He was unemployed, diabetic, and obese. She’d met him through her home health nursing. My mother was desperately lonely and had no self esteem. This was also during her time that she decided to have an aviary and collect birds. She set up a large, wall sized three tiered bird cage in her bedroom full of finches and canaries. She would let her cat hoard torment the birds. She used a shop vac to clean the cages, 6 total, and sucked up a little white and brown speckled female canary once. It died instantly. Those poor birds, they lived in torment and fear the entire time, I wish I’d had the decency to release them.
He raped me and probably my sister, repeatedly. Mother worked nights at the time so he had every opportunity and all the time in the world to be a pedophile. I was… well trained. My sister had already broken me in so when he started abusing me, the first man to abuse me, I didn’t fight him. I just… stood there, numb, terrified, and waited. The first time was the worst, the most painful and frightening. He’d picked me up from school and no one else was home, it was in the middle of the goddamn afternoon. The entire time he told me to stop crying, don’t cry, stop crying, don’t cry. I don’t remember crying, still. I can hear his voice, I can feel the body memory of being torn apart, and I still don’t remember crying. I remember the shower afterwards, fluids leaking down my leg, standing under the stream in shock.
At some point between eleven and twelve while this man was living with us I had a miscarriage. There a was a lot of blood and it was extremely painful. I remember hiding in the bathroom, waiting for the blood to stop flowing so hard. I was terrified, I think I thought I was going to die. I didn’t.
Recently I have remembered more perpetrators. Ultimately, I don’t know how many non-consensual sexual partners I’ve had. I know most of them where my mother’s boyfriends. As I said, I was well trained by the time any of them got to me. One of them I mentioned in a previous post was a cop my mother was dating. Whenever people talk about how many sexual partners they have, I always clarify consensual and non-consensual. This usually makes people uncomfortable and sad. Clarifying is important to me, the times where my choice was taken from me and when I freely gave myself are important distinctions.
The first time I had consensual sex I was fourteen. Being over sexualized at a young age usually causes one of two reactions. Either you become almost asexual and avoid sex at all costs or you go all sex all the time. I went the route of the latter. It hasn’t been until recently, as in the last three months recent, that my sex drive has calmed down and been less of prevalent distraction. I did have a brief period of feeling rather asexual and disgusted with my body, where even using the toilet was hard. Luckily through lots of self care and extra therapy sessions I was able to overcome that portion of grief fairly quickly.
I’ve had consensual sex when I haven’t wanted to. I won’t say it wasn’t consensual because I wasn’t coerced or threatened, I just didn’t want to but did it anyway because that’s what you do. Even after surrounding myself with “No means no” and consent awareness in therapy, still at home I couldn’t recognize when I wanted to have sex and when I was forcing myself to have sex for the other person.
This post is long, but important. Many of these memories aren’t actually mine, they’re memories from my alters that I’ve absorbed and processed for them. That’s my job, remember the things, process them, build a brighter and better sanity for tomorrow! I used to be therapy personality and emotional breakdown personality. I only knew about the bad stuff, I only got to come out in therapy and talk about all the horrible things that had happened to me. Slowly, slowly over many years I became the face person, taking over for Big Sis. Part of that was due to her fall from grace during our divorce with ex-husband, but that’s another topic entirely.