In 1971, I was groomed/tricked by a male student from Chicago’s south side who was at a community college located in southeastern Washington State on a football scholarship. I was 18.
I came from an abusive home: my mother mentally, emotionally and physically abused me from my age of 2 1/2 years when my father was not present and my elder siblings were at school. I was the family scapegoat–my older siblings (boy and girl 7 and 5 years older) never came to my defense when these assaults happened after school. I protected my younger brother from my mother’s abuse until I left home at age 18.
I was naive in the world yet understood in crisis moments I had no experience to stop abusive behavior toward me from others–all I thought of was surviving the moment.
This is the first of many terrible experiences of varying types I underwent in my early adult years because I could not accurately read signs objectively to escape in advance with my physical actions or other means of avoidance.
I had minimal experience dating so felt responsible when I was made to feel guilty repeatedly over a few weeks about his “falling in love” with me. I agreed to meet him outside the college campus on a Saturday afternoon.
At the time of being raped he had me completely alone in the house where he lived in his basement room. He handled it smoothly, quickly; he ignored my pleas.
I was profoundly disappointed by this experience and terrified I was pregnant. Worse were his words that something was wrong with me because I did not have [an orgasm]. He said many other damaging things of me I could not defend myself against.
I had been a virgin. I had no psychological defenses due to my lifelong abuse from my mother.
When I arrived home a bit late for dinner, I had already decided I could not say anything of what happened. My mother was prone to melodrama and anything but my friend, my confidant.
To spare my father taking action, which I knew he would, I never told them because there were local racial tensions and segregation. I did not want to be under scrutiny because I learned at my mother’s hands attention meant physical, mental and emotional abuse.
My father paced but said nothing to me. He could feel something terrible had happened I saw in retrospect. My mother was oblivious–for a change in a good mood which she was, as my father observed, when the rest of the family was miserable.
I spoke to a good friend I had recently made acquaintance with later that night. She was concerned and listened. I believed there was nothing I could do.
I spoke to mutual acquaintances: white women students who were dating black student football players. I told them who had raped me. Word got back to this man who denied it. He suggested we “talk” so I met with him at a nearby apartment he had access to. I expected him to explain his behavior, apologize–something comforting, clarifying. Instead he raped me again and was verbally mentally abusive.
I was deeply depressed for several months and relieved of terror only after it became evident I was not pregnant.
I believed there was something sexually wrong/deficient with me due to the verbal abuse and the trauma of these and subsequent assaults for decades. I kept his words in my head as a reference of who I am, what I am capable of. I looked for examples to substantiate these lies which I saw as condemning truths.
Throughout my life there were many things I did/did not do because of the damage to my self-esteem and self-worth. I tended to reject good men and tolerate abusive behavior (not physically but emotionally).
I believed I could not trust myself, my judgment.
I constantly frustrated myself by not meeting goals I set, believing others are more important than I am in my life.
I was sexually frustrated with myself. Some men verbalized their frustration with me sexually when I began to successfully pleasure myself in their presence. I was young and this discouraged my hopes for normalcy early on.
Most of my adult life I felt there were secrets I could not unlock within myself because of my sexual dysfunction due to my initial experience. I lived a scarred life. I focused on scars, frustrations and past limitations.
My fist response after about a year was to “obliterate” this psychological scar by having many sexual experiences.
I focused on pleasuring my partners which was a positive distraction away from my sense of inner inadequacy.
In my 40s I decided to stop mentioning my initial sexual experience to men I was sexually intimate with because it put a burden on our performance and may have discouraged them from demanding more of that part of our communicating.
It took 3 decades for me to make up my mind that I would have sexual satisfaction within myself and allow myself to be with a man who was capable of providing it, who insisted upon me “releasing.” Instead of controlling I was able to let go. Our emotional involvement did not work out after a few years but I easily released during intercourse. That liberated me in countless ways–I felt whole, creative and no longer self-involved or preoccupied.
My sense that I had good judgment was restored. I was then able to be with a man I trusted to have much richer sexual experiences with. Intimacy is authentic, spontaneous and meaningful.
I am now 61.
If I have advice it is to push yourself beyond focusing on the greatest most intimate defilement and insist within yourself to not accept that as a final defining experience of who you are, what you are capable of experiencing or what you are limited by.
Insist on having the life you want despite emotional and mental scars.
Make those scars small and flexible, not something you hold on to.
Determine to live each moment to the maximum and go after that challenge you set yourself.
Something worse could have happened–you could have been robbed of the chance to make all of the other moments of your life whole, good, filled with joy or sorrow or love or anger to pick yourself up to live another day.
There is nothing wrong with you.
You can heal. Make it your mission to be whole and complete yourself.