499 days ago, I was raped. That's a real specific detail, I know. I couldn't remember the actual date until I looked it up on the calendar. I am a detail-oriented person, interested in important dates, and yet the day of my rape escaped me. Until I decided to define it and say it out loud. I confronted my rapist, I told the friend that introduced us about what happened. I told my girl friends, my doctor, the man I was seeing, even my Mom. Yet with all of that, somehow I still didn't want to add a date to it. That would mean I would have to remember it forever and think about it every year. I don't need a date for that memory, but I'm giving it one anyway.
Before I defined it, I had been casually referring to it as "sexual assault" instead of "rape" because it sounded nicer. To whom? I'm not sure. There is nothing nice about what happened to me on August 10, and I owe the man who raped me nothing. In fact I gave him plenty by not filing charges; by letting him make me feel like the rape was my fault; by beating myself up when faced with the repercussions of having unprotected (non-consensual) sex with a stranger. I don't owe those that I tell about it anything either. Softening the name I give it doesn't change the truth. And it doesn't change the way my body responds when I think about it.
Sometimes when I remember being raped I am full of sadness. Other times I am angry. Or numb. Then, some other times, I am turned on. Down to the last pulse. I get wet. I feel my heartbeat in between my legs. My mouth begins to water. I am distracted... And disgusted. My eyeballs scream at me, wanting to fill with tears, but can't seem to.
Maybe you can imagine my confusion when my vagina betrays me and reacts in a way that I can't control. As an epileptic, I know all about losing control of my body, but at the very least, I thought my vagina and I had an understanding. That we got each other after these 33 years together. But maybe not. Maybe she is more of a cunt than I gave her credit.
When I get turned on as a result of the memory of my rape, I try to make my mind think of other things - other men that turn me on for real. But I stop myself because I am afraid that I will then begin to associate these men with my rapist. And if that happens, and I am still sharing a bed with one of these men, than I am afraid I will lose interest, or worse, lose my orgasm. I refuse to lose that. Not like this. I never had an orgasm when I was raped (though I've heard that happens too), and I don't want to give that over to him now.
I wasn't prepared for this. That the tricky, blurred line between fantasy and reality doesn't stop with rape. I've heard of Rape Fantasies - two consenting partners acting out a rape - but that still feels controlled. I've joked about hate sex, and even written about the desire to have it with my ex, but this reality does not make me want to explore it anymore. The word hate is heavy and carries as much weight as rape. I am trying not to hold onto hate in all aspects of my life, including my rape, so I am redefining my fantasies along with my realities.
The rape has not removed my desire to explore sexuality, but it has changed the way I approach certain things about sex. I tread carefully around topics like, "you know you want to try it," and I search for the trust and freedom to tell the men I am sexually involved with about what happened so that they know that while some things are appropriate with other women, they are not okay with me. Not while this rape is so fresh. Not while it is so confusing. Not while I am still trying to understand why my vagina behaves in such a way outside the sheets. Not while I am still reclaiming control. Not while I am still trying.