Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Non-Consensual Road - Part 1

Warning: Sensitive Content

If you have not read the Introduction, I would suggest you do so here.

I have never lived with my father.  In fact, I have never even met him, nor has he never been a part of my life.  

According to this article, "A father’s influence in his daughter’s life shapes her self-esteem, self-image, confidence and opinions of men... He must, first and foremost, treat his daughter with respect and love. Whether or not he is married to or still together with his daughter’s mom, showing respect to her mother is essential as well,” explains Austin. “He must also value women as human beings, and not as persons to be used. Daughters will see what their dads believe about women by how they value and respect women, or by how they fail to do so."

Failing to have a positive influencing and guiding father during my formative childhood years, and developing teen years, left me seeking attention from men.  I didn't have a consistent, positive model of how men should treat and value women, and partially because of that, I found myself in situations with men where I was getting hurt over and over again.  

I had some innate intuition when I was in grade six.  When I was babysitting one night for a couple, the father arrived home first.  He sat beside me on the couch and we chatted a minute, then he told me he had his horoscope read that day.  He went to the paper copy to show me.  When he came back, he sat beside me again and started showing me the document from his astrological reading.  He starting talking about star placement and other astrological things I didn't understand.  Then he said, "See this? Right now I am in the middle of my sexual phase."  That was my cue to get out of there. As I walked toward the door, I was shaking with fear that he was going to grab me.  Somewhere inside I knew it was not a safe place for me to be, and when I got out of there unharmed, I knew God was protecting me.  I never went back there.

Sometime that same year, there was a group of men sitting in front of one of the units in our complex.  It was summer and a friend and I were at the park in the middle of the complex. One of the men called me over and asked me to get my friend to come over to see him.  When she refused, I told him she didn't want to.  I knew something wasn't right, so I started walking to my building.  The man started following me.  When we got to the outside door, I told him I had to go home.  He kept asking me if he could come in to see the apartment.  I said, "no" and went inside. He could have held that door open and went inside with me.  Again, God was protecting me.  I went out the back door to a friend's house.  Later on, the superintendent of the building saw me and told me I shouldn't be talking to those men.  She knew there was something not right about them, too.

The catalyst in my life that changed every single future encounter I would ever have with a man happened in grade eight.  I was new to the school and a boy older than me started showing me attention.  He would talk to me.  He even called me one night.  However, all he wanted was a sexual relationship.  Our first physical interaction was him touching me from behind.

I sat in front of him on the bus one day.  He was slumped down in his seat with his knees on the back of my seat.  He kept grabbing my hand and pulling it towards his private area.  After a couple of tries and me resisting, he finally gave up.  On another occasion, we were in a classroom together, just the two of us.  He was sitting in a desk and I was standing beside it.  He slid his hand across the top of the desk and right between my legs.  I stepped back and left the room, but he followed me.  We went into another classroom and I went to the back and sat down.  He leaned down and tried to kiss me.  I got up and walked away.  

At lunchtime one day, I went into the computer room to do some work.  He was in there.  He came over to where I was and pulled his chair tight to mine so that the teacher and other students who were in the room could not see what he was about to do.  I had both hands on the keyboard, so he had full access to the private areas of my body.  He reached over and put his hand between my legs.  I grabbed it and pushed it away.  I went back to typing and he did it again.  As I was moving his hand away, he grabbed it and began pulling my hand towards himself.  I used all my grade eight strength to pull against him.  

He said, “Please?” 

I said, “No.” 

Again he said, “Please?” 

I responded, “No.” 

After one more “Please?” and another “No”, all the while pulling my hand towards him, he got mad.  He let go of my hand and moved his chair back to his own computer.  This is when I knew I had to tell someone about what was going on.  I told a female teacher, to which her first words were, "I can't believe it."  The next day the guy tried something again.  As I was passing him in a doorway, he put his hand up and rubbed it across my chest.  I told him to get his grubby hands off me, which is what the teacher told me to say if it happened again.  

The Guidance Counsellor spoke to the guy either later that day or the day after.  And, the guy requested to talk to me.  As I walked down the hallway to the Guidance office to face my abuser, I was freaking out.  I stood in the doorway as he said what he wanted to say.  He said he was sorry and that he would never do it again.  He said he would put his hand on the chopping block if he ever did it again.  I said, “Not to me or anyone else?” and he again said no.  I said, “You don’t know how much that hurt.”  I left the office in tears.  A few days later I told the story to the Police.  Then, I was told that the guy tried to kill himself.  I was non-verbally being blamed for his suicide attempt and shamed into thinking that it was my fault the guy was having a hard time.  Eventually, he did return to school so I had to see him on a regular basis.  He went to court and was sentenced to two years probation. 

This traumatic event changed my life.  My power was taken from me, my boundaries were not respected, and my pain ran very deep.  I considered suicide on a regular basis, and my natural "freeze, fight, flight" responses got very messed up. 

In grade nine I was at another babysitting gig. The kids were sleeping and the husband returned home first.  I was sitting in the living room watching television on one side of the “L” shaped couch.  He came in and sat down on the other side.  He flicked through the channels for a few minutes and then turned on something boring.  He laid back on his right elbow, picked up my left leg with his left hand, and began stroking it.  I froze. I actually couldn’t move. The ability I had in grade six to leave the house was not there anymore.  The husband started talking about relationships, asking if I had been in any.  Then he started talking to me about self-gratification.  He described parts of my body in detail and told me exactly what to do to feel good.  I sat there stunned, frozen, and in shock, as he continued to rub my leg.  I could not say how long we sat there.  When he heard his wife open the door, he put my leg down, sat back up, and started switching channels again.  I got up and went over to his wife.  She knew right away that something was wrong, but I denied it.  She offered to bring me home, but her husband insisted that he be the one to drive me home.  I did not want to say that I didn’t want her husband to drive me home because that would alert her to the fact that something did happen. I got aboard his truck and stayed as close to the passenger door as possible.  He immediately started back up with the inappropriate conversation.  He told me to “try it” and get back to him with the results.  I never babysat for them again. 

My boundaries had been violated again.  I had no power.  All I could do was freeze.  I started to believe that the only reason any man would want anything to do with me was for sexual reasons, and my future relationships resembled just that.  

The purpose in me sharing all these details is to show that the road to regular, non-consensual sex with my ex-husband began long before I ever got married.  My ex found easy prey.  I was a hurting teenager who continuously sought after attention from men to fill my father void, and I had no boundaries, voice, or guts, to stand up for myself.  I was easily controlled, very passive, and wanted approval from men.  My past created me to be the perfect candidate for a future abused wife. 

I'll talk about that next time. 

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