52 chapters/stories for my book…that’s how many I have written but the rape chapter is the hardest.
I started out being kind of namby-pamby about it. That’s the feedback I got from my mentor/auntie, an author I deeply respect. She said “Kathie, you have to remove the sugar coating and tell us what actually happened.”
It took many years, but I finally did what she asked, leaving out no disturbing detail. To that version, she responded with “Well, maybe not THAT detailed!”
So I am trying a completely different approach this time.
I am house-sitting for dear friends as I write this. I am in a situation I rarely put myself in…alone for days (and worse, nights) in an unfamiliar house, in a very remote setting. I did all the things that for me are normal when I am in any new place… checked out all conceivable exits…found the quickest routes away from the house, noticing fast exit dangers, like locked gates, stuff to trip over, etc.….discovered any weaknesses in normal security (windows, door locks) and tested how they all sound. And I found the best hiding places inside the house in case escape is not an option.
It’s a pain in the butt to be me.
The point of telling you this is that even though I have done a shitload of therapy and healing work on having been raped, one result remains the same. I live my life differently than most people.
Here’s the opening I wrote when my mentor requested a more “detailed version”, but I edited it in this draft to honor her feedback to not be THAT detailed….
If I do ever get this chapter on paper the way I want it, I will keep my original title.
What I want to know is would you want to read a story that starts like this???
Being Raped has to be the title of this chapter. The odd tense of the word “being” implies a current circumstance that captures the experience, as if describing a state of being rather than an action.
That’s why it’s perfect.
In an instant, an event like this can become the definition of WHO you are. There is a part of the act, the trauma, the experience that continues in your body, your psyche, your mind, and your heart…as if it is in fact, still happening right now, always in the present tense.
If you have been raped, the incident just goes on and on and on, granted less loudly with time. But for you, intrusion, in any form will shock your body right back awake, no matter how far into the back of your Secret’s Closet you’ve shoved that rape, hoping to keep it fast asleep.
This will be true for the rest of your life…no matter how much therapeutic work you do. No matter how deeply you are able to heal.
You will never not know the terror of being awakened with a knife at your throat.
You will never not remember the feeling of being held down in your own bed by two men.
And you will never forget the popping sound of a gun being fired, RIGHT BY YOUR HEAD, in the middle of this surprisingly quiet chaos… rousing the thought that though you may survive this knife, you still might end up getting shot!
All comments welcome! Thank you.
2 thoughts on “Dark Chapter”
I’m glad you are sharing your story. I think that Being Raped is a fine title for the chapter and I thought you explained why you used “Being” very well.
Yes, I would read a story that starts that way. My only concern is wondering if a person who is not far along in their recovery, or hasn’t even started it, would focus only on the “This will be true for the rest of your life” and not take in the “less loudly with time” and “how deeply you are able to heal” statements. That might be helped if you have a sentence or two about your life that gives hope.
How about the event that changed my life? That is awful. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Traumatic experiences we often try to seperate our mind from our body so we can survive. Emotions shut down and little memories are triggered when you least expect to throw you right back to the moment it happened. You did well to survive. Someone was watching over you.