Thursday, February 18, 2016

Witness: I can't sleep anymore

A little statue that was going to be our cake topper falls to the floor and breaks after several books slide onto it. He looks at me from the bookshelf, books in his hand. "Why the fuck would you put that there?"

I'm cooking. I always cook. We're arguing. I can't remember about what. He tells me to shut up. I tell him I won't. I tell him to get away from me. He lashes out, stabs me with his fork. I hit him back with a wooden spoon and tell him to fuck off.

The dishes are done in the kitchen. I wipe my hands and try to ignore him talking at me. He stands in my way, between the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. I could go out the back door but it's cold and I don't have any shoes. He stands there, won't let me pass even when I ask him. He says he'll let me pass if I kiss him. He asks why I don't like touching him anymore. I do what he asks until he moves out of my way.

He comes home from getting groceries. I pay for groceries. This month I missed some work so there isn't as much money. I tell him before he goes how much is in the account. He comes home and yells at me for not having enough money to buy what he wanted at the grocery store. When I remind him I told him how much was there, he tells me I should have had more.

The apartment is so cold the radiator comes on when the heat setting is at its lowest. My dog is shivering. I'm wearing layers and a quilt. I ask if we can turn the heat up. He says he doesn't want to pay for heat.

At night I sleep facing away from him. I wake up to us having sex. It surprises me. I didn't consent to this. He keeps going.

It happens again. I ask him to stop and he doesn't. He says he'll be done soon.

This becomes normal.

I start sleeping on the couch and he tells me I should be sleeping with him. I tell him the couch helps with my neck and jaw problems. An hour or two hours of sleep becomes a lot. I stop sleeping. I stop going to school. I stop functioning.

I leave. I go home to my mom. I tell him I need to think about our relationship. He tells me he wants to know what I'm deciding now. I tell him if he needs to tell me when to decide then he's made the decision for me.

Years later when I see him again I shake and start smoking like a chimney.

A decade later I still don't sleep at night without medication.

My rape was one where I barely said anything. I was afraid to speak out. I believed he had a right to my body because we were engaged. I didn't know this was abuse. I didn't know it was wrong other than I knew my physical response was to hide. I didn't want to be near him. I knew I was scared. And I felt like I was all alone.

When we broke up, I was told I just had cold feet. I was told he would never do something like that. I was told I was making it up. I was told I was lying. I was told I was wrong.

In a decade I've become more familiar and intimate with the word survivor. I've adopted it as one of the few I used to describe myself. I've come to understand my triggers and the everlasting damage that man did to me. I've come to try to heal myself. And I've come to terms with the fact that the world is against me.

He gets to keep going. He gets to live a normal life. People still smile at him. People still say they like him. People still will let him live in a home and have heat and food and water. I can't stop the world and I can't make them hate him like I do because the court system would tear me apart. All I can do is try to keep going. I can't move on. But I keep surviving.

In the summer after my breakup with my rapist, I was drinking a lot. I was emotionally destroyed and turned to easy relief wherever I could find it. Alcohol, cigarettes, and casual sex became the mainstay of my days. I worked hard and I played hard.

One night I got pretty damn drunk. Black out drunk almost. I don't remember how drunk I was, which is pretty indicative of how drunk I was. I had been having sex with a friend of mine for a month or so. Recently I had told him we couldn't keep having casual sex, as I knew it was hurting him and the guilt was piercing through the numbness that had settled into my bones.

On this night, he helped me get home. He laid in bed with me and then started the usual motions of having sex with me. I said "we're not supposed to be doing this." He kept going. He had sex with me. I don't remember much of it other than it happened.

I felt violated and hurt. I felt numb shortly after and tried to just push past and move on.

These are my rape stories. These are the moments of abuse that keep ticking in my head over and over again. These are the reasons I don't get that drunk anymore and the reason I don't sleep at night. It's the reason I post this at three something in the morning because I'm not sleeping anyways, I may as well do something.

Like tell you about my rapes. And let you make your own decisions about them.

I'm a survivor.

And I can't sleep anymore.

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