Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unraveling Flowers

I am not solely this woman that people often perceive me to be. I probably should not be affirming this truth, but it feels like an untruth not to. I am a scarred woman. I have said this many times before, but I speak it now with the intention of of reversing or at least beginning to reverse the effects that sexual violence has had on me.

In February of 2006 I was raped while I attended Spelman College as a freshwoman. This experience greatly shaped my identity as a woman of Spelman. It also contributed to my ultimate decision to discontinue my matriculation there. I was hurt, wounded, and victimized. I experienced a lack of support from my school, and I felt as though there was nowhere for me to go to begin to heal. Thus, I abrubtly left Spelman in January of 2007.

I do not seek to place blame on any entity or institution in an effort to soothe my wounds. I am working on not blaming myself. Determining who is at fault is much less significant than examining the ramifications of what took place, for this is what I am currently experiencing.

I am a woman. I was born into this so-called "man's world." I am a daughter of Osun. Even as a young girl, an air of sexual energy always surrounded me. At the time of my youth I didn't rightly understand it, but I was always aware. I remember my aunt commenting on the way I walked, exclaiming that I was "swtichin' way too hard" and that I was probably interested in her man. I subsequently have a very keen awareness of how much sway is in each step I take. I was about eight years old.

I was about twelve years old when I had my first involuntary sexual experience. I was asleep in my room when I was awakened by a second cousin of mine who crept in and closed the door behind him. He was much older than myself, probably about five or six years older. I didn't know what he wanted or why he was in my room and without consciously knowing why, I became afraid. I decided that I would pretend to be asleep. He didn't speak to me as he climbed into my bed tossing my Barbie blanket to the floor and yanked down my pajama pants and underwear. I kept my eyes shut tight hoping that it would signal to him my fear and discomfort. I was too afraid to speak or struggle. I winced as he tried to penetrate me. He chuckled at the difficulty of it, seemingly surprised to find that I was a virgin. Eventually he gave up and satisfied himself with the sensation of rubbing his penis against my vulva until he ejaculated all over me and my Barbie sheets. When he was finished he carelessly tossed my blanket over me, leaving my clothing and body in disarray.

I had never felt such wetness between my legs before, so needless to say I felt completely tainted and very sick to my stomach. When I felt that it was safe I ran to the bathroom to clean myself up and throw up. It was the first time I had ever had a room of my own and prior to this incident I had been very proud of it. I found myself unable to re-enter my room after leaving the bathroom, so I squeezed into my mother's bed, settling for the corner as her bed was already heavily occupied.

At the time I could not see how my sexuality was being misshaped and its development interrupted. Since that incident, and even more so after I was raped two years ago, I have had very few healthy sexual experiences. Now whenever I engage in sexual activity with a man, I am having the experience of being raped all over again. It is very traumatic and I have not been able to heal myself to the point where I am able to return to a state of normalcy.

In engaging in sexual relationships with women, I have found them to be a lot better for me. I am able to get comfortable enough to enjoy the experience and assert my sexual needs and wants. I am understood and held emotionally, and I do not feel obligated to have sex at the first sign of an intimate act (as I have felt with men).

I have not mistakenly "turned gay" in an attempt to conceal my wounds. In fact, I believe that the sexual violence that I experienced at a young age stifled my sexual development in a way that deterred me from acting on my (already present) attraction to women. Only after I embarked on a conscious journey to heal my sexuality did I free that part of myself and realize that it is okay for me to act on my attraction to women. Though I am not fooled into thinking that dating women is my cure, for those relationships are also tainted with sexual dysfunction. Irregardless of who I engage in sexual activity with, male or female, It is usually very difficult for me to reach an orgasm unless extra measures are taken.

Most end up throwing up their hands in exasperation eventually. Others have cheated and deceived their way out. Some linger like the smoke of glowing embers unable to detach themselves from me even when they know that it could never work. I can't blame any of them. I know that what I need to do to accelerate my healing is practice celibacy, but I inevitably end up beneath some man with tears in my eyes. I should probably stop picking my scabs.

1 comment:

z.bediako said...

Thanks for sharing this. It truly resonates with me.
May you were your petals of survival PROUDLY, mama!