It was when I turned 18 that I started to abandon my sense of "femme" identity. It had gotten me nowhere up till then and I grew more "masculine" to try to gain control and power in the world. I cut my long hair off. I grew out my armpit hair. I wore all men's clothes.  I didn't understand why I was doing this at the time, but I do now. At the time, feminine sexuality = weakness. Being like a man, winning a man's game was my only defense. My kidney stones and the Planned Parenthood incident led me on my path to become a survivor. I came to terms with all four assaults and began my healing at the age of 22.

I don't have self blame about anything that has happened--
but if this pattern of sex power behavior had not already been set
then perhaps my body and my mind would have allowed me to lay there
and play as dead as I felt and maybe then my perpetrators would know their names.

One day I was backpacking in Australia, I was a naïve empress
just beginning to feel (too) safe again in the world. I was walking through town,, caught off guard in front of the wrong guy whose eyes lit up when he saw that my emperor's clothes barely covering my naked body,
so quick was he to take the opportunity to take advantage and assault me for the third time in my life.

(SEXUAL ASSAULT INCIDENT #3-sexually molested while
receiving a massage from a man working at the youth hostel I was staying at)

I remember being in a dark room, trying to prove to you how strong I was. Trying to prove that I could hang, that I was not intimidated by your advances. You showed me videos of girls you had taped bungee cording naked. (I didn't even question why) You asked if you could give me a massage. I said Yes. You asked me to take my shirt off and lay on my stomach. It felt good at first. I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep. But then my eyes opened startled each time you grazed my nipples with your hands that were supposed to remain on my back. I remember thinking that I needed to get out of here. But I was so sleepy. You had tranquilized me into submission with your manipulative hands. How did I let things get this far and how can I stop things from going any further...I sat up suddenly and forced myself into consciousness, bounded towards the door and threw it open. I can still remember you laughing as I flew to my escape.

It was a sexual assault. It was traumatic. It was not my imagination. It was not my fault. (I was not asking for it).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder had me driving the rental car down the wrong side of the Australian street because I feared returning back to the hostel the next night where I knew I would have to see him again. It was a small country town and there was only one hostel open. I escaped a potential collision but ended up backing the same car into a fence. This man's massage violated my body and my trust so deep that I would never let a man massage me again for years afterwards. Massage therapists had to be female, and the only men who massaged me were ones that paid me the same price as a lapdance to massage me. This is how I began to regain my power.

THIS IS MY "POLICE" REPORT. (the only report I ever made) Can you feel the strength of my survival? I feel like a construction site with a big proud sign that states how many work related injuries they've sustained. I am so much stronger, so much smarter... but I had to learn my lessons the hardest way of all. It's been 5 years since my last assault, and I feel stronger than I ever have in my entire life.


February of last year my best friend David passed away. I knew that the days of his funeral were to be the hardest days of my life. I would have to face his body lying in a casket, and I would have to face his brother for the first time since he raped me. The feeling of terror dominated over all other emotions of sadness. There was to be no way to avoid this confrontation. I would not, could not stand next to my rapist and pretend to be okay. I also knew that I would not let him escape without knowing. On the day I was to meet at David's house, his family was there from Hawaii and everyone was there doing the pre funeral gathering and hanging out, that I, as family was also invited to. The first night I managed to avoid Allen (his brother). The next night overwhelmed with fear and sadness, I looked up at the sky and prayed with tears streaming down my face.."Please, please David, please make everything okay. If you have any power at all, please.." I begged him. I had begged him while he was alive to stand up for me over his brother, but he didn't. This was the cause of a two year silence in our relationship. I couldn't forgive him. He finally said something to him, to his brother's denial of course, but that he had said something at all was enough for me to welcome my long lost soul mate into my life again. In the last year of David's life he told me that Allen had become a born again Christian. My first thought was that he would never be right by the Lord until he deals with what he did to me. I had a long talk with his father about the situation, my fear, my pain, my dilemma. Both boys respected their father, who had raised them as a single parent hustling ends from not the best ways. His father talked to Allen, and helped me come to terms with the situation. He affirmed my pain, he did not silence me. He tactfully requested that I honor David's death by not making this funeral solely about my pain and I was about to do that as he just honored me and I was about to walk away with that1. The funeral procession lasted about a week, lots of laughing, bonding, smoking and cherishing the life of David together with family and close friends. It was the first death of a loved one and it couldn't have been better. I don't think I have ever been more afraid of falling below the earth with David than this time. All it would have taken was for Allen to be as cruel as I knew him to be in the past, for him to deny me again, or for his father even to deny me to protect his other son. But none of that happened. And I am convinced that David did have some power over this fate.

I had a talk with my rapist in my car, and I told him about the incident, how much pain I had held for so many years, that David would want us to be friends. He told me that he was sorry. He never meant to hurt me. I cried out of relief from the fear of this confrontation expelled. I hugged him. It was strange. But I did it. Before I left I took pictures of him and his family, for the record. I knew after this ordeal that it wasn't the apology or recognition that I needed to heal. I had long since worked on my healing without acknowledgement from David, from Allen, from his family or from the law. I was already a survivor and had been for many years before that talk. Allen was the only one of my perpetrators that I still had any connection to. He was the most painful because of this fact, through my connection to David I was not allowed to forget. For many years I projected anger and rage at David for his brother's crime. It was a terrible situation. But now we are all at peace. David, at peace. Me, at peace. Allen, I guess, he was always at peace. He seemed to not have known that he even did anything to me. I still don't really think he understands. Perpetrators don't often understand, even while they contemplate on death row. I had often fantasized pointing a gun at his head and making him understand. But that would not have worked. I would just be another victim of the endless cycle of violence. And I want to be a survivor. We, as survivors cannot force them or wait for them to understand. I understand this better than ever now.


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