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Is Involuntary Sex A Gateway Drug? 4/28/18
On Thursday this week famed comedian Bill Cosby, role model, America's dad was convicted on a sex charge. Over 50 women have come forward to say that they were given drugs and alcohol and were unable to comply or refuse when he had sex with them. The interesting thing to me as a trauma survivor and alcoholic is that Cosby is not denying that he had sex with all of these women. He just doesn't believe that it is rape. And with him and he is not alone with this.
Are you young enough to remember the 70s? Free love and all that and all the drugs you could swallow and all the alcohol you can drink. How many of us wound up in places with people we didn't know doing things we didn't remember with no idea of how to get home? Today we can say we were sold a bill of goods that it was okay and everybody came into every encounter with the same mindset; well in truth some of us and some of them were so high we don't even know what really happened. It reminds me of that when people talk about Cosby and why people didn't come forward. One Survivor that I spoke to personally said at the time so many people are doing drugs it was like you didn't remember if it was a dream or it had really happened. And he was a big star and you were lonely employee and no one was going to believe you that this man that everybody loved had something happen.
Many of us who are getting sober stay in very quiet with our sponsor or in very safe women meetings because to admit that this happened is almost to volunteer to be a victim again. I can only say with my own experience if I have had too much to drink and wound up with someone in bed and barely remember that the next day because somehow--taxi or I walked--I got home and I tell that to someone I'm often so ashamed of being a drunk of being that woman at a party that is embarrassing to everybody that came with her that I am wide open for some sober daddy figure to comfort me right into bed yet again. You soon learn that there are some stories that you do not tell in a mixed group.
This phenomenon sometimes called sexual harassment and rape is all being lumped together because it all reflects an attitude in our society that gives a woman all the responsibility for whatever happens whether she consents or wants to or not. The lesson that our young women learn is that if something happens to you it is your own fault. You should have stayed home or acted less provocatively, not giving your phone number-- all the innocuous things of day-to-day life in a social media age are somehow transformed into the old comment ”she was asking for it”.
I was a social worker for many years and had occasion to interview families in which sex abuse had occurred. This attitude that we're seeing in media is typically referred to as blaming the victim. When the victims are young children I have seen women say that she/he was doing something provocative or flirting. In court the mother supports the men's version of what happened, leaving a child to fend for his or herself. No wonder the message that many trauma victims get is to shut up suck it up and keep going. The problem is that their traumas become an open infected wound. because you ignore pain doesn't make it go away.
I identified with the victims. When they were drunk or high, they found themselves in a sexual situation and not alert enough to be able to fend off their attacker. Later on it's always presented that the problem was not that someone was sexually inappropriate to them but the problem is that the woman was drunk or high and cooperated. As such many women in recovery only have each other to talk about this with.
Popular thinking supports the belief that if a woman is not beaten up dragged and hospitalized with physical biological matter on their clothing or body that she may be making it up. In fact the phenomena of rape in our culture as defined by the department of justice is “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
It's so common that people who disbelieve account say it couldn't have happened, look at all of the women who are telling this lie. Rather than that we live in a hypersexualized rape culture where violence against women is considered sexy.
As a young teenager of 15 I became involved with a married man several years older than I in an authority position in my church. I began drinking and using drugs to numb the pain of realizing that I was one of several girls who passed around std’s and it was never going to end up happily ever after in this side chick situation. In fact, I pretty much sabotaged any scraps of a good reputation in church because men gossip. I soon learned never to go into a closed area with a man no matter how well I thought that I knew them. I knew that I could not tell my mother because she saw me as a child and I was probably exaggerating. So, me and my bottle went through this alone.
In fact my escape plan was to move to another city somewhere far away after college and start over. But trauma doesn't just go away. For the next thirty years every partner that I chose was a version of this man from my youth. They were always an alcoholic or addict, they were always much older than me, married to somebody and I was always trying to prove that I was beautiful and opening myself up for abuse. Only in recovery doing what I needed to do to get better which in my case was to be assessed for a mood disorder, medication, sobriety, abstinence, practice of a spiritual belief, sort of like recovery triage. I'm healthier. I still am not in a place where I'm comfortable with choosing men to be with so that will have to wait until I get better. But I'm hopeful, I'm functional and life is good. I would like to say to the women like me who out there: men are finally being exposed for their behavior; you are not alone and you don't have to live like that and it's okay to be angry or hurt or scared and we can hold each other up.
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