Sexploitation + One Billion Rising

It was a year ago yesterday. First time, anyway. The second assault will be a year on Saturday. Yep. A year. Twelve months. I survived.

It’s been seven months since I’ve had sex.

For the first five months after the rapes and subsequent devalue/discard, I had sex exactly 4 times. Three with former lovers and once with my husband. I tried two other times with my husband, but it resulted in my breaking down so badly I couldn’t breathe.

Of the three former lovers, I cried after the first one, and I had warned him I might. He was kind and loving. Reassuring.

With the second and third former lovers, I felt nothing.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Which is what I wanted to feel, I suppose. Some kind of escape from the torment.


They weren’t enjoyable. They weren’t fulfilling. They weren’t fun.

They were numbing.

After I had emerged from the trauma-bond cloud and accepted that what had happened back on February 12th and 16th, 2012 was, indeed, rape, through the guidance of a PTSD specialist and a dozen sexual assault professionals, I couldn’t have sex anymore. Not even numbing, dissociative sex.

For me, a passionately sexual and sensual woman, sex had become deeply entwined with exploitation and violation. There was no more love. There was no more ecstasy. There was no more enjoyment or pleasure or fun or anything positive.

Sex was a means to hurt. To destroy.


One of the many rape recovery and/or PTSD therapists I’ve seen over the past year just to get me functioning again, the only one, I’m proud to say, that I’m still seeing, defined it for me one day. He always puts things so clearly, and I’m grateful for his kindness and support. I was telling him how my rapist stole my very identity, my sense of self, my ability to trust, and my sexuality. That even the mere thought of sex was disgusting to me now. Utterly revolting.

He said this: “Sex has become mingled with exploitation and violation. That’s part of what we’re doing here, trying to separate those things.”

I told him of how I couldn’t have sex with my husband because there was too much love and emotion around it, and how distressed I was about that. He said that was a common response in cases of PTSD and Rape Trauma Syndrome. Because of the type of rape and betrayal by The Rapist, aka Austin Poly Rapist, since he used intimacy and love as weapons, since the rape of my body was the least damaging thing he did to me, love, as well as sexuality, was tied into rape. Somehow, because of The Rapist’s gross violation of me on a spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical level, the only way sex was possible for me was in a dissociative state, thus the feeling nothing with those former lovers. I knew it couldn’t be romantic with them, so it was just going through the motions.

I checked out emotionally.

Not fun.

Now that it’s been a year and I’m doing so well in my recovery, I’m starting to think about sex again, although I’m nowhere near ready to experience it. My husband has been amazingly supportive of my inability to have sex, even before his accident that broke his pelvis, so he can’t have sex now either for awhile. Still, even before that, he reassured me again and again that our relationship is so much more than sex. Always has been. That has been a very small part of a quite fulfilling, whole relationship, and I’m so grateful for him, his love, and his unending support. We have a complete, loving relationship without sex, so when I’m ready to open myself up like that again, figuratively and literally, it will be yummy icing on an already delicious cake.

I can understand now, as a survivor of rape, why so many survivors de-sexualize themselves, as I feel that’s what I’ve done. So much of my identity was in my sexuality, and now I’m finding my own worth outside of that. I’m embracing others who find my worth outside of that, too. The sexual me was murdered with that rape and betrayal.

For now, I’m isolated from further pain, as much as anyone can be. Until I heal completely, that’s how I’ll stay. I’ve come to realize that the secondary traumas: the betrayal of a therapist who had given me sanctuary then ripped it away; friends turning their backs on me and embracing my rapist; an entire community calling me a liar and a troll, even when I wasn’t doing what they accused me of doing; being stalked at Burning Man; the police translating and minimizing my rape; continuous victim-blaming and rape apologia from all sides, etc., were as damaging as the rape and initial betrayal themselves. Perhaps even more so.

The number one reason women don’t report rape is that they’re afraid of not being believed.

It’s a valid fear. Very few believed me. Every survivor I’ve spoken to has experienced the exact same thing.

I’ll never forgive the Austin Poly Community for turning their backs on me, a few specific people especially. Never. They can fuck themselves, which they’re very good at doing. I’ve distanced myself from everything and everyone in that town, with the exception of a very few who were supportive and kind. Good riddance to the rest.

obr_logo-webTomorrow I’ll STRIKE and DANCE and RISE with the ONE BILLION of my sisters who have been victims of sexualized violence. Yes. You read right. ONE BILLION.

Most of them weren’t believed either. I’m so OVER IT, too. All of it.

I’ll dance with them, but I will dance alone. Protected in isolation. Still, I’m at peace, as much as I can be in the continuing path towards healing. I’ve been told by many rape recovery therapists that it takes years, if not the rest of a survivor’s life, to learn to trust again, especially when raped by someone they knew and loved, as I loved him so deeply.

I see the world differently now, and I suppose I will for awhile. I can’t read, let alone write, much typical romantic stuff, as it is all triggering for me now. Erotica is disgusting or exploitative. Any level of sexual aggression disguised as seduction makes me sick. Quite literally nauseous. The only sex I’ve been able to stomach, on screen or in print, is rape or violent or exploitative sex.

That’s truth. That’s real.

Still, it’s triggering. Any level of sex or romance will send me into a new dissociative state. If you don’t know what that means, I’ll be writing a blog post on it soon. Not a fun place to be, but a relatively safe place.

So: Isolation. Silence. Peace.

Social and emotional exile. It’s beautiful here.


Veiled in Darkness

Sweet Isolation and Silence.

~ by omgrey on February 13, 2013.

4 Responses to “Sexploitation + One Billion Rising”

  1. So do you have an open marriage, or have you only had sex once with your husband since you’ve been married?

    • I’ve had sex with my husband once since I was raped twice a year ago by my then-boyfriend. Yes, open marriage.

      We’ve been married for 13 years. We opened our marriage 7 years ago. Last year was the first time I had a secondary that was becoming serious, or so I thought, but then he raped me twice and discarded me. So, there’s that.

  2. I want to hug you as much as you could stand it. I was raped as a virgin almost 23 years ago (it’ll be 23 in May; I never stop keeping track), and there are still limitations to what I can do, acts my husband will never know the feeling of with me because I don’t want to risk the sensory flashbacks and rejection. I’m so fortunate to have someone who just knows not to go there. But sometimes I think I need to fix that, figure out a way to do those things, because he doesn’t have all of me.

    I don’t want to end this on such a glum note, though, so I’ll tell you what I was told when I finally came out about being raped. Your experience is huge right now, like a piece of paper that takes up your whole field of vision. Time will fold it in smaller and smaller shapes, until you can tuck it in the corner of your pocket and forget about it for whole stretches of time. It’ll never go away, and it’ll always be there to take out and examine when you’re ready for that, but it can be so small you forget for a little while.

    I hope you danced your heart out on V-Day. ❤

    • Thank you, Jess! I accept your virtual hug!

      I’m so sorry that happened to you. People don’t understand just how deeply that violation changes us. One survivor said it should be considered murder, as the woman she was before the rape was killed with that rape. I can relate. I’m so different now. Who I was before is gone. I understand what you’re saying about your husband not having all of you, but perhaps he does. He has all of who you are now. When you’re ready to examine those things, perhaps you can with the loving support of your husband, but perhaps, also, it isn’t necessary to do those things. Sex is such a small part of a complete relationship. And, although I don’t believe this myself right now I know it’s ultimately true, love making between two people can be an expression of love, not selfish or exploitative or about getting off. My guess is your husband doesn’t care what he’s missing with those limitations, especially if he’s aware of why those things are off limits. He has the rest of you. The important parts.

      Your compassion means a lot to me.

      Peace to you.

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