Writer’s Block

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve wanted to write something, anything here, but found I have nothing “good” to say. No new insights. No helpful tidbits that might skew my thoughts enough to change my perception. Nothing but frustration about things I think I’ve pretty well covered in past posts.

Same shit, different day.

Today was a bad day, a very bad day — mentally and emotionally, and for no good reason I can come up with. It just was. Frustration prevents me from speaking my mind. Fear and paranoia prevent me from being truly open and honest. Doubt fuels my insecurity. And despair just keeps telling me, “Give up already.” She’s a trip, that one.

Worry set up camp in my mind, fueling a great many “daymares.” These internal arguments play out like flashbacks except — rather than flashing back into the past, these are more often possible future scenarios that end in a few raging choice words that aren’t pleasant at all. 

I wonder if “daymares” are a real thing. Does anyone else experience horrifying nuggets of imagination and anxiety that mix to form crazy daydreams that rival the worst nightmare?

I do.

Not sure how long these have been going on, but then again, I feel as though I’m caught somewhere between sleepwalking through life right now and numb disconnect. Maybe that’s simply my norm. Maybe it’s just that time of year. Where does it begin and where does it end? What triggers it? Maybe it’s not a continuous cycle but a never-ending state of mind. Brief moments of awareness send me right back there because everyone else’s reality sucks a little bit more than my own.

At least in my inner world, I have others to talk to. Loneliness and isolation are probably the worst symptoms of depression; but quite honestly, I don’t have the patience to deal with other people’s shit.

I digress. I apologize for the cynicism. It’s a shame that I rarely make myself write on the “good” days.

Coping seems to be the only solution. “Deal with it.” That’s the message I’m getting lately.

Injustice Trigger

By now I’m sure most people have heard about the reprehensible lenient sentence given to Brock Turner, a 20-year-old Stanford University student convicted on three counts of felony assault — “the intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/ unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.” [Source: CNN] Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to a mere 6 months in county jail.

Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker

Her letter — her courageous account describing her attack, as well as the aftermath and impact on her life — gives all of us who have ever experienced rape/sexual assault a voice. My heart goes out to this woman who suffered a horrible violation of not only being raped but also an injustice of the court system.

As is so often the case when stories like this appear in my news feed, I couldn’t turn a blind eye, not even with the knowledge that it would trigger my own suffering once again. Granted I’ve already been struggling for the past couple of weeks with a triggered loss of safety due to the theft I wrote about in my last post, Strangers and Thieves; but the Stanford survivor’s story gave me serious pause. The circumstances of her rape were frighteningly similar to that of my own during that first rape in ’98.

Those of us who have been victims of rape — survived such unconscionable acts of violence — suffer the consequences of our rapists’ decision for the remainder of our lives. Had someone told me that in the aftermath of the rapes I endured, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself every time I found myself (yet again) struggling with any of the following symptoms that so many of us are forced to cope with after such trauma:

  • The intrusion of memories of: the actual rape itself; the immediate events afterward and our own reaction; the responses of those we’ve told; displaced emotion; and for those who had the courage to press charges, that ordeal as well.
  • Flashbacks and panic attacks that force us back into those horrid moments, reliving the emotions and vivid recollection of such memories.
  • Nightmares that wake us from the safety of our own bed, preventing us from getting restful sleep.
  • The hyper-vigilance of constantly being “on guard” in an attempt to protect ourselves from further threats, including an exaggerated startle response, and the exhaustion that results from being in that constant state of anxiety and fear.
  • Triggered dissociation, feeling numb, inability to experience emotion (not even joy or happiness), or feeling out of touch with reality.
  • The lack of trust and problems maintaining relationships with others that lead to isolation.
  • Shame, worthlessness, and loss of “self.”

Don’t get me wrong, these symptoms may lessen over time; but unfortunately, they never completely go away. And a lot of the time, at least for me, when I’m triggered it feels just like it did back then.

We live in an overly-sexualized society that permits rape culture, blames the victim, and excuses a behavior that is nothing short of murderous intent — murder of the soul. Rape should carry as harsh a penalty as that of murder, not a mere slap on the wrist like what Turner received. It truly is no wonder why so many rape victims don’t press charges, myself included, and why so many more don’t even report the rape. When society, especially that society’s judicial system, values a rapist’s “potential” more than the victim’s suffering, it fails in every sense of the word to be a civilized community.

It’s shameful that so many people still don’t comprehend the damage rape does to its victims. It saddens and angers me greatly that Judge Persky failed to recognize the seriousness of Turner’s actions. It’s even more shameful that a judge would favor a rapist convicted on three counts of felony assault over the victim who has no choice but to now “cope” with what was done to her.

It’s not just shameful. It’s WRONG!

And just a reminder for those entitled few who still haven’t gotten the message:

Sex without consent is rape.