Culture of Silence-Noncensentual Consent

Introduction to this “piece” – 2 years ago I had an experience that forever changed me.  I spent a week alone in a cabin in the woods.  I went there because I was struggling with my purpose.  My business was transitioning, I was transitioning and I needed time away from it all… It’s amazing the things that come up for us when we remove the distractions from our lives.  I was in the in between – somewhere between wanting to create something new, feeling my soul being called to something else and being too afraid of letting go.  I felt the universe pushing me ahead, taking things away from me to force me to a new level.

And in the middle of the woods with a biting February wind in a small town in Newfoundland, having a terrible day wrestling with my internal demons…Out of nowhere it popped into my head “you need to tell the story.  All of the stories.  Of struggle.  Overcoming.  Adversity.  Yours included.”  And I knew it was the truth.  I know it is part of my purpose and this gift of writing.

We have a culture of silence.  A culture that knows what NOT to say, what to hide, how to hide it.  All of the things that happen behind closed doors that we don’t talk about.  This project is dedicated to that… to the stories people have been willing to share with me that I will tell for them.  Some will have their names, others will be kept confidential at their request.  I’m the only person who knows some of their stories and I feel honoured that they’ve felt safe enough to share them with me.

The project is aimed to give people a voice.  A voice for their stories, a place to share, to make sense of what they’ve been through.  And the project is also designed to help you understand that you are not alone, the things we keep secret hurt us and releasing those help us all heal.

These are real people’s stories.  People who have shared with me.  And I am writing, as though I am them, putting their stories into words.

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What is Consent?

Do you know what it feels like to be held by the throat and told you’re not going anywhere? I do.

Do you know what it feels like to be told “do it or I’ll leave you here” {in the middle of nowhere}? I do. I’m not proud of this. I’m not proud that I know and feel these experiences. I actually blocked them out for a very long time. I couldn’t look at who I was really being in the world. What is consent? It’s a question being asked by the media everyday. Perhaps this is triggering my need to share.

What is consent? Many of us who feel damaged or broken inside and are seeking love and connection –subconsciously- end up in situations where e’re consenting because t’s our only option. The self judgment is always quick and fierce… how can it be rape when she agreed to it?

A question I’ve asked myself many times – what just happened? How can I report it when I went home drunk from the bar with him? I deserved it.  I was so stupid, of course he did’t really want to watch a movie.  What did I expect?  I’m a slut, that’s how slut’s are treated.  Get over it.

And so I do, you push it down into a place where it can’t hurt me. I move on, but make the same decision again. I find myself asking, what is wrong with me?  A lot. The cycle continues because it’s the only way I know. The good ones scare me because I’m afraid to love them and because I don’t really know what that means anyway.  They’ll only figure out I’m a slut and a fake and they’ll leave eventually.  I stick with the bad ones – at least I know how they’ll treat me.  At least I know not to expect anything.  I know what they want.  I know how to give it to them.

I find myself in compromising situations where I know my only option is to put out or be made to put out. How can I report that? How can I ruin his life by accusing him of something that I deserved, that I asked for? I didn’t really say no – or maybe I did, but his actions made it clear what was about to happen or he coaxed, cajoled and even physically made it clear what was going to happen – how can I say it wasn’t consensual?   I didn’t fight or scream or even say no… my souled screamed no but no one heard it, the sound never escaped my lips.

Do I be a willing participant, where the only real damage is to my self respect and let’s face it, by this time I don’t have much of that left; or do I fight it, fearing how it will end? I pick up my clothes and the pieces of my self respect and carry on, shoving it into the closet with the years of other self hate and torture that I’ve put myself through, looking for love, approval in all the wrong places.

How can I report it, when I keep doing it? When deep down there’s a part of me that loves what is happening. I’m worthless.  I deserve it.   I’m  stupid.  I always knew people who love you, hurt you.  I shouldn’t have been there, worn that, gone there, said that, did that.  I clearly asked for it.

And I suppose I had.  In some ways I liked the way it hurt.  It felt like home.  It was all I knew.

But it’s left some damage to my soul.  There are scars no one else can see.  They just see me as withdrawn, bitchy, snobby even.  But I’m not.  I’m scared.  Scared to get close to people.  Scared to love.  Scared of it all.  People who love me hurt me.  I’m tired of being hurt.  So I shut down.  I’m not even there when I have sex.  They can do what they want to my body… I’m not in it anyway. I’m floating away, pretending to enjoy it.  Acting the part… but the real me is in a field of beautiful flowers pretending it’s all good.
Every time I did something I didn’t want to; every time I did it just because it made things better in the moment, or I was afraid or numb and not realizing what I was doing – every one of those moments left a scar on my soul. I know, because my soul looks like a battlefield.

I’m healing but the scars remain.

What is consent? I don’t know. I’ve consented many times doing what I didn’t want to do because I had gotten myself into a situation that I couldn’t get out of. The easiest thing was just do it and get out of there. Eventually everything that was buried, surfaces.  It will bubble up.

And how do you deal with it?  I am choosing to deal with it.  For the first time ever.  I’m facing it.  I have help.  I am being coached and it’s helping me face it, realize I’m not alone or broken. And I’m far from special.  Sadly, my story seems normal.  The more people I tell and share it with the more people are sharing with me.

I can’t help but wonder, do these guys know we’re not into it?  Do they care about what they’ve done?  Do they care that fucked you while you cried into the pillow?  What kind of men do that?  I was hurt.  I was groomed for this.  I was abused at a young age.  Were they too?  Or do they just not know?  Was I great actress?  In some cases, I don’t think they knew.  Are we that disconnected as people?

In other cases, I know they knew.  I hooked the devil in the eyes and I sold my soul to save my life.  He knew that.  When he was done and he called me cab, like I was lucky he picked me.  He even paid for my ride home. Maybe I was wrong?  Maybe he was nice?  Maybe it was me?  Maybe he wasn’t that bad, really?

I know what it feels like to be held by the throat, to look the devil in the eyes, to observe this thing called life, as though an out of body experience.  I know what it’s like to hide deep secrets and pain behind a mask, a smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes.

I know what it looks like to look into the eyes of evil.  I wish I didn’t.  But I do.  And I wonder sometimes why I can’t get it together… why I change jobs and relationships so much… why I binge eat chocolate bars… why I can’t breathe… my throat feels like it’s closing and I just need anything to make it stop…

Thank you to the very brave soul who shared their story and let me put it into words.  As I always say “it’s better out than in”.  Now the real healing can begin. 

PS… if you would like to share your story – please reach out to me at [email protected]

PPS… if you want to be notified of new blogs – hit “follow”  in the corner.  You will receive a notification when I post a new article.

 

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