Early Promiscuity

(from learning evaluation for class)

In looking back on the last decade, specifically looking at my own sexuality, I've often seen my early promiscuity as a product of loneliness, of needing something to remind me of my personhood. No doubt that such a picture is in part accurate, because there were many times when a hug was all that was desired, but when hugs came with a price -- a price that didn't seem too steep at the time. But it is also true that my rape occurred very early in my sexually-active days, and I'm starting to wonder if perhaps the rape contributed more to my promiscuity than I'd ever considered before. (Well, if it contributed at all, it contributed more than considered before, because there were many years in which I somehow managed to not consider my rape at all.) Indeed, I can pick out times that I've never felt comfortable with.... on the one hand, I have the memories that I didn't want to have sex with this man or that, but on the other hand, I must acknowledge that I did consent at the time. Many of those memories are accompanied by memories of extreme insistence on the part of the men; could it be that, on some subconscious level, I feared that my consent might not be required, that without my consent I might be harmed by something much worse than penetration, and so I consented out of this fear?

Now, Claudia, I've read a bit of the feminist literature that discusses the irony of chivalry.... if men are protecting us, what is it they're protecting us from, if not other men? Every time I read of that supposed irony, I rejected it. But now that I'm finally, after all these years, beginning to confront my ordeal, I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a speck of truth to what the literature says.

And for a personal irony: it is this one subject alone that sometimes causes me to wish I'd never met my lover. I've expressed here before how I made the decision to NEVER AGAIN live to remember such a trauma -- and how I once had to put that personal vow to the test. (Obviously, I won that test; *his* ability to sire children is now reduced by ~50%, but I'm still alive and I'm not remembering another rape encounter.) But with my lover in the picture, fighting to the death with an attacker now means something different than it used to; now, it means risking leaving him for the rest of his life. In a way, it reduces my options, should I ever be jumped at again.

I'm so glad to have this chance to actually TALK TO SOMEONE who knows -- even if our experiences were different in detail. We've danced around this subject several times since I joined this echo, but this time we're really "getting down". Thank you, and to Elise, and Susan, and the others, for being here for me.

> The women on the other hand, were more likely to take 
> responsibility for their actions, to see where what had
> happened to them had caused them to behave in certain
> ways - ie the guilt came from the shame felt from an
> earlier experience.  Only a couple expressed anger at
> the perpetrator or anyone else, unless it was themselves.
Ya know, this is surprisingly similar to one of the possible interpretations of the words used in Genesis: she acknowledged she had been duped by the serpant, while he blamed her for giving him the apple! (There are a couple other ways of viewing that same passage, with the same words, but that's for a different discussion. )
Go Back to Shy David's Sexual Assault Page.