When I first sat down in Dr Hís office I was immediately nervous. I started by telling her about my upcoming oral surgery. I told her how thinking about it brought back memories of that night behind the gym. Then I told her that I wanted to tell her about that night.
I could tell by the look on her face, she was surprised. I donít think she thought I was ready. In some ways I still canít believe that I actually was.
It took me a couple of minutes to be able to speak, to start. I felt really anxious. But after I started, it wasnít so hard. For some reason, I wasnít able to make eye contact with her while I told her. But I was able to tell her everything about that night. I hesitated a couple of times, over some of the details. But I got everything out. And once I did, I still felt that anxiety.
She was silent, probably only about one minute. Then she spoke. She said she was so sorry I went through that. Then we started talking about it. And the more we talked, the less anxious I was.
She asked me how it felt to tell her what happened. I told her it was scary. It was. Speaking those words was scary. Hearing it, instead of seeing it on paper. It made it feel so much more terrifying, for some reason. And as I told her, the images ran through my mind. Like I was narrating some movie, or something. And I could hear his voice as I told her the things he said.
I didnít cry. I had some tears, but I didnít break down or anything. I donít know if it would have been better for me to cry. I still havenít really cried or grieved for myself.
We talked a lot about him. About the way he was so violent with me, and the fact that he had no conscience. We talked about the fact that he could have killed me, easily.
The more I thought about it all last week, it seemed like he wanted to see if I would say anything after the first time, before he raped me behind the building. Like he was testing me. Because the first time he left no bruises, no evidence. We also talked about the fact that he knew exactly how much time he had that night.
After all, he had been watching me, and he knew the procedures of the base, including security rounds and what they entailed.
Dr H asked me how the rape made me feel. I told her I felt dirty, disgusting. We talked about the way I felt like it was my fault. How I felt I didn't fight him enough. How ashamed I was of what he did to me. We talked about the fact that I can now see that it makes no sense for me to think it was my fault, or to be ashamed. How if it happened now, what I would have done differently. How maybe I would have told someone.
We talked about the fact that he gave me the creeps so badly, and made me so nervous, before he raped me the first time. And how, after that, I was terrified of him, but also angry. We talked about my anger. How dare he rape me, let alone touch me. How I wanted to tear him apart for what he did to me. After that night, he just went on about his work like nothing had happened. And every time he stared at me, I just wanted to rip his eyes out.
We talked about my anger at him today. I canít even get my teeth taken care of without the memories of what happened crippling me. Making me feel like a basket case. Thereís a lot in my life I canít do because of the memories of what he did. Because of HIM. And it was then that Dr H expressed her anger.
She said how dare he. She expressed her anger over the fact that he thought he could put his hands on me, that he somehow thought he was allowed to rape me. That he thought it was ok. She said it made her so angry that he would do that to me, without any remorse. She expressed her anger at him for having no conscience. For just going on like nothing had happened.
We talked about what I did after the rape. She wondered how I was able to go back to work that night, to finish my shift. I told her that I must have been on auto-pilot. That I was numb that night. About what I told the watch officer to explain why I was late getting back from my rounds.
I told her that I brushed my teeth over and over that night. And that it wasnít until the next day that any feeling came back to me. About how I threw up before I left for work the next day. We talked about the fact that I had to see him that next day, and almost every day after that. And how horrible that was.
As we talked, I felt my anxiety slowly disappear. I was able to make eye contact with her again. And I felt relief slowly settle in.
We talked about the rape, and how the act was only violence, nothing more. That it had nothing to do with sex. I questioned that. Dr H said that if it had been about sex, he would have flirted with me, or tried to seduce me. It was only about violence, control, power. That made sense to me. I think I get it.
I told her about seeing him for the first time after he came to my duty station. How I think that if I hadnít gotten into trouble in Norfolk, I never would have met him, and he probably wouldnít have even noticed me when he got to my base. How he saw me as happy, married, being successful at doing my job. And how maybe he thought I shouldnít be, or didnít deserve to be, maybe just because Iím a woman. We talked about how he used the fact that I got in to trouble to keep me quiet after he raped me.
How he made me feel like I was a willing part of what he did to me.
Then we talked about how I was going to separate the oral surgery from the rape. We talked about them being separate things, how I was safe now, how he couldnít get a hold of me anymore. I explained how I realize those things. How itís just that the memories still gave me such anxiety. So we talked about working to get him out of my mind, to take control away from him and give it back to me.
We will work on those things more next week, and the week after, and for as long as it takes.
Dr H said he was a slug, a nothing, inhuman, an evil sick psychopath. That he belonged in prison. Or dead. And she expressed her anger at him again. And her sympathy for what he did to me.
Then she told me how proud she was of me, that I told her that part of my story. She said she knew how hard it was for me. She said I was very brave to tell her, and that it showed progress. Really good progress.
And then she thanked me for sharing with her.
It didnít hit me right away, but by the time I got home, I felt different. Itís hard to describe how. But I did a couple of things I rarely do anymore. I took a ride with A, just to take a ride.
And I noticed that the sun was shining.