One of my male friends was standing outside a club when he was hit from behind.He fell down, and two guys came up and kicked the shit out of him before running away. We used to do jiu jitsu together, but he had a particular drive that I think was borne of that experience. Yet, when men get beat up, I don’t ever entertain the impression that some part of them may have been destroyed.Having a bunch of big, jock friends made people less inclined to fuck with me. In retrospect, I think I may have had an especially bad run because I am a bisexual woman.Still, between the ages of about 12–14, I had been bombarded with so much sexual harassment that I had normalized the feeling of it. Bisexual women experience a disproportionately high amount of sexual violence compared to straight and lesbian women, and that innately makes sense to me.If you told someone that a man had learned jiu jitsu after being attacked, I think the vibe would be “well, that’s pretty reasonable.” If a bisexual woman decided to date only women after being raped, the vibe would be “oh, she’s broken.”This belief in the “brokenness” of those have experienced sexual trauma is highly damaging. A few years ago, I was out getting drunk with a bunch of male friends, and one of them offered to let me crash at his place.He was someone I trusted, someone I’d been friends with for years. I stopped dating men, and then stopped dating anyone.When I went back to her apartment, the kitten was everywhere attacking everything.“I’m sorry,” she said, “I’ve historically been more of a dog person.”She was pretty open about her anger towards men, and her sexual orientation was difficult to quantify because her attractions included “any gender that’s not cis male.” Can’t say I blamed her.But, despite her anger, she was completely and fully .
Sometimes, however, it was so bad it broke through my numbness.I sat a meditation retreat for 7 days, and the first 5 days were spent crying.I was completely exhausted, and in discussions with my teacher I basically said “I can’t keep doing this” and she basically said “keep trying.” Then, sometime around the fifth day, I stopped crying. Not totally better, not like, I don’t still cry sometimes.Part of me, unconsciously, believed people who had been raped were irrecoverably broken, and she wasn’t.I had an ex boyfriend who said he thought rapists should be subjected to capital punishment, which I suppose is a more extreme articulation of that unconscious belief. People aren’t destroyed through being raped though.