Dangerous Times For Men and Women
By ice rivers
Yeah, I'm gonna survive. I know there's a difference between survivor and victim. I've been both. I've got the grand slam. I've survived cancer. I've been sexually abused. I've been falsely accused. The sexual abuse lingers and manifests in different ways at different times. The memory is recovered rather than redemptive. When it occurred, I was about five. I was instructed by my abuser to never tell anyone what happened because if I did, he would "kill me". He was the bully of the street. He made me get naked at which point I ran behind the couch in his living room and hid. I don't remember anyhting after running behind the couch except promising I would never tell anyone about it.
Well, now you know.
Many years and miles have passed. I keep trying to remember more but it's always hidden, like me, behind the couch.
I remained a virgin throughout my teens and when in college I was finally in love, I tried everything I could to avoid making love. Finally, it became unavoidable. After I took my clothes off, I ran behind a chair in the motel room. My girlfriend thought it was "cute" that I was so "modest". Somehow, we stumbled through. She loved me and had no hangups. Subconsciously though, she had to wonder why a seemingly macho guy would hide behind a chair and not come out.
When I finally emerged from behind the chair, I raced into the bed and under the sheets. Not only was I "modest" but I was loaded with Catholic guilt and scared to death of creating a pregnancy. All along, I figured that we would both be virgins until we got married and then something wonderful would happen. When she told me that she wasn't a virgin, my plans were wrecked and I guilted her about my heartbreak and disappointment. Somehow, she stayed with me and initiated me with kindness and passion.
Eventually, my sexual timidity caused our breakup.
That made things even worse as I was shattered by the unexpected fracture.
This was also about the time, I started to remember about the couch and the promise.
After a lost year of melancholy and disassociation, I was drinking in a bar with one of my buddies and in a deep funk. My pal said...."You could have any girl in this place. They all crush on you and then you disappear. You gotta snap out of this shit, pal."
He was telling me the truth. I guess I was still attractive to the opposite sex but I really didn't want to be. I had left the cake out in the rain.
Slowly I started to recover. I was smart enough to know that I couldn't live in the past. I started to have fun and enjoy hetero relationships.
Sexual healing accompanied the fun but I never lost the shame of the secret.
That was bad but even worse than that victimization was the day many years later and while happily married that I was falsely accused. The call came from out of nowhere. I had been teaching a college class. One evening we were taking a break from the class and a woman in my class started walking alongside me as I headed to the break room saying she would do "anything" for an A. I thought her comment was inappropriate and told her that she was doing fine in the course and if she kept up the excellent work, she would earn that A.
I didn't think anything of it until six weeks later I got the call from administration. The woman claimed that I had made an improper advance. She had related the story of the walk during the classroom break and admitted that she had said that she would do "anything" for an A.
She claimed that when she said that, I had given her a "suggestive" look.
It was a she said...he said situation.
Naturally, I defended myself as best I could but I found myself under suspicion, suspension and scrutiny.
I was scared to death for a few days. There were no witnesses. I had recently heard comedian Sarah Silverman tell a story about a friend of hers who had made a sexual charge against her boss. Sarah praised her friend for having the courage to come forth and her friend said "yeah, it took a lot of courage because he didn't do anything". Yuk Yuk Yuk.
I figured I was in the same leaky boat.
Finally, a couple of weeks later, I got another call from the administration. The charge had been dropped. The woman had indeed got her A but somewhere my grade had been mis-transcribed to a B. When the clerical error was found, the charge was dropped.
I suppose I could have sued somebody for the false allegation and the trauma that accompanied it but instead, I quit the job and once again tried to keep the whole thing a secret.
Once again, I was innocent and wounded.
I remain petrified at the nearness of ruin.
These are indeed dangerous times for men as well as for women.
I can relate to two separate movements...#metoo and #notme.
I'm proud to be a survivor...scarred from being a victim.
He laughs at scars who has never felt awound.
I keep my scars hidden except for right now.
They are my secrets.
Now you know