Monday, June 29, 2015

An Appointment with My Rapist *Trigger Warnings*

Admit it. You'd do almost anything for that. I know I did...

How the cops reacted. Hint: you can guess.

How social circles reacted. Hint: you can guess.

I shake with terror. I can barely breathe. I made an appointment to see my most recent rapist. For over a year, I lived in dread that he would show up at an event where our mutual friends were. I've tried to speak to three of them about it. They won't believe me. They shut me down, or actually say that it didn't happen. But I really hoped that I could make them see it someday, when they knew me more or were willing to listen. I wasn't nearly as confrontational or blunt as I could have been, and am rather known for, but I didn't want to lose them because of him, too. ("What abusers count on is the silence of survivors, and the supporting of that silence by the community." ) I also suspected that he was grooming other victims, so I wanted to both keep an eye on them and warn them, and that meant sticking around. A young woman named Izzy in particular was vulnerable. She has been able to avoid most of what I went through because she has insisted on no sexual intercourse, which she brags about, and that gave me more time. Which I needed, since I was so devastated that I was almost immobile and could do very little. Hearing about his predation would have spurred me, but I both couldn't see him, and yet was desperate to know if he was harming more women.

We managed to avoid him, only hearing stories that he had arrived when we had not. I started to feel safe. Maybe he wouldn't feel it necessary to increase my pain by taking away yet another piece of my life. But of course it was too good to be true. While I was chatting with those mutual friends, he came without warning. I jumped up, dry mouthed and shaking, and started to pack my gear, and he sat down where I had been. Many came by to hug him and wonder why he wasn't around lately. Each friendly pat or word to him was a blow to me. It took me awhile, but I was able to get up the strength to confront him and demand an audience. I had to interrupt because he wasn't going to stop talking to acknowledge me, even though I was right beside him, waiting. I told him he could meet with me or talk to the police. It was his choice. He was indignant, but I was firm. I gave him a week. I still had to contact him to make the arrangements, though. I really needed this, so I told him to do everything he had to do to make himself comfortable, so that he would agree. He decided on the most inconvenient time and place for me possible, or almost, and decided he was bringing his two girls, Izzy and Roo, for his comfort. Yeah, I'll bet. They are the ones I was most worried about, who don't believe me, and who are in the most harm's way. I love them both dearly, but he has their complete trust. He's such a progressive gentle feminist!  He would never Ghomeshi me. Izzy even considers themselves dating these past two years! Though she lived in another city for most of it, and really, I know *exactly* when they would have gotten together. Which is why I felt like the risk of my further vulnerability from an intervention wasn't as vital just then. If the girls do come, I will have to shatter everything. As much as I loathe all of this, and exposing my own pain even more, I have no choice but to be as frank as possible and destroy as much of his narrative as I can. For their own safety. Which they will hate me for, and never, ever thank me. I will be the Bad Guy by insisting that we talk about this. I will take that hit and sacrifice any relationship with them to make sure they have more tools to protect themselves. If I can, I will negotiate a peace treaty that ensures he stays away from me for as long as necessary, and I need to be convinced that women aren't in danger from him anymore. It's a long shot, but beating up someone once doesn't make them a thug. It's the habitulizing and the minimization of the criminality that makes one a thug. Or a rapist. (Though my boyfriend insists that it only takes one murder to make one a murderer. Go figger...) Maybe I really was the only one, and he was just experimenting with that kind of hard core sexuality. And maybe he really didn't understand that consent for that kind of damage means discussing it thoroughly beforehand, including safety, before all parties can agree properly. Maybe he didn't mean to harm me, no matter how much he actually did. I really do need to know.

It took me a long time to acknowledge him as my rapist. I'm still stuck on it sometimes. Obviously. As a past survivor, figuring out how to contextualize sexual violence is a far too everyday event. From childhood, my experiences were minimized, shut down, and the deafening silence which was enforced was considered the most preferable response. No child should have to experience their first sexualized encounter as a stepbrother sneaks into their room late at night to put their penis into your open mouth. Not me and not my even younger brother. I remember hearing the door open and knowing, as only the instinct of an aware animal, that someone was entering stealthily to do harm, but not what that harm consisted of. I remember clutching my stuffed elephant Elle, hoping that if he sees that I'm just a child, he will have pity and not harm me. But for all I know, that show of helplessness turned him on even more. To this day, I have no illusions that stuffies help deal with fear. Because they don't protect you. Nothing protects you. Not ever. And why did I pretend to be asleep? He was huge and bigger than me and what the fuck was I supposed to do? Damned if I knew. I certainly never considered biting it off. I was 9. Those became routine, of course, and dismissed in various ways as I grew up. Whether I tried to speak about it or not. At 16, when I finally got up the courage to speak as bluntly as I could to my mother, which still wasn't much, filled with shame and all the other victim baggage, I still recall her saying "Awh, is he touching your widdle body again?" So..she knew. All that time. And never protected me. So I learned then how much I wasn't valued, how I was to be pimped out to save her relationship with her partner, the boys' father, and how I was supposed to keep silent or be mocked.

All this informs my later experiences of course. From relatives attempts to molest me in public in front of other family members to abusive partners to assaults from strangers who come into my home selling insurance to men who answer roommate ads and then proceed to convince, coerce and then abandon, once they got the tap that was clearly their goal all along. As I got older, I did actually attempt to do what victims are supposed to do to earn the right to be believed and protected - I tried to report to police. The insurance guy who I could not get out of my house and continually groped my breasts when I was 25, calling me a 'fun girl', was a pretty clear case I thought, but it still took so much for me to feel justified enough to try to make a statement. Edmonton is a particularly bad place in Canada for violence. It has one of the highest levels of animal and spousal abuse in the country. (They are related, in that other lives and bodies aren't valued, and power, entitlement and the ability to create suffering are identical.) So despite the shaking, I got myself physically down to the main police station. After getting through the receptionist, saying what I needed, which was humiliating enough, a policewoman deigned to come out to speak with me, in the waiting area, to tell me, most sympathetically, that I had to call in to start the case. I mean, I just couldn't make a statement here? Apparently not. The guy was still trying to come back into my house, so I finally got the courage to call the station. The male officer on the other end barely listened to my story and then burst out laughing. "Oh, yeah, that's sexual assault all right!" All the while. Laughing. Needless to say, I didn't complete that complaint, and when the assailant kept calling me, though shaking, I was able to find the words to keep him away. And I guess that's all that matters, right? The fact that the officer acknowledged that it was criminal, but that somehow it was a matter of jest is a reflection of how rape culture silences victims and protects those who commit sexual violence.

Sought Me Out

One of the aspects of rape culture is the silencing of victims, encouraging them to believe that they are responsible for preventing sexual violence. We are supposed to watch out for those who would harm us, and stop them from doing so. Even if we can't tell them apart from the "Good Guys", the ones who demand we trust them, and why should our past pain paint all of them with the same brush? But if we guess wrong, and trust the wrong ones, we are still to blame. Because hey! We should have known, right?

As a semi-public figure, and a survivor, I am very familiar with online violence, as well as the up close and personal kind. I am often attacked online, though not usually to the extent that my racialized sisters report, or those who confront misogyny professionally. And as a pagan elder who teaches anyone who asks and  is dedicated, I not infrequently receive unsolicited communications from young men who ostensibly want to study but really want to indulge in all this 'sexual magic' and pagan freak sluttiness they keep hearing about. My radar is pretty tuned to them, and usually it doesn't take long for their agenda to reveal itself.(This white boy, for example, I rejected rather harshly when he applied for training. And you can see why. He subsequently confused me with someone else he didn't like, then apologized because he claimed non-nureonormative, so I forgave him. THEN he spent the subsequent years posting crap. Because Wiccan Do No Harm! It's seriously scary to be a woman with a voice here sometimes... These people are just awful.) Since I know my own prejudices, though, I do make it a policy not to assume, but only to watch for, and create a few easy tests that almost always expose them for the posers they are. Most of that ilk, for example, will hightail it as soon as they know I'm married. That doesn't matter for my sex life, of course, since I'm poly, but it does clearly show *their* intentions. However, I have always been hopeful to receive an inquiry from a young man that seems sincere and genuine. In October of 2013, I thought I had actually found one. He contacted me through my Abbey, and made very respectful inquires. He did fit the profile for the danger signals, though - beautiful, privileged, newly legal, formerly fundie Xian looking to finally explore new spirituality, first out in his own place away from his parents... The most likely scenario that he was just interested in some hot pagan action in his current no consequence and obligation free environment. Because I had met those entitled a-holes many times before. But I never brush off, because I understand the stereotyping, so no matter how many times I encounter this dynamic and it goes badly (though *never* this badly before), I need to give them the benefit of the doubt. For Justice. This particular one worked so hard to stand beside me, to give every indication that we were growing as best friends, teacher and student, as well as helping me in my work. He didn't leave, he performed every task, no matter how difficult. He made time in his first year university schedule when I requested it. Though I tried not to... In short, there was every indication that this one, finally, was worthy of my trust and putting the energy into for a long term and intense relationship. Much like my now journeywoman, I began to have hope that this lovely, charming, dedicated young man was going to be in my life for the rest of it, as we worked together and taught each other. Because as a mentor or best friend, this is the one of the highest goals. For someone who has been so hurt by men, this kind of trust does not come easily. I try very hard to keep my shields lowered deliberately for that reason. Yes, he was barely legal, and I had ethical questions about that, too, but if I am to respect agency at all, I can't make decisions for folks that are of age. Not for women, and certainly not for men who own their own apartments and don't have major power discrepancy concerns. (When my husband met him, he called Ryan "the Enemy". I brushed off his advice as 'overdramatic.' But he's always been a better judge of character than me.)

So when he first started to make even slightly rude jokes, I sidestepped. I mean, I make rude jokes, too. I'm a grown up. But still, trying to make sure here... But he worked so hard at convincing me. By the time November rolled around, I was hooked. But not yet sunk. This was very traumatizing for me, in part because he triggered so much of my own PTSD. His energy, his style, his story of his own abuse and our sharing brought me closer to it, and more raw that I had been in decades. My compassion and pity for his victimization and isolation and suffering overwhelmed me.  I shook and cried and was able to shatter my shields more than I ever had in my life, and it was terrifying. It was however incredibly freeing, because we began to work through some of our greatest pain, exploring our spirituality, dark sides, and healing those. Of course I had done the same with my journeywoman, but we worked on different areas, since the synergy varies with the relationship and the persons involved.  I had always thought that I was simply doomed to hear the screaming in my heart and my head for the rest of my life, with variants on the volume, but he changed my belief in that. There was, finally, someone who could actually help this part of me heal. I had never thought that was actually possible, and I sang with the joy of that discovery.

No Because Unsafe

Doing rituals at my house was always problematic, especially at night, since my house is a zoo. What with kids and husband and all that. He lived alone, and so it was a natural to have them there. He spent so much effort on convincing me of our relationship that I admit I totally fell for him. And after the rituals, he wanted to prove it. The first time he tried to push me for actual intercourse, though, I balked. I have always had an arrangement with my husband to play safe, as nearly all polys do, and he refused to use any protection. I really thought about it, because he was just so much and nearly broke my resolve, but while I was considering, he withdrew consent. He picked himself up, moved away from me, and refused to engage me as he intimated that I was to leave his presence and his home. In silence. I literally couldn't move. His sudden and complete rejection shattered me to my core. I almost forgot I had a body. We had become so close, and shared so much. I was recovering and rediscovering my own worth as a person, I was finally feeling intense joy at my own sexuality for the first time in my life, and he was rejecting me because I wanted to keep myself, my husband, and ultimately him, safe. My brain knows it's a abuse technique. I'm pretty goddam well versed in this. But when the one you opened up to, who made such an effort to be there for you and convince you that you really could become the person you always wanted to be, and thought you would have been if you weren't broken, demands you break your word and treats you like a object to take risks with, well, it's just devastating. I finally did manage to move, much to his annoyance, since I had collapsed on the floor, and walk out under my own power. (He wrote to my journeywoman that night claiming that he thought he was going to hurt me. I didn't know that at the time, and at the time of this writing, I still have never seen that correspondence, because it wasn't addressed to me.) But now the games and abuse began. I waited for a week to contact him, and he was cold and distant. Naturally. I held back, keeping out of his way for as long as I could, but I was desperate to repair this. He occasionally engaged with me on FB, though would Friend and UnFriend me on perceived slights, but sometimes, shadows of the depth of our relationship were still there. He still invited me over to his house in text usually, so of course I went. And he still kept coming closer, and on, to me, and then changing his mind, calling it 'bullshit', and seeming to regret it later. He would dismiss me after, by silence and just his hand in the air. I should take my leave quietly and not bother him now. He didn't push for intercourse again yet. I couldn't have cared less, I wanted to be with him so badly. But after all, you know, he HAD a real girlfriend. In another province, usually... I would text him and if she was with him, he'd be entirely cold, warning me that he was with "his girl'. Because I wasn't her. Obviously.

Did I mention the blood drinking?

And the blood drinking. When he cut himself to make his offering to his Deity, he made me lick off the wound. Again, without warning or consent. I shook with terror, because I know how much it puts my body at risk, but bravery! And commitment! I was convinced that someone who wanted this kind of bond with me must want me in his life for a long time and cared about me. Francis believes it was entirely because he got off on controlling me.  This is why it can help to examine the evidence from different perspectives...

If he had said that he wanted to experiment, which was reasonable being newly out on his own, or wanted us to be causal, or asked for training, or to be friends - I would have been happy with any combination of those. I'm perfectly capable of handling many kinds of relationships, and I'm always honest and clear. Poly kinda insists on that. But he kept switching intimacy levels and I had to follow all of his many changing cues...

This went on and on. I went insane. I seriously worked out for the first time in years, hoping to earn him with a new hard body. I grew my nails because he always requested being raked with them. (He prefers being a maso sub, doncha know...) I wrote copiously. Like, 20 pages a day. I went more mystical than I have ever experienced as I attempted to contextualize and regain control on my emotions and my life. I was always at risk at various times in the past. My anorexia for example, which I've had under control for more than a decade, came back in full force. At one point, I literally could not put anything in my mouth for nearly three weeks. Food is nurturing and love and control issues. I made a rule to eat after dark, and that kept enough calories in me so I didn't noticeably lose too much weight.  Yay. Pro tip: Call it fasting and no one will comment. They may even praise your discipline! I was in such despair that no joy or worth or comfort could reach me. There were many, many episodes where I had to convince myself to keep breathing. Because I really, really didn't want to.

Because if that is what he needs, right?

I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and tried to cut myself off. I wrote him an artistic love letter in early January and sent it to him in the mail. I was pretty desperate and poetic at this point, and that was one of the only communication avenues left open that he hadn't punished me for using. For almost two months, I hoped that I would be able to get him out of my head by not contacting him at all, but it only got worse. Around the end of February, I decided to break radio silence one last time. My text messages were laid back and casual. He responded in kind, and eventually, he requested that I come over to his house and he would be ‘fully submissive in whatever manner I pleased”; his main kink being masochism and submission. I was nervous, but agreed. I’m not very comfortable with domination. (Copies of all our SMS available to those who think I'm making this up!?) I'm like "what?" Yes, I know. I should have run. But seriously. Have you SEEN him? And I hoped so much that my best friend was back. So I did. And that night, he was all over me. Turns out he had just broken up with his girlfriend the week before, but I didn't know that yet. I just got the timing right, I suppose... But even with all the mention of consent I made, he never brought up the condoms again. And I made the decision that if that is what was necessary to be with him, I would break my word, take the risk of STD's and pregnancy (I have kids with my husband and we used condoms. I wasn't on the Pill!), and go without protection. It was very hard, but I convinced myself I was being courageous, and this relationship could change my life. Because brave and healed sexuality! But realize - he never asked. He didn't know any of that, and I don't know if he cared. In the same spirit of bravery, when he fisted me so hard that first night that I bled all over his sheets with the microtears, I didn't protest. He never asked, but I hoped that we would talk about it after, since he must like that, right? And GGG! I can handle this... I'm no prude...

I don't know how many times I used the word 'terrified' to him in our correspondence. With good cause. I should probably count. But he forced me to discuss things when I didn't want to or had too much trouble with, and didn't talk about other things when I needed to. His gaslighting techniques were impeccable. I still hoped to reach him. I remember once asking him how do I access his compassion. He never responded.

He summoned me by text usually once a week. Condoms never came up again, nor did anything else he wanted to try before he did it to me. Our talks were deeply moving, though, and I mostly loved the time I spent with him. And I loved him personally very much. His hurting me was clearly an oversight, or he just didn't understand, right? He couldn't hear me, but he was young. We could fix this. I just had to get through to him.

The second last time he summoned me for one of his shower cuddles was in March of 2014. While we were actually in the shower, he said "There is something I'd like to try." This must be big. He didn't just start doing whatever it was, which was his usual habit. I'm in for a penny, in for a pound at this point. I've already worked so hard to overcome my fears and try to move ahead on this new adventure that I wanted to be up for anything. Turns out, anything was anal. With no prep, no discussion, no protection, and no lube. I admit, that shocked even me. I have never done that before or since. It's not as though I never wanted to, and I really did want to try it with him at some point, because he was my new dream, but like that... That was awful. It was incredibly painful, and I couldn't transpose the pain into pleasure or contextualize it or anything. And I gave birth naturally at home without drugs. Twice! So I do know how to do that somewhat. But I couldn't say anything. I was too shocked. And he was hurting me so much. Afterwards, he must have considered it a rather unsuccessful or unsatisfying experiment, because he *never mentioned it again.* I felt like I couldn't even use that orifice for a week. It bled and was torn. I tried to bring it up a the next day, all casual and everything, but he wouldn't deal. His complete and utter lack of concern for my well being was devastating. Even more than usual. But he was done with me. There was no other conclusion that could be drawn. Even in my devotion and bravery and adoration... He had gotten all he wanted, so I was disposable. (In his restraining order, he claims we made a mutual agreement to break contact that point. What he means is, he wanted to completely stop communicating with me after that. Because he sure didn't tell me, and I most certainly wouldn't have agreed to it. Not even a 'break up' text!)

Civilized folks generally agree that the person being penetrated should have the most control for consent to be valid. Most people would also consider rather dangerous anal sex, especially for the first time, without full discussion and agreement beforehand, as non-consensual sex. And what is the term for non-consensual sex? Rape. His abandonment immediately afterwards is kinda the clincher - that we really weren't in a relationship and that he manipulated me into those situations for that purpose. But still. I was desperate and hopeful. There has got to be some way to get through to him. It couldn't have all been a lie...

I Let Him Cut Me and Invite a Friend

This wasn't the usual pattern for me. This was new.  For most of my life, including nearly all the time with my husband, sex was always half pleasure, half pain. Too intense, and it was like knives. Not enough, and negative imagery, particularly coercion and gangs, was one of the only visions that would get me off. It was very unpleasant in my head and in my body, but I was resigned to it. It was my Fate, and that is all I would ever be able to get out of it. (I'm even worse now, for some reason, only now without any hope in sight.) The synergy that I had with Ryan was the most soothing balm to my pain that I had ever had. All of a sudden, it was all good. All the time. I was supercharged. I could actually orgasm without pain or shame. It was joyous and freeing and releasing. Even with the acts he continually shocked me with. I finally saw a chance to heal that part of my life completely, so the risks and the bad relationship practices (which were obviously just a lack of experience and not deliberate viciousness on his part, right?) were worth it. I would have done almost anything for him. But now, he was abandoning me. He didn't even tell me. He just cut off contact. I was worthless and used up. My despair and desperation spiraled me out of control. I was non-functional. I had been shown what I could be like, how I could live, but that was never going to happen again. Small wonder that I tried to find any excuse I could to see him again. And this one was a doozy.

I asked him to cut me. He's a cutter, you see, and I'm totally not, so it wasn't outside his experience to help someone with that for the first time. So on April 15, 2014, we arranged for a meet up at his place, as usual. I got dressed in my black garter belt and stockings because I know they are his favourite, and headed out. He sent me a text message *en route* that he had a friend over, and would I mind that? But  I didn't check my phone before I got there, so I didn't know until I arrived and saw them both. Now, this was to be a very intimate evening, and very possibly my last with him, unless I could make some serious inroads on his feelings, so I knew, when he had invited another, that he was setting me up for a threesome. I knew it. I've had them before in my life. They are almost always fun, can often be spontaneous, but they aren't just 'set up' by one person. That's more of the sleazy non-consensual kind of evening... But I would do almost anything at this point, and the instant I saw him, I knew I would do this, too. I didn't protest, but my heart fell. He used a disassembled disposable razor blade in the shower on my arm. (I didn't even know you could take those things apart!) I tried, but I couldn't do it myself. I was so scared and shaking. I still have the scar. Then, vulnerable as I now was, he ordered me to invite his friend into the shower with us. Again, I did as I was told. How could I not? Again, there was no discussion of protection, and the boys were both bareback. I couldn't say a word. His friend spoke only to him, not to me, and asked the things he could do to me. He even asked Ryan if he could come inside me, and I was so shocked I almost found my voice then, but Ryan answered that probably wouldn't be a good idea. I was so relieved that he finally thought a bit about my safety that I was grateful. Grateful.

He made some comments that gave me some insight into why this kind of evening. They had had a threesome once before, with the friend's girl, and I was his payment back. A transaction, if you will. He also thought of us as his "high sex drive" friends, so in part I think he was pawning us off on each other so I could be pushed off without too much trouble. But I will probably never know. Because he never asked me ahead of time, and never discussed it with me after. You know, like one would in an actual relationship, and not just a fleshy Thing.

After a few rounds, Ryan got a text from Izzy to join him. So he left us - me - with this stranger in his apartment, while he went to the person he cared about. I was destroyed, but there was nothing I could do. I stayed with his friend, doing my best to seem all sex positive and giving and crap, because I hoped that would please Ryan. After all, I was the present for that night, right? Turns out, Ryan set up his friend, too. He had never even been told my name, and he was under instructions not to ask me questions or bother me... He joined us in the shower because I asked him to (which is why Ryan had ordered me to), and he genuinely had no clue about all the subtext and lack of full disclosure and consent all around him. He rarely does that sort of thing, too, but he wanted to be all bad ass and brave and stuff. I can sympathize. He really liked me, though, and just before I left, he got over his shyness (shyness!) and asked me my name. I gave him my card. We have been together ever since.

This new relationship hasn't been without some serious problems, of course. Like starting off with a rather rapey first night. When I told him what had been going on, he was mortified and horrified. He didn't quite believe me, I think, because this was his friend, and insisted on seeing all the correspondence, to make his own assessment. I permitted it, despite my deep embarrassment at my own lack of control and wisdom. I told him I forgave him for the first evening, but he is now livid and enraged that he was an unwitting participant in harming me. He wants to see Ryan punished in every possible manner. He's even willing to go to jail for it, if that means Ryan does. I really don't want him making that sacrifice. Confronting him about it all, and only once when they were both present at a function, Ryan threatened to 'burn him alive'. But not in front of anyone else, of course. I remain deeply grateful to my current boyfriend for being there to witness for me, to condemn these actions as intolerable, and to support a view of events from an outsider, who is also an insider, that doesn't leave me questioning my own perceptions.

Actual BDSM is "Safe, Sane, and Consensual" 

For those of you unaware, the Ghomeshi case usefully pointed out what exactly is legal consent and what is not covered by that under the Criminal Code in Canada. BDSM is supposed to be an enjoyable game where all persons agree on roles, activities, and choices ahead of time, because most BDSM becomes an illegal act the instant consent is withdrawn. Nearly all players are therefore very careful to check with their subs or bottoms about their safety and comfort before, during, and importantly, after. Aftercare is a BDSM requirement. Most bodies and minds are made vulnerable, so the upmost concern and diligence is given for post-play. Usually a blanket and cuddling. It reinforces the trust required to ensure further play in future, to check for no unintended harm, and to prove respect for your friends, their bravery, and their experience. None of that looks anything like being fisted or anally penetrated without warning or negotiation, and then thrown out of a house in silence. With no apologies or even debriefing after. So if I can't be certain that I was an aberration, that he has learned his lesson about consent and sexual violence and abusive behaviors, then I will have no choice but to give my complaint to the police. To protect others, no matter how hard this will be on me and my family (and it will). Because you still can't cut or make another person bleed, even if they are in a shower with you. It's actually real assault. And this has really, really destroyed my entire life.

And you know, after all of this I could still forgive. I still want to. I still want to believe that he didn't harm me on purpose, and that if he understands, he will ask me to forgive him. He could still help fix the harm he caused me and help me heal. I truly don't believe, or don't wish to, that he is that evil. My current boyfriend is convinced of it, though, and he's seen all the texts and FB chats. I'm kinda glad that he is around. Helps keep all this in perspective...

I know some folks were wondering why I was offline and in non-contact mode for nearly a year. Well, this is some of what I've been doing! I hope I can finally get back to my life now. Though really, it looks like this IS my life now. A rather unpleasant Fate. Some days, the struggle consists largely of justifying its continuance.

I've never had a chance to finally confront someone who committed sexual violence on me. That's one of the reasons I need to do this. If I can meet him without my nerves making me throw up, I'll consider that a victory.


So I wrote all the above before our arranged meeting. When we arrived, only Izzy was there, saying nothing at all to me, but handing me a restraining order. You know, he didn't have to make my husband take a day off work, have us go out of our way to the other end of the city, to do that. He knows where I live... (I have often complimented him on his artistic cruelty.) There are a huge bunch of lies in the order, which he made under oath. He claims that I've threatened him, which I never have of course, since I'm closer to impeccably civil, and that we martial artists are scaring him. Him, Mr. Cadet Trained. And that somehow, even though I've gone out of my way not to be where he is, he can show up where he knows *I'll* be, then use the courts to stop me from being near my friends. It's that extra vicious touch that almost manages to evaporate that last bit of compassion and pity I had for him, that perhaps this was all just a mistake on his part, and he really didn't mean to rape me.

He claims that *we* (meaning him) broke off contact in March, 2014. Which is provably untrue. Since he enjoyed sending me abusive texts much later than that. And I am spreading 'rumours', even though I very specifically only hinted to very few, because I knew this could escalate, and I wasn't prepared for that. Now, I have no choice. He has forced my hand. We are going to the courthouse today and preparing our statements for the police. Any good wishes sent will be greatly appreciated.

In all this, I remain deeply grateful to have a witness in all this. Having a man who was there one night, who looked through all the evidence, and can offer what he has seen, is the *ONLY* reason I can go through any legal proceedings at all. By this latest tactic, Ryan is going with the 'crazy ex bitch' motif. And he might have easily gotten away with it, even with all the actual evidence I have. But I actually have a real, live, male witness to much of it.... For that, I need to be grateful. Because otherwise, I would not even be able to pursue Justice. It's almost Biblical, really. Except don't I need five males witnesses to be believed? Because they can't just take my word for it, right?