TRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contain information about sexual assault and/or rape which may be triggering to survivors.
By Audrey Freudberg.
I met him at the outpatient psychiatric program at UCLA.
He held my hand when I was afraid.
And I was afraid there all the time.
Afraid of the men, especially, because
of the rape.
This Minister I was seeing for counseling,
he came to my apartment so I could talk, be comforted, be guided.
Only that afternoon, October 7th, he didn’t let me talk.
He didn’t comfort me and he sure didn’t guide me.
That afternoon he came to my apartment on the pretext of helping me.
He didn’t help me at all.
He helped himself to me, laughing at me the whole time I said No, I don’t want this.
He said, “You want this. All real women want this.” and ejaculated his slime into my mouth and laughed again because he came in my mouth when I’d told him not to.
He spread himself all over and in my body and broke me into a million pieces of despair and hopelessness.
Hours later he glanced at his watch and said, “Oh shit, I have to go.” He laughed at me, as he pulled on and zipped up his pants.
I stumbled off the couch and stood, bewildered, lost and no longer me.
He was me and I was gone, sucked up and into his drab olive body.
He laughed again and as he walked out the door he said, “You’re not a nun anymore.”
The screen door slammed behind him and I heard the stomping of his footsteps as he went down the stairs outside my apartment.
I stood, half naked, a few feet from the door, wide open, looking at the screen door. staring at the screen door. Soul rotted and stinking of him.
Where was I?
Looking down from the ceiling to where I’d escaped as he violated me in every way on that couch.
It’s the only thing that kept me from going into the kitchen, getting knife and stabbing it into my chest.
The pain was
filled my body
as it stood there
and I watched me
walk into the kitchen
to get the Carob Chip cookie I had bought at The Good Earth restaurant earlier that day.
It was dark.
The light was on but
it was dark in the kitchen
dark in my heart
dark in my soul.
I ate the cookie
every last little chip and crumb
the pain was
the shame was
I felt disgusting.
Greg held my hand when I had to walk into the group room where the other patients stood chatting and talking or sat quiety on the couches waiting for process group.
I wasn’t afraid of Greg. His soul wasn’t drab and murky olive. It was shiny, glowing green. Green like the leaves of the trees in the springtime.
He took my hand in his and as we walked into the room, the shattered pieces of my heart began piecing together, bit by bit.
One day we took a picnic lunch to the Botanical Gardens. I was wearing a mustard yellow shirt with a red, mustard yellow, black and white jumper over it.
A dress. I was wearing a dress for the first time since
The first time because after
it hadn’t felt safe to
Greg and I walked hand in hand into the gardens and found a spot on the hill on the west side with long, soft, green grass, green like the leaves in the springtime, green like the kindness of Greg’s soul.
We ate our lunch and then
Greg took me onto his lap and wrapped his arms around me.
I felt safe with Greg.
Safe for the first time, since
since maybe ever.
All I knew was my breath slowed to an easy rhythm, the palpitations in my heart disappeared, the cold in my fingers and toes warmed and I
snuggled in against his beating heart and warm body.
I turned and then we faced each other
and he kissed me
and I kissed him back
for the first time since
since the Minister bit my lips til they bled.
Greg was gentle, his lips moving softly
My heart filled with love
For the first time since before
The armor around it melted as I melted
into Greg’s embrace.
My heart opened and filled with love
I fell in love with Greg
that warm afternoon
in the Botanical Gardens at UCLA.
We kissed a long while
and there was excitement
in my belly
for the first time since before
Excitement and hope and longing
Greg fed my longings with loving kisses
and I fell
I fell in love again that afternoon
More in love with each moment.
My heart was full and
I didn’t remember the coldness that set in
The warmth in Greg
warmed me up
and I felt
warm and loved and alive
for the first time since
long before the rape.