Sunday Morning ~ I Believe Her
September 30, 2018
I find myself looking for David and Goliath stories. Return of the Jedi. The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings. I play the loop where Gandalf says that Golum may yet play a part in all this.
When I’d originally heard Dr. Ford’s story had come out in couples therapy I automatically assumed she and her husband were having sexual problems. That isn’t uncommon with women who’ve had a sexual assault. I’d heard it a million times in my practice. But when I learned the issues were all about having a second door, I stopped short. I have a lot of doors in my house. I will never be locked in a room where I don’t have control over the lock. I don’t like elevators. I’ve never articulated why. I’ve never felt the need to explain as I felt it should be enough to express my desires and have them respected. I don’t want my exit blocked. Period.
George is an analyst so is naturally curious about where my strong opinions, requests, or demands come from. He wants to understand when I get (what he considers) irrationally angry about something. The locked door is one of them. The first time we stayed at his brother’s house the door was locked from the inside and the key wasn’t in the door. I freaked. I went on and on about it being a fire hazard, a rationale that might be understandable and acceptable. After all, our house had burned and we were lucky everyone had gotten out safely. I never mentioned the experience of having my exit blocked with arms near my neck holding the door behind me shut as I tried to leave. Alcohol wasn’t involved. But an aggressor was planted in front of me, his arm at my neck, his hand holding the door which I was being held against, shut.
“Stop it! You are scaring me!”
“I am leaving.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes, I am.”
I put my arm up as if I were going to hug him, brought my elbow down onto his arm, opened the door, pivoted out. and ran from that place as fast as I could. If the door had been locked I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I was scared, angry, and shaken, but in control and capable of leaving the premises and never going back. I never told anyone, not because I thought I’d deserved it or had done anything wrong, but because I felt sorry for him! How pathetic is that? I’d been socialized so well. Poor guy.
When we were building our house I wanted a door to the outside in every downstairs room. There were a few queries about whether it was really necessary, but no big fights about it. Was my desire for those doors a result of my experience? Maybe. I’d never thought of it before. But being able to get out saved me from a sexual assault. And since that time I am always careful to pay attention to where the exits are. Always.
I fully admit to having a lot of pent up anger and make no apologies for it. Injustices make me angry. Abuse of power and privilege makes me angry. I have spent my career listening to story after story of women being raped, cheated, abused, diminished and I am so fucking tired of it. Over the years I have expressed my anger in different ways. I’ve yelled and screamed, I’ve gone underground, I’ve been passive aggressive. Is one better than another? I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of shit storm is going to be unleashed if this privileged petulant frat boy gets confirmed. Some women I know are boiling over with rage and are flailing. There is something inside me this time, though, that feels like he’s Golum. In the end, he may have an important role to play in bringing this regime down. I don’t feel powerless. I don’t feel the need to scream. I feel more like stalking, quietly, getting the lair ready for the feast that will surely come after this hunt. A lioness knows where her strength lies and how to use it. Is she successful every single time? No. But a single lioness can bring down an elephant. They know where the weak spot is and she strikes when the time is right. The knees buckle and she quickly goes for the neck. She and the cubs need to eat.