By Darth Laurie
I want to preface this article with a little disclaimer. I do not recommend my way of coping for anyone else. If you are the victim of rape, go to the police and press charges. If you are having trouble doing your regular activities, talk to someone, preferably a licensed therapist who is kink-friendly or at the very least experienced with individuals who have been sexually assaulted.
I grew up in an abusive home. Wally beat my mom up after us kids went to bed. He was verbally and emotionally abusive to all of us. The state put us in foster care a couple times– during those years we stayed with an aunt and uncle and their children.
From the time I was seven or eight I knew my mom was molested by a couple of her older brothers, one in particular. I didn’t know what molestation was, but I knew it had to be horrible from the way she talked about it.
As I got older, my mom’s past caused more and more problems for her. I became well-versed in how to deal with mental illness and sexual abuse. A car accident put my mom in a wheelchair when I was 18 and I became her caretaker for the next nine years. During my mom’s recovery while she was in the hospital she was raped by one of the hospital aides. He subsequently committed suicide.
Due in part to mental illness and traumatic brain injury, my mom became even more emotionally abusive than my dad. It got to the point that I started contemplating suicide. Thankfully, that’s when I discovered BDSM and Kim. I won’t go into details about those early conversations with Kim. I will say that He taught me how to say no and how to set boundaries and without those two tools I wouldn’t be here today.
The reason I’m giving you so much of my background is because I want to make it clear that long before I was raped I had plenty of experience dealing with rape. Many of my mom’s closest friends had also been sexually assaulted.
Four weeks after Kim died, I found two local BDSM groups: Utah Power Exchange and Utah Powerplay. I immediately joined both groups and went to my first play party the following week. I met up with a man and we played a bit. I probably should have been a bit more circumspect, but I was trying to get back into the swing of things after losing Kim. The guy I played with told me he wanted to play again sometime and we went out to lunch later that week. He asked me what my hard limits were. I told him sex was absolutely a hard limit. A red light should have gone off when he said, “I think you’ll change your mind.” I want to back up a bit and say that at the party I asked a few other people if this guy was okay, and I was told he was fine– no complaints that anyone was aware of.
The following weekend I met him at a motel in the Ogden area. We played a bit–I had my hands tied behind my back. I was face down on the bed and he told me we were going to have sex. I told him no, that it was a hard limit. I even used a safeword. He didn’t listen and he proceeded to rape me. Through the whole thing I kept asking myself if I was the same person I had been one or two or three minutes ago. Was I the same person that I was the previous day? I had to keep checking in on myself. I wasn’t going to let this man raping me transform my identity. I was so angry I wanted to explode.
I kept my poise and left as soon as he untied me. I don’t know how I drove home that night. I was shaking and frustrated. I knew I couldn’t tell anyone– who would believe me? I thought the police would say I got what I deserved; I had gotten undressed and let someone tie me up; what did I expect? I couldn’t tell any of the people in the community that I had just met; why would anyone take my word over someone who had been in the community for so much longer? I couldn’t tell anyone in my family because I wasn’t on good terms with them and I didn’t dare tell my boss or co-workers. I had to move on and pretend everything was okay…and I was still the same person I was before the rape. I continued to go to the meetings and building up my own reputation in the local BDSM community. My rapist didn’t come around. I was keeping my eye out, making sure newcomers were safe.
A number of months passed. I was in a class with some friends and there was an activity that went awry. A fellow was tied up and trying to escape a circle. He lost control and bit one of the other participants. I totally freaked out. I was shaking, curled into a ball and crying. John and a few of the people I was closest to were holding on to me and that’s the first time I told anyone about the rape. That’s when I realized that what angered me the most about the rape wasn’t the broken promise or the violation of my limits. What angered me the most was the lack of self-control my rapist had over himself. Rapists can’t control themselves so they try to find control by violating others. They don’t succeed. After that day I was able to talk about the rape. I was surprised at how angry some people were that I hadn’t told anyone earlier.
After that event I started rehearsing things I could say if someone came up to me and tried to say or do something inappropriate. I practiced saying, “No. That’s inappropriate,” for months. One day a few years ago I was walking through our troupe dance while waiting for the train. A drunk came up to me and said, “I like the way you shake your ass.” I could feel myself beginning to freak out (because drunks obviously aren’t in full control of their behavior). I immediately gave him the most menacing glare I could muster and I said quite loudly (it was about 6am and not a lot of people were around), “That was inappropriate and unacceptable. Leave me alone!” That got rid of him quickly, but I was pretty freaked out for the rest of the day; I also felt great about myself. I’m not the most assertive person around here and I usually will not stand up for myself like that, but it felt good knowing I say that.
If you have been raped, there are people who will believe you and be supportive of you. The most important thing is to not let the rape define who you are. You are still the same person you were before; you have the same talents, interests, passions that you had before this event.
After the rape I still had rape fantasies. This was frustrating and problematic for me. I was still grieving for Kim and I couldn’t figure out why rape fantasies held such power over me. It wasn’t for a couple more years before I realized that rape fantasies–especially when you are orchestrating them in your head– are consensual and you are in control of the outcome. After I accepted the notion that rapeand rape fantasies were two absolutely separate, non-related entities I felt free to acknowledge I still had those fantasies without feeling guilty or wondering what sort of psychological damage I might be causing myself.
~Darth Laurie is a submissive in the Salt Lake City, Utah area and a graduate of the Wasatch Academy for the Refinement of Ladies & Gentlemen of Leather~