Sunday, June 10, 2007

It was "Bad Enough"

My "need to know" frequently leads to my finding out information I wish I hadn't have gone looking for. Last night an online friend and I were chatting. On a prior occasion she was saying that she felt her childhood abuse by a mom's boyfriend "didn't count" because it wasn't "as bad" as a future event where she was raped. I assured her that wasn't true. Last night she had read My Story and remembered my remark from our discussion where I said mine wasn't "that bad," comparatively speaking.

My friend told me, "Girl, you were raped." I just stared at the screen. She apparently read my silence correctly, and went on to say. "He penetrated you - it was rape. Digital penetration counts in most states." I was shocked. I told her I wasn't so sure that was true. Then I just changed the topic as her prior sentence had contained three Trigger Words (one of the twice) and I was panicking.

Being the legal "scholar" and needing to know if what she said was true, I went and researched it.

In my current state, there is a difference between "rape" and "sexual offenses." In my current state, what happened to me would be deemed 1st degree sexual offense. However, the state where this occurred, is much different. I'm not an expert in interpreting the laws of other states, but I think I am reading this correctly. In the state where this happened, the laws were re-written in 1980 and everything is referred to as "sexual assault."

An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:(1) The victim is less than 13 years old;

Sexual penetration" means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor's instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime.

Toilet was convicted of lewdness for acts relating to my sister. If I had pressed charges, he could have been convicted of aggravated sexual assault. Because there was more than one "act," he would have received a MINIMUM of five years active time. No ankle monitor option for him (which is what he received for lewdness.)

So a few things stand out to me - (1) I should have pressed charges. (2) the law (apparently in that state anyway) treats what happened to me just as seriously as rape (which I'm defining as intercourse). I'm not so sure what a rape victim would think of that, but from my perspective, that's intense.

Having this knowledge does not change what happened. But it has certainly affected me. I'm posting this without having had time to digest these facts. This has thrown me into a whirlwind of panic, and now, thankfully, numbness. I also feel validated. Like now maybe I can accept that what happened was bad and I do have a justifiable reason to have been affected and be going through all I've been through/am going through.

I'm conflicted. Part of me wants to ignore this knowledge - stuff it like I've stuffed so many other things. Part of me wants to shout it from the rooftops. "See, it was bad. I'm not crazy. I have an excuse - a reason for being as messed up as I am." A part of me wants to drive to my mother's house. Throw this information at Toilet and tell him that it doesn't matter what I said or didn't say. That he could have gone to jail. To yell at my mother and tell her that I have a legitimate reason for not "getting over it." Part of me wants to curl up and cry because it really was "that bad."


Lynn said...

I understand why you wanted to look up legal definitions in the appropriate state. I do this sort of thing because I am a 'hard evidence' kind of person. I have to be because of the self-trust thing. Some people would answer the question of how bad it was by asking themselves how they feel. We can't do that because it's not reliable. THAT shows that it was 'bad enough'. I'm sorry for both of us, Enola.

Sleepingbeauty said...

Just wanting the truth is brave enough. For we both know we have heard the statement, "The truth shall set you free." We hear it daily, but do we really believe it with our hearts? I think we are really trying, with the grace of God we are trying. But with the pain that comes from what happens to us, it eats us from the inside out. How are we able to climb over something so big? I think what you did Enola, by wanting to find the truth, has made you so brave. I really admire that. And in a way, you are looking at that hill saying, I will climb damn it!!! You are strong, just remeber that!!!

Austin said...

I agree with Lynn about asking oneself how they feel.

There is no legal definition of "hurt and feel" that could possibly describe how we DON'T sleep and how we DON'T function. It only says what the state will and will not take into court. They deal with things on a non-feeling level. The thing is too, if in my state they accept this act as illegal but in KY they don't and in CA they don't does it mean those girls and boys don't have a legit reason to feel messed up but I do? No, it all comes down to the fact that a sick predator hurt us.

It doesn't matter if the court says we see this as an act we'll punish. They can without feeling filter through acts of violence and either accept them or "dismiss them" as non-punishable. If only it were that easy to sort through and process for the victim. The truth is, they were wrong and we were hurt. Period.

I understand your need for validation because I seek it myself. I say to myself, "was it really that bad" in order to keep my mind from braking all the way. There is a level of protection with denial as well as lack of info. I also understand your need to erase this new info because there is a certain protection in it.

until again,

Austin said...

I keep forgetting to add you to my blogroll. You'll get up there soon. One of me has to remember to do that. I should write a note to myselves. Dear Aussies-
After therapy today put Enola on your blogroll. And please go put the stuff in the dryer NOW so you can have clean pants to wear to therapy today.
Yours truly,

later tater. I'll put you up later today.

Marj aka Thriver said...

You just can't "get over" that kind of trauma. It's way more complicated than that. I wish yu healing, though.

jumpinginpuddles said...

i find it interesting how all abuse survivors say the same thing it was not that bad. The fact that you are strugglign with this tells you how bad it is, you mentioned triggers, people who have not experienced deep trauma do not fully understand triggers, only those who have lived it know that meaning and full meaning of that word.
What toilet did to you was violation, law no law violation and you in turn have up until now and i am certain into the future will and do feel violated, that means you fele all those inside that you shouldnt have to had made feel if hse hadnt have come in and made it that way. Law does not deal wellwith violation but it is still a word they use.

The observer