My grandmother took me aside when I was about nine years old. She said she was dying and she needed to tell me a few things about life. Most importantly, she made me promise her one thing…she said, “DON’T PRETEND YOU LIKE IT, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT.”
These words are profound, and I try to live by them.
Many situations of abuse continue and the victim is silent for years, if not forever. It should be so simple to just say, “No, I don’t like it!” right? It’s not always so easy.
Most cases of sexual assault involve power, dominance, and control. Sex can be the ultimate weapon in taking someone’s power. Add to it, the mental warfare of jealousy that often follows, usually caused by their own insecurities and their fear of losing the control they have just taken. Submission is winning for them.
For those of us on the other side, when your power is taken, when they have picked you to dominate and control, the feelings of submission are confusing. Does this mean I’m special? Chosen? Is this what love feels like? Is this the new direction my life is going? Did I invite this? Did I make this happen?
There’s guilt, fear, embarrassment, weakness, and shame.
Sometimes no one can protect us from a predator. The best protection I have were the words from my Grandmother. She didn’t keep it from happening, but it stopped my first powerhunter from assaulting me again.
He was our vet. I was married. It was 1991. He was uber popular, considered a genius, and he was our best friend. He got us the best job on the planet, with the best horses, at the best place, with the best owners. Life was wonderful.
The job wound down. The best young horse we had, Quickstar, was sold and we bought our own place and really had to start working!
Will, my then-husband, went on the road and I stayed at the farm to hold down the fort and our business. He was Will’s best friend. He knew the schedule.
One day after looking at the horses and “checking on me,” he said, “Let’s go to lunch.” No hesitation from me. I was hot, hungry and it was 1 o’clock in the afternoon, so off we went to the Red Barn in Santa Ynez.
Lunch was normal, like it had been 100 other times. We got in the vet truck to leave and he said “Can I show you something? Do you have time?”
“Yeah, sure,” I said, thinking this will be an adventure!
Through two locked gates, we went next to Lake Cachuma. I wasn’t scared or even worried yet, he was my friend, the famous veterinarian.
When he stopped and there was nothing there, I began to worry. Then he jumped me. At the same time he was overpowering me he was telling me he was in love with me, we were meant to be together.
People ask, “Why didn’t you say no?”
“Why didn’t you run?”
“Why didn’t you fight?”
He was twice my weight.
All I thought while it was happening was, I want to get home alive.
I didn’t like it
And I didn’t pretend like I did.
He blew all of our lives up that day.
He was asked to leave the clinic where he practiced.
His marriage ended in divorce.
Mine was strained.
The police gave him a Stay Away Order from me.
Nothing was ever the same for anyone involved.
I have never been the same.