30 Days of De-Objectification:
Discussion of sexual assault
Mention of self-harm
I am going to reveal something very personal.
Twenty going on twenty-one years ago, in the early morning hours of November 1, 1997, I was sexually assaulted by my ex-boyfriend.
I was in my early thirties, but I was very naïve. Even though I broke up with the guy because he had a very callous sense of humor and everything physical that happened with him had been coercive, I thought it was the right thing to do to remain friends with him. After all, I had broken up with him. So, I thought that we would start our new friendship with my taking him to a work friend’s Halloween party.
Not only was I very naïve, I also had untreated type 2 bipolar disorder, which would not be correctly diagnosed for another six years.
I took my son, who was seven years old at the time, with me because my co-worker had kids around his age.
I proceeded to get extremely drunk.
One of my other co-workers was flirting with me.
My ex-boyfriend became extremely angry.
To avoid having him start a fight, I took him out of there. I also did something which makes me flinch to remember to this day. I took my son with me over to my ex-husband’s parents’ house. I drove drunk with my child in the car. I didn’t know who I could call.
After dropping my son off with his grandparents, I went back to my apartment with my ex-boyfriend, so he could get his car. I went to bed fully clothed. I woke up undressed with him on top of me. I begged him to stop, but he didn’t. When he was done, he said “well, now we’re back together again.”
For the next year, I had panic attacks every twenty minutes for about five hours from the time I woke up. I didn’t want to go back to sleep because I knew it would start all over again when I woke up. Eventually, I would become too exhausted to stay awake, and the cycle repeated, every day, for the next 365 days.
I was falling apart. Nobody thought what I’d been through was “that bad,” because this bastard didn’t grab me and throw me on the ground or beat me up.
I felt like garbage. I felt worthless.
I was very vulnerable, and about six months after the event, I went to another co-worker’s party, where I became involved with one of the most predatory men I’d ever met. This creep expressed sympathy for what had happened, but he really just wanted sex. He took advantage of the fact that I was extremely vulnerable and my self-esteem was completely in the toilet. He would be affectionate towards me and then threaten to withdraw his “love” if I didn’t do what he demanded, which included watching a lot of pornography. He got a sick thrill out of my disgust over the bestiality videos he enjoyed watching. He eventually took up with another girlfriend and flaunted her in my face. He told me I was his “only girl,” but said he needed “a cheap piece of ass” too.
I ended up at his door one night with bloody wrists. I still have the scars.
Neither of these men saw me as human. I was a thing, an object. I was garbage.
Twenty years later, I still feel like I’ve been thrown in a sewer whenever I talk about it.
It is never right to look at another person and see an object rather than a human being.
It doesn’t make it better if you’re a girl objectifying a man.
There are some who will say “well, look what these guys did to you! We should turn the tables and have our revenge!”
I don’t believe that will make anything better.
I believe that objectification is never right.
I believe that it’s particularly awful to exploit and objectify vulnerable populations.
I took care of old and sick people for a lot of years.
I feel protective towards people in that population.
People who have lost their health and their ability to continue their careers should be honored, not objectified.
One of the residents at the retirement community I used to work at started hallucinating. One night she called me to her apartment in hysterics. She said that there were men who had come out of her closet and beat her. She said that these men told her that they were going to have sex with her. She said: “you’d think they could leave a seventy-five-year-old woman alone, wouldn’t you?”
These men in their sixties, seventies, and beyond don’t want to be objectified by teenage girls.
They have enough problems.
Don’t treat people like things to do with as you see fit.
Don’t deny others their worth.
~The Cheese Hath Grated It~