Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Statistic

Two weeks ago this past Saturday, a man broke into my apartment and tried to rape me. I fought him off, he escaped, and I suffered only a bloody nose. I am still shaken, but I am okay, and I feel lucky.

I had just moved into a new apartment, where I was living alone, and this was my second night in the new place. I have since moved into a safer neighborhood, second floor 1-bedroom apartment. My investigation is ongoing, so I can't write much about it here. Sufficed to say, I believe the offender is in jail, caught only days ago, on his way to prison, but not for my incident, unfortunately.

Why am I writing about this here, in this blog about my abortion? There are a few reasons.

What if I hadn't had the abortion:
I couldn't help but think, within minutes after the assault, that I could have been almost 8 months pregnant when this happened. Would the offender, when he first opened my door to peer in and see who was in the bedroom, skipped on raping a very pregnant woman? Would I have even been home alone or would this have even happened, as my boyfriend and I most likely would have moved in together and be living elsewhere?

Threats to my reproductive system and my sexual identity:
Thus far, I don't feel scarred sexually or emotionally by the abortion or by the attack. I am aware that these things could impact me down the road, could seep in insidiously, and I keep a check on my sexual and emotional health and happiness.

What if I had been raped:
Because I am slightly psychic but do not learn to listen to my gut, I had this thought the day before the attack: 'It would suck to be raped if you had a yeast infection.' (I had a yeast infection at the time.) Followed by, 'It would suck to be raped if you weren't on birth control.'

The emotional toll of simply having a stranger violate my personal space and attempt to violate my body, it's hard to describe. I cannot imagine the unspoken pain of women who are raped, nor can I imagine the devastation if that rape results in a pregnancy.

That there are people out in this world who would suggest that rape does not "justify" an abortion absolutely sickens me. That they would want to further control the body and destiny of a woman whose control of those very things was violently ripped from her sickens me as well. I usually don't fill this blog with much vitriol toward those people, but fuck it. Those small-minded, self-righteous urchins should feel what that violation of space and body feels like, how it shakes you to your core, how it leaves you jumping at shadows and tree branches cracking, and sobbing at your own fear in the middle of the night, and then experience a lifetime of the product of that violation. Oh, how their hollow ivory towers would crumble.

Amazingly, one of those small-minded people is a friend of mine from high school. She once posted a link to this disgusting (and so-bad-it's-almost-funny) essay that mainly uses the movie Rob Roy as its evidential proof for this opinion. This friend called me the night following the attack after I posted a note on Facebook explaining what had happened. In tears and hysterical (Please don't call your friends who were just the victim of a violent crime if you are in tears and hysterical, by the way. It's not helpful. In fact, it's upsetting.), she said how happy she was I was okay, so glad she was that I fought, how much she wanted to hear my voice. And what might her message have said, I wonder, if I hadn't been able to fight him off, if I had been raped, if I was pregnant with the rapist's child and if I chose to terminate the pregnancy? What if I had shared that on Facebook instead?

Breaking the silence:
It's not my style to be silent. (Have you noticed?) I want to share my experiences and stories from my experiences because it is important to me that there is more understanding, more compassion, more connection between a statistic (like 1 in 1,000 women on birth control will get pregnant on their period; there is one sexual assault every two minutes) and the experience (me).

The day after the attack I wrote a letter to my friends and family. At first, I intended only to send it to a handful of friends and my family members. After I wrote and edited and started adding names to the list, I kept adding more names and more names and more... Soon, I sent the email to nearly 50 friends. Within hours, I decided to post most of the email as a note on Facebook.

Responses came pouring in. Support, advice, words of love. One woman, who I only have met on two occasions and is dating a friend of mine, sent me a private message. Four years ago, in her first week after she moved to this city, she was raped. She admired me for sharing my experience, she said. My heart slammed against my chest. This strong woman, this brave person, I could not imagine what she had been through, and she was reaching out to me. There were others out there, women I knew who had been through much worse, and I wasn't alone. None of us are.

The silence is not okay. It cloaks the experience in a shroud of shame, fear. By sharing our stories, even the most difficult, we support one another.

I am considering creating a separate anonymous blog about further issues affecting women, sexual health and my own experiences moving forward from the abortion. I started this blog with the intent to chronicle one experience, and I'd like it to exist somewhat statically, so that women going through an abortion might refer to the direct experience of the abortion and my healing. However, things keep happening to me (funny how life works!), and I would like to keep sharing. I think another blog may be the answer.