I’ve had second thoughts since my last post. You’ll notice I altered the original post a bit. It was presumptuous of me to paint a brush and declare that reporting sexual assault is the best thing a person can do. It was the best thing I could do for myself, and the prime reason it was the best thing for me was the fact that I had an impartial investigator, and an employer that was committed to doing the right thing. Without those elements, a person can find themselves in a precarious situation. By no means am I saying that a person should not report in the face of a less than ethical employer, just that I understand when the situation is too difficult or too risky to one’s life or livelihood to report.
In the early days after the assault I spent a great amount of time vowing to the few people around me that I let in on my secret that I was never going to report what happened. My therapist was slowly trying to convey to me that even if I decided not to report what happened that there were other ways I could speak my truth. I think she was actually close to mentioning the possibility of confronting my director with the truth. She never said this, but I had a strong instinct she was headed in this direction.
It’s hard for me to opine on what would have happened to me had I not reported it. Three weeks after the assault I reported it, though it was not planned, even in that instant of reporting. I was found out, and outed. My Assistant Director announced to me that he would not be able to accompany me on the upcoming business trip, and that the Director was going to accompany me instead. I started shaking, and walked away from him in that instant. He then followed me into my office, closed the door, and said, “What the hell is going on?”
“I’m just over reacting, ” I said to him as I tried to pay attention to the nothingness on my computer screen.
“Bullshit. I’ve seen you overreact, and that was the real thing. What the hell is going on? Don’t think I don’t know that something is going on. You have not been yourself for weeks. You’re making mistakes that you would never make. What the hell is going on?”
Through my tears I said to him, “Please just give me half an hour. In half an hour I will do the right thing. Until then please leave me be.” We both looked at each other, and I knew he knew by the look on his face. With that moment the entire trajectory changed in that instant. My world was forever altered the very moment I filed my report. A domino effect was put in motion that’s still going to this very day. Sometimes I can see the division in the universe between today and what would have been had I not reported it. Then there’s another universe that exists in the neverlands if this thing had never happened in the first place. But then I get annoyed at myself when I start thinking about these alternate universes because in many ways I’m better off than I was then. The person I am today is more authentic, less of a bullshitter to myself, and more accepting of others.
Still though, there’s part of me that pines for that time when I was the noncontroversial gal in the workplace, the new promising recruit with nothing but a stellar reputation. We have such a new recruit in our current ranks, and she reminds me of the me back then in a number of ways. She’s well-liked, has a lot of promise, and possesses oodles of self-confidence. Unlike me, she likely does not have an underlying problem with alcohol, co-dependency, PTSD, DID, and sex and love addiction. Something bad was bound to happen in my life with that combination of struggles I brought to the table. I did not start working on any of these issues until the sexual assault. Strangely enough, it seems I have my assault to thank for the progress I’ve made thus far because I’m certain I would not have stopped my addictive behavior without something big and awful happening.
Bottom lining it: I’m glad I’m working on my shit, but I still wish it never happened. Sometimes, as shallow as this sounds, I wish I could just be the pretty popular girl I was back then. Not so much for the popularity, but for the ability have plans any day of the week I wanted. I miss having people in my life on a regular basis. Truly, that’s been the biggest casualty of this whole thing. That day in 2008 unmoored me to such an extent that my friendships suffered or just ghosted out for a handful of different reasons.
This post certainly went in a different direction from what I intended. Another abrupt ending, I can’t write any further on this tonight.
I am also – of course – sorry it happened (I still remember the conversation that we had that you told me about it and how much pain you carried). But I can see your point that if this didn’t happen you wouldn’t be getting the help you are getting. And I am very grateful for that help – and very proud for the strength and confidence you have shown along the way!
I so relate to your desire to just be the normal person in the workplace…. I had my life blown sideways back in 1993, and it’s never been the same. It does cause us to go deep, that’s for sure. I didn’t have the problems you described, but I was a multiple personality and didn’t know it, and a mind control subject and didn’t know it. Now I know, and am working on healing. I’m glad you have some support and a clear mind. Blessings to you.
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Wise words. It can be difficult to confront and accept our humanity, our imperfect humanity. For a long time, I paid little attention to mine. Something inside me from I have no idea where adopted the philosophy that it’s not the mistakes that are important but what one learns from them. Sometimes what I’ve thought were mistakes were actually opportunities. And then it’s happened that what I’ve thought were brilliant moves were actually huge mistakes. This is life.
One thing about PTSD that used to drive me crazy (pun intended): delayed reactions, especially delayed emotional reactions. It was part of the coping mechanism within PTSD and had helped me to survive. I needed to give myself permission to live in the moment and that meant also reacting in the moment. I didn’t think I had the power over myself that I really did have. This made me less of an actor and more of an authentic, real person. What a learning experience….
Keep writing, Beatriz. You are learning so much through this blog.
You were brave to report it. That’s never easy. But thankfully it all worked out for you. I’m glad it did. XX