upon reflection …

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.

in short spurts only

Today I learned that a high ranking state official where I live resigned in the wake of sexual harassment and forcible touching allegations. Even more egregious is the discovery that in this particular agency allegations of sexual harassment were regularly covered up, and there was a culture where female employees may have felt pressured into intimate relationships in order to gain promotions.

When I read this news piece this morning I caught my breath, and had to tell myself that these were different circumstances, not my own.

In 2008, at a different agency less than a mile away from today’s news making agency, I reported sexual harassment, which included a sexual assault, from my own director. Today that experience is nothing and everything all at once. I call it nothing because I hardly recognize the person I was then. My life is now completely different, and thankfully there are times when I recall that period of time and realize that the assault is no longer part of my every day thoughts. I thought then that there would never be a time when it was not somewhere in the crevices of my mind. I feared that the assault would become and be everything in my life, and at that time it was. There was rarely a moment free of the memory of the experience.

I’ve never forgotten the fact that I was so damn lucky in the simple serendipity that I drew a special investigator who was only interested in figuring out what happened. He had no political motivations, and was, by all measures, objective.

I want women similarly situated to know that reporting it is the best thing you can do I did for yourself myself, even in the face of awful hatred from colleagues you once thought were your friends, and the hell of a long investigation. Soon after it happened I went to see my doctor. I told her what happened, but I made it clear that I had no intention of reporting it. She said to me, “This will stay with you for the rest of your life if you don’t report it.” She was right and wrong all at once with that statement. By reporting it I’ve experienced a certain freedom from it that would not have happened if I never took action. However, it will always be with me in some way, but reporting it lessened it’s long term impact on my life.

I don’t regret reporting it, but I hope there comes a day when reading similar stories doesn’t shut my brain down to the point of wanting to jump out of my skin.

And with that I have to sign off for tonight. I have a small capacity for writing about this experience in that I can only do it in short spurts.

a strange coincidence


In my last post I mentioned you, Kat. And, mysteriously, an email from you landed in my inbox today after all these years. If you are reading my blog I have to tell you that it will do nothing for your search for absolution.

I gave up my youth with you. It’s true that I could have left, but I chose to stay for far too long. I regret it all with you, the entirety of it. And this is because you betrayed me in every way possible. Cheating on me with your secretary was nothing compared to everything else. But, really, the secretary!? Wasn’t I better than such a cliched betrayal? I can still see myself yelling, “What a fucking cliche!” at you during Christmas season 2004 when I learned you were cheating on me with her, the very woman who had fucking Thanksgiving dinner with us when we went through our vegan stage. There we were having god-damn Tofurky Roll (what was I thinking? Tofurky Roll!?) with this entity I can hardly call a person because of the sheer betrayal from both of you.

Do you remember telling me a couple months later that you didn’t know who you wanted to be with? Then, an hour later, at a club you became irritated with me because I was not outgoing enough at the club, not fun enough? In a huff you said to me that this was why you were “torn” between us. I thought so little of myself that I put up with this, and even hated myself for the fact that I did not live up to your standards. I get mad at myself just thinking of how fucked up my thinking was in all of this.

There was the night you were enraged that I would not have sex with you. I could not believe my own strength when I kicked you off of me as you tried to force yourself on me. I don’t know who was more surprised when you hit the wall and landed on the floor. Thankfully, you were too drunk to fight back. Through out our relationship you felt entitled to have sex with me. Entitled! This example is just that, an example of other instances.

But even more insidious is the way you caused me to doubt my own sanity. You were so brilliant at turning a situation around, and convincing me that I was wrong in the end. The sad part is that you were able to do this because you are incredibly smart. You should try using that brilliance in a more positive fashion instead of manipulating people in your life. The nice takeaway for me in this situation is that I became a fabulous bullshit detector because of you. I became a damn good interrogator in my job. I learned how to follow the falling-apart-story. Strangely, a lot of my career success I attribute to learning how to stand up to you. It is no accident that I got into this field right around the time that I left you.

Oh, yes, and then there’s the small item of being ripped off of no less than $50,000. Even in the midst of our breakup you promised you would not do this, but you did. You.Are.A.Thief. That is what your grave should say. Here Lies A Thief, of Life, Love, and Money.

For the sake of some kind of brevity here, let’s just end this traipse down memory lane with the recollection of your ultimate trump card in getting me stay with you, and that is your suicide attempt. You attempted to kill yourself right after I stood up to you and told you not to contact me until you could treat me like a human being. And you wonder why I want nothing to do with you? You wonder why I have not responded to any of your contacts to me over the years? Wonder no more. I allowed you to take my youth and a decade of my life because I thought so little of myself, and you exploited that to the fullest extent until I walked away.

Yes, I loved you at one time. And I regret it all. It was all a waste on you because you betrayed me in every possible way. You have no capacity for true love and friendship. I want to leave this earth without every hearing from you again in any way. If you really care about me, do this one thing for me. It’s the least you can do given what you took from me.