Here’s something that I have yet to see a statistic for:
How many people get STDs from rape?
Gross question right? Not something you like thinking about, right? Well, me neither. But guess what, I have to. Because, though even the help/advice sites like to gloss over the process of reporting as a You Do It And Then It’s Done affair, there are things other than just the emotional stuff that take a lot longer. A lot. So here I am, months later, counting down the days (three more, in case you were wondering) until I can go in and find out whether or not my rapist gave me HPV.
So, yeah. Suddenly, I find myself deleting my Google search history a lot.
It’s just adding insult to injury in so many ways. Or I guess, maybe, more like injury to injury. Especially if, god forbid, this turns into cervical cancer at some point (if, if, I have to keep reminding myself. Hypochondria won’t help me out, especially since there are still x-number hours to go – I refuse to count the hours, because once I started, I wouldn’t stop).
Seriously, though. As I’m sure a lot of people with similar experiences know, rape can make you feel –
…ya know what?
I think I’m done using the “you” in that way, for tonight. I’ll just talk about my own experience, because it’s not like I can pretend to know what anyone else is thinking.
It left me feeling disgusting. Not just disgusting as in Disgusted That Another Human Being Could Do That, but Disgust with an ing tacked on to the end. I think subhuman is a word to express part of it, but it’s definitely more than that. It’s about feeling like a leper, to use a conventional metaphor that people will be more familiar with.
To put it in my words, imagine feeling like you are a person-shaped cloth pattern, like a teddy bear or a doll. Except instead of polyfill fluff you are stuffed with used syringes, floor sweepings from biological weapons labs, and gobs of bread mold. A lot of time, I go about my day with the nagging fear in the back of my mind that if anyone touches me some of my biohazard teddy fluff will ooze out onto them.
That’s the kind of disgusting I mean.
In the event that this really is HPV, I also have to wonder about how I am going to break it to the other rape victim in the equation – because, yes, there is one. Remember how I said that I reported too late, and the college acted too late? That was a not-so-cryptic reference to a very fucked up situation. This is another not-so-cryptic reference.
But I think what gets me most of all is that I have no idea how to be proactive about this, to put it like the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens book that my mom bought me in middle school to make sure I didn’t become one of those people did. Maybe it’s a Control Thing (once you report any sort of sexual assault/abuse, counselors really seem to get into the idea of seeing everything you do as an attempt to “gain control” or “regain control” or whatever the flavor of the week is), but part of me likes to think that it’s also because I’m a person who likes to do something about things that bother me. But seriously, what the fuck can I do? Give my immune system a pep talk? Hey, t and b cells, I know we’ve had our rough times in the past, but do you think there’s any chance you might be willing to clear this virus for me right now instead of a 90% chance of you doing that in the next year or two? Super! I know you can do it! I have no protocol for this shit.
Yes, yes, I know. I should be grateful that there is no chance, for example, that I have HIV. And yes, that is an enormous relief to me, but only because I got tested for that way back in July and came back clean. Before then, in the six-week interval, I was a goddamn mess over the idea. And that was even after I reminded myself that the guy was a frequent blood donor and they would have tested him for that, then, anyway.
So, yes, it could be worse. A lot worse. It could always be worse. Some people would probably categorize most of this post as yet another in my series of Wrong Reactions. But that is not what this is about, to me. To me, this is about me and my situation, and my toxic needle teddy-stuffing poking around in me, and everything else that fits in between. This is me talking about this because I need to talk about this, and I will need to talk more about this, because there is nothing I can do and, Control Thing or not, I’m not really cool with that. At all.