“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” -Nietzsche
“I was a young woman in a new job, in a new city and one real friend. My boss invited me out for a drink. My one friend was working the swing shift. I didn’t really know I could say no, so I went. It was my boss.
I remember one drink.
I never made it home that night.
I’ll probably never know what was in that drink. I only know where I came to and what was happening in that moment. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I cried in the shower as I desperately tried to get clean. I put on the clothes from the day before.
And then I was taken to work.
He was my boss, after all.”
I’ve been walking around all day in a fog. I feel like a visitor in my own life. It’s hard to explain the unsteadiness of that. The last few days have triggered a very physical response. Tears and fears. I thought it was all safely behind me. I was wrong. Enter: snowglobe.
To be clear, I am not looking for sympathy or attention. Neither is an adequate prescription. I am not haunted, as I know others are, by violent memories. Maybe that’s why I had so much shame. It wasn’t like that. Truth is, I remember very little of what happened at all. There are no nightmares.
But there are reverberations.
It is the constant reminder of what was taken from me that does the haunting. When I witness my own awkwardness in making friends, when my boundaries blur, when I try too hard … these are things that stay with me. These are the thoughts that come cascading down when I try to sleep. These are the thoughts that bring me to full-on tears when I’m alone with them.
That is why I’m sharing this story. There were other stories too. There was an element of bad judgment with all of them. Even so, I did not deserve what happened to me.
Telling this story will not turn the tide. It may or may not help me begin to heal. But it joins a thundering chorus of other voices.
Back in the early 80’s when I flirted with activism as the angry voices of another movement “ACT UP” rose, the motto was: Silence = Death. It feels equally pivotal now. People need to know that this isn’t about three women and one judge. This is about ending a culture that blames the victims.
This is about all of us.
Tomorrow I will do what I always do. I’ll face my fears and take back another piece of my life. I’ll find some solace in wild places. And I’ll know I’m going to be okay.