Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Speaking of rage...

So I have an elementary student from a foreign clime who asked me about treatment for thrush, saying she felt too ashamed to go to the doctor. I told her she didn't have to, and how to fix it, and that it wasn't neecssarily an STD, and said there was no need to feel ashamed at all. 

She told me the shame was from sexual abuse earlier in her life and mentioned it in one other context too. 

She's depressive, and is missing swimming and surfing like she does at home, which is her outlet and mental health guard. Her other teacher invited her to go away for the weekend surfing, an she was really delighted - a chance to have fun and get back to her passion that keeps her grounded. 

Instead, she messaged me on Sunday to say that she got drunk on Saturday night when she shouldn't drink as it doesn't agree with her. And that she woke up naked next to her class mate that she's been being friends with, who's Brazilian about hugs but who she's not interested in romantically. She was horrified and ashamed and put her clothes on and ran away. She WhatsApped him to check that he'd used a condom (she couldn't remember anything at all, but could tell she'd had sex), he said he had, but she couldn't be sure. 

Even though she's blaming herself for drinking when she's not used to it, she was able to tell me that she'd explained to him that she didn't sleep with men because of her past experience. Which seems pretty clear cut to me. Yet when she was so drunk she'd blacked out, he took her to bed and had sex with her. 

I know it's complex, she doesn't know what she said or did or agreed to. But the fact remains that whatever it looked like, she was in no state to go back on her initial statement that she wouldn't have sex with him, because she doesn't sleep with men. She's 26, it's been 12 years since her original abuse happened, whatever it may have consisted of - but that means she was 14 then, and she's probably never had a consentual adult sexual relationship with a man ... but he took it upon himself to decide that he was that guy. While she was black out drunk. 

So her beautiful gift of a weekend away gets turned into a re-experiencing of her earlier trauma, and she gets to try and process the fact that she's been raped, again, while so very far from home and having nowhere near enough English to talk to anyone about it. 

I've found her a nice counsellor with 'some' Portuguese, I've brought her to get the morning after pill, just in case, and sent her home alone to deal with the ensuing sickness. I've had the guy moved to another class so she doesn't have to sit there looking at him. And I feel frustrated and impotent and full of rage. 

If I had a superpower, it would honestly be to extract all her feelings of shame and panic and violation and dump them right on him. All the memories of what happened when she was a girl, all the guilt and regret and nausea and humiliation from the weekend and the way it must feel reawakened all over again - and the way her time away studying English has been soured and made into something traumatic and difficult and awkward and full of grief and fear. I would take all that, and fuck it, her depression and family difficulty too, and I would drop it on him from a height, and let him feel it instead of her. 

And then maybe he'd get some perspective about what exactly having a fuck at someone else's great expense is worth. And maybe he'd listen harder next time, to the girl who's told him something that should have been respected, instead of listening to his cock. 

I get that we through rationale out the window when we're horny and drunk. We throw caution to the wind and we think fuck it, and we do things like cheat, or fuck strangers, we do things we know we'll regret. 

But we shouldn't do things we know the other person will regret. If someone tells you they don't want to sleep with you and gives you a very good reason, you don't bulldoze over that just because they're drunk and they've stopped saying no. Even if you want to have sex with them. Even if it looks like they want to have sex with you. This guy, he's not 16. He's a grown man, with a small daughter. And right now, I'd love him to understand, in technicolour pain, what he's done.