Man : : Savior
That night I confronted my brother I reminded him of all those years ago when he touched me—I told him how I remembered what I was wearing, what time of year it was, and things he said; “You’re a fat pig.”, “I despise you.”—things were just beginning to happen inside of me, really happen. All the secrets of my body were about to unleash their fury. Every nook and cranny that had been violated and shamed would be brought under scrutiny again—poked, prodded, and evaluated for function and legitimacy by more people who care nothing for my actual well-being, or, in the name of medicine. Only this time it’s my body, not my mind called into question, although the confluence of the two are both are inevitable and inseparable; particularly in the instance of sexual abuse.
There. I said it.
I was sexually abused. No, not by every doctor that took a turn watching me defecate or the plungers of white barium they sank into my vagina without warning (it was cold and burned, was it supposed to burn?). Or the large knuckled men that probed my anus and sighed loudly if I objected or squirmed in discomfort. This was science. This was medicine. It doesn’t matter if it hurts, or reminds you of your brother and grandfather hurting you. No, they were there to heal me and tell me about every congenital defect, to specify every traumatized organ in my body. Maybe the pain and mortification was supposed to cleanse me, and they were my saviors. They would repair the damage my sexual abuse had done to my body, and ostensibly atone for my someone’s sin. But they didn’t. And now I have no one, no place where I can trust the fate of my body too. They claimed I was intolerant, critical, demanding, pushy, when I asked that they warn me, or tell me when they were invading my body with their hands and instruments.
Nothing is hidden. My flaws are exposed. Each curse word uttered in shame, each incision, each bruised vein from a missed IV prick, each morsel of sagging flesh tells them that I am flawed, and I will be held accountable as if these sins were mine.
I expect it will take the rest of my life to come to terms with my sexual abuse, and the response of medical community in response to my abuse. I am always at odds with it—which inevitably leads to more breakdown of my body. Sure I “function.” I hold a job. I’m working on my Master’s, and ostensibly I’ll go on to work on my PhD; but the wake of the sins of others that I, and all sexual abuse survivors bare— I am left with a body emptied of one major organ, psychogenic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, migraines, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and of course a very high intolerance to being touched by strangers; particularly strange men. But these problems with my mind and body are merely symptomatic of the major flaw within me that individuals like my brother and now his wife, have tirelessly tried to prove—that I am inherently evil, bad, and most of all, suspicious.
“I just have a bad feeling about her. Can’t put my finger on it…” they derive some kind of nourishment from punishing me for my ill-fated expression of their sin; because the shame, the illness, the damaged organs all point out to that shadow, and who cast it—and when it fell in me so long ago.
My mother tells me that during my brother’s most family visit he and his wife were fearful of my presence around their children. I couldn’t be trusted. And there you have it. They cast the very shadow on me that they created—without ever seeing their own event horizon. They sat across the table from my mother and father. Tearfully recounting the horrible things I have done that have caused them to mistrust me.
“She gave our son an extra cherry tomato after we told her not too.”
“She taught him to balance a spoon on his nose…”
“If she is going to be at the house, we need to know.”
It’s been hard, and it’s getting harder for reasons I cannot comment on due to an ongoing lawsuit. Most of the time I still see the beauty—I can see past the niche evil and tragedy carves out of us and how the possibility of the beauty that may one day encompass that same, sore space; the beauty that was meant to inhabit that place—it’s the absence of, that leads you to the possibility of a rich life that can return to re-inhabit the years the locusts ate.