Violation = Prey

After your first real life shattering violation, you begin to live in a continuum of violence against you and your body.  That first fatal wound is a symbol to every predator, that you are easy prey.  The sins committed against you are your body is your shame to bear, and you wear it no matter how hard you scrub, peel, starve, or pick at your own flesh — there is an invisible spider’s web connecting you to their sin.

A group of six white coats enter the room. My doctor is among them, she leads them to a panel of blank TV screens. I can’t remember if they asked if students could attend. Maybe they didn’t even ask me. I’m freezing in a sheer white hospital gown. The nurse forgot to give me another one. Cold sweat drips down my breasts and abdomen. The white coats prepare to watch me defecate on a portable toilet in the center of the room on a platform. Surrounding the portable toilet are flat metal X-ray plates. My doctor comes over and asks me to spread my legs. Without warning she plunges a large white plastic shot of white barium into my vagina, my urethra, and then my anus.

“We need to see how your anal muscle functions.” she tells me absently as she laughs at a joke on of the nurses makes. The barium is cold and burns. It supposed to burn? One of male white coats with the big hairy knuckles probes my anus.

“Yes, yes—the vagus nerve?” he absently asks someone. I squirm in discomfort. Grip the metal bars of the portable bed I am lying on. How much longer?  But this is science— you can’t rush it. It doesn’t matter if it hurts, or reminds you of your brother and grandfather hurting you. Maybe the pain and mortification are supposed to cleanse you— me; maybe these people are really my saviors. They saved my life—didn’t they? Maybe they can repair or remove whatever— whatever is making my insides rot.

“OK, you’re up.”  A nurse helps me off the bed. I clutch the sheer robe around me. Wishing I was wearing more as I walk to the center of the room in front of the white coats. I reach the platform and ascent the six steps to the portable toilet.


“OK, now sit down and tense your anus.” pens scribble notes as the monitors begin to flicker. On each of the three TV’s there is an X-ray version of me hunched over the portable toilet. There are three pockets of white are visible in my insides; the barium.  The veins in my legs are purple and my toenails turn blue from the cold.

“OK, now bare down like you were actually defecating.” one of the white coats commands me.

“Yeah—OK, now stop mid push!” I freeze. The screen shows a lump of white stuff half-in my body, half-out.

“OK, push again—STOP! Perfect. Yeah, this is exactly what we wantedOK we’re done.” the white coats cluster in their huddle. Exchanging ideas as I make my way off the platform past their group, a nurse greets me with a rough white towel. A nurse snaps her pink bubblegum as she hands me a rough white towel.

“Here, you can wipe some of the barium off with this—but it’s going to be coming out of you, from everywhere, for days.”

Some people will tell you that the violence is for your own good, or there is no other way — and your resistance is viewed as insolence, misbehavior, even a kind of insurgency to their power. Power they believe they are untitled too, even if that means robbing you of your humanity.


4 thoughts on “Violation = Prey

  1. I really, really appreciate–and have ever since I started reading your writing–how you are examining the repercussions of intense exposure and scrutiny that a patient experiences in a doctor/hospital setting and how it can relate to out-of-office experiences that the patient may have had–something I think doctors absolutely do not take into consideration or ask about before performing their tests/asking uncomfortable questions. It’s not treating the whole person when the doctor focuses, detached and clinically, on the “misbehaving” organ or bodily system–and then there’s the whole idea that SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR BODY and that, implicitly, it is your fault. Ugh. You really make me think with these posts, and I appreciate it so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “…no matter how hard you scrub, peel, starve or pick at your own flesh.” To this day, I still peel skin to distract myself from uncomfortable moments. In the past, I literally ate the skin off the tops of my fingers to deal with pain and shame, but there weren’t words to voice the fear of having the predator in my house expose himself to me or unlock the bedroom door and sneak in. Because what 8 year old knows it’s ok to expose HIM and end all the suffering? Thanks again, Alea. You’re giving voice to my own buried stuff, and probably lots of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I still pick and literally pull off my skin–of course no where anyone can see. Thank you for always commenting. I really look forward to your comments–and your support means so much to me!!


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