I recently read a post from a man who was drugged and raped. It kicked my gut back decades. It may as well have been 1974.

I got to thinking about the power of trauma. How it lingers and spreads its fingers. It’s effects are rarely a crisis anymore, but I feel it. I will always have been traumatized, it laid a nest deep inside of me.

I was 15 when I was raped by a man who said he was a dentist. A week later I had told one person what had happened. In an effort to calm me down, he told me it was “just a bad trick”. I stood on this world view, “toughened up” and stuffed my feelings.

Three years later, my twin sister and I needed our wisdom teeth extracted. Back then, the procedure required a hospital stay. I was given something to relax me before being wheeled to the OR. In that haze the surgeon smiled at me and I called him a sadist. They knocked me out with sodium thiopental.

Somehow in that deep sleepy fog I overheard a nurse say “that’s too much cotton, he will suffocate”. Panic punched through the drugs and I bolted off the table. I remember struggling as every hand in the room wrestled me down. I screamed and fought. I was plunged back under.

When I came to my gut hurt more then my mouth. I learned they used restraints to hold me. My poor sister heard my “blood curdling” screams. The incident was treated lightly, written off as being a reaction to the drugs.

I woke up from more than an operation. I finally came to from my rape. Alone in that hospital I witnessed just how deeply I was traumatized. I didn’t want to see that thread leading right back, but I couldn’t ignore either.

I was also proud and reassured. Even unconscious and heavily drugged I viciously defended myself. I took comfort knowing my reaction was on a hair trigger. I could be safer in the world knowing action would be my response. In self defense, I kept that spring wound tight.

I’ve since learned I don’t need to apply pressure to be ready. This is in me. The rape will always have happened. My psyche is marked, but my soul is free to choose peace.

One thought on “Witness

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