Monday, September 12, 2011

i thought i was done with this.

maybe it's the time of year, maybe it's the time of man? hopefully not the latter, because that would be a Problem.

while listening to rasputina's latest (excellent) album, i had a bit of a flashback. in some ways, it ways it was a really good flashback. i remembered the way my little brother (then about ten or eleven) capered and goofed to cheer me up after i reported the sexual assault at my music camp (like band camp! ah ha! hilarious!). but, on the way home, the song "the two miss leavens" in combination with my recent reading of judith herman's trauma & recovery made me realize how hard that event hit me.

a part of me died that summer, a young joyous part of me. i am not dead now, and hopefully will not be for a long time, but an innocent part of me died then. i recounted the assault, and how his hands felt on my throat, and the rough concrete sound-proof walls felt on my back, to two camp counselors, the campus police, the regular police, another police-woman and to an officer with my parents (a totally easy and super awesome task).

i was a wee feminist and knew already that speaking out about the assault was a political act. but my mistake was thinking that describing it would somehow exorcise the experience. it still hurt and it still hurts.

anyway, back to my baby brother... he was still a kid, and he knew something was wrong but he didn't know what. but, as young as he was, he wanted to protect me and heal whatever was wrong. and somehow that still exhausts and saddens me more than the actual assault.

why does compassion hurt more than cruelty, even sixteen years later? am i crying because of the anniversary? why does my brother's innocent, protective love make me cry? why doesn't the memory of louis' thick, slug-like tongue down my throat and his cold, wide hands on my neck wound like my brother's running and jumping?

i want to be there for victims and survivors and thrivers alike but i feel like i have to wrestle with and understand this phenomenon on my own terms first. maybe i will be able to do so without this work, but i'm still haunted in many ways. i wish i weren't, and sometimes it makes me feel like a bad or weak feminist and woman to experience this but... so it goes. and so it is.

though my brother and i aren't super close and have little in common i am still so grateful for his love and support. he's a bro, in addition to being a brother, but he's a very loving guy and very kind. i wish we were closer sometimes, and maybe someday when i can deal with this more productively i will fin that relationship easier.

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