Monday, March 09, 2009

There but for the grace of God go I

We are all shaped by our first sexual encounter. Whether it is pleasant or not, I would argue it is a memory that sticks with us. At the forefront of our memories or buried deep within. My first sexual encounters were not ideal. An incident shaped me and affected the next series of encounters. I can see that in hindsight although I might not have appreciated it then. The incident qualified as statutory rape and so maybe I'm a statistic - one out of four women is a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.

About a year and a half later I was dating someone else. Living somewhere else. My past far behind me already. During a fight, a dispute, an argument about something I can't even remember....he punched me in the stomach. Enough to wind me, leaving me gasping for air. As soon as I could stand up and breathe, I walked him to the door and ended the relationship. Since we worked at the same place, I can't say that I never saw him again. He actually was so low that he spread ugly rumors about me. But I counted my blessings because I knew that I'd escaped a fate worse than ugly rumors. I was a victim of domestic violence - even though it only occurred once. Maybe I'm a statistic. One out of four women is a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.

I can't explain it. I know I am blessed. I know that I have escaped to a better life. I have been married 23+ years and I do not count myself as a victim of SA/DV. I don't know if the statistics are valid. I suspect they are conservative. The next time you are with a group of women, it is likely that at least one of them has been assaulted.

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