Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sexuality isn't about Sex

I belong to a group on facebook of mostly ex-Mormons. It has been the most amazing, loving, supporting group. They have ALL helped me tons! Angie wrote about the group here. This morning someone posted these questions. I shared them on the board, but I'd like to share them here too.

-Have you changed opinions regarding sexual practices or activity such as pornography or masturbation, or simply become more open about your previous lifestyle?
I always believed that pornography was not the problem. Back then, I believed it was a symptom of a larger problem. I still believe that is true... But my definition of porn has changed. It used to be anything sexual at all was considered pornographic... Now, porn is only the violent degradation of women: Depicting them as objects rather than as people. I don't demonize anyone who looks or participates... I just wonder how it affects women and men who forget that other people have emotions and feelings. With Larry, I FELT like I was just an object to be used when he wanted to get off, and ignored otherwise. Anything that feels like that is harmful.

I started cutting when I was only 7... to stop myself from masturbating. It took me 23 years to see the connection of why I started hurting myself. When I was going through therapy to heal from sexual abuse, ALL of the books talk about learning to "please yourself" first. Several therapists suggested it as a way to deal with flashbacks and pain of body memories. Between the guilt and the fear that had been there since I was a kid, and the belief that it was wrong... I could not.

Now I see nothing wrong with a person masturbating. If it is compulsive, interferes with life, or there is a lot of guilt and shame attached to it, there is a problem. It seems to me like a natural release. (And guilt and fear still tell me "I could never!" I still have a hard time touching my own arms, because of the pleasure I feel. I'm working on it...)

-Are there 'things' you have done since departure that you would never have done while an active member?
I live with a man who is not my husband... Not sexually involved, but the guilt of "appearing evil" would have kept me from having a friendship with a man... I was taught that nothing should come before my husband and my marriage. In order to keep that marriage alive, I had to eliminate all friendships, wants, desires, hobbies, hopes, dreams, etc... In my mind, my ability to see me as a person, an individual, a woman with her own wants, is ALL part of my developing sexuality.

-Are you more liberal in your views of homosexuality and bisexuality than you were previously or simply more open?
I am both more liberal and more open. Prop 8 was a big deal for me. I didn't like it, but I felt like if I just prayed harder, I could understand... When prop 8 was overturned, and I felt like that was a good thing, it was a sign to me that I had really moved on from the church.

-Big one, what are your previous and current views on monogamy?
I don't believe in marriage, but I think I do believe in a monogamous sexual relationship. I believe I need to have the freedom to come and go in a relationship... as long as it is healthy and beneficial for me, I will stay. As long as it is not, I won't. And I want anyone I care about to have the same freedom.
I believe that the instant I put my happiness in someone else's hands, I will die. I will trust only me with my happiness.
When I do decide to add sex to a relationship, if that ever happens, I want it to be something talked about often... and just because we have sex doesn't mean that then we are tied together forever... same freedoms apply. I will NOT be someone else's property. Ever.
I have LONG believed sex is what a "strong" person does TO a "weak" person. That is one of the reasons I have had no interest. I haven't wanted to hurt someone else, like I have been hurt. (And I hated the being hurt side too.)

This is something I am still working out in my head.

-Finally, what bad decisions and good decisions regarding sexuality in any form have you made since departure?
I haven't really made any decisions, so there haven't been any to BE good or bad.

As I read back over my answers, I realize the most powerful thing (for me) I said was, "My ability to see me as a person, an individual, a woman with her own wants, is ALL part of my developing sexuality"

I remember a conversation with Jen... I asked her how she "knew" she was lesbian. I shared that I am terrified of men, but I don't feel attraction to women. Her words were amazing, and I still think about them often.

She talked about learning to love herself. Then learning to love everyone else. And then she could wake up to the love that had been a secret inside her. She pointed out that she loves men, she just doesn't want to have sex with them. At the time, I was so anxious to figure out my own sexuality... I needed to KNOW, so I could give myself the right label and "move on."

Her words inspired my post on being asexual. I don't have to have sex with anyone. I just get to be me... whatever that looks like, whoever that is.

As I've relaxed, and not needed to KNOW... I have found amazing peace. I am learning to love myself. Find my wants. Needs. Desires. Hopes. Dreams. See myself as an individual. As a woman. It feels good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"my expression is about me"

I turned on Jen and Angie's blogcast, "Everyday Joy".
Jen talked about the Universe's wake up calls. She talked about the thing she has learned this week:
"my expression is about me."

At that moment, I got an email saying BJ's son had sent me a message.

I wrote the response, but was feeling... uneasy. I needed help seeing. I asked Norm for help. I knew he knew some of the story, he wouldn't judge, and it felt like I needed to ask him.

I had him read the blog and BJ's son's response. This was his question:
"What makes you think that you can change his mind about you any more than you might be able to change anyones mind about the church?"
My reply was perfectly me. Just what I needed to hear and to know.
"I don't. I don't expect him to listen or hear me, so my responding isn't about him. My words probably will be used against me. Twisted to serve the church, or his stories, or something else... My response is about me speaking up and not hiding because my voice is "useless"."
At which point, he told me that he didn't need to give me any advice. I knew what to do. And I know he's right. I just needed to find that. This isn't about BJ, or his son, or the church, or anyone but me. I have long believed my voice was useless, so I never spoke up. I thought if I couldn't change the world around me, there was no reason to talk, to sing, to laugh. It has always been about everyone else... and in a backwards way about myself. Today, I can finally see in a forwards way its about me. This is a part of what I sent back:
(I'm only leaving the parts that I thought could be beneficial to others. Anything personal to BJ's son's letter, I removed.)
I appreciate you asking, and I'm grateful you sent me the message.  
I can't speak for BJ and his authenticity. All I know is that he has said he is now being authentic. I trust him to speak for himself.

Having traveled the road of trying to figure out how to be authentic... it IS hard. It hurts. There is a cost. And the longer we have pretended to be something we aren't, the harder it is. The trouble with masks is when we take them off, no one recognizes us. I know many people would say authenticity is NOT worth it, and that is something we can only say for ourselves. I don't get to make that choice for anyone but me. No friend, bishop, parent, spouse can choose or decide for me... And I can't choose for them.

Authenticity is not about what you do... I would define authenticity as "doing what you believe", being who you are. Authenticity will look different for each one of us.

I'm about to give advice. You didn't ask for it. Its free. Take it for what its worth. If your dad tells you he is being authentic, believe him. If your dad tells you he wasn't happy, believe him. Listen to him. He knows himself better than you or me or anyone else.
When I finished talking with Norm, I was shaking. Whole body vibrating enough that I thought I was going to pass out. I laid down on the floor for an hour and just shook.

I can't explain exactly what was happening, but my theory is that I'm coming together. A few more pieces of me that have been broken off and separated are not broken off anymore.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Healing Words

About a month ago, I was having a pretty tough time. I had found out about the Stake Pres sharing information about me. Specifically, he spoke to several of my bishops who shared with him how much money the church had given me. The Stake President then shared that information with Ginger.

I wanted to stand up for myself. Not because I thought he would care, but just as a "I don't allow people to do hurtful things to me anymore. I confront abusive behavior."

I called him. He said I had no right to bring any of this up, and the only reason I even cared was because I was feeling guilty. He said a lot of crap that sounded like a lot of the bullshit I have heard for most of my life.

"It doesn't matter what I did to you, YOU are so bad, you deserve it."

I was upset. I decided to stop at my parents' home.
I shared with my mom what the Stake Pres had said, and then shared with her how I believed it, even though I also knew he was wrong. My dad came in. Said he was glad I was there. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I was so scared of what he was going to say next.

He then shared with me that he has been praying about me. (Oh dear God, not now. I can't take any more right now.)
He then shocked me in a most WONDERFUL way:
"I support your decision not to go to church. I think it is exactly what YOU need right now, today."
I felt hopeful, happy, excited, and wary.
"What if I never go back?"
He said, "I've thought about that, and I don't care. I see the sparkle in your eyes and the brightness in your face, and I love that. I love YOU! I love having YOU in my home, and I'd rather have that. It just doesn't matter if you go to church or not."

I cried.

Several months ago, I was reading a letter written by a father to Boyd K. Packer about Packer's teachings on homosexuality. I got to the end of the letter, and I cried. This father was choosing his son's happiness over what Packer had to say. I WANTED that. I wanted my dad to see me, and to choose me, just like that dad had done.

I understood that my expectation might have been too much. I understood that my very active Mormon dad would always want me to go to church. And all of the understanding in the world didn't take that desire, that NEED away.

Since that day, my dad and I have had some deep discussions. I have shared my doubts and many of my questions. With every question, he has said, "I have never thought about that. Let me get back to you," and then he has... Not with the General Authority answer, but with Dad's answer. Again, it feels amazing.

One conversation was about fear and guilt. He apologized for raising me in a home with so much fear. He said he didn't know any better back then, and he does now. He talked about how his fear lead him to do things that really hurt his kids.

We talked about how even though he has apologized, and I have forgiven him, I am still dealing with the consequences of his parenting. Similar to if someone had accidentally broke my leg. Even if they apologized, and I forgave them, my leg would still be broken until it healed. I used to pretend like my leg wasn't broken, so he wouldn't have to feel the pain. It required me to hide ME to protect him. No one is hiding now, and that feels amazing.

Our last conversation was last week. I don't remember what I said... His answer was, "We all have to start with a foundation of loving ourselves. The church gets in the way of you loving yourself, therefore, its not good for you. Find that foundation. I love you."

When I started on my journey to heal my life, one of the things I kept FEELING deep down was that if I healed me, I could help heal my dad. It never made sense to me... how could I make a difference for him? I won't pretend that I understand it, or even pretend that I am right. It just feels so good... and it FEELS deep down that I am healing more than just me.

I know I am incredibly lucky. I know so many people will never hear these words from their active Mormon families. I feel so grateful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"the guilty taketh the truth to be hard"

I'm reading the book Controlling People.
The book says that ANY time a person believes they know what you think, feel, believe, etc., without you telling them, they are pretending. Pretending (in this way) is a sign of a controlling person.

I have believed that other people can tell me what I think. What I feel. Who I am. What I believe. What I do. What I don't do. I have accepted other people's definitions of me.

I used to believe that my defensive or angry feeling was a sign that I was wrong.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told, "The guilty take the truth to be hard. The reason you're arguing is because you know I'm right. The reason you're upset is because you feel guilty." and I BELIEVED them. I tried to squelch my own thoughts and feelings, because someone else knew better than I did.

A recent example came from BJ's ex's stake president. JM told me the only reason I was upset at his breech of my confidentiality was because I felt so guilty for not living up to my covenants. He actually quoted the scripture, "The guilty taketh the truth to be hard." (1 Nephi 16:2)

First, How does Nephi know what Laman and Lemuel are feeling? Why they are upset? He is PRETENDING to know. That is controlling. And the LDS world sets Nephi up as an example to follow?!?

Second, How can JM, the Stake Pres, POSSIBLY know how I feel. He is also pretending. He can't know why I am doing things. He can't know what I think, what I feel, who I am, because I have never told him. He is also controlling.

Everything I was ever taught, was backwards. All of the men (and women) who pretended to know what I was thinking and feeling, DIDN'T know. I know. I know better than any bishop, husband, friend, stake president, waiter, stranger, boss, etc.

(Disclaimer: Asking a person if they are feeling (blank) is entirely different than telling a person they are feeling (blank).)

When I felt angry at Larry (Ex-Husband#1), it wasn't because I was feeling guilty, it was because I didn't like the way he was treating me!
When I felt angry at my dad, it wasn't because I was feeling guilty, it was because I saw something I didn't like. He hurt me. He hurt my brothers.
When I felt angry at Ex-Husband#2, it wasn't because I felt guilty, it was because he was violating my boundaries.
When I felt angry at JM, the Stake Pres, it wasn't because I was feeling guilty, it was because he shared my personal information.
And the list goes on...

Other people can't read my mind. They don't know, even if they think they do.
(And I can't read other people's minds. Even if I think I can.)

I find it fascinating to be able to see the world through these new eyes.
I finally SEE and understand what I have felt for a long time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smoked pork = YUM!

You're all going to laugh at me. Or maybe you'll laugh with me, because I'm laughing at myself.

I wrote the blog entry about learning to trust myself. I'd been thinking about it all day long. Went to dinner with friends. I was enjoying some AMAZING smoked pork. It was fantastic! Laughing. Talking. Having a great time. And then it suddenly hit me.

I am scared to admit that I am happy.
What came next has happened enough that I recognized it... All sort of emotions come bubbling up so fast and big that I can't tell if I am laughing or crying or dying.

I am happy. I laugh. I smile. I really enjoy my life, but there was something inside me that felt like I didn't deserve it... Or that OTHER people would think I didn't deserve it. If I'm not following all the "rules" then I'm not happy.

I feel guilty for being happy... for enjoying my life. There are so many people who are still hurting. Who don't have the amazing things I have, and somewhere in my head I thought if I talk about being happy, I will hurt them.

Also, I PRETENDED to be happy for so long, I haven't known how to just BE happy. It sounds so silly now. When I was pretending to be happy, I shared silly stories about myself, I talked about the foods I loved to eat, I talked about how happy I was, how much I loved my husband, how much I loved the church... I lied. And now that I'm more FOR REALS happy, I feel confused.

I've actually developed boundaries that are really healthy. I don't allow people to take advantage of me, and I really don't live up to any expectations anyone has of me. I really am ME. (I do get sucked into craziness every once in a while, just not nearly as often as I used to. And I don't stay down nearly as long.)

The piece that is missing is my smile. The REAL smile.
I love smoked pork!
I tripped over a pontoon boat yesterday. Who trips over a 9 foot boat??
I went to a concert last week. Otter Creek performed for a bunch of exmormons, and I had a great time. I laughed and I cried and I felt GOOD.
I make the best panini sandwiches in the world. They are seriously amazing.
I really love it when I'm in the shower, and I put soap on the loofah, and it sounds like the whole shower is fizzing... I can't explain it, it just makes me smile everyday.
I spent an hour last night playing with my cat. I'd chase her, then she'd chase me. It ended when she fell over and went to sleep. Who wouldn't laugh at that?
I'm currently addicted to the show Eureka. Its absolute silliness, and I love it. And I have a little bit of a crush on Jack Carter. I like him almost as much as I liked Scarecrow from Scarecrow and Mrs. King. They're both just so cute!
I love going on walks and crunching the ice. Hearing it break is very satisfying to me.
Symphony orchestra rehearsals have been awesome! This deserves an entry all its own. Seriously, it is SO cool right now!!

(I still am having a hard time believing that I missed this piece. Silly Jen.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

"I can be trusted."

I was talking to my friend, Jen (not me Jen, another Jen) a while ago. She was sharing the story of her coming out. Everyday for nine months, she told someone new. I can't remember exactly what she said, or how she even said it, because as she was talking fireworks started going off in my head and a voice was shouting, "Listen! Listen!"

It went something like this:
I had to show my spirit that I would choose me over everyone else. I had to show me that I could take care of me.

I thought of the body memories and pain I experience. I have known for a long time that the pain will be there until I can show myself I will take care of and protect myself from being hurt again.

My move was big.
But one big event doesn't make you trust.
It is a series of little events; little things everyday that say, "I can be trusted."

Like Jen's story of talking to someone everyday. Everyday telling someone who she is. I know this is what I need to do, but I really don't know HOW. Or what that even looks like.

What does that look like? How do I show ME that I will take care of me?
I know that I don't allow people to hurt me like I used to. I speak up much more often. I'm learning skills so that I can communicate my needs and wants better. I'm paying attention to my own feelings SO much more.

Is there something I am missing? Does it just take time?
(Jen's story wouldn't have been quite so big to me if I was already doing what I needed to be doing... right?)

I want to do something different. I just don't know what...yet.

guilt = inward anger = depression. Solution = put the anger where it belongs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I so don't want to have to know this stuff!

I was on the phone with Ex#2. Talking about pool, his dates, and he asked if I had read an article he posted on facebook. I HAD in fact read it. I didn't like it.

I hemmed and hawed. (Way to be direct Jen!)
He didn't trust my hemming and hawing, and kept pushing. It was almost in frustration that I said, "Yes. I've read it, and I just didn't like it."

His response: You're so closed-minded. You probably didn't even read it. You can't even tell me what you didn't like about it.

(My next mistake) "I read it. I just... I'm not interested in marriage... and I didn't like the tone..."

Him: You just grab on to one little thing, and you miss everything else. It's not even a big deal, I would just think that you would want to be more open. You missed the whole point. You obviously didn't even read it.

(Another mistake, only this time I realized what I was doing.) "I did read it. I read the whole thing, but... wait... I don't like the way you are talking to me right now."

Him: Oh, so now you're going to get all defensive. Way to deflect... Obviously... so closed-minded and...

And then I did get defensive and frustrated and loud, and then I hung up.
Probably not the best thing to do, but I forgot what came next.
I was all turned around trying to defend myself - even though I recognized I didn't NEED defending.

I picked up the book Controlling People... the one that actually talked about THIS situation.

The book talks about how people pretend to know what we are thinking, feeling, doing, being, etc. It suggests that we don't even engage this kind of behavior. The author's suggestion was to say, "What?"

So, the way it could have gone... is first, I could have been more direct.
Me: Yes. I read it.
If he asked my opinion at that point, I could share it.
Me: I didn't like it.

If I was more direct, he might have been better prepared for a conversation. He might not have jumped on me like he had. If he did...

Him: "You're so closed-minded. You probably didn't even read it."
Me: What?

And then what happens? He repeats it? Gets frustrated at me for not listening to him? Does he change what he said?

Do other people just "get" this stuff? Or does everyone have a problem navigating conversations like this?

Learning to Live

I can't remember if I have shared this before... I didn't feel like going back and looking. I love the words. I love her voice. This is my song for the day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

AHA moment.

I was reading from the book, Respect-Me Rules.

The whole premise of the book is that people abuse us because we let them. And then it gives very simple ways to not let people abuse us. The example that we were working with was "Use Repetition".

BJ wanted to know how that would work. He talked about how he has felt really irritated and frustrated with her when she asks questions.

We roll-played.
I played him. He played his ex.
He asked me a question.

Me (as BJ): I'm feeling irritated and frustrated, and I don't want to talk to you right now. I will answer your questions later.
Him (as Ex): Why can't you just answer right now? What's wrong with you?
Me (as BJ): I'm feeling irritated and frustrated. I will answer your questions later.
Him: (Raising his voice) It would only take you five seconds. Just answer my questions!!
Me (as BJ): (still very quietly and calmly)I don't allow people to talk to me in that tone of voice. I'm feeling angry and frustrated. I will answer your questions later.
Him: (now yelling) You WOULDN'T BE angry or frustrated if you would just answer my questions! Just tell me what I want to know!!!
Me (as BJ): I am leaving. I don't allow people to talk to me in that tone of voice. I will answer your questions when I am ready.
He stood in my way so I couldn't leave. He yelled at me. I stayed calm. I repeated myself. I stepped around him. And then I left.

He asked if I would be able to be that calm if it were real. I thought about it. I still have a really hard time with angry people... but... I also remembered intense conversations with BJ.

I can tell when my emotions are starting to escalate. I can tell the same thing for him. In those moments, I give us physical distance. I stand up and walk across the room. There are times when I have said, "I love you, and I am going for a walk." And I've left. And we always talk about it when I come back.

I have believed that the reason I feel safe with him is because of HIM. That is partially true. He is respectful. He doesn't do abusive things. We talk. Still, he is only half the equation.

I feel safe with him because I am different. I know what to do to keep myself safe, and I do those things. I don't even think about it. I just take care of myself.

I was very pleasantly surprised to realize how much I have changed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trust Jen

In the past few weeks, I have opened up to more people. And it has felt awesome in many ways. Knowing that my family loves me even if I don't go to church, or have doubts or questions, or... That has felt amazing.

Downside has been opening myself up to everyone's advice and thoughts on my life.
"You can't be happy..."
"You need to..."
"Why don't you..."


I AM happy. And I have sad days. I don't need to do anything except what I need to do. AND I KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I want to speak out more, and I don't have to do it today.
I do need people in my life, and I choose who those people are and when I interact with them.

Jen, you know what you need. Take care of you. Trust you.

And now I'm going riding, because I do know what I need and what is best for me.


I love the books by Don Miguel Ruiz. (Four Agreements, The Fifth Agreement, The Voice of Knowledge, and Mastery of Love.)

One of the big foundations for the books is the idea that we are all storytellers. We are all writing our own stories. None of our stories are true, but they are true for us. Even as he says this, he says this is HIS story. He believes his story and he still knows its just a story.

I have had questions about the church my whole life. I have always wanted more than the explanations I got. There were many things that just didn't fit for me. Three years ago, I started writing about it. I started talking about it all. I started this blog. I prayed about it. I stopped forcing myself to believe there was only one answer.

Somewhere I realized, Joseph Smith was just a kid trying to make sense of his world. He found a story that rang true to him, but that didn't make it true for me. And all of the prophets since... just men saying the things that rang true to them. Saying the things that brought them comfort. Or the things that made sense in their life. Possibly even inspired, but just because someone is inspired to say something, does not make it true for everyone.

When Monson gives a talk, he uses the words that help and comfort HIM. When some dude stands up and gives a talk in church, he uses the words that help HIM. Everyone in church. Everyone, everywhere, say the things that help THEM. Most people don't talk from any place other than their own experiences. (I have found the rare person that sees and cares about things outside of their own experience. To me these people are heroes!)

MY words. The stories I tell. The things I share help ME, (well, except for when they don't, but that's another story). I want to help others. All I wanted three years ago was to know that someone else had been through this process and survived. I HOPE I can help someone else, but I don't think for a second that every word I write is for every person out there. How arrogant would a person have to be?

If the Bible and BOM are actual historical documents, then they are several men's stories. The solutions and explanations that worked for them. To say that their solutions and explanations should ALWAYS work for me is false. They won't. They can't. Do those men know what it was like to live with a husband that raped me every day? Can they really offer a solution for that? No. (I KNOW. Many people will say that they can, but they don't... At least I couldn't find a solution or explanation that worked for me.)

I have found peace and comfort from books. The Four Agreements, Tao of Equus, the writings of Thich Nhat Hahn, Time to Break Free, and the books by Wyatt Webb, all of these books have changed my life. I found solutions and explanations that made sense to me. I found ways to understand my dissociation, my body memories, my fears, my thoughts, and a lot more from these books. Still, I don't expect everyone will find the same things I found. Does that take away from my experience? Do my stories make other people's stories any less true to them?

I realize I am all over the place... I was going to say that I wish I could write a beautiful essay that would make perfect sense to everyone reading it. And then I realized I really don't wish that. I want to write my thoughts as raw as possible, and hope that people can still understand.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The King's Speech

I saw the movie The King's Speech yesterday. Loved it.

Warning: I'm about to spoil the whole movie for you!

The story is about King George VI. He had a stammer. He had been to every speech therapist his wife could find. He finally finds himself at the office of Lionel Louge. Lionel says he can help the (still just a) Prince, but he has to do exactly as Lionel says.

They go through exercises, but Lionel is constantly pushing Bertie to talk about his childhood We find out that Bertie had a very mean nanny. She starved him. It took the family three years to discover the problem.

Lionel tells the story of how he got started. He was an English teacher and a sub-par actor at the end of World War I. Soldiers were coming home from the war unable to speak. He decided he could help them. He tells of a group of people who used their voices to cry out for help, and no one heard them, and they lost their voice. His solution, his cure was just to listen to their fears and their pains. Their voices returned.

I never lost my ability to speak, but my voice got lost. And I found some amazing friends that heard me. They listened to ME. Beyond all of the noise. And the traditional advice. And... they heard me. And through their help, I now have a voice... and not a quiet one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healing Song

I have no idea what they are saying, but I like the way I feel as they sing. I once had a dream to go live on a Reservation and learn from the Healers. I didn't know anything about traditions and cultures, I just wanted to. I wanted to learn from the people who lived it... I might revisit that dream.

For now, this will have to do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Redefining Rape

For purposes of abortions, the GOP wants to redefine rape. Only those who were forcibly raped (verses date raped, drugged, coerced, etc.) will get money.

In my mind, the definition of rape should be moving to be MORE inclusive, not less. I posted a link to a petition along with this quote on facebook.
"Bruises and broken bones do not define rape - a lack of consent does.I could have fought him harder, and I would be bruised, broken, and possibly dead, but I chose not to. I chose to survive. Don't make me pay more for that choice than I already do."
And now I'm panicking.

What will they think of me? Will people blame me? Will people think I'm lying? Will people think I'm dirty? or that I should have fought him to the death (thank you SWK!) or... how can I even say I was raped? I was married after all... and when I fought him, he really hurt me, but since most of the time I didn't fight... And withholding sex from him isn't right... But the more I learn about healthy sexual relationships - it wasn't sex he ever wanted from me. That would require two equals, and I wasn't an equal. Not ever.

I have never had to go through the pain of stranger rape. But I HAVE known what it was like to have that stolen from me. That I didn't matter as much as his violent urges.

I don't care what the government's definition was or is. It was wrong. I believed I HAD to do what he wanted, but I didn't. And if laws can protect other people from going through the hell, I will fight for those laws!