“Come, just follow me, he is a doctor,” she summoned my 8-year old self to the experience she, herself was apparently quite accustomed to. We stood behind our mini-bus van, just a few short meters from where the rest of the other adults we enjoying the fire on which we were about to cook the catch of the day.
His hand started reaching for my crotch as a voice inside me shouted “I don’t know what this is, but this isn’t right.” Or is s it, I wondered. Within seconds my mind negotiated with itself. It had heard the term “trauma” before, decided that, that was the moment to prevent it. Something in me was determined to not suffer from whatever that word means, and still not quite sure what in this situation was right or wrong, I made my way straight to my mom and dad’s bedroom for the night. After all, my own bedroom was offered to this family member, of whom I had never heard of before, or again, after that visit.
He doesn’t even look anything like any of my family, I remember thinking. Intense anger boiled up in me as I laid in bed without food, wondering why my mom didn’t come check up on me. Did she really believe I was too tired to eat, too tired to wait for sunset to suddenly disappear? Surely she must have known that SOMETHING was up, but she never came, never asked a thing and our house guest was treated with respect.
As a result, I suppose I had my first experience of what is called “cognitive dissonance,” a term associated with the trauma as a result of abusive, manipulative or controlling relationships. You know what you have experienced, but hey, you don’t want to be a drama queen, attracting unnecessary attention and why would anyone want to join your pitty party. It is much more attractive to soak in the attention of the charismatic, blonde socialite who even brought a sophisticated catch of the day for dinner.
Even though everything inside you screamed that “something’s not right here,” causing you to get out of the situation, now you are alone, hungry and miserable while everyone else is having a good time. So, you start thinking, was I really right? Was he really that bad? You know what you experienced, but the thing is, if he is good, then you are kind of fucked up, because your inner most intuitive voice is directing you wrongly. If you are right, then everything else is fucked up for allowing and even encouraging such awful acts. Cognitive dissonance means that you are in constant battle with you own mind, making the other person either good or bad, resulting in the opposite opposite conclusion about yourself. In a sense, cognitive dissonance is something we all live with in a society where popularity often ranks higher in value than morality.
I never realized how that experience kept on repeating itself, until a few decades later when an attractive blonde man threatened to take me to court, after finally speaking up against his obvious ways of deceit. The enhanced clarity of all parts of this internal programming had reached a point of manifestation that I could no longer try to brush off as something it was not.
This is exactly what happens when we don’t speak up soon enough. Those who misuse their sexual power continue to do so, over and over again and we as society become so used to it, that even though we know something feels terribly wrong, we start justifying it, as I am sure my mother did that early summer evening. (Update: I actually clarified this with my dear mother, who genuinely did not notice a thing that summer evening.)
As we are slowly but surely shifting out of patriarchal conditioning, it is going to take a huge effort for all women and men to learn about harmonious balance between the sexes. The more each individual starts empowering themself, the less room for power and manipulation games to exist.
It does take creative willpower, interest, education and practice to become empowered in your authentic voice, but through our relationship with our own sexuality, it is something that is equality available to all, regardless of your gender, race or socio-economic background.
When we learn how to ask for what we want, how to stay mindful in the experience, how to give, what good feels like, how to negotiate compromise into symbiosis and how to be the leader of our own sexual experiences, there is no chance of going back. There is no better place to learn to slay our dragons, tame our inner demons and empower ourselves, than through the pleasurable act of sex.
Feel free to contact me with questions, or if you have a personal story to share. I can be reached through this blog site, or at email@example.com .
All my love.