Witness

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.

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