She went out for girls night and made eye contact with a particular guy across the way. He was with a group of his work buddies and later they joined the table of girls and bought drinks. Numbers were exchanged and stories told and at the end of the night a connection was made. He was only in town for a short time with work and had no great expectations. They met for drinks again over the next few days and a third meeting before he was soon to leave out of town. The third meeting started out great and the connection was instant like the previous meetings. They ended up going back to his place and it was passionate and intense until something strange happened. In the middle of sex she realized he had propped up his phone to record her without her consent. When she realized what was happening she quickly grabbed and looked at him horrified asking the obvious…were you recording me?! She slammed the phone down and ran to the bathroom. Tears and panic and heartache gripped her her. In a course of 3 weeks a connection was made, many texts shared as they flirted and got to know each other and in one moment everything that seemed fun, new and exciting went to a nightmare.
He apologized from outside the bathroom door and swore he deleted it and it was mistake and something he had never done before. She knew this was not only a betrayal of trust between to consenting adults but could be a legal matter. She stood and looked at herself in the mirror the tears wanting to come but she wouldn’t let them. She was in such shock that she came out of the bathroom and laid on the bed next to him unsure of what to do, then she said I am sorry (yes she apologized to him) but I have to go. He said he wanted her to stay and he offered the phone to show it was deleted but she didn’t care she just wanted to run. He dressed and walked her to her car and kissed her on the forehead apologizing again and she got in her car and drove home. Still in shock she sat in the bottom of the shower trying to wash away how dirty she felt, ashamed and embarrassed for letting someone take advantage. Shaming herself as if she had control over this mans actions in that moment. Angry at herself more than him. She allowed him to kiss her and drove home numb.
The texts came next of apologies and him stating how embarrassed and ashamed of himself he was for the whole situation. She wasn’t sure how to feel. She said she wasn’t mad, just hurt. She forgave him. She just wanted to be sure he deleted it and didn’t share it with anyone but how would she ever know for sure. She wanted to forget it happened but knew she never would.
This is trauma…we never know how we will respond in a situation like this and it may be easy to say I would have done A, B, or C when you hear another persons story, but in the moment we react in a way that may seem passive, almost too calm and understanding. Then the emotions come in waves over the next few hours, days, maybe even weeks and months depending on the trauma and the person. These moments, interactions with people in life can change us forever, how we relate to men in the future. It can break you in some ways and not just your heart but your spirit and then you have to work like hell to trust again….to want to believe there are good men still out there that won’t do things like this. Sexual trauma or trauma in general doesn’t have to be an event that leaves a mark on you physically or even anything done physically, they were consenting in the sex but the betrayal of trust in that act is still trauma. Acknowledge it and allow yourself to process these moments and understand that it is not your fault and you are not a bad person for being in the situation. You are not alone.
With love, health, happiness and healing