The following is burnt on my mind, and in my psych, probably permanently…
On September 29, 1988, I was the victim of a hit-and-run ‘accident’ in Canberra. I sustained a fracture to my outer skull (luckily, my skull cap was by some miracle not damaged, so I avoided brain damage. However, I also sustained further damage to a long-term injury to my right shoulder, and nerve damage behind my right eye.)
I was in a coma for a week. I was released from Royal Canberra Hospital 6 days later, and referred as an outpatient to Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney for medical follow-up treatment.
As I had not long moved to Canberra from Newcastle, I moved back to Newcastle, and to my original ‘digs’ in the Crown and Anchor Hotel. I couldn’t get my old ‘permanent’ room back, so had to settle for a ‘temporary’ room on the second floor – Room 12A.
Room 12A was long and narrow. At the entrance to the room, there was a small wide space. However, the rest of the room was full – on the right-hand side was a large cupboard and a table that ran to the end of the room. Next to the table, underneath the small window, was a washbasin. Next to that was a small refrigerator. Next to that, hard up against the left-hand side of the room, was a single bed. At end the end of the bed was another cupboard. Between the furniture was a narrow walkway, about two to three feet wide. It was cramped, but livable. And I had a lot of friends in Newcastle. Orso I thought…
Fast forward to 7 December 1988. I had discovered that the Royal North Shore Hospital could fix a long-term back injury I had by aspiration of the excess tissue from the lower disk that bulged: before that, I had always been told the only cure would be via surgery that could leave me a paraplegic. This was almost risk-free, and would just require me to do exercises for some time afterwards. I had the procedure done on 7 December, returning to Newcastle on 9 December. My weight at the time was measured as being 7 ½ stone (I am 6 foot 4 inches tall).
On 11 December 1988, I attended a lunch with friends at a new brewery/bistro on Newcastle’s waterfront. Also at this party was a woman we will call J. I had worked with J for eighteen months before heading for Canberra. We has come to know each other socially. J was also tall, and grossly overweight. She had a reasonable sense of humour, and I attended a couple of functions at her home. She was married, with three children aged between 21 and 15. I fancied her 17 year old daughter, but wasn’t going to make a move on an underage girl, nor a girl 10 years younger than myself.
J was 37 – ten years older than me. She was not attractive. Since returning to Newcastle, I had become aware, as had many others, that she had developed an unjustified paranoia about her husband (ten years older than her) was having an affair. The truth was, like many couples who has married early, they had got to the position where their children had either left home or were about to do so, and found that they had little in common.
To return to the narrative. J, at this lunch, got very drunk indeed. At one stage, she lurched over to me and demanded a kiss. I declined, feeling somewhat nauseous at the prospect (for medical reasons, I wasn’t drinking myself). She started making a major scene, so I acquiesced to shut her up. She then insisted I kissed her on the lips. Again, to avoid a scene, I acquiesced. My mouth was very firmly shut, and, feeling ill at the entire event, and guilty for J’s spouse, I left shortly afterwards.
Then to the event itself…
At 5.20 pm, I decided to have a pizza for dinner, and walked to the nearby Pizza Hut. It was a surprisingly cool evening, so I ordered my pizza then returned to my room at the Crown and Anchor to get a jacket.
J was outside my door. She seemed to have sobered up. Somewhat. She asked if she could come in. I said I was going to go out again. She got upset, so I said something like “If you want to watch me put on a jacket and leave, that’s up to you”. BIG MISTAKE.
J followed me into the room. My jacket was in the cupboard on the right-hand side of the room, in the narrow section of the room. J stood at the point where the room narrowed, and announced that she fund me funny and attractive, and demanded to have sex with me.
As there was little I wanted less than to have sex with a woman I didn’t find attractive, and the only thing I really wanted at that point in time was to go back and get my pizza, I said no. She refused to accept my refusal – and began to undress. I tried to push past her. She pushed me back into the room. I looked around the room desperately, looking for an avenue to escape.
The only possible avenue was to jump through the window, two floors down. I kept talking, trying to talk her out of it, whilst, in desperation, trying to jump through the window. I couldn’t get over the washbasin.
She laughed at my attempts to escape. She had advanced slightly further, so I tried climbing over the bed and the cupboard, with the idea of pushing the cupboard over, and escaping. That, as it turned out, was the fatal error. I couldn’t move the bloody cupboard – it was too heavy.
She was nude by this time. I took to begging and pleading, not believing this was happening. But it was!
She grabbed me, pulled me down onto the bed, and we began to struggle. I was trying to keep my clothes on. She was acting like a mad woman, and had the advantage of strength. She managed to pull off my clothes (a shirt, a pair of jeans, some y-fronts, a pair of runners – she left the socks) and pushed me back onto the bed.
Needless to say, I was not aroused in any way. My penis was totally limp. She tried oral sex (a thing I have never been keen on) to get me erect. When she had me part-erect, she mounted me. The agony went on…and on…and on…
She had several orgasms. I don’t know how, because my penis was never anywhere near fully erect myself. In the end, I went into a type of denial –maybe this wasn’t happening.
She finally left. Numbly, I had a shower. The stains she had left proved that it had happen. But who would believe me? I was already in denial, and went into further denial. It hadn’t happened, it hadn’t happened, it hadn’t happened…
We now jump forward 10 years. I had had several platonic friendships with women, but couldn’t have a proper relationship. Of course, by this time I was in full denial. I moved to Melbourne shortly after the rape, and buried myself in my work and my hobbies. The memory of the rape remained locked in my subconscious.
In 1996, a woman where I then worked took a distinct shine to me. I liked her, and there was definitely a feeling in the air when we spoke. By mid-1997, our friendship was clearly becoming serious. She pushed me by flattery, and hard. I realized that we were falling in love – and the memories of the rape came back like a cyclone.
I tried to shut them out. I tried to ignore the woman at work (and thus keep the memory of the rape suppressed), and ended up hurting her badly, which was obviously the diametric opposite of what I intended to do. I tried to bury myself in my work and hobbies, but made serious errors, so much that I went from winning the Public Service Medal in 1996 to them trying to force me to resign from 1998 onward.
I hate to think how obnoxious I must have been in that period. I ended up losing all control, having several breakdowns, and consulting a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, the shrink proved to be obsessive himself, and focused on the wrong problem. I couldn’t get him onto the right one. Finally, I attempted suicide. I failed. The quality of the help I was getting – and needed – was getting worse. I attempted suicide again in June 2000, and this time, nearly succeeded. Fortunately, I lived, and recovered my physical state.
I consulted another psychiatrist. He turned out to be of great help. I left my job and looked for another. I got several offers, but then was in another accident at home in early 2001 which left me physically disabled. By this time, my gut had become corroded, though a combination of nervous stress and colitis (not at all assisted by the after-effects of the suicide attempts). Although my brain still works, my body no longer does.
By the middle of 2001, I had resumed the job search, but with very different results. As several job search agencies – including the two biggest agencies for people with a disability – told me, because of my physical problems, I was now unemployable.
I applied for the Disability Support Pension. After a few squabbles, I got it. The Department of Human Services have tried to push me off a couple of times, only to be told by their agencies that I was truly disabled, and likely to stay that way.
I tried to earn some money through writing. I am a reasonably accomplished writer, and have written for several publications. Unfortunately, because I used to do it for nothing when I had a full-time job as a hobby, they weren’t – and aren’t – prepared to pay me for it now.
I owe the woman at work in 1996/7 an apology – I did offer her one in 2001, but she refused to accept it. I don't blame her. (One other point: I can’t think why she and I were so strongly attracted. We had nothing at all in common, other than where we worked. If we had had a relationship, it would have failed by now.)
I went trough a long period of doubting my sexual status – was I a man? A woman in a man’s body? And so on…until I realized I found women attractive, and the idea of sex or a serious relationship with a man totally repugnant. Nor am I a lesbian. I am a normal, heterosexual male, who is in the .0001% who has been raped.
Having written this, I now feel useless, and purged. My current life consists of occasional use of facilities in my areas on interest, blogging (I’m damned if I’m going to write for commercial publications for free now that I need the money), and doing lots of reading. I see my doctor weekly, and my psychiatrist monthly – I had to change psychiatrists in 2004, when my old psych. semi-retired to a country town.
Still, I’ll keep going. One has to. My life may leave much to be desired, but I'd rather be alive now than dead.