My personal struggle with my past and my children’s future.
Warning — Rated R for Rape
As a mother, my main goals each day: Don’t let my kids die, get kidnapped, or get raped. AND don’t let my kids grow into murderers, kidnappers, rapists or Republicans (I pray to the Alex P. Keaton gods that my liberal home filled with neon pink hair dye, sailor tattoos, and raunchy language won’t tip my kids over into becoming a born again Christian who supports Trump). Now let’s focus on today’s hot topic: rape. How can I protect my children from sexual assault and/or make sure they don’t become a sexual assaulter?
How will my nine-year-old daughter tell a horny high school sweetheart, “NO,” when she is currently too embarrassed to ask a waiter for a refill of water? How can I raise my five-year-old son to honor and respect women and never grab them by the pussy, Mr. President?
I’m on a long drive with my daughter. She mentions her current crush on a boy at school. I take this opportunity to slide into a matter-of-fact discussion about her body and that her “private parts” are hers, and no one else is allowed to look at or touch them, without permission: not a friend, a parent, or a teacher. No one. She stares out the window. Silence. Not exactly the fun-filled girly gossip session she was hoping for.
Maybe I’ll have better luck getting through to my son…
Day three of dropping my baby off at kindergarten at his new big-boy school. I stand outside of the classroom, unable to move. I peel myself from the window and look down to hide the tears that are billowing out of my eyes. My moment of love sickness is quickly derailed when I hear a father of another student strongly barking at my son. My little one runs out of the classroom desperate to find me. The father continues on his heels, “Do not hit little girls!” I sink to my knees and catch my shaking boy. I look directly at this man and ask, “What happened?”
“Your son hit my daughter!” The other parents freeze around us and silently mill about, pretending to busy themselves with their phones while listening in. I look into my son’s eyes – filled with fear and confusion.
After three years of preschool and not a scratch on his behavior record, he looks to me for salvation.
“Well,” I say loudly and firmly, for all the parents to hear, “Did you hurt a little girl?”
The father jumps in, “Yes, he did! I saw him. He was running by her and swung his arm out and hit her in the chest!”
I repeat my question, not taking my eyes of my son, “Did you hurt a little girl?”
His voice is small, “It was an accident.”
“This was no accident!” The father’s interjection is now two notches below a full scream. I match his intensity and speak directly to my son, “It is never okay to hurt a person! Especially a girl. Even on accident. You must apologize immediately, and we will discuss this more at home with a serious consequence.” My sharp voice rattles my son. The father is shocked that I didn’t come to my son’s rescue. He begins to backtrack, “Um, I, uh… maybe it was an accident?”
I stand up and square off with the father, a Mama Bear on a mission, “You made it very clear that my son hurt your daughter. I’m raising a GENTLEman. I will take it from here, thank you.” The surrounding parents begin to disperse and the father backs away, changing his tune, “Go easy on the boy. I’m sure it was an innocent mistake.”
Go easy on my boy? I will not go easy on my boy. That is the last thing I will do. I’m prepping my son for his future, due to my past….
My head flies back from laughing so hard, my mouth agape. My best male friend smirks and gloats with punchline pride. Maybe, if he’s funny enough, I’ll consider breaking up with the bad-boy senior I’m dating and go for him, the 250 pound nice guy who is a fellow insecure freshman. He stops our hooting and howling abruptly and points at my open mouth with a look of terror on his face. “Nicole, what is on the back of your throat? It’s completely black.” What? I dash to the closest restroom, around the corner from the lockers in the English building. I stare into the school mirror, etched with graffiti and corners sharp with rust, I open my mouth and squint to see the back of my throat. He’s right. It’s solid black. A deep black with some purple splotches. I’m confused. Frightened. Clearly, I’m dying.
I won’t tell my mom yet. I don’t want to freak her out. I’ll tell my boyfriend, Adrian. If anything, maybe it will result in a romantic night of empathy, instead of…. I invite Adrian over after my homework is done; as long as I keep my grades up, my parents stay off my back. Before I break the news to him that this could be one of our final nights together before my untimely death, he locks my bedroom door so my parents won’t stumble in and starts to unbuckle his extra wide Cross Colour pants. I get a little shifty on my twin bed, not in the mood for our daily habitual routine. He senses it. Angry at first, he finds it in his heart to accept a blow job. Silently, he grabs my face and shoves it in his lap. His dick is familiar, like the recurring nightmares of my childhood. The smell of teenage sweat envelopes me; rough, kinky pubic hair irritates my lips and nose. He pushes his cock as far into my mouth as it can physically go. I struggle to take a breath and get in a better position for my neck, but he grabs the back of my head and strongly jerks it into him. His entire dick is inside my face. I feel him crashing against the back of my throat. He holds it there. He slams my head down a few more times. I gag. Then I throw up. All over his lap. I run to the bathroom. Vomit spewing all over the carpet in my room and down the hallway. I collapse, face first onto the toilet. I finish. I rinse my face and mouth with cold water at the sink. I open my mouth slowly and stare at my black throat. Oh. I’m not dying. I’m bruised.
Over the next four years, I scrub that carpet often. Picking out regurgitated tacos, shrimp, carrots, lamb chops, anything my mom had worked hard at making for dinner. I keep carpet cleaner under my bed. Adrian watches me with a smirk, as I scrub rigourously on all fours. No one ever asks me about the permanent stains leading from my room to the bathroom. No one ever sees my black throat again. I never laugh hard enough for anyone to see.
I don’t tell anyone what happens behind closed doors with Adrian. I don’t want my friends to not like him. And most importantly, I don’t want him to break up with me. I’d hate to be alone. I can’t imagine anything worse than being alone in high school. At least I have a boyfriend. Someone to go to prom with, go to movies with, meet off campus for lunch, so I’m not eating by myself. He becomes part of my identity at school. Now I’m Nicole: the captain of the cheerleading squad who gets straight A’s and has an older boyfriend who drives a 1974 Dodge Dart. I don’t have to feel rejected when the kids in my grade don’t invite me to the house parties or ask me to get stoned on the corner of 7th and Michigan. I have other plans anyway: Every Friday night, I’m busy being date raped.
Throughout high school, my vagina is raw, dry, and bleeds during and after sex. Adrian is very rough. I can’t say no, no matter how much pain I’m in. He tells me this is what being in a relationship is, and this is my first relationship. He’s older than me, he obviously knows best, and besides, no one’s ever told me differently. My mom taught me about the birds and the bees when I was a child, how procreation worked on a scientific level, and that, to quote my favorite Schwarzenegger movie, “Boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina,” but I don’t remember discussing how we should respect each other when it comes to sex, or that a girl’s vagina isn’t meant to act as a punching bag for a boy’s penis. So now I’m taught what a relationship is by a boy that continued to take advantage of teenage girls (not just me) well into his twenties. Take advantage, you say. How so? When I told him there was no way I would let him film us having sex, he got me drunk (and perhaps dropped something into my drink), so I would pass out, and he could do whatever he wanted to me – on tape. He once told a mutual friend that if they got me high enough, they could get me to have a threesome with them. He cheated on me regularly, usually with the teenage employees of the laser tag place he was the assistant manager of. Back to our regular sex life: If I cry during sex, he gets incredibly annoyed with me. I’ve learned to close my eyes tightly to hold back the tears and get it over with quickly or let him have sex with me from behind so he can’t see my face. I get bladder infections regularly, which leads to yeast infections. No one questions my routine trips to the doctor. We fight in and out of the bedroom. But simply put, after so many years of being with Adrian, he’s become my closest friend, and I love him wholeheartedly, or, as I understand now, I was codependent. He knows me. And I know him. And that brings its own intimacy that I crave daily. But I’m smart enough to realize that I can’t live this way forever. When I graduate, I’ll pick a college far enough away that he won’t be able to follow me, and that will be how our relationship ends. It’s my only escape.
But as I embark on my newfound life as an independent college co-ed, I’m worried no one will ever “love” me again.
My freshman year of college ends, and I run into an old high school friend. A nice boy who is gentle and kind and funny. We talk for hours. We admit we’ve both had a crush on each other for awhile. We have dinner. We hold hands. We stare into each others’ eyes. We have the most beautiful first kiss. When I tell him that I will never give him head, he assures me he never will need it or ask for it. And he doesn’t. Many months later, when I’ve finally agreed to have sex with him, he kisses me gently and says, “Nicole?”
“Open your eyes.”
I hadn’t realized they were closed. And are always closed.
I can’t. He kisses me again, “Can you open your eyes? Please.”
Begrudgingly, I open my eyes. I see his sweet face. Looking at me. Inches from my own. My throat throbs with sharp, heavy pain. I burst into tears. He panics and withdraws from being inside me. I bury myself into the sheets and heavy quilt. He wraps the bedding tightly around me like a cocoon. I heave with pain and sadness. He holds me tightly. I don’t know how I will explain to him what is happening. But he seems to understand. When he tells me he loves me, I begin to feel nauseous. I need to throw up.
He makes the appointments at the Rape Treatment Center and goes with me to each one. We come out on the other side. Somehow.
I marry him six years after our first kiss.
Today, he is on dad-duty when our daughter gets a yeast infection, and he takes her to the new pediatrician I have yet to meet. A week after the appointment, I meet the doctor. Strangely, she is excited to meet me. “I have to tell you about your daughter. During her appointment, in the most clear and grounded voice, she told me, ‘My mom says that no one is allowed to see or touch my private parts without permission. But I will give you permission to examine me.’” My mouth drops open. The doctor leans in towards me, “I was so excited to hear that there is a mom who is teaching her daughter these important lessons.” I stare at her blankly, “I… I didn’t know she was listening.”
I look at our beautiful, bright eyed children. As Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Brock Turner set the stage for a throbbing rape culture, how do I protect and teach my children? How do I assure them that our president is not the norm and that men should respect women? I will have to lift the veil and tell the truth to both of them. As they get older, I will reveal my history. I will be sure my husband is an advocate. I will tell my son to be gentle with his partners. To never force or manipulate them into anything. I will not tolerate “accidents” or go easy on him, even if he is only in kindergarten. I will tell my daughter I am proud of her for speaking up and protecting her beautiful body, that eating lunch alone is better than being abused, and that she should always laugh loud and hard.
But most importantly, I will ask them what the fuck is going on behind that locked door, and why are you constantly scrubbing the carpets?
More articles by Nicole Blaine: RealMomDaily.com
For more info on Nicole Blaine or to see her stand-up, go to: www.NicoleBlaine.com