February 3, 2024

It Took 45 Years for me to Say “I was Drugged & Date-Raped.”

When I was a teenager, I had a huge crush on the brother of a friend who looked a lot like a famous musician.

He had a modicum of interest in me, a little bit older, a lot wilder, eventually inviting me to his room. After some conversation and the realization that I wanted an actual boyfriend and not a quickie, we decided to forget about getting together again. I went home a lot flustered because he made everything worse by kissing me soundly and a few other things before he walked me halfway home.

I was, by every definition, a virgin, a hopeless romantic, and the most sheltered teenager ever. The only reason I was able to get to his house was because I was “at the library,” doing research for a school project. Because I was an excellent student, my parents allowed this one place I could go, but within strict timelines, and sometimes my father would walk me there, or spy on me to make sure I wasn’t practicing getting pregnant with someone.

However, I was sexually aware (who isn’t) and had read a whole library section of books meant for much older readers. Everything I knew about life and sex was because of my voracious reading habit and not because I was allowed within 50 feet of experiencing anything myself. But, back to my musician look-alike who, in his infinite 19-year-old wisdom, thought I should write letters to his incarcerated friend to make his time in jail pass more pleasantly.

I swear I’m not making this up.

I did write those letters. Again, I must stress my complete naiveté in life. Even though I had read Anna Karenina and several other large tomes, I was keenly ignorant of what constituted safety or danger. Eventually, this young man was released from jail, and on one of my library jaunts, we met up in the room of my crush. He offered me a drink of wine. I had never had a drink in my life before this, the typical, good Catholic girl taught by nuns in an all-girls school.

I have a stretch of missing memory between taking that drink and waking up with my clothes all askew.

I went home trying to catch bits of recollections. Being kissed. Feeling the weight of someone on my body. Trying to say or do something through a confusing haziness. I told myself that a lot of heavy petting happened, and then I must have fallen asleep. The idea of being drugged never occurred to me because I’ve never heard of such a thing. In later years, once I learned of date drugs, I still didn’t put the puzzle pieces together as they related to me.

Over the years, my thoughts would turn to that day, a curiosity would open, I’d scan the event in my memories, then lay it down again. I was a precocious child, so if anything did happen it was probably because I went somewhere I shouldn’t have. Or maybe it was because I was a slut, which also made it my fault. Nobody held the perpetrator to responsibility. I shouldn’t have been so darn cute either. To be clear, these were not my thoughts, but things people said to me when I mentioned the incident. I have never said to myself this was your own fault, due to some mysterious inner intelligence that kept me from turning inward with self-hatred. I wasn’t going to hand that much of my power to the rapist.

And so it was that 45 years later, when I was inwardly ready, I said the words to myself and clearly looked at what had happened. I had been drugged and date-raped. A clarity arose and I voiced it within myself.

It took that long for my brain, emotions, and heart to identify it—to know in my bones that that was part of a series of years where sexual abuse was my reality. All of it tucked into a file somewhere deep in my consciousness, all of it waiting for the time when I felt safe to open that file again.

I’ve never felt shame about my sexual abuse. I’ve never felt shame about my sexuality either—a bi-sexual woman who has equated sexuality with creativity and spirituality. I left the shame at the feet of those who had little regard for the vulnerability of a young girl. I think that this one intentional way of protecting myself, by not assuming shame, was some internal intelligence that kept me curious about my sexuality as the years went on. Even though others tried to shame me, this was my act of sovereignty.

Non-coincidentally, it was when I was clearing some of my mother wound that I did the work of clearing sexual predation. I was doing ritual work, removing cords attached to my root and sacral chakras, and releasing old lovers from my energy field when I came across the tether to this particular rape. The relationship between my mother wound and sexual trauma had its own network of roots, but that is a story for another day.

Releasing those cords was liberation on a level that affected my emotional, physical, and spiritual path. I had the Wise Woman Path—my witch’s walk—to bolster my courage and know myself as worthy and strong.

If you have experienced sexual abuse or rape in any form and feel ready to share about your experience, you have a right to speak with someone (therapist, friend, partner) who will witness you, hold space for you without shaming you in any way, try to explain it away, or pathologize you.

Here are some journal prompts you can work with on your own as well:

1. Reflect on how you felt after an incident in your life that violated your safety. What words or insights can you offer to your previous self as compassionate support?

2. What would you say to someone who tried to shame you into thinking it was somehow your fault? (Often people think they are helpful by offering advice that shifts the blame.)

3. Knowing that you are the best authority over your own life, that you can trust yourself and your instincts, what are some areas of your life where you can increasingly exercise your sovereignty and inner wisdom?

4. Is there a story from the past that you feel could benefit from a wider perspective, where you can practice self-love surrounding the circumstances, and perhaps release energetic cords attached to them?

(My book, Transforming Mother Wound—Sacred Practices for Healing Your Inner Wise Woman Through Ritual and Grounded Spirituality, is available for pre-order , releasing March 12, 2024, Hay House – Penguin Random House.)

Sexual Assault Crisis Line in Canada .

Crisis Text Line.

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