“Let me be your voice” project – Sleeping with the enemy…

I don’t write a whole lot about sexual abuse — and the story told here may not qualify as what most people would define sexual abuse to be — but still, the woman who wrote this post had something that was precious to her stolen from her, and her boundaries were ruthlessly violated. This post is more explicit than what I usually post, but I think it’s important, because something so precious should be freely given, and boundaries need to be respected. I’m glad this writer ended the relationship because it sounds like her lover thought nothing of taking what wasn’t his, in essence, raping her.  At the very least, he was incredibly obtuse.  It sounds like the writer had a PTSD-like reaction to what happened.  Rape usually does have that effect.

Comments here are disabled. Please comment on the original post.

Also, please follow Cyranny’s Cove.  She has an awesome blog!

Cyranny's Cove

As part of my “Let me be your voice” project, once again, I am honored to host the story of a lovely reader who sent me a painful recalling of her past. I wish there were no such stories to share, but since there are… I hope letting it out at last will help and bring relief.

I’d also like to remind you that if you have a story you would like to get off your chest, but just don’t feel comfortable publishing on your own blog, I’ll be more than glad to help by posting it in the Cove, leaving all the credit to you!  Just write to me here.

So here is her story. And I’d like to thank the author for her trust. *Hugs, my dear!*


black_and_white_photos_ntkonlinebusiness_18_large

I decided to talk today, because I kept this story for myself for too long. And I cannot believe I…

View original post 851 more words

Advertisements

Looking death in the face: I was almost murdered at age 18

lauren_bennett4
Me during the late spring/summer of 1976, somewhere in upstate New York. I was 17.

Alaina Holt-Adams did a very brave thing the other day. She posted about her rape experience at the hands of her psychiatrist when she was 15 years old. It took enormous courage for her to post about that, and I am proud of her for doing so. I think she’s glad she did too.

But it made me start thinking about something that happened to me when I was 18. I’m not really ashamed or afraid to post about it, because it happened so many years ago, but for years I couldn’t even think about it without it setting off severe panic attacks.

I was raped and almost murdered–in my own bed by a total stranger.

During the summer of 1977 I was living in a co-ed residential facility for adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems, most of whom could not live with their families for one reason or another. Many of these kids were personality disordered themselves, having suffered at the hands of abusive psychopathic or narcissistic parents. Many of them had grown up in poverty. My mother and I could no longer live with each other, and my psychiatric problems were severe enough to qualify me a spot in the residence.

The residential facility was in New York City, in the East Eighties. During the 1970s and 1980s (until Rudy Giuliani became mayor and started his campaign to clean up the city in the early 90’s), New York City was a cesspool of filth and crime. The city was losing money fast, and funds that would normally go toward improving the infrastructure or finishing building projects just weren’t available.

New York was riddled with unfinished buildings that sat in their half-completed state, sometimes for years, attracting squatters and the homeless, and serving as hangouts and crash pads for heroin and other hardcore drug addicts. As you might expect, these unfinished buildings were hotbeds for violent crime. No woman (or man for that matter) who valued her body, her possessions, or her life would be caught dead walking anywhere alone at night. The subways were filthy, covered with graffiti and trash, and extremely dangerous, even during the day. I always carried a can of pepper spray with me, just in case. Everyone I knew did too.

The residence I was staying in (which no longer exists) was housed in a Brutalist building on East 87th Street. Located next to it was one of these abandoned, underfunded buildings, its steel-and-plywood scaffolding still up, and you’d have to walk under a makeshift plywood tunnel to pass it on the street. The scaffolding was about four feet away from my bedroom window (I had a private room) and about two feet beneath it.

My room was on the third floor and had casement windows–the type that open out rather than slide up and down, and you have to crank open. It’s my understanding that casement windows are much easier to break into than the more popular sash-type windows, and during the summer months, I’d leave the windows closed (there was air conditioning) though unlocked. I had a lot of potted plants on my window sill, but no curtains or any other type of window covering. I hated the Venetian blinds and kept them up all the time. Anyone could have seen in. I never really gave this any thought. To the best of my knowledge, no one could see me in there. My room was in the back of the building and we faced no other occupied buildings.

new_york_1970s
New York City was filled with scenes like this during the 1970s and 1980s. Even the “good” neighborhoods weren’t immune to urban blight due to the lack of funds.

I had dark blue plastic sheeting taped to cover the built-in fluorescent light over the small Formica desk in the corner. I never could sleep in complete darkness (to this day, I can’t) and the blue light was soothing to me as I listened to the radio while I fell asleep. It was dark, but I could still see.

One hot summer night I woke up suddenly. At first I thought I must have been having a terrible nightmare, but I realized with dawning horror that this was no dream–it was actually happening.

There was a man lying on top of me, and he had his rough fingers up inside me. My face was pressed down into the pillow (I was on my stomach) and I couldn’t move. I tensed my body and tried to fight him off, which was impossible given the position I was in. Realizing that I was awake, the man shoved his entire fist into my mouth (I have no idea how he was able to do that, but it sure felt like he did) and pushed my head down further into the pillow so I couldn’t breathe. At the same time, he pulled his fingers out of me. And then he spoke, in a low, demonic voice:

“Scream and I’ll kill you.”

I didn’t scream. Like a trapped animal, I froze in place while struggling to breathe. I felt dissociated from my body, as if I was watching this happen to someone else.

I felt him shift on top of me and use his knee to roughly push my legs under my body, and then he raped me. Still pushing my head hard into the pillow, when he realized I would not make a sound, he finally removed his fist from my mouth. I began to feel dizzy from lack of air. The pain I experienced during those moments was so intense I felt like my head was exploding with knives of white hot light.
I knew he was going to kill me.

Then something happened. I stopped panicking. I started to relax. I knew I was going to die on this night, at the age of 18. In my mind’s eye, I saw the headline of my murder on the front page of the next day’s edition of the New York Daily News, my entire sad life memorialized by a smiling black and white newsprint photo, reduced to another tragic statistic that would be forgotten within months. There would be a funeral and a lot of fake tears and hugs. Life would go on. My existence really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I felt my smallness, my powerlessness in a world that was never very kind to me. I think this sort of “relaxing” happens when we know we are going to die a violent or painful death. The dissociation is the mind’s way of coping with unbearable pain and the unbearable knowledge of imminent mortality.

lauren_bennett2
Photo taken in 1977, the year I was almost murdered.

My dissociated state probably saved my life. Suddenly–I don’t know if he heard something or not–the man stopped raping me, got up, and ran out of the room. I turned around just in time to see the side of his face as he fled the room. In the blue light, I could see he was either white or Hispanic, and not very tall. He had dark hair and a short beard. That was all I could make out.

I began to come back into myself and started to shake and sob uncontrollably. I ran to the houseparents and told them what happened. They believed me, and came upstairs to investigate. They inspected the empty room next door to mine, and discovered an open window that was directly over the scaffolding below. Police determined the man had probably seen me in my room, figured out the room next door was unoccupied, and used the scaffolding as a means to climb into the building. The window may have been left open, or he could easily have opened it himself.

What really made my blood run cold was discovering a large butcher knife under my bed the next day. The man must have dropped it as he fled my room. I knew with the certainly the sun will rise tomorrow that he had been intending to maim or kill me with it.

The rape investigation required me to be checked by a medical doctor. No semen was found inside my body, and I was unable to identify enough information about the intruder to be able to pick him out of a book of mug shots the police showed me. There seemed to be hundreds of violent criminals who fit the description I gave.

For two years I could not sleep without my door barricaded at night. Things got especially bad after I got my first apartment. I had trouble sleeping, frequent nightmares, and slept fitfully at best. I was always tired. I was afraid to go out, and afraid to be alone. I was terrified to be alone at night, and had to sleep with every light in the apartment on.

Gradually I overcame these fears, but the rape has always haunted me and I still can’t sleep in complete darkness. I still get chilled to the bone when I think about how close I came to death that night in 1977.

Have You Ever Been Hurt by a Psychiatrist? (Guest Post by Alaina Holt-Adams)

WARNING: The following may be triggering for many abuse victims. This article is especially harrowing because a therapist is supposed to help us cope and heal from trauma already endured, not add even more trauma. This is one of the most disturbing stories of an abusive psychiatrist I’ve ever read. And this psychopathic monster’s abuse was inflicted on a child of fifteen.

Unfortunately, malignant narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are attracted to the mental health field because it gives them an easy way to take advantage or further abuse the hurting, the vulnerable, the abused, and even children. Be very careful when choosing a therapist. Sometime soon, I’ll be researching this topic in more depth and write an article about red flags to look out for.

The author has been so afraid to come out about this experience she asked me to let her write it as a guest post here rather than put it on her own blog. I am more than happy to do that, because I think her story can help expose the abuses that still go on in the mental health field and it may be of help to others.

Have You Ever Been HURT By A Psychiatrist?
By Alaina Holt-Adams

DrMonster500 (1)
I found this photo through an online memorial site. A single comment is posted under the picture. It says: “This man was my biological father, but I never got to know him. He didn’t want me and I never saw him. RIP.” The comment is signed: “Anonymous.” *

Out of respect for this monster’s adult child, I will refer to him as “Dr. Smith,” which was not his real name.

Handsome fellow, wasn’t he? Tall, dark, and aristocratic. Going by the date printed on this photo (which I cropped off because it was printed next to his name), Dr. Smith was in his late twenties when this picture was taken. He looked basically the same when I knew him twenty years later, with just a touch of gray at his temples to lend an air of wise sophistication, in sync with the leather elbow patches and carved pipes that were all the rage for image-conscious psychiatrists in the late 1960s.

His deep, softly hypnotic voice and sympathetic manner were even more compelling than his Rock Hudson good looks. With soulful gray eyes that seemed to read your innermost thoughts, everything about him said: “I Care Deeply About You And Your Problems.”

But everything about him was a lie.

If anyone ever fit the description of a charming, successful, suave sociopath, this man certainly did. He almost killed me — literally, almost murdered me. I believe he gave me the drug overdose on purpose, because I had told a nurse about the “good doctor” sexually abusing me.

Of course, I wasn’t believed. I was only fifteen and I was a mental patient. Later I was told that many other patients had accused this man of raping them, male patients as well as female. But he kept getting away with it because he was a “great and wonderful doctor” and “above reproach.”

The truth about this evil man finally came to light the last time he raped me, the night when he almost murdered me. A nurse told me later that she had heard me “screaming bloody murder” inside his office. She had tried to open the door but it was locked. She said the doctor told her through the door that I was in a deep hypnotic state, reliving a terrible trauma.

Hypnosis was his specialty. At first, all he used to put me under was a swinging pocket watch. He switched to giving me an injected drug to “enhance” the hypnosis, after I pushed his hands away when he tried to molest me. As the drug took effect, I became too weak to fight him off. That was when he would molest me. Probably because of the drugs he gave me, I have only vague, partial memories of the rapes.

That last time, as he was slowly injecting an amber-colored liquid into the vein inside my left arm, the doctor told me: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”

Suddenly my chest hurt. I mean, it really HURT! I felt like a giant hand was squeezing my heart. I clutched at my chest and told Dr. Smith that my heart was hurting. He let go of the syringe and took my pulse… then he quickly injected all of the remaining drug into my vein.

The pain in my chest seemed to explode at that point. The pain was bigger than I was, bigger than the room we were in, bigger than the whole hospital. When I could not take the pain any longer, I passed out. What the doctor was doing to my body lying spread-eagled on the floor of his office, I could not see or feel.

After it was over, he woke me and told me to go back to the ward. I stood and almost fell over. “Kiss me goodbye,” he commanded. I shook my head no. “You will never be well until you stop repressing what you really want,” he said. That was the last time I saw him.

I felt like I was floating as I walked out of his office and across the street to my ward. I had the eerie sensation of only being in the top half of my body. My legs were moving up and down, taking one step after another, but my feet and legs did not feel like they belonged to me anymore. They were like the legs of a puppet and I was making them move by pulling a string.
As I walked onto the ward, my body crumpled to the floor. I seemed to be floating in the air, looking down at myself. The two nurses on duty rushed out of their office. They knelt beside my body. I was floating above them, looking at the back of their heads. I heard one of them say, “Her lips are blue.” Then the other nurse said, “I can’t find a pulse!”

Suddenly — Z*A*P! — I was back inside my body. I sat up with a jolt. I felt very dizzy.

The nurses helped me to my feet, then walked me back and forth, holding me upright between them. Hours seemed to go by as they walked me from one end of the ward to the other. While we walked, they chatted with each other the way friends do, talking about their lives, their children, and their husbands.

Finally my head cleared enough that I could speak. I asked if I could go to the bathroom. It was hard for me to talk, my mouth felt like it was full of cotton.

One of the nurses helped me into the bathroom, while the other went back to the office. The nurse stood beside me and watched as I pulled down my underwear. It was obvious from the condition of my underpants that I had been raped. She went out into the hall and called the other nurse to come and look at my underwear.

They must have reported everything to the police. Two male detectives in suits came to the hospital the next day and questioned me. I never saw Dr. Smith again. I don’t know if he was arrested or if he lost his license or what happened to him.

I do know that he committed suicide the following year.

To this day, any time I am given an injection by anyone, for any reason — by a dentist, a nurse, male or female, it doesn’t matter who gives me the shot or why I’m getting it or where it is being given — every time, I flash back to this. And I feel like I am being murdered all over again.

Years after this happened, even after I knew he was dead, when I tried to tell this story I would hear Dr. Smith’s hypnotic voice inside my head: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”

Even today, more than four decades after his death, I am struggling with whether or not I should post this. Telling the truth about what this evil man did to me isn’t going to kill me…. right? I am NOT going to end up “in a hole so far that I will never see the light of day again” — am I?

Intellectually, I know that Dr. Smith’s hypnotic threat has no power over me today. But my heart is pounding while I’m writing this.

His anonymous child who never got to know him was lucky. And I am lucky, and deeply grateful, for those two nurses who saved my life.

BUT… unbelievably… several hospital staff people, including another psychiatrist, actually BLAMED ME, a fifteen-year-old in-patient, for “luring the good doctor with my sexuality” and “ruining the life of a wonderful man.”

I will (try to) write about that in a future post.
~ ~ ~

PS: In case anyone reading this wonders why a lonely, love-starved, hormonal 15-year-old would push away the hands of such a handsome man when he was touching me inappropriately, the whole truth is that I was flattered and excited the first time he rubbed my arms and shoulders and lightly ran his hands down the front of my dress when I was under hypnosis. Although Dr. Smith was older than my parents, he looked much younger, and he was also single (divorced) at the time. I was young and needy and naive enough to believe that the Cinderella fairy tale was true — that a handsome charming Prince could fall deeply in love with a poor little nobody, at first sight. When Dr. Smith first touched me, on the outside of my clothes, I actually thought he was doing it because he was falling in love with me. I was so starved for love and attention that I did not try to stop him, then.

But shortly after this, Dr. Smith was gone on vacation and a nurse said he had gotten married and was on his honeymoon. When he returned to work, he brought his beautiful bride to the ward one day. My heart was crushed then, as I realized that he did not love me and he was not planning to “rescue” me from the hell of the mental institution. I was raised in a very strict religion, so sex with a married man was a huge no-no. That was why I pushed his hands away when he tried to touch my genitals, and I told a nurse about what the doctor was doing. But even before he married his second wife, I never in any way “enticed” him. I was very shy and inhibited, and he was my doctor, more than three times my age. The thought of enticing him never occurred to me.

BUT — even if I had allowed him to have sex with me — which I did not — with him being my doctor and me being a mental patient, him in his late forties and me only fifteen years old — under those circumstances, it would have still been RAPE, regardless.

Rape is never about love or even about sex — it is all about evil power and control, as his almost-murder of me ultimately proved.

And psychiatrists and medical doctors and therapists are not gods. Some of them aren’t even human.

alaina_holtadams
The author of this post, Alaina Holt-Adams, has a blog here at WordPress, Surviving Complex PTSD. You must be signed in to view it.

* There was one other photo Alaina sent me to use, but it has a trigger warning and I was unable to open it. I will see what I can do.