Suffer in Silence: Surviving Abuse as a Trans Male
I remember it clearly—morning in the drab hotel room. A rumpled bed. Him, me, getting dressed. He had finished raping me barely fifteen minutes before.
I hadn't named it "rape" yet, or even thought to call it abuse. I'd consented to the sex, after all, up to a point. I was trying very hard to convince myself that his surprise—distinctly non-consensual omission of a condom—was nothing more than a minor detail. Pregnancy and life-threatening disease had already been dismissed by him as possibilities. "I'm clean, and you're not going to have a baby," he'd said with firm conviction. The fact that I had said "No," too, was now nothing but a triviality, which he had brushed off with equal nonchalance.
That morning I needed to believe in his twisted version of reality. To doubt him would have been to admit that the unthinkable had happened: that I had been victimized by a man I had thought I loved. So I ignored my conscience, everything I had been taught in sex ed, and everything my mother had ever tried to tell me, accepting him as my sole moral authority. All of this is part of what is called Stockholm Syndrome.
I was pulling on my stockings when he asked me what I "normally" dressed like. He only ever saw me all tarted up or stark naked. I jumped at the opportunity to tell him just a little bit about how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin, about the sacrifices of identity I had already made for him.
"Oh, you know, tomboyish, a little punk-- What?" I stopped short as he made a face. "Tomboys can be hot," I said defensively.
"If you dress one up like a pretty girl, maybe," he leered. Staring at my legs, he added, "Tomboys don't wear fishnets."
That night, he raped me again. This time there was no "ambiguity" about it, nothing "gray area" about the twelve hours that went black, permanently lost to my memory, after I accepted a drink from him.
And it didn't stop there. For two more days it went on and on: the repeated failure to stop when I said stop, the refusal to use contraception or even let me buy a morning after pill. For a week after we parted ways I was in and out of the doctor's office with mysterious bleeding, various infections, and finally, an STD. So much for "clean."
I didn't have a baby, no thanks to him. I did finally get hold of the pill on my own. Perhaps part of the motivation for his actions can be found in what I had thought was a sick joke. Once, when I'd told him I never wanted children, he'd threatened, "Don't make me tie you down and breed you." Only maybe it wasn't a joke after all, since that is more or less what he did.
Perhaps I'm biased, but I believe that to be sexually abused is one of the more horrible experiences that a person can go through. It used to be called "a fate worse than death." For a while, I thought there might be something to that. Thankfully, I got over being suicidal, and lived to know better. No fate can be worse than death; there is no healing from death.