HYPERSEXUALITY: THE OPPOSITE SPECTRUM OF COPING RARELY DISCUSSED IN SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS
By KiNG, AFROPUNK Contributor
"I didn’t know how to react. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I picked up my things and left silently to go back to my friend Laura’s dorm. I think the conversation following with her was more or less me just having external dialogue trying to determine if I was raped. Looking back, it was the craziest shit when all the facts pointed towards the answer being yes- but I was making excuses for my attacker, I was making excuses to convince myself what had happened was anything BUT rape-
“I mean I started off making out with him, so I guess I can see how he got confused” “But I said no, more than once, maybe I just wasn’t forceful enough” “I do get a little handsy when I’m drunk” “We were both drunk” “I was kinda dressed sluttytonight anyways”
It took a couple weeks for me to reconcile and tell friends that I was raped. I felt as if saying it out loud meant owning it had happened to me, which was something I tried for as long as I could to avoid. However even after I chose to tell those close to me, I didn’t report to authorities, I didn’t complete a rape kit, only because I had heard stories of how rape victims were often times subjected to scrutiny rather than sympathy. I did nothing because I was scared of what would happen to not only me but oddly to my attacker. We clearly knew some of the same people and I felt this odd inclination to protect him because it meant protecting my one wish, which was to pretend that night never happened.
The months immediately following New York were filled with confusion. I was still in shock that something had happened to me; my bubble of safety was penetrated yet what freaked me out the most was the fact I was still functioning as though I was completely normal. Yes, I had a moments of grief here and there but I wasn’t confined to my bed, I wasn’t crying all the time, I wasn’t fidgety if someone reached for me too quickly, and there were no nightmares, I was even having sex with other guys whenever my boyfriend and I would have a routine break up…it almost felt as if I was too normal…or perhaps too numb. I somehow completely shut my feelings off when it came to that night.
However, the thing is, I WAS grieving. My relationship with sex took a turn for the insane after my assault. When Jason and I would fight or break up for periods of time, I would go “hunting.” I started using my sex appeal as a tool to manipulate men. I would go out to parties or sneak into clubs (sometimes alone), scour the attendants, pick a guy, and then just gun for him until we were in bed using whatever means necessary to fit their needs: if it was charm, wit, sass, dancing, you name it, I was a wizard of getting guys to f*** me in 15 minutes or less.
Being a “female playa,” male and female friends alike encouraged my behavior. They found it mesmerizing that I had recovered so quickly but also appeared to have entered my sexual prime…something I believed too. But the reality of the situation remained true, I was trapped in a cycle of engaging in questionable behavior. Since the way my grief was being expressed was contradictory to what myself, and those around me, were conditioned to believe as true for sexual assault victims, we simply chose to ignore it.
What is often times neglected in sex/rape culture education and is lacking in media representation of survivors is that there is a duality of coping in each victim. Yes, there are the ones who address their pain like Melinda in [the movie] Speak but then there are the ones, like me, who remain on the polar opposite end of the spectrum and become hypersexual. Being hypersexual was my way of trying to regain control of the power I lost when I was attacked. It was as if I adopted a similar mentality to my rapist, sex was a game and I wanted to win at the end of the night.
I buried myself so deep in this type of behavior that Jason started to notice and even when our relationship ended, it was something I continued doing with those I casually dated. Sex was how I baited men and eventually women alike - it also became how I manipulated them to stay. Sex was a way to wedge a certain amount of distance between us. I figured if I f***ed people early on, then there was no way an emotional attachment could form, there was nothing but “intimate distance.” If I started feeling a certain amount of dependency forming, I started talking to other people and eventually I was able to juggle multiple “lovers” at once. Every romantic relationship I had became a circus act of me attempting to control people to fill a void.
Eventually sex wasn’t enough. I had already been struggling with addiction to self injury and substances on and off since high school, but soon enough, I was back to regularly self harming, using drugs, and having sex with a train of people at a time. My parents pretended my sexual assault was something that never happened after our initial conversation- where my mother went on to say I had it coming. After a year passed, I sunk further and further into my addiction; on top of it, I was suffering from anxiety (unbeknownst to me) and a personality disorder which was already festering and it started becoming more evident to those around me. I had a severe distrust for everyone and true intimacy. I figured if I hurt and/or left people before they could do the same to me then I could remain functional, in control, and I would come out alright. I didn’t realize my rape was a catalyst to my rapid downward spiral until I was sitting in front of a therapist after an attempted suicide earlier this year.
After completing intense therapy, I am able to say I have been clean and sober for 3 months now and have remained celibate as well. I can honestly say my relationship with sex is still unhealthy just from how I approach scenarios in my head but it is improving. To un-do the permanent harm of 45 minutes where a boy contorted my “no” into a “yes” has been astronomically overwhelming. Each day, I have to remember who I was before April 2013 happened. Each day, I have to tell myself that what happened to me is no excuse to manipulate lovers, sexual partners, or even those around me just to feel loved temporarily. See, this is the eternal human condition: we want, no we crave, to be loved so desperately that we will do anything for it; yet, in the same breath, we fear receiving it for we have seen what love can do…or the way it leaves…or the way it can ruin people in its absence. My rape was the result of someone who hadn’t been loved, or someone who was searching for love, for power, for a reason to take without asking and it felt as though after that night, he became a part of me. But he is not. He never was. I am me. Singular. Never plural. Someone writing anonymously but still wholly beautiful. I can attest that the love inside me was missing for awhile. I remedied lonely and grief- making me ugly beyond recognition. However, I am not a victim. I am woman. I am brown woman. I am brown woman who writes to make her bruises shine like full moons. Damn it, I am a survivor. And no one can take that away from me.
Full article here - http://www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/hypersexuality-the-opposite-spectrum-of-coping-rarely-discussed