My rape has led me to investigate sexuality. My rape has led me to examine the power dynamics between men and women: a quest to define what it means to be a woman. I extensively investigated the witch trials of the 16th and 17th century because the power of female sexuality was on trial, not alleged supernatural powers or pacts with the devil. I identify as a feminist and have searched for female icons in Greek and Roman mythology to validate that power. I've read the Gnostic Gospels, the ones thrown away by the early Christians, because they included female Gods. I've read Robert Graves because he posits the existence of the triple moon goddess. I identify with Sophia, Athena, Diana, Inanna, Isis--- I had to find a spiritual home outside of my native Catholicism. I've read Jungian psychoanalytic theory and how feminist critics have revised his idea of archetypes to include the feminine. I want to contribute to the work of uncovering the female narrative. I do all this because my life depended on it.
I work on this everyday of my life, it has become my life. It is my life. Rape robs you of your soul, leaves it shattered. It has been my job to recreate myself, but I've chosen to recreate myself in my own image. An image of strength and creativity. I don't know why I have been so strong. At times I felt that I've had to apologize for this strength or feel guilty because I have survived. But I have paid a price. I have paid a high price. I will not know if my decision to not have children rests upon my legacy. I will not know if my solitary life is also a result of this. I've been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, agoraphobia, panic disorder, nightmares. It's why my marriage to a good man failed.
As the Ides of March looms once again, I find that bringing this demon out into the light of day, into a public forum, has made me feel better. I am grateful that I continue to find ways to heal myself, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. I find that I am grateful for my continued strength. The nightmare never goes away. The past cannot be erased. The pain is still there. But I am not in pieces. I am recreated. I am the female Phoenix. And I am beautiful.