Why “I’m Not a Rapist” Means Nothing

In Zen Buddhism, Ango is a three-month period of intensive study and practice. One aspect of Ango is that members of a Zen center study the precepts. These are guidelines for ethical conduct that have been passed on by ordained Buddhist priests across the millennia. My Zen center is headed by an ordained male priest,Continue reading “Why “I’m Not a Rapist” Means Nothing”

The Eighth Assault

You think you know someone. You let your guard down because you tell yourself they wouldn’t. They couldn’t possibly. They’re practically family. Maybe they’re shitty to other people sometimes, other women. But not to you. Never you. *             *             * I’d known Jonathan since he was in junior high. He had come home with myContinue reading “The Eighth Assault”

After the Rape

In at least ten states, what I survived might not legally be considered rape. The only thing that would help my case is that we were living separately. But even then, a rape charge still might be thrown out since I had not yet filed for divorce or separation. States such as Maryland, Nevada, Mississippi,Continue reading “After the Rape”

Sexually Harassed by a Mentor

In the faculty office building, Top never dared follow me. Neither did the Mormon missionaries. Friendly faces smiled back as I waved at professors who remembered me as their student. I sold copies of my recently published chapbook. I knew I was safe there. It was my sanctuary. One of my old English professors, Gary,Continue reading “Sexually Harassed by a Mentor”

The Fifth Assault

One of the first things I learned in my study of trauma was that violence itself isn’t what traumatizes. It’s the lack of agency. Being slapped on your butt cheeks or even punched in the face by a stranger is startling and enraging to be sure. But for many of us, it won’t result inContinue reading “The Fifth Assault”

The Second Assault

I am still in seventh grade, but I have made two friends. A girl at school. And another girl in my neighborhood. Stephanie. Stephanie is about two years younger than I am, but she is tall and willowy. She is part Cherokee and part white, and her long black hair shines. She talks of almostContinue reading “The Second Assault”