This post is by Vesper, reposted here with the permission of the author. You can read the original post here. content warning: explicit talk of childhood sexual abuse & religous trauma without going into detail; explicit mentions of acephobia, biphobia, homophobia this is one of two posts that i’m going to [...]
This is a guest post for our intersectional ace survivor story series by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Please respect their privacy and do not speculate about their identity. Trigger warnings: intimate partner abuse, gaslighting, invalidation of ace identity, mentions of CoCSA and parental abuse, personality disorders […]
Being non-binary makes things really hard. Almost all of the help for victims of sexual assault are gendered. The general mental health care professionals are fine with my asexuality at first — but as soon as I bring up what happened it becomes something to be cured.
It’s a weird feeling, to suddenly need certain kink things, to have a sudden craving so strong it suggests sometimes dangerous lengths and abandonment of boundaries and safety practices. I never know how long these things’ll last. Sometimes it’s just a day, sometimes it’s months. And it sure doesn’t feel like it will ever stop. (It’s everywhere and everywhen, how could it stop?) And it can be years in-between, and I can forget how to handle them, get out of practice, lose all my contacts and coping strategies. I don’t expect it to happen again.
I’m a “bad” rape victim. A Model Rape Survivor doesn’t know her attacker. My rapist is essentially a stranger to me, but that night was not the first time I had met him. She is dressed modestly and cannot be held responsible due to those clothing choices. I wore one of my shortest dresses and no bra when I walked into his apartment. She’s virginal and chaste, only doing the appropriate sexual things with appropriate people. I considered myself a virgin at the time, though I’m sure other people might disagree, but I’d gone to his place to mess around in the first place.
The only reason they found out that I have hypothyroidism at all is because I decided to try some medication for PTSD, so they screened me for it. PTSD shares some of the same symptoms—poor memory and concentration, depression, and fatigue (from PTSD affecting the quality of sleep). Some of my other symptoms could have been explained by other factors, too. So I think it went undiagnosed for a long time.
I discovered the Wikipedia page for asexuality in January of 2008. By September of the same year, I had PTSD. These two facts are not unrelated. The story is sickeningly cliche, to be honest. Young Queenie discovers asexuality a month and a half into her first romantic relationship. When she comes out to her boyfriend, he tells her, “You’re not asexual; we just haven’t tried the right things yet.” Young Queenie doesn’t have enough knowledge or self-confidence to stand her ground. Boyfriend pushes at her boundaries, seeing how far he can overstep them before Queenie freaks out and throws him off her or…
I am allowed to occupy space in the universe, regardless of how “difficult” or “complicated” or “messy” I may be. I am allowed to identify as a survivor or a victim or something else entirely. I am allowed to identify as asexual, even if I don’t know whether past experiences “caused” or “contributed to” my asexuality. I am allowed to use the words that work best for me. I am not required to defend my sexual orientation because of my status as a survivor. I am not required to defend my status as a survivor because of my sexual orientation.