We are born with amazing instincts. If nurtured, these instincts can guide us and protect us. If squelched out we are left with a confusing road ahead. As a child, when those instincts are followed and supported, it will lead to better choices as teenagers and adults. If your instinct as a 5 year old is to stay away from cousin Bob but your parents tell you to give cousin Bob and hug then you stop listening to your inner voice. When you are hiding behind your mom’s leg and she pulls you out to tell you to be polite and shake Mr. Mathew’s hand because he is your dad’s boss, your inner voice that was saying Mr. Mathew doesn’t give me a good feeling, is now conflicted. Soon, after time and time again, society’s rules of being polite outweigh your own instinctual need to step back. Your instinct has become a distant thought that is easily discounted. Instead of listening to this tiny voice that tries to still make its way through the vast thick fog, you begin to make excuses. You shut out the tiny voice and excuse unexcusable behavior by saying: ” He didn’t do that on purpose, ” or ” I should give him another chance because he probably is a good guy who just made a bad choice.’
I had many dangerous relationships with men. The danger escalated because I had no inner voice telling me to get away. I dated a man when I was 18 or so. He was a few years old than I was. He had the classic red flags. He didn’t like to take me out places where we would be seen together and he was very possessive. As the redflags came up I pushed them aside. He MUST be a good man because he gave me attention and affection. I started noticing little things at first. Many girls were always at his house which he said were visiting his roommate. He also was very angry when I just showed up without calling first. After coming into his room one night and finding him with two other girls he came clean that he was JUST running an escort service. It was totally legit he said, nothing illegal. I believed him. I had no instinct. My instinct should have said RUN! I watched these girls come and go now because they were no longer a secret and I kept thinking they were younger than I was and they looked uncomfortable. One day I went to his house, and no one was home. He had a very high chain length fence with two “attack” dogs that knew me so they let me in. His roommate was gone too. I called for my boyfriend and looked in both rooms. What I found in the roommate’s room was shocking. There were hundreds and hundreds of used condoms all over the floor. But….his roommate was engaged and I rarely saw her. The events after that day are still a bit of a blur. The police stopped me as I was leaving the house and questioned me. They said there was video surveillance on the house and they thought I was a prostitute. I was in shock. I explained I was just the girlfriend. They told me they were running an escort service. I was told that it was a prostitution ring and they were pimps. They had practice dates with each of the girls which involved them having sex with them. My boyfriend and his roommate were having sex with tons of girls. A few nights later I went back to the house when I knew no one was there. I looked through my boyfriend’s filing cabinet to validate the truth for myself. Yes, it was true, I was dating a pimp. As I was leaving the house his roomate came home. He asked me what I was doing there. He told me that he knew I couldn’t be trusted and he was going to kill me if he ever saw me again. Then he commanded his dog to attack me. I ran for the fence as the dog and the fence tore at my dress. I never went back. Shortly after, my boyfriend and his roommate were arrested. My boyfriend got off for being some sort of snitch on his roomate. His roommate went to prison, only to get out a number of years later and murder an airline stewardess. My boyfriend came to my house after he was exonerated in the whole thing. He wanted to apologize for everything. My mom let him in and he went down to the lake with me and told his story and made his excuses. I remember my mom saying, ” but he is so cute!” Yes, cute men can be pimps unfortunately. Not all pimps have scars across their faces with furs around their necks!
A thousand things COULD have happened to me. I was in the midst of two very bad men. But I didn’t see it. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t listen to any voice inside me telling me that this was not who I needed to be with. I had no instinct.I can still right at this very moment remember the feeling of sheer terror as that dog chased me snarling and barking and snapping at me. But I just thought I was blinded by love, only saw the good in people, had bad luck with men. I did NOT see that I nolonger had an instinct to protect me from them.
It was around that time that I was date raped. I met a man at a bar who invited me back to his house. He was actually pretty nice. While we were kissing in his room with the door open I saw his roommate Todd. That’s his name. Todd. I met Todd later that night and then went home. Todd called me a few times and asked me to work out with him at the gym. He and I worked out a few times together and…well I guess date rape isn’t the exact phrase I would use since we never actually went on a date. He SAID he wanted to go on a date with me and so after we worked out he suggested I shower at his house. How many red flags? So many. I met him through his roommate that I came home with after meeting at a bar. He asked me to work out with him even though I actually liked his roommate and there was no reason for him to be interested in working out with me. BUT I was getting attention, and compliments, and it felt good to get this kind of attention. I was still brainwashed from childhood abuse. I still thought that this kind of attention meant I was really cared about. Anyway, I went back to his house to take a shower where he promptly raped me. I don’t remember all of the details. I remember I was on my period so I thought that there was no way he could really rape me. He assured me that a penis would fit just fine with a tampon. And it did. I remember him coming into the shower. I didn’t even THEN think something bad was about to happen. I honestly thought he just wanted to take a shower with me. I had NO instinct whatsoever. After the shower he wanted me to take pictures of him naked laying on the bed. I just stood there. I had no idea what to do next. I don’t remember leaving, or what I said or what I did next. I went home and never saw him again.
The next man I met as a friend of Todd. He was Todd the rapist’s friend. Somehow I thought this was a good idea to go out with a rapist’s friend. They weren’t friends anymore. He had seen me in the gym with Todd and had later approached me. He was a gorgeous man. Everyone said how absolutely gorgeous he was. Ahmet was his name. I was working at Seaworld then and occasionally I would come back home and see him. He seemed…gorgeous. I was enamored with him. I had never had a man so handsome give me attention and think that I was pretty. One night he asked me to come to his house and visit after work. He sent me flowers to work that day. It was the first time a man had ever sent me flowers. That HAD to mean that he really liked me. (Pause for a note to fathers…send your daughter’s flowers as they are growing up so they know what real love from a gift means). I went to Ahmet’s house that night. We had a great night. Then things changed very abruptly. He asked me if I was still “seeing” Todd. I thought…Todd the rapist? I said no ofcourse I wasn’t. He said he did not believe me. He started screaming at me and got a gun off the mantel an pointed it at me. He said he was going to shoot me for lying. I ran. I ran to my car and as I was driving off I saw him in the rear view mirror shooting his gun at me. I heard the gun firing and I prayed that the bullets would not hit me. One hit my car. But I was OK. I drove back to seaworld. I slept in my car that night in the parking lot of Seaworld because I didn’t have an apartment there and most nights just slept in my car. I had NO instinct. I was just shot at and now sleeping in my car in a parking lot in Orlando! I went to work the next day and just moved on like it had never happened. My instincts should have told me to NEVER go to Ahmet’s house, never to date someone who was friends with a rapist, and definitely to not sleep in a parking lot in my car.
After that I dated an alcoholic, a drug addict, and an incredibly abusive man. None of which I had any idea of until after things had become unhealthy and dangerous.
There are a lot of bad men out there. They are waiting to prey upon women and girls who have been brainwashed by previous abuse and/or have no instinct that tells them to be wary of these men. Pedophiles and rapists know the signs. They know how to pick these women and children. These men that I dated hand picked me. I did nothing wrong. They picked me and I did not have the instinct that told me tell them no.
It was only after I was an adult woman and had been married for about 10 years that I learned to listen to my instinct again and only after being put into the same situation again. I went to my best friend’s house to get her help after my dog had been attacked. I was in a panic at the time and crying. My dog was in bad shape. I looked in my friend’s house but she wasn’t there. I went into her garage and her husband was there. The minute I went into the garage and he closed the door behind me I KNEW. My instinct was back. My voice was back. Everything came back. I was right. I won’t go into the details of that night, as I have in previous writings but my instincts protected me that night. I was again faced with a man, and a gun, and a possible rapist. His name was David. I was in my 30’s and David was my best friend’s husband. I had no IDEA what his plans were for me and was caught completely off guard with what he did. What I remember most though was that my instincts were back. My mind slowed down that night. I thought and planned about how I was going to get away. I knew his intentions were pure evil before he even said a word. Because my little voice became strong again. My inner voice became my guide. I have no idea how that little voice broke through all of the manipulations and brainwashing that had tried to destroy it. But it did.
I listen to my instincts now. I listen very hard. If I feel uncomfortable getting on an elevator when only one other man is in it, then I don’t. If I am expected to be polite or personable with someone that every part of my being is telling me to back away from, then I back away. My instinct is now stronger than my need to be polite. That is the way it should always be. As a child those instincts just faded away. Time after time I was forced to not listen to it so I no longer did. I spent half of my life following the rules of society which put me at a great disadvantage for protecting myself. Being molested further damaged any instinctual thoughts.That “feeling” you get when you are introduced to someone is a feeling you should listen to. That “shudder” your body does when you meet someone new or find yourself in a situation that brings about that response, you should listen to. That instinctive feeling, that intuition, is your guide.
Our intuition sees things that our eyes do not. Our intuition feels things that our mind tries to excuse. When you have been molested or raped your intuition is purposely manipulated and intentionally destroyed by the abuser. Our parents have HUGE role in nurturing and even rebuilding our intuition. My lack of intuition and subsequent abuse led me down a very dangerous road. I miraculously survived! It was truly a miracle that I survived so many of those situations.
I have discussed listening to your mind, your feelings, your heart, and your body, with my daughter since she was very young. She has an amazing ability and awareness of people. I just let her listen to her inner voice. I made sure I never turned off that intuition by challenging it. She was never forced to shake a hand, sit in a lap, or give a hug. And the world didn’t stop because of it. Society didn’t just fall to pieces because I didn’t make my daughter abide by its rules and ignore such a valuable gift of intuition.
We owe it to our children to listen to them. We owe it to our children to allow them to listen to themselves. It is much easier to support that, than to have to rebuild it. I rebuilt my intuition. Hopefully with our children, and grandchildren, we can choose to do the right thing for them. It will stay with them throughout their lives. It will tell them to run when they need to. It will do what it was intended to, keep them safe.