Marilyn Manson hinted at trouble with an ex in 2015, reading fans a letter which stated: ‘I hope you trick every dumb girl into thinking they got the golden ticket.’
The rock star, 52, real name Brian Hugh Warner, read from the note while on stage at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. At the time he was dating now wife Lindsay Usich.
Evan Rachel Wood, 33, who dated Manson between 2007 and 2010, first named Manson as her alleged abuser last week, saying he ‘horrifically abused me for years.’
In footage obtained by TMZ Manson reads from the letter: ‘You couldn’t even look me in the eyes because you were drunk.’
As they cheer he adds: ‘Now let’s not assume this is written about me. Don’t be prejudiced. Don’t be racist toward me.
He continues to read from the letter: ‘I hope your show especially fails.’ His fans boo as he then says: ‘It’s starting to sound like me a little bit.’
Manson adds from the letter: ‘I hope you trick every dumb girl into thinking they got the golden ticket.’ He adds: ‘Do I need to read the rest?’ The crowd chant ‘yes’ before he screws up the letter and continues with his performance.
Wood is one of at least 11 women who have come forward this week to accuse the rock star of physical and sexual abuse dating back several years.
The allegations vary but include incidents involving physical violence, sleep deprivation, being plied with drugs, forced into blood pacts and one woman having a gun held to her head.
It is not known who wrote the letter Manson read from.
The rock star, 52, real name Brian Hugh Warner, read from the note while on stage at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, pictured. At the time he was dating now wife Lindsay Usich
Wood and Manson pictured together in 2007 around the time they started dating
Wood has said she was forced to file a police report last year after claiming that Manson’s wife Usich was ‘conspiring’ to release photos of her when she was ‘underage’ to ‘ruin my career’ and ‘shut me up’.
She shared a photo of the police report and one of the pictures she said Usich had threatened to release, showing Wood in Manson’s stage hat and an Adolf Hitler-style mustache drawn on her face.
Wood also shared screengrabs of an online chat discussing someone named ‘Lindsay’ asking for ‘pictures of Evan doing things that would ruin her career.’
On Friday, she also posted fresh claims that Manson hurled anti-Semitic abuse at her, has three Nazi tattoos and drew swastikas on her bedside table ‘when he was mad’ during their relationship.
Senators Kevin S. Parker and Susan Rubio have both called for full investigations while Manson has denied all the allegations as ‘distortions of reality’.
Industry insiders have sought to distance themselves from the controversial rocker with his record label, talent agency and long-time manager Tony Ciulla all dropping him this week.
Police were called out to Manson’s Hollywood Hills home Wednesday night to carry out a ‘welfare check’ after a concerned friend was unable to get in touch with him as new allegations continued to surface against him.
Evan Rachel Wood has said she was forced to file a police report last year after allegedly learning that Marilyn Manson’s wife Lindsay Usich was ‘conspiring’ to release photos of her to ‘ruin my career’ and ‘shut me up’. Pictured a grab of the police report shared by Wood
Wood shared what she said were some of the photos in question including one of her and Manson together, with Wood wearing his hat and the drawn-on Adolf Hitler-style mustache. She wrote that this was ‘part of the humiliation and blackmail’ she endured
Lindsay Usich and Marilyn Manson in January 2020. The couple wed last year after an on-off relationship since 2012
Westworld star Wood wrote on her Instagram story Saturday that she filed a police report on December 19 after learning of an apparent ‘threat’ in relation to Manson’s wife.
She claimed Usich was trying to get her hands on compromising photos of Wood taken after Manson performed a show in Las Vegas.
Wood alleged Usich, a 36-year-old artist who wed Manson last year, wanted the photos to silence her.
‘On Dec 19th, I had to file a police report after I was alerted to threats made by @leslee_lane and @lindsayusichofficial (Brian’s Wife) for conspiring to release photos of me when I was UNDERAGE, after being given large amounts of drugs and alcohol, after Brian performed on Halloween in Las Vegas to ”Ruin my career’ and ‘Shut me up,” Wood wrote.
The actor said a conversation about the photos ‘took place on a discord channel’ and she shared screengrabs of a chat between two accounts on the app.
The conversation takes place between two users called Born Villain – the name of one of Manson’s albums – and Clownfish.
It begins with Born Villain saying she is ‘not happy’ because ‘Lindsay’ is ‘trying to get my photos.’
‘I just am not happy especially today because of the conversation I had with Lindsay. She is trying to get my photos. I know why. I just feel used,’ they write.
Westworld star Wood, who started dating Manson in 2007 before they split in 2010, wrote on her Instagram story Saturday that she filed a police report on December 19 after learning of an apparent ‘threat’ in relation to Manson’s wife
The actor said a conversation about the photos ‘took place on a discord channel’ and she shared screengrabs of a chat between two accounts on the app. In it two chat users are discussing someone named ‘Lindsay’ asking for ‘pictures of Evan doing things that would ruin her career’ (screengrabs of the chat posted on Wood’s story)
Clownfish asks what they ‘mean[s] by that’ and questions what ‘the issue is.’
Born Villain writes that they ‘could bury her career in one minute’ before later clarifying ‘pictures of Evan doing things that would ruin her career’.
‘Yes, my personal camera took pictures of Evan and everyone. I haven’t shared them with anyone until Lindsay say Evan in the background of one I sent of MM and myself. Now she wants more of this to use to shut her up,’ Born Villain writes.
Wood shared what she said were some of the photos in question including one of her and Manson together, with Wood wearing his hat and the drawn-on mustache.
She wrote that this was ‘part of the humiliation and blackmail’ she endured.
‘Here is one of the photos. I am wearing Brian’s hat which has long been a part of his stage show and photographed on many people in his camp. This is a part of the humiliation and blackmail,’ she wrote alongside the photo.
‘I stayed in Brian’s hotel room most of the night, as I was not old enough to enter the casino after the concert. Multiple people were drawing on my face and the faces of others.’
In another photo she is also wearing the hat but with a cat nose and whiskers drawn on her face.
Wood also shared a screengrab of what she said was the police report filed over the incident. It is dated December 19 2020.
In another photo she is also wearing the hat but with a cat nose and whiskers drawn on her face
Wood also shared a photo of Manson in the same hat. Wood posted the latest accusations on her Instagram story Saturday just days after she first broke her silence to name Manson, 52, as her alleged abuser
There is no suggestion in Wood’s post that any photos were handed over to Usich.
Usich and Manson have been in an on-off relationship since 2012 before they married last year.
Usich has stayed silent on the allegations that surfaced against her husband this week. DailyMail.com has reached out to her for comment on Wood’s claims against her.
Wood was among the first to publicly accuse Manson of abuse in an Instagram post Monday where she claimed he starting ‘grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years’.
Since then, at least 11 women have come forward accusing the rocker of physical and sexual abuse dating back several years.
Wood shared more details of the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of the rock star on her Instagram story Friday.
She claimed Manson, real name Brian Hugh Warner, would use the ‘N-word’, called her ‘a ‘Jew’ in a ‘derogatory manner’ and told her it was ‘better’ that her mother had converted to Judaism and did not have Jewish descent because it meant she wasn’t ‘blood Jewish’.
Wood posted photos of two tattoos on Manson’s arms and another on his chest which she said are Nazi symbols, just days after another alleged victim claimed the 52-year-old rocker once asked her to buy him Nazi paraphernalia.
Wood also denied she and Manson were just having ‘kinky sex’ when he ‘tortured’ her saying they ‘never had a ‘BDSM’ relationship’ and that she ‘thought [she] was going to die.’
Wood was among the first to publicly accuse Manson of abuse in an Instagram post Monday where she claimed he starting ‘grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years’
Wood said Friday Manson made derogatory comments about her Jewish heritage on top of the ‘grooming’ and ‘horrific abuse’ she previously said she endured.
‘I was called a ‘jew’ in a derogatory manner,’ she wrote in an Instagram Story.
‘He would draw swastikas over my bedside table when he was mad at me.’
Wood explained that her mom is Jewish and she was raised in the religion.
‘Because she converted and wasn’t of Jewish descent he would say things like, ‘that’s better’ because I wasn’t ‘blood Jewish,” she said.
The actor also shared photos of two tattoos on Manson’s arms and another on his chest which she said are Nazi symbols.
Wood circled the tattoos on his arms and shared a screen grab from an article of a similar-looking skull-and-crossbones adopted by the Nazis.
‘Totenkopf is German for ‘death’s head’ and typically refers to a skull-and-crossbones image,’ it reads.
‘During the Nazi era, Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) adopted one particular Totenkopf image as a symbol.
‘Among other uses, it became the symbol of the SS-Totenkopfverbande (one of the original three branches of the SS, along with the Algemeine SS and the Waffen SS), whose purpose was to guard the concentration camps.’
Wood shared another image of a tattoo on Manson’s chest and a screengrab from community site Manson Wiki that claims the image is an M-swastika.
‘He did not have these tattoos when we started dating,’ Wood wrote.
One of Manson’s other accusers, Ashley Lindsay Morgan, claimed this week he had once asked her to buy Nazi memorabilia for him in Asia and bring it to the US.
Hollywood actor Wood, 33, shared more details of the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of the rock star on her Instagram Story Friday
She claimed Manson, real name Brian Hugh Warner, called her ‘a ‘Jew’ in a derogatory manner’
As well as the anti-Semitism and Nazi symbolism, Wood also claimed Friday Manson would often say the N-word and that, if anyone tried to confront him about it, they would be ‘abused more.’
‘I heard the ‘n’ word over and over,’ she wrote.
‘Everyone around him was expected to laugh and join in. If you did not or (god forbid) called him out, you were singled out and abused more.’
Wood said she had ‘never been so scared in my life.’
The actor, who met the rock star when she was just 18, hit out at suggestions the abuse was just ‘kinky sex’.
‘Brian and I never had a ‘BDSM’ relationship,’ she said in a now-deleted Instagram story.
‘We didn’t even have ‘kinky’ sex. We weren’t having sexual intercourse when I was being tortured, before or after.’
She added: ‘I thought I was going to die the entire time.’
Wood also shared footage from her testimony before the US Congress and California Senate in 2018 where she spoke about her experience with domestic violence and rape as part of a campaign to advocate for Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Acts in all 50 states.
The 33-year-old also shared photos of two tattoos on Manson’s arms and another on his chest which she said are Nazi symbols. Wood circled the tattoos on his arms and shared a screen grab from an article of a similar-looking skull-and-crossbones adopted by the Nazis
Wood also shared an image of a tattoo on Manson’s chest and a screengrab from community site Manson Wiki that claims the image is an M-swastika
Wood added in another Instagram story that Manson ‘did not have these tattoos when we started dating’
She also shared posts from Manson’s other alleged victims, news stories documenting the claims, and an article responding to the questions being leveled at the women who have come forward.
Wood first named her alleged abuser on social media Monday.
‘The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson. He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years,’ she wrote in a social media post.
‘I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail.
‘I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives.
‘I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.’
She also posted screenshots of tweets written by Dan Cleary – Manson’s former assistant in December 2020.
He said in them that he knew Wood when she was with Manson and that by the end of their relationship, he had ‘broken’ her.
In a 2009 interview with Spin, Manson made disturbing remarks about wanting to ‘smash’ Wood’s skull in.
He was being asked about his new album and was asked: ‘It sounds like the period after you and Evan Rachel Wood broke up was really tough. What was your lowest point?’
He replied: ‘My lowest point was Christmas Day 2008, because I didn’t speak to my family. My walls were covered in scrawlings of the lyrics and cocaine bags nailed to the wall.
She also denied they were just having ‘kinky sex’ when he ‘tortured’ her saying they ‘never had a ‘BDSM’ relationship’ and that she ‘thought [she] was going to die’
‘And I did have an experience where I was struggling to deal with being alone and being forsaken and being betrayed by putting your trust in one person, and making the mistake of that being the wrong person.
‘And that’s a mistake that everyone can relate to. I made the mistake of trying to, desperately, grasp on and save that and own it. And every time I called her that day — I called 158 times — I took a razor blade and I cut myself on my face or on my hands.
‘I didn’t want people to ask me every time I did an interview, ‘Oh, is this record about your relationship with your ex-girlfriend?’ But that damage is part of it, and the song ‘I Want to Kill You Like They Do in The Movies’ is about my fantasies.
‘I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.’ The interviewer replied: ‘Wow’. He replied: ‘Merry Christmas’.
Manson and Wood got engaged after the interview and did not break up for another year after it took place.
When the comments resurfaced in November 2020, Manson’s reps downplayed them as him being a ‘theatrical rockstar’.
‘The comments where Manson had a fantasy of using a sledgehammer on Evan and he cut himself 158 times was obviously a theatrical rockstar interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account,’ they said.
‘The fact that Evan and Manson got engaged six months after this interview would indicate that no one took this story literally.’
Wood, now 33, was engaged to Manson for eight months in 2010.
In 2018, she testified before Congress as part of a campaign for domestic violence victims about being tied up, raped and beaten by a partner when she was a teenager.
At least 11 women have now come forward to accuse him of abuse dating back years
She did not name her abuser at the time but said she had been told she could not take it to police because the statute of limitations had expired.
‘My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gas-lighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,’ she said.
Wood was one of five women who made coordinated statements on Instagram Monday about how Manson allegedly abused them.
They are Wood, an artist known only as Gabriella; photographer Ashley Walters; model Sarah McNeilly; and model Ashley Lindsay Morgan.
They claimed they had been victims of sexual misconduct, manipulation, and physical and emotional abuse at Manson’s hands.
The women’s allegations vary but all say Manson left them with PTSD after forcing them into blood pacts, plying them with drugs, becoming violent with them and gaslighting them.
Artist Gabriella claimed she dated Marilyn Manson for six months between 2015 and 2016 and that he drove her to attempt suicide after tying her up, depriving her of sleep and plying her with drugs during their relationship which began when she was 22 and he was 46.
She shared photographs of herself with Manson and texts she says he sent her to add validity to her story.
On Monday night, another three women made allegations on social media that Wood re-posted on her account. They did not go into detail about their relationships with Manson but all three said he was an abuser.
Wood first named her alleged abuser on social media Monday (above)
Evan Rachel Wood (shown with Manson in 2007) named him as her abuser on Monday in an Instagram post. The pair dated and became engaged in 2010 but split later that year
Those women are Scarlett Kapella, Brittany Leigh, and Torii Lynn.
On Tuesday, four more women made allegations against the rocker.
Visual filmmaker Love Bailey claimed Manson once held a gun to her forehead.
In an Instagram video she claimed that Manson told her he didn’t ‘like f*****s’ as he held the weapon to her head while she was working at a shoot in his home in 2011.
Musician Chloe Black spoke out on Instagram to allege Manson deprived her of sleep, made racist and anti-Semitic comments and that she once ‘thought he was actually going to kill me.’
Artist and writer Louise Keay Bell claimed Manson ’emotionally and financially abused me and tried to control me’ from the age of 19.
Actor Charlyne Yi also alleged Manson harassed her and other women on the set of the TV series House and said when she spoke out about the abuse three years ago she had received death threats.
Former porn star Jenna Jameson told DailyMail.com this week that Manson fantasized about burning her alive and ‘liked to bite’ during sex when they dated back in 1997.
On Thursday, Indie star Phoebe Bridgers said she ‘stand[s] by’ Manson’s alleged victims as she recalled a time she visited Manson’s home as a teenager and the 52-year-old rock star showed her a room he described as his ‘rape room’.
She slammed people now ‘pretending to be shocked’ about the abuse allegations as ‘f**ing pathetic’.
Manson has denied all the claims since they started surfacing.
He said in a statement Monday: ‘Obviously, my life and my art have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality.
‘My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.’
Comments were turned off the post, but it was liked by Manson’s wife, Lindsay Usich. She has not released her own statement.
Manson’s ex-wife Von Teese addressed the allegations leveled at Manson in a statement on Instagram Wednesday.
In it, the 48-year-old burlesque star said she had been ‘processing the news’ about her ex, who she dated for six years before they tied the knot in 2005.
Love Bailey spoke out Tuesday evening about a time Manson allegedly put a gun to her head
On Monday night, Scarlette Kapella (pictured left) and Torii Lynn (pictured right) both also said they too had been victims of abuse by Manson
CALIFORNIA SENATOR DEMANDED FBI PROBE INTO MARILYN MANSON A WEEK BEFORE THE ACCUSERS WENT PUBLIC
California State Senator Susan Rubio requested an FBI and Justice Department probe into Marilyn Manson more than a week before his accusers went public with their claims.
On January 21, Rubio wrote to the FBI and Attorney General demanding an investigation into Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner. She demanded that investigators contact his accusers to find out more about their claims.
On Monday morning, Evan Rachel Wood and four other women posted statements alleging years of ‘horrific abuse’ by Manson in what appeared to be a coordinated move.
On Monday night, Wood posted a photo of Rubio’s January 21 letter on her Instagram account.
Now, Rubio’s office is refusing to say how they knew about the abuse allegations early.
Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department will confirm if they have opened an investigation.
Rubio’s letter reads: ‘The alleged victims have named Marilyn Manson, also known as Brian Hugh Warner, as the perpetrator.
‘I ask that the U.S. Department of Justice meet with the alleged victims immediately and investigate these accusations,’ Senator Rubio wrote in the letter.
‘As a domestic violence survivor who now advocates for victims in my role of California state legislator, I share a common trauma of emotional, psychological, and physical control at the hands of an abuser.’
Rubio added that she was ‘especially alarmed’ because some of the alleged abuse is said to have taken place in California.
Von Teese insisted the experiences detailed by Manson’s alleged victims ‘do not match’ her own experience with the rock star.
‘Please know that the details made public do not match my personal experience during our 7 years together as a couple,’ she wrote.
‘Had they, I would not have married him in December 2005.’
She said she left Manson and filed for divorce 12 months after they wed ‘due to infidelity and drug abuse.’
While Von Teese said she had not been abused by Manson during their time together, she wished ‘strength’ on the women who had come forward.
‘Abuse of any kind has no place in any relationship. I urge those of you who have incurred abuse to take steps to heal and the strength to fully realize yourself,’ she wrote.
Von Teese said she also appreciated the ‘kindness’ of people who voiced concern for her ‘well-being’ following the news this week.
Rose McGowan, one of Manson’s former girlfriends, also said in a statement that while he was never abusive to her, she ‘stands with’ the accusers on Monday.
Manson has since been dropped by his record label, Loma Vista Records, talent agency CAA and he has been edited out of American Gods and Creepshow, two shows he was taking part in.
On Friday, Tony Ciulla, his manager of more than two decades also distanced himself.
Ciulla, who hasn’t commented on the abuse allegations against his client, dropped Manson after Woods publicly named him on social media earlier this week, a source told Rolling Stone.
There are now also questions around how the allegations came to the surface.
California State Senator Susan Rubio wrote to the FBI and the Justice Department demanding an investigation into Manson on January 21 – a week before the claims became public.
No investigation has been launched and Manson has never been arrested for any of the women’s allegations.
LAPD cops were called to Manson’s Hollywood Hills home over concerns for his safety Wednesday night amid the growing number of allegations against him.
Four police cruisers and an LAPD helicopter were dispatched to Manson’s home around 6.00pm to perform a ‘welfare check’ on the 52-year-old after a concerned friend couldn’t get in touch with him, reported TMZ.
An LAPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com officers from the North Hollywood division responded to a call for a welfare check at a home on the 3400 block of Troy Drive, Studio City, around 6.00pm Wednesday.
Police later told DailyMail.com they were able to make contact with someone and found there was ‘no evidence of any trouble whatsoever’ at the property.
EVAN RACHEL WOOD’S 2018 TESTIMONY ABOUT BEING RAPED AND TORTURED BY UNNAMED ABUSER WHEN SHE WAS A TEEN
My name is Evan Rachel Wood and I am an artist. But I am also a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor and the single mother of a young boy.
When I was 5 years old I started working in film and every day since then I have worked to reach the very privileged place I am aware I occupy. I am aware that I appear to be what a large part of society would deem as ‘beautiful’ and that I have a skin color that drastically increases my chance for success. But this is also what makes my story all the more disturbing, because I would be considered ‘one of the lucky ones.’
I struggle to write this because I am not sure what words are appropriate when discussing this issue. As I type this I am worried about being very careful not to become too graphic and cross a line into what most people would consider inappropriate, simply for telling my story exactly how it happened from my experience, without sugar coating. I am also fearful of saying anything that may unintentionally spark arousal in people and in writing this, suddenly realize that is a part of the problem. If you can’t hear the whole truth you will never know true empathy and I believe in the saying, ‘If we have to live through it, you should have to hear it.’
We as women must always alter how we say things, to be heard, because we are mostly seen in a just a few ways: pure, or un-pure, property, weak, and, the most hurtful one of all, crazy; too irrational to be able to give a coherent objective thought about how we perceive the world. Our perspective isn’t taken seriously because of hard wiring and conditioning brought onto us by a society that tells us what is acceptable or ‘normal.’
This past year and the massive movements such as Me Too and Time’s Up have been extremely empowering and validating for survivors, but also incredibly painful. While no one had to tell me that rape was such a worldwide epidemic, to see the flood of stories so similar to my own was both freeing and soul-crushing. Waves of memories and detail came flooding into my brain every time I read the words, ‘I froze.’
I thought I was the only human who experienced this. I carried so much guilt and confusion about my response to the abuse. It made me realize I had believed the messages society as a whole sends women on a daily basis. It’s almost as if my mind has been conditioned to believe it must have been my fault, I must have done something wrong, not him, he obviously couldn’t help it. I accepted my powerlessness and felt I deserved it somehow. Why? After years of processing and looking back I see these experiences so clearly for what they are. So finally I asked myself, Why would you feel this way?
A quote I wrote down in my journal years ago from Ph.D. Ian Robertson and his book, The Winner Effect, comes to mind: ‘Men are not systematically deprived of human rights of education, relationships and work by political and religious systems because of their gender in many countries, but women are. The resulting powerlessness of hundreds of millions of women fundamentally shapes their brains, reducing their capacity to change their situation.’
Sometimes we are held down, not just by our attackers, but of what we know about our place in the world. She may freeze because she is terrified but also because she knows, deep down, there is nowhere for her to go. An estimated 400,000 untested rape kits are sitting on shelves in the United States alone. Rape kits that not only help convict the guilty but exonerate the innocent. If that doesn’t tell us how people feel about violence against women, I don’t know what does.
After doing more research on this ‘freeze’ response, I found the following information on something called ‘Tonic Immobility.’ This is a trauma response that animals will exhibit during an attack, they will freeze or ‘play dead,’ perceiving it as the best option when the animal sees little immediate chance of escape or winning a fight. The animal initially reacts by struggling and attempting to escape, but after a brief period of continued restraint these reactions subside and it assumes a catatonic-like posture which persists in the absence of further contact.
A special issue of The Psychological Record, from 1977, was devoted to this topic and I have submitted it here today along with my full testimony.
There are two specific instances of sexual assault I have experienced that really stick out in my mind. In fact, they are burned into my brain. Branded there for life, a mental scar that I feel, every day.
My experience with domestic violence was this. Toxic mental, physical, and sexual abuse, which started slow, but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body, and the worst part, sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had ‘proven my love for them.’
In this moment, while I was tied up and being beaten and being told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die, not just because my abuser said to me, ‘I could kill you right now.’ But because in that moment, I felt like I left my body. I was too afraid to run, he would find me. I was too afraid to fight back, he had threatened to kill me before.
I was too afraid to have him turn on me, I knew what would happen if he got angry.
Once I realized what he was going to do, I froze, and it was as if I could see myself from the outside and for the first time in months I felt something, utter shame and despair. I had no idea what to do to change my situation. So I went numb, soon I couldn’t feel anything. I wasn’t alive.
My self-esteem and spirit were broken.
I was deeply terrified and that fear lives with me to this day.
What makes me more hurt and more angry than the actual rape and abuse itself, was that piece of me that was stolen, which altered the course of my life.
Because of this abuse and my already spiritless person, when I was pushed onto the floor of a locked storage closet by another attacker after hours at a bar, my body instinctually knew what to do—disappear, go numb, make it go away. Being abused and raped previously made it easier for me to raped again, not the other way around.
Not a day goes by when I don’t hear the words this man whispered into my ear over and over, ‘You’re going to be fine, you’re going to be fine, I promise, you’re going to be fine,’ and my small voice saying back, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’ until it faded into nothing. I remember the feeling of shutting down or ‘freezing’ and utter shock taking over. I couldn’t even make a sound. I felt a piece of me disappear, a piece that has never returned. In other words, I was not fine. I am not fine.
As of right now, the definition of ‘consent’ does not cover this very common response to trauma, or fear. As of right now, a woman can say no 50 times, but when she reluctantly gives in because she feels she has no other choice, or ‘freezes,’ that is considered ‘consent.’ Not an animalistic instinct which kicks in, not an automatic response or what our bodies and fragile minds do to try and protect us, but consent that is protected by law. As of right now, even if I went after one of my attackers, it wouldn’t matter, because under law what happened to me was considered ‘given,’ with my full consent. I think a vast majority of woman can relate to the feeling of walking into a situation, realizing what it is, and thinking, Oh no… here we go, it’s me today.
The things my attacker whispered stand out to me as someone experiencing a starkly different reality than mine. His words were a ‘You’ll thank me later’ statement, and if I am distressed, I should trust him. Imagine for a moment what his testimony would be, of the same ‘sexual encounter.’ He would get empathy and I would get questions. We still victim-blame because we don’t realize there are two victims of rape. The women who are being raped and the young boys who are growing up to be rapists. Their entire lives led them to this point. So what is happening? Why are men and women so conditioned in this way?
I was told the signs. My mother is also a survivor, but even she couldn’t protect her daughter from the messages women and men are fed by society that plays a role in determining our fate, or the dark magic of gaslighting.
The aftermath of rape is a huge part of the conversation that needs much more attention, and in this case I can speak from my own experiences. So often we speak of these assaults as no more than a few minutes of awfulness, but the scars last a lifetime. I cannot stress this enough.
Even though these experiences happened a decade ago, I still struggle with the aftermath; my relationships suffer, my partners suffer, my mental and physical health suffers. Seven years after my rapes—plural—I was diagnosed with long-term PTSD, which I had been living with all that time without knowledge about my condition. I simply thought I was going crazy, which is also how we commonly refer to a woman’s distress: lunacy.
Post-traumatic stress syndrome is more widely known in relation to vets returning home from war, but by definition it is ‘a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it, or other threats on a person’s life.’
I struggled with depression, addiction, agoraphobia, night terrors; so many times, a sleeping partner of mine has awoken to their love screaming in the night and gasping for air in a pool of sweat, after having some sort of vivid dream of my abuser or hearing them say my name so loudly in my ear, or hallucinating a vision of them standing in the corner of my room. The feeling of paralysis returns when there is a loud noise and I am home alone, convinced someone is coming to hurt me. I stay awake all night clutching a baseball bat, which began to replace my distraught and absent partners, as trust and touch became increasingly more difficult. I struggled with self-harm, to the point of two suicide attempts, which landed me in a psychiatric hospital for a short period of time. This was, however, a turning point in my life, and when I started seeking professional help to deal with my trauma and mental stress. This was the beginning of a very long road to recovery. I am incredibly fortunate because I have the means to pay for such treatment and care which I still utilize to this day. Others are not so fortunate, and, because of this, rape is often more than a few minutes of trauma, but a slow death.
I was forever changed by these experiences, not just because of the violation, the loss of ownership over my body, the actual physical pain, but what it meant about the world I called home. I don’t often think of how I wish my rapists would be punished, although true justice would be a miracle, but I think of the children they once were. I wonder what must have happened to them, what they were taught, what trauma they endured that led them to these inhumane acts.
I view the world differently after knowing what darkness lurks underneath the surface of sometimes even your most trusted partner, and what human beings are capable of without unconditional love or lessons in empathy.
I would like to say to my attackers, that I don’t hate you, I feel sorry for you. I am not here to shame you, I want to understand you and want you to understand me, but you have to listen first. We all have to listen and we have to be brave enough to have the conversation and ask the ‘why’s. The whys are what connect us.
This makes me think of my son, the world he will be raised in, and the day I will have to explain to him what rape means and why it happened to his mother.
When I knew I was to become a mother, I prayed for a boy. Not because I wouldn’t have wanted a girl, but because I would have to protect my daughter too much, and many things would unfortunately be inevitable in her future. Then I realized, it could be just as easy for my son to fall prey to the lies society tells us about men. Things like, ‘They have uncontrollable impulses to hurt people.’ Because, let’s face it, a man having an uncontrollable impulse to engage in a sexual act is not what sexual assault is. Sexual assault is an uncontrollable act of violence, against someone else’s body, mind, and spirit. How cruel to tell a child this is just how all men are, and how cruel to turn a blind eye to all the ways we perpetuate this lie. Since men are often told to hide their emotions, this very behavior could be a cry for help. While women seem more prone to cry out by punishing themselves, the opposite seems to be true with a majority of men. And this deserves a much deeper look.
So I am also here to advocate for men, and especially my son, who I hope grows up knowing he is much more valuable than that, and who I can only hope I will set an example for by continuing to fight for him, myself, and all the people affected by abuse, because that is our job as parents and as leaders. The way we change starts with proper education, not just about the medical terms of sexual intercourse and how it works, but about true connection with another person. How can we begin to talk about rape when we barely even teach people what good, healthy, safe, and loving sex really is?
But above all, it starts with the rule of law. It starts with people leading by example and coming to the aide of our girls, but also our young boys, who are just as susceptible to the toxic messages we send THEM to break their spirit and change their fate. This bill is just one step in the right direction of setting the bar higher for what is right and what the standard will be that we set for society. It’s the safety net that may help save someone’s life one day. It’s called progress and it starts here