TW: Rape. Sexual assault of a child.

February 15th, 1992. My first entry in my first journal.

Dear Diary,

Today I had a slumber party. 3 people came to the party. A girl named Linedsy came. She is being a brat. I don’t like her that much. Crystal is almost like a sister to me. Nichole is just a good friend. We had a pillow fight. It was a great party. It was to celebrate my bday. My bday is the 10th of February. My sister’s friend Angie had a bday on the 14th. Angie’s father got married on the same day. Two weeks ago someone came into my room and molested me. Now I take my madness out on other children. I can’t help it. But I am going to counseling. It is helping a little bit.

Sincerely,
Jenny
That incident five days before my tenth birthday was not my first sexual experience. It was actually shortly before that that I had discovered masturbation. There’s so many ways I wish my discovery of sex could have gone. To live in a world where girls are not shamed for anything sex related, where children are not told that sex is a sin and evil and will make them monstrous.

When I discovered masturbation, the only way I could imagine enjoying sex was if I were raped. I often fantasized about being raped while masturbating. This would inform my kinks and fetishes later in life, but as a child I would not classify it as a kink. It was, in fact, the product of a world that had already informed me that the only way I was allowed to have and enjoy sex was passively, and certainly not as an elective choice.

Until I met Manfried, I had no concept of what consensual sex meant. Not that every man forced himself on me (though plenty did), but that I couldn’t even conceptualize what it meant to desire sex for any reason beyond pleasing a man. Until I met someone where I felt I was allowed to tell them no.

I don’t exist in a vacuum now, and certainly as a child what hope did I have of rejecting such conditioning.

We react to pain by trying to get away from it, by trying anything to make it stop. Trauma is painful. And over the course of decades I’ve twisted and warped myself to bend around my pain, to contain it, to convince myself it isn’t there, it isn’t real, and it isn’t deep. I’ve spent decades trying to convince myself that the way I experience the world is normal. That believing that any desire to meet my own needs meant I was a selfish monster. Believing that true love meant putting your partner before all your other needs.

I’ve spent a lot of therapy trying to unravel what makes me, me. What has made me so particularly susceptible to abuse, why I’m a person who can appear confident and self assured and yet remain so ripe for others to bend me.

It was no single trauma that got me here, and no single treatment that’s going to set me right. But as an adult I have tools that were never available to me as a child, tools that erode the methods of the abusers. The easy ability to connect with other humans. To find the words for the trauma I’ve experienced. To classify my experiences as, to put it succinctly, completely fucked up.

For all the ills that social media enables, the ability to identify myself in the experiences of others has been an enormous blessing. And I know I’m not alone in that either.

The world as it was when I was ten would never have had space in it for a show like Jessica Jones. A show that spoke to my own traumas, my own foibles, my own early belief that it was right to desire abuse, that abuse was love, and that later still I’m forced to deal with abusers who continue to try to control me, who threaten what I love instead of me directly, so that even while I’m able to spot the scum of the earth I’m still unable to stop them, still compelled to obey…

When I was nearly ten years old, I was raped. And I have been raped over and over and over so many times since then, and I still struggle to resist the idea that others are entitled to my body, entitled to my space, entitled to my life over myself.

That I am not monstrous. That the guilt and shame I feel for believing in my own self-worth apart from what others can sell me for is fucked up.

I feel like the creators of Jessica Jones saw the world through that lens, able to identify me and people like me, and able to encapsulate our experiences in a conceit that was barely a pseudoscience stretch beyond our actual, lived experiences. And I have no doubt they found us because of social media.

I have met Kilgrave in my lifetime. I’ve met many of him. I’d hazard a guess that many women’s life is comprised of a microcosm of Kilgraves, a fibonacci spiral of Kilgraves, a tesselation of Kilgraves. A pack of lone wolves, all Kilgraves.

There’s no neat way to end this blog post. Because life is messy, and trauma is messy, and unraveling all of this is…messy.

EDIT: The day I wrote this post, Cracked published this article: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-jessica-jones-perfectly-portrays-being-stalked/

And while that’s probably better put together than my post, I figured there’s room in this world for both our voices to be heard.

↓ Transcript
A single panel with a bubble in the upper left reading "Bipolar & Me" with Jaydot's smiling face, and a caption in the upper right reading "TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE" in thick black ominous letters. Jaydot, a short-haired woman wearing jeans and a t-shirt, stands on the edge of a cliff with a tranquil blue sky behind her. She holds a gift-wrapped package complete with bow in her hand labeled "A Feeling". A cord trails off the package and over the edge of the cliff, dropping down out of sight. As it goes lower, the tranquil sky turns to deep, ominous inky purple.