Reclaiming Personhood

She placed a cutting of pansies (representing love, thoughtfulness and remembrance) on my lower back—done in public, it was another step in reclaiming my power and personhood.

In 1994, in my second year of college, while I was preparing to come out, I was raped. I came out to friends and to family with varying levels of acceptance, but kept the rape secret for a year until finally telling a friend.

Speaking publicly as a rape survivor was my first step in reclaiming my body and myself. I found the kink scene—its emphasis on consent and control of my own body was empowering. Occasionally, I allowed a friend to demonstrate blood play on my body: needles and sometimes with scalpels or knives. Nothing that left permanent marks. As a thank you gift for helping her at an event, she placed a cutting of pansies (representing love, thoughtfulness and remembrance) on my lower back—done in public, it was another step in reclaiming my power and personhood.

Though I can’t see it, it reminds me to care for myself and honor the person I was and have become.

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