The in-betweens is that place where you’re not quite in one state and not quite in another. It’s not the same as being on a journey from point A to point B. It’s more like being in a place where you can’t quite say you are at Point A or Point B but both are somewhere close by but where you are to them is still a bit unknown. That’s the in-betweens. It’s the place of the un-named things which renders them almost un-real as if there is a real power in the naming or the un-naming of things.
We just don’t have words for the not quite rape and not quite a violation. At least I don’t know of them. This is the world I’ve lived in for a very long time. I’ve been raped, a long time ago. And yet listening to all the talk about rape victims and rape apologetics and how rape occurs, I don’t relate. But then again, my situation is a little different and who I am is very different.
I was that groomed child, born to a Pedophile father and was raped as a child. I was raised in such a way I lacked the ability to say no. Yet everything I did was saying no in the most non-verbal way possible. I was planking before planking was a thing. Silent rivers flowed down the mountains of my cheeks. My gaze became focused on the dots of the ceiling to count them. This was not a one-time occurrence. This was my life.
I can point back to that and say yes I was raped. My trauma and my reaction are different. It’s not the same as a violent rape victim but it’s still trauma. For a long time, this was in the in-between because it wasn’t violent, that I wasn’t beaten black and blue, that I didn’t scream. My image of what rape is had to change for me to even admit, that yes, this was rape. But what about the other times I didn’t say no or more to the point, I didn’t say yes either? What about the other in-betweens?
I didn’t say yes to a threesome in my early 20’s. I know I was sober and I still don’t recall how I got undressed. I wasn’t interactive. I do remember being remarkably bored and merely waiting for him to finish. I wasn’t even aware that I might have been switching in and out back then. I do recall the feeling of being pressured but it wasn’t physical. Was it rape? Maybe, maybe not. I simply don’t know. This is that moment of in-between.
A different time, a different man, having sex with agreed up conditions, for him not to ejaculate inside me, and as predictable as it sounds to me now, he did exactly what he agreed not to do. For a long time, calling this failed expectations or a broken promise just didn’t fit. Now the newly coined term consent violation fits and explains the situation. For a long time, this was one of the in-betweens.
There was a moment where I was almost gang raped, non-consensual partner swapping that I hadn’t agreed upon and was sprung on me out of nowhere. This one is a bit of a tangle to talk about, so much packed into a few moments of time. I still leave it in the in-betweens because a gang rape didn’t happen. It almost happened but it didn’t.
I don’t know if I’m willing to go so far and say the in-betweens’ are traumas unspecified. Some are and some are not. Some have left deep scars and other’s just an eye roll. Maybe someone has better worlds out there, different ways to explain things. I don’t have a vocabulary for the downside of sex. There used to exist, only one term, rape. Now there are two, consent violation and rape. But there is still a whole lot of in-betweens out there, some traumatic and some not. I don’t have words for them.