“So, Joy. Tell me how your weekend went.” Dr. Mayer said from the same chair he had sat in last week.
“It was nice. We got our son ready to start school today and just spent some time as a family.” Joy nervously looked out the window to the trees.
“How are you finding your role as a wife and mother different now after the rape?”
“Not all that much different. Ben’s grandparents cared for him the first few days, but he was home all weekend with us. And I have never been closer to Daniel than I am now.” She found herself fidgeting nervously as she spoke.
“Closer? How so?”
“We’ve had the time to discuss aspects of our marriage that were long overdue, and that process has brought us closer.” Joy watched a couple of squirrels chasing each other from tree to tree.
“Can you elaborate?”
Joy looked to the doctor, took a deep breath, and let it go. “Our sex life in particular. I had wanted a deeper intimacy, but was afraid to express this desire to Daniel, not knowing he wanted the same thing. Talking this through with Daniel has brought us closer to each other and increased the level of intimacy we feel with each other.”
“This is odd timing to be talking about your sex life; right after being sexually assaulted.” The doctor made a notation on his chart.
“Well it felt perfectly comfortable to us. The subject of us being distant came up and I, having been through all that, wanted to express exactly what I was thinking for a change.”
“Did something happen during your assault that would bring this issue up for you?”
“Yes, a madman raped me at knifepoint and I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. But I did live and this is exactly what I’m going to do; live. I am going to live my life to the fullest, be the best mother I can be, and have the best marriage I know how to have.” Joy’s tone had taken on a strident note, but she made her point and how dare that doctor ask if her rape made her want more intimacy with Daniel?
“Joy, I am not trying to antagonize you. It’s just your reaction to be raped is puzzling. Most women, for example, find the subject of sex abhorrent at first. They don’t want to be touched, especially in a sexual manner. They are not looking to improve their sex lives, they want to ignore them. Do you see where I’m coming from?” The doctor tapped his pen against her chart as he spoke.
“Obviously I am not a typical woman. What Daniel and I feel is beautiful and natural, and I won’t have you denigrate it.” Joy stood, as if to go.
“Wait, Joy. Don’t just leave. Let’s work through this issue. I accept that you are not the typical woman. My concern is that you may be focusing on improving your love life with your husband to avoid the feeling associated with the rape.”
Joy sat back down. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“Repressing your feelings regarding your assault can result in a number of unpleasant psychological effects later on. I would encourage you and Daniel not to rush into resuming your sex life until we’ve fleshed out your negative feelings and explored them.” Dr. Mayer looked directly at Joy through his thick eyeglasses.
“I’m not going to put my life on hold because of this damn rape. I will continue to work with you, but at the same time I am going on with my life.” She got up to leave for certain this time. “I am afraid I’ve got to cut this short, Dr. Mayer. I need to go have my sutures removed. I’ll see you Thursday.”
“Just take it easy on yourself, Joy. You are extremely vulnerable right now. See you Thursday.” The doctor stood and walked her to his door. “You can always call me if something comes up and you need to talk.”