Dear Family & Friends,
Thank you for all the recent Birthday wishes- it truly warmed my heart. Many of you have been wondering ‘where I have been’, why I have ‘gone underground’, why I 'all of a sudden stopped participating as a friend' in your lives, and why there was an abrupt halt to my new business. On June 27th, 2017 I was hypnotised and raped by a specialist in a field I have had a lifelong interest in.
I had reached out to him as a highly recommended and trusted practitioner in the field, someone who also knew my sexual orientation and my partner quite well. He was a mentor that I was excited to learn the trade from. To my extreme surprise, he took advantage of me with the most powerful and frightening art of hypnosis and manipulation. With my reduced awareness and lack of control, something that I, (as egotistical as it might sound) never thought would happen to me, Adina Bier, did indeed happen. Naively, I thought I had been raised to know better, to be stronger. But I now know differently- nothing and nobody in life can truly prevent you from falling into a trap of someone you believe you can trust. I always saw myself as someone who would undoubtedly fight back, someone who with every feminist bone in her body, would do everything in her power to get out of a situation like this unscathed, but with full loss of control and loss of connectivity, on June 27th my response, of the three main responses was not to fight, it was not to flight, but it was simply to freeze.
The ‘incident’ put a screeching halt to my “starting-a-business-in-Berlin” life. As a shocked and traumatised victim of unwanted and nonconsensual hypnosis and rape, I found myself in the deepest state of vulnerability whilst navigating my way through German bureaucracy with the police, with the ER, and with regret, with the Judicial system. Feeling isolated and alienated from the community that stood by my side for 32 years (merely because of my overwhelming state of shock and sadness), I quickly decided to go underground and off all social media platforms. I could not see or talk to anyone except for those in immediate proximity to me and furthermore, I could not do anything. The only thing that soothed me, the only thing that behooved me to do was to walk- and I would walk for hours on end, wandering aimlessly, in a ghostly state until my feet blistered and bled. Each day, I would try a different pair of shoes and repeat for 15,12,17 Km. All that mattered from June 27th onward was making sure I woke up every day, and that I got through it... to see the next. The road to recovery from trauma-to-the-mind and trauma-to-the-body is a long and curvy road of which I am still walking. But today, marks the first day I am able to connect with you, those that that did not have immediate access (95% of my network) into knowing how/what I am doing.
I spent the last 5 days with my ‘Bubbe’ (Grandma) who was accompanied by my fun and (typically makes me laugh), Uncle from Chicago, at an International Conference for Survivors of the Holocaust in Israel. (Something I feared I did not have the strength to do for a variety of socio-political- identity- related-and presently-emotionally-vulnerable reasons. Most importantly though, with someone I was too ashamed and embarrassed to talk to). After much thought and with the comfort of knowing one of my sisters would join, I decided to go. Seeing my Bubbe brought streams of tears to my eyes, and hugging her...Hugging her sent throbs through my heart. Feeling how much I needed that warming feeling and how much I deprived myself of it because of my uncontrollable alienation simply moved me. There I was, it was happening. She was giving me love and I was allowing myself to receive it.
Even though as a victim, you are told not to be embarrassed and ashamed, it ran so ever deeply and uncontrollably through me to the point where it paralysed me. When I would see my reflection or find myself sitting with people that tried to surround me with light and love, all I could see of myself was a dark, grey cloud of a person I felt I had become, when I used to think of myself as positive, uplifting and light.
Being there at the conference as a 3G survivor, reminded me of all the times my Bubbe’s stories (albeit very hard to pallet growing up), carried me through life and through any difficult time with the mentality that I can persevere through anything. I used to tell myself in hard times, Bubbe had it worse when she was fleeing the German’s, much worse, and look at the shinning light of a person she is now. I will be fine. This time, since June 27th, 2017, there wasn’t a single blood vessel in my body capable of deflecting my trauma and telling myself it could be worse. At the conference, I found myself reflecting on the hellish last 4.5 months and realising that I wasn’t just a 3G survivor of the Holocaust carrying on my grandparents stories, I was also sitting there as a victim of rape and carrying what is now, my story.
On our last evening together, before I fell asleep, I jumped into bed with Bubbe and she held my hand and told me she couldn’t undo my pain but that she hopes the love she gave me was remedying and healing. There we sat together, passing love from one wounded heart to another. With my sister in the bed as well, the three of us lay there together spooning and holding hands. I cried myself to sleep with tears of joy, sadness, and pain, recognising my trauma and that I have made it out of the depth of the clouds and into the next winding curve on my road to recovery.
***In light of the #metoo campaign and all the courageous women coming forth, I write this not to receive sympathy or to get attention, but for you to know what goes on in and to y o u r community. In the recent weeks, I find myself more frequently able to once again laugh and feel, well, more me- for that I am forever grateful. I write this for you to read but also to raise public consciousness. I will not be silenced just because of shame and embarrassment, nor will I allow myself or any of my family members to be measured by this incident for the rest of my life. Instead, I look forward to justice and a hopeful, light future. I wish for all the women out there that they continue to tell their stories, because since 1991 when Anita Hill stepped forth, change has happened. Despite how difficult and humiliating it might feel to go to the police, the hospital or to court, I hope more women do it without hesitation. We stand together, you are not alone.
Thank you for all the years of standing by my side. For all of you that I may have hurt by not being 'present' or 'there' to celebrate special moments with you, I want you to know that you never left my heart- I needed to take a big step back and now, I am taking tiny steps forward again.