Vignette: The Bog

Karin Kerfoot
2 min readFeb 14, 2020

Women who ultimately manage to escape from an abuser’s physical and sexual violence are called “survivors”. But not all women escape with their lives. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t.

The spring night is warm and humid. The sun has only recently gone down. I am driving, but he is the one deciding where we should go.

At his command, I pull into the deserted parking lot of an unfamiliar conservation area. The sign at the entrance states that it is a bog. This small detail becomes seared into my memory of that evening. He tells me to get out, then walks away from the car. When I don’t follow immediately, he strides back to grab my hand and pulls me into the darkness, down a boardwalk and through the wetlands.

My work shoes click rapidly against the wooden planks as I struggle to match his pace. That clicking had sounded more doctor-like in the hospital corridors. Now it just sounds out of place. My shoes, and I, shouldn’t be here.

My heart pounds and I dread what his intentions are for me. He has claimed to be capable of terrible things and I believe him. He has taken me to a very isolated place. I don’t want to know the answer to the question that has been forming in my mind but, as he drags me further into the dark, there comes a point when I can’t stand it any longer.

“Are you going to kill me?”

He pauses. Then laughs coldly and challenges me: “Now, how would I do that?”

At the end of the boardwalk, he tells me to get on my knees; he is going to fuck me. The navy blue dress I am wearing was clean and pretty when I went to work that morning. By the end of the night, it is dirty and dishevelled.

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Karin Kerfoot

Psychiatrist turned yogini, writer & educator. Survivor of sexual violence & systemic injustice. I write about gender-based violence & medical regulation.