Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Let's Talk About Sex, Baby (the nonconsensual kind)
Let's talk about what IS and ISN'T true about rape or sexual assault.
There are pamphlets for this shit, but not a lot of people read them. In fact, unless you get trained as an advocate, or get sexually assaulted, you are probably never going to read them.
But, the day after my second RECENT sexual assault, I got a little Tinkerbell bag full of pamphlets and other accoutrements provided by MY advocate. While I was naked on an examination table getting swabs taken from every body part you can imagine.
And when I got home, fully traumatized for a 3rd time because frankly, the blood draw was way worse than anything that's happened to me in a long time......
I read the pamphlets, cause I didn't have anything else to do, and I was washing my bedding. And my DVD player is broken.
And I found out that when I was sitting in that room doubting myself and thinking that EVERY SINGLE person was either a) completely fooled by my story and thought I was this strong-ass bitch reporting a violent rape and that I deserved special treatment (I did not believe I deserved to be called strong, or brave, or receive special treatment), or b) lying my ass off because it's really FUN to get up-close pictures taken of your labia, have a nurse "lose" your cervix and pass out cold because the other nurse couldn't get a good vein in your arm, (whoa longest sentence ever) I FOUND OUT.... that almost everyone that's a victim of sexual assault feels this way.
That they are at fault. Or that they are screwing things up in their head. Or that it's not as serious as it feels emotionally, and the word "rape" just sounds way to strong if you didn't get a gun held to your head, or a knife to your throat, or a hand squeezing your windpipe....
and so they shouldn't be reporting it. Or nobody's going to take them seriously. Or that someone is just going to slap them across the face and say "WHY Did you put yourself in that situation? It's YOUR fault."
I've faced every single one of those reactions from OTHER people since it happened. EVERY SINGLE ONE. From people I love, people I trust. People who love ME.
People who have been abused themselves and have swept it under the rug as "their fault" ... suppressed feelings about it.. "forgotten".
I got a phone call from a friend who said "I feel so bad you've been through all this"... the same friend who also got raped the night that I was sexually assaulted and ended up pregnant. She won't call it that, or report it. Or acknowledge it.
People have some REALLY fucked up ideas about sexual assault. They have amazingly fucked up ideas about women inviting it by dressing a certain way. Acting a certain way. Drinking.. going to a club... trusting a guy when he says he doesn't just want sex. Trusting someone enough to go alone to their house with them.
There are millions of people in the world that are master manipulators. Men, women... it is not exclusive to gender. It is not exclusive to anything.
People manipulate to get what they want, and I BET YOU anything that the asshole that raped me doesn't think he did ANYTHING wrong, and that when the police pick him up, he's going to be extremely surprised.
But he did a lot of things that were wrong.
I am not going to say it's smart to get drunk and be alone with someone you don't know EXTREMELY well. If you don't fully, completely trust the people that you are with.. if you haven't known them for a LONG time and feel completely safe with them, DO NOT get drunk with them, or near them.
Yes, you need to defend yourself against situations.
But should you find yourself in one, it is NOT your fault if someone decides to take advantage of your vulnerable state. It is NEVER YOUR FAULT.
And the person that abuses you NEEDS to realize that they've done wrong. Justice needs to be served in some way. They need to answer to the law, the law that says that nonconsensual sexual acts are a crime.
It's actually normal, and very common, and sometimes even SMART for a woman to freeze up in a sexual assault situation. It's a self-defense mechanism. And the more that you've been abused in your life, the more likely it is that you are a "freezer"... that you shut down mentally and allow the thing to happen because it's safer than trying to run or fight. Or at least, that's what experience or very bad people have taught you.
That doesn't mean it was consensual. If you didn't want it, and you expressed that at any point, it was rape.
And I don't deserve to be scolded like a child for what happened to me. I don't deserve people shaking their heads and saying they want to slap some sense into me.
I didn't deserve my uncle touching me inappropriately as a child. I didn't deserve my babysitter abusing me, but I was too little to even know it was wrong, except for the voice in my head that told me it didn't feel okay, that something was wrong, but that I was a kid, and he was an adult, and adults knew more than me.
I didn't deserve multiple boyfriends raping me as an adult, after I'd clearly said no to sex in that instance. Even if I said yes 99 times before that, and the 100th time I didn't want to, and I said no.... if he continued what he was doing, it was rape.
By this standard, I was sexually abused by 3 people as a child that I KNOW of. And by at least 6 people as an adult. Multiple times each.
I can tell you that when I was 7, I wasn't wearing "revealing clothing". I wasn't inviting it.
I can tell you that when my ex held me down in his bedroom and had intercourse with me even after I re-dressed myself multiple times and said I didn't want to, that I was raped. And he should be in jail for it, but I haven't even been able to be honest enough with myself about that to stop being FRIENDS with him. Because nothing jives. Nothing makes less sense than someone you have trusted and loved taking your power and your rights from you like that. Nothing confuses your brain and your heart more, and nothing damages you worse.
I'm just begging you... if something HAS happened to you or you find yourself in one of these situations, to report it immediately. The aftermath is painful, and traumatic, and difficult, and scary. But you might just prevent it from happening to more people in the future. Including yourself.
And the more people that speak up honestly, the less those of us who do speak up have to suffer.
There are too many lies out there. I've made a choice to tell the truth.
It doesn't matter what I wear, how much I drink, whether I kissed the guy and then decided I wanted to stop there, whether I touched him and then wanted to leave. It doesn't matter if he'd already abused me and I put myself in the situation again.
It doesn't matter if you're buck-ass naked standing right in front of the guy, but you've stated that you don't want to have sex.
If he does it anyway, it's rape.
Report it. Don't change your clothes, don't shower, don't brush your teeth, don't douche. Talk to a cop, go to the ER to get examined, take an extra pair of clothing with you cause you ain't gettin yours back (I hope you didn't like that outfit) and get therapy. You're going to need it. I know I do.
And the next person that says something as ignorant as "what the hell were YOU thinking?" or "I just want to shake you" can excuse themselves from my life forever. Please.