Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Welcome to anyone new, and Why the Hell do I do this?

I’ve garnered a bunch of new readers and I’d wager some of the old ones don’t quite know why I put myself out there like this.

I do it because for every reply that makes me grit my teeth and bang my head on the keyboard, I get at least two that are supportive. On top of that, I frequently get replies, named and anonymous, thanking me for putting this stuff out there so that they know they are not alone.

I was raped at 15 years of age by my boyfriend. The handsome, sweet, caring, flower-buying, love note writing boyfriend who said he loved me and would never, ever hurt me.

Three months later, I was raped by a second boyfriend. His friends listened outside the door while I screamed at him to stop, and then laughed when it was over.

It took me years to be able to call either incident rape. I knew them, I was dating them, I’d made out with them. For a lot of people, the fact that we’d been making out up until I said “No,” negates that “No.” It did for me. For years. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened for four years. When I did finally tell someone, the initial responses were somewhere between “Do we really need to talk about this?” and “What did you expect?”

I had nightmares, anxiety attacks, several other PTSD symptoms. I woke up screaming frequently. I couldn’t be alone with anyone male who was near my age without freaking out, leading to at least one incident where I ran out of work and my boss found me cowering behind the dumpster, shaking and trying not to throw up.

I spent years thinking I was this horrible anomaly, all alone in what had happened to me. But after some initial therapy, and some assigned reading on the subject, I started to realize how widespread sexual assault really is. I started to talk about what had happened to me. And I caught a lot of shit. I had people tell me I shouldn’t talk about it. I’ve had it used against me by a couple of weaselly little shits who couldn’t face their own issues, and instead attacked me for mine.

But every time I do talk about it, I also get thanked by people who similarly thought they were all alone in their suffering. Who had no idea how to find or reach out for help with what happened to them. And it makes all of the bullshit repetitious arguments I find myself going through on the subject worth it.

Because no one should ever feel alone when it comes to surviving rape. And if my setting my big old ass up here as a convenient target also means that people who might wall it all up inside because what happened to them isn’t talked about or they’re afraid to talk in the circle of friends that just may include their rapist will feel like they have someone who understands and will listen, then, I guess, fire away.

And because I’m finding out that a lot of people, male and female, don’t recognize rape even when it happens to them. They know something is wrong with what happened, but they can’t quite put their finger on it. A lot of times when talking to people about how I was raped I get a lot of, “You’re just over-reacting. I mean, you were willingly ALONE with him.” Or I’ll be told I should have expected it and it was my own fault, or…

At first I was outraged, but as I got older and did more research into the human psyche and people’s reactions and just observed people in general, I started to realize that for a lot of people victim-blaming is a security blanket. Because if they just don’t act like a “victim” (i.e. wear slutty clothes, too much make up, look confident, don’t look confident…), then they’ll be safe from rape.

Unfortunately, putting the responsibility for avoiding rape on its victims doesn’t work. And I think that is what scares people most of all. Every rape is proof to them that the universe is an unsafe place for them (particularly for women) and the idea that they can follow all the rules and still be raped is terrifying.

So, yeah, I’m here to comfort, provide support and educate. And if I take a few slings and arrows in the ass while doing it, I’ll heal. I’m a big girl. I’ve survived worse.

9 comments on “Welcome to anyone new, and Why the Hell do I do this?

  1. julzerator
    October 13, 2008

    I, for one, am very grateful that you do this.


  2. javagoth
    October 13, 2008

    You’re a very courageous girl and I and others love you and thank you!
    {{{{{{{{{{{ hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}}


  3. ayeshadream
    October 13, 2008

    A lot of this crosses over and applies to people who survived sexual abuse as a child too.
    It’s about refusing to blame yourself for what was done to you, and moving on with life without getting sucked into a cycle of fear and self-hatred.


  4. ayeshadream
    October 13, 2008

    Oh, and I forgot to say- thank you.
    For all those who can’t seem to get the words out, or for those who moving on has also been putting it out of mind.
    Thank you.


  5. the_lady_t
    October 13, 2008

    Great big thank you for all of these posts. Some how in the freak that is the universe I managed to be that one out of 10 that wasn’t raped/molested by the age of 25…but I’ve gotten to be a hand holder for the vast majority of my girlfriends(and some of the boys that have dated them) that make up the other 9.
    Born year of the dog, and loyal to a fault, it is a constant struggle for me to not go after the bad guys with a rusty nail spiked bat, a thing of gasoline and a book of matches. But with the world we live in it’d have to be a full time career.
    And since life isn’t like a comic book I do what I can by repeating over and over again that what happened was NOT their fault. There are no buts aloud in that position. You didn’t want it to happen…you said no, or were crying, or screaming, were drunk, were unconscious, were too young to understand. Ultimately rape isn’t about the choices you made. Its about your rapist choosing to ignore all of the above. That is the only choice that needs to be criticized.
    I’ll be sending a link to your blog to a new friend that more then anyone else I know really needs to hear what you have to say. There are so many people out there that are guilty of adding additional damage to a serious wound through their insenstivity, close-minded rhetoric, and hatred its extra important to have voices like yours fighting for the good guys…
    And if I ever do decide to give into my vigilante dream…I’d be more then happy to add a few of your detractors to my shopping list.


  6. evaria
    October 13, 2008

    heh, I was just thinking about the “things you do so the world will be safe” idea the other day after I got robbed at knife point(boy that wasn’t fun) despite being in the type of place where stuff like that “shouldn’t happen”. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that people think(probably mostly subconciously, I hope) that there are things you can do to make the world a safe place. Sure you can decrease your risk, but the world has lots of horrible things it can throw at you and you don’t have to be doing anything wrong to get hit.
    So I guess this is just my long winded way I saying “yeah, blaming the victim is really fucked up”.
    And thank you for being so outspoken about this topic. It shouldn’t be something that “isn’t talked about”. If any topic should be open to discussion it’s stuff like this. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.


  7. rae_beta
    October 13, 2008

    Sexual violence thrives on silence and shame; thank you for speaking up and speaking out. Your bravery is contagious.


  8. cupcake_goth
    October 14, 2008

    I think that your willingness to speak out about this and try to educate people is a brave and wonderful thing. Thank you for keeping at it.


  9. lisatheriveter
    October 14, 2008

    Every post you make here makes the world a better place. You go girl! {{{hugs}}}


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