Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
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.