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I’m Terrified to Tell You that I’m a Rape Survivor Because I’m Afraid You’re Going to Judge Me Negatively, Deny My Experience, and Care More About Not Having Your Favorite Celebrities Interrogated or Your Entertainment Disrupted, but I’m Going to Take a Chance and Tell You Anyway
I wrote this in response to all of the rape denial going around like the flu because of Nate Parker and The Birth of a Nation, not to mention Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, R. Kelly, and Bill Cosby, etcetera, ad nausea.
Have you ever been raped?
I was 17 and I shamefully continued to date my rapist for two months after he raped me because:
I blamed myself for not fighting back more or insisting more when he held me down and said my name in a stern, authoritative, parental way to get me to stop protesting. When his aggression worked, I figured he was the winner and I was the loser and I, therefore, deserved what happened to me.
It only hurt for a week. After the physical pain, anger, and fear subsided, I oddly believed that the crime did too.
I was ashamed.
I was trying to pretend what happened didn’t really happen.
He was light-skinned with green eyes and owned a car (all of which meant a great deal in the colorist/materialistic community/society I come from), and he was into some dark-skinned, skinny, awkward, ugly boy like me. I didn’t think it was my place to question the brutality inflicted upon me. I felt lower on the hierarchy than him. I thought I should be grateful that someone like him was even interested in someone like me.
I had a hard time believing what happened actually happened because “real men are not rape victims.”
I thought I led him on. At first, I said yes, even though I was scared to death. Then, I changed my mind and said no. But I believed my earlier yes overruled my later no and he acted as if my nos didn’t matter at all, and that I needed to overcome my fear through his force.
8. He treated me nicely afterwards so that made me think that it couldn’t be rape because rapists aren’t “supposed to be nice” right after they commit the crime.
He didn’t try it again and I read that as remorse.
I normalized what happened and conflated it with sex and it became my first indoctrination into the idea that it was my duty in a relationship to just grin and bear it in situations like these. To this day, 28 years later, a little piece of me finds even consensual sex slightly filthy and I have problems with being touched in certain ways because of that act.
From the outside, people like you, who would judge me, would say:
“He couldn’t have really been raped because what real victim stays with someone who raped them?
“Why didn’t he fight back?”
“Why didn’t he call the cops?”
“He doesn’t seem traumatized to me! “
“There are no bruises on him.”
“He waited too long to say anything.”
“His actions are contradictory.”
“………So he couldn’t have been raped.”
If this went to trial, my rapist would be found not guilty because I didn’t do the things that the public believes are the common sense things for victims to do.
I didn’t cry or tell anyone.
My clothes weren’t torn and I wasn’t in an alley.
I didn’t call the police or get a rape kit done.
I didn’t stay away from my rapist.
But that not guilty verdict wouldn’t equate to innocence. I was raped even if 12 people wouldn’t think so.
And they would let a rapist free with a clear conscience because I didn’t fit the mold of a “correct victim” and I didn’t think to preserve the evidence — even if that evidence was indistinguishable from consensual sex.
My point is this:
There is no perfect, right, correct way for a survivor of rape to behave. That experience is complicated and processed in a million different ways.
But rapists and rape apologists rely on the “myth of the perfect victim” (and the myth that a rapist can only be a stranger in the alley and not someone you know intimately) so that they can continue raping and rape denying in peace.
This MUST stop.
To the tick-tock and you don’t stop. Writing for my life. And perhaps yours. Disturbing the peace in order to find it. No sleep ’til Crooklyn. Let’s get free.
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