Sunday, July 11, 2010

To make a decision.

Welcome, one and all.

When I started this blog, it wasn't actually for anything. I just wanted to use it to comment on friends' blogs. I made a decision today that I wanted to do something with it. So please forgive me if it's a little rough starting.

I'm K. And I am a woman who has been raped. Some people call me a "victim." Some people call me a "survivor." Some people call me a "statistic."

But I'm K.

I've been raped three times in my life. Once as a tiny thing of only 18 months old. Once anally by an abusive boyfriend, when I was 22. Once when I was 23 by a near stranger who drugged me.

The easiest one for me to talk about is the first one. It's easiest for me to believe that that one wasn't my fault. To feel no shame or guilt, because I made no decisions that put me in a bad situation. In that situation, I was truly a victim. Not even out of diapers. I had been left by my babysitter with her husband, who as it turns out was a drug addict with either a twisted sense of curiosity or a twisted sexual perversion.

The second time was by a boyfriend who I never should have been with. I was in a bad place in my life when the relationship started and put myself in one no better that ended more poorly.

But.

That.

Is.

Not.

My.

Fault.

I had no way of knowing how it would have ended. Hindsight is 20-20, as they say. I had no way of knowing at that time what would happen to me. I digress.

So this boyfriend was very subtly abusive. He used jealousy to guilt me into isolation from my friends, and he used guilt to convince me to have sex with him when I didn't want to. Of course this was a cycle, because the more he guilted me the less I wanted to have sex with him, the more irritated and sometims angry he would get with me.

Ladies, you never owe a man sex. Men, you never owe a woman sex. Never let anyone make you feel like you owe it to them. Being in a relationship does not assume consent. Spousal rape has been illegal in America since 1976. Just because I was in a relationship with this man did not give him the right to my body and he did not understand that.

So one night we were having sex, and he decided that he was going to have anal sex with me. Now he really liked talking about it, because he really liked doing it. But I never once consented to it, and said on numerous occasions that I did not want to do it. But he did it anyway. He didn't ask me if it was okay. He used no lubricant and in no way attempted to physically prepare me for this event. He just did it. And granted, he stopped when I told him to, but that does not make it any less rape. It does not make my feelings of guilt, or shame any less. It did not lessen the physical pain of the violation, or the emotional pain. Nothing could change that after it happened.

Similarly, a "crime-of-passion" murder does not become anything less because the murderer feels really really bad.

The third time I was out with a group of friends. We'd gone to see a movie and were just hanging out. Some of them I knew well, some I knew a little less well, but all of them seemed cool. Afterwards, one of them invited us all back to his place for some drinks. It was a group setting, so in theory it should have been fine.

But slowly people started trickling out. During the course of this I'd had three drinks, which is normally a fine number for me. Three will not get me drunk, but it will give me a pleasant buzz at the back of my head and make my laughter come a little easier.

However these three drinks made me ill. I was vomiting and dizzy, the room was spinning and I was -not- well. I lay down on this guy's bed to try to get the room to stop spinning. And he brought me water and asked me if I was okay, just like a friend.

And then he raped me. And it wasn't violent. I didn't struggle or scream or cry out or say no. I just lay there. I felt as though I was detached from the whole event, like a spirit watching the actions of the living, not really a part of them.

I still don't know how I got home that night.

There is a stigma that rape is always a violent crime. That a woman has to fight and scream and cry for help for it to really be rape. That if she's already in a relationship, it's not rape. If she doesn't specifically say "no," it's not rape. If she, in youth or fear, says the word "yes," it's not rape.

That. Is. Bullshit.

Don't get me wrong--Some rape is violent. Sometimes, a guy in a dark alley DOES just grab a woman off the street and have at. I haven't experienced this type, so I don't know what it's like. But some rape is slow, subtle, and confusing. So that afterwards, the woman isn't really sure if she was raped. She knows that she feels bad, she knows that she didn't want it, but she should have done something if that were the case. Does that make it her decision? To just "let it happen?"

That's what I thought. That letting it happen meant it wasn't rape. It took me a very long time to come to the conclusion that it was rape. Some people will argue me on this, but I don't care.

In the end, the only person who knows if it was rape or not is the one who has been raped. It's about how you respond, how you feel. If you climbed on top and started rocking away, yelling out "Oh god, yes!" it was probably not rape.

If you lay there passively, confused or frightened, while someone who never asked you what you thought did whatever they felt like, and afterwards you felt dirty or ashamed or violated, that was probably rape.

My goal in this blog is not to garner pity or sympathy. It is not to provoke rage. My goal is to heal, and to help others heal.

http://www.rainn.org states that 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

In America, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes. Since I started writing this blog entry, a dozen people have been sexually assaulted. And more than half, 60%, are never reported.

What this means to me is that I AM NOT ALONE. As alone as I feel, I am not. And no one should have to live with the feeling of being alone.

That's what I want this blog to help with.

Being sexually assaulted is a terrible, terrible experience that no one should ever have to go through. But our world is so twisted that being raped is distressingly common.

I want to bring that to light. To show other people who have lived through it that they don't have to be alone. I spent years suffering in silence when I didn't have to.

And if you're doing it like I was, you don't have to, either. Make a decision.

2 comments:

  1. I would like to share something with you that is far scarier than the statistic you presented on spousal abuse.

    Pulled this up through a google search:
    "As of 1999, 33 of 50 U.S. states regard spousal rape as a lesser crime."

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's true, people consider a prior-existing relationship to imply an ongoing state of consent which cannot be revoked.

    Having sex with someone before does NOT mean that you are entitled to it, but people seem to think that it does. That once you have sex with someone, that makes it okay forever more.

    But it's not. A person has the right to say "no" at any time. Before having sex for the first time, after having sex for the first time, after having sex for ten years. A person has the right to say "Stop" and should be obeyed immediately. A person has the right to be asked permission before something sexually new is attempted.

    A person has the right to total control of their own body and sex life.

    I hope that someday spousal rape will be treated as harshly as all other kinds. And I hope that someday rape is treated as harshly as it deserves, and that people are not afraid or ashamed to go seek help.

    ReplyDelete