I am angry, but fully aware the my anger masks deep hurts. I was reading about ‘rape culture’ late last night, I could feel that I was growing more upset, I should have put down what I was reading, but I kept reading. By the time I had finished I turned out the light beside my bed and lay silently next to my partner’s sleeping body.
I wanted so desperately just to fall asleep, to block out the intrusive thoughts and just fall asleep. Flashes of memories were like unwelcome people invading my home, I tried to stop them begging and willing myself to just fall asleep. I didn’t want to see this, I didn’t want to feel it. Sleep, just please sleep!
I wanted to get out of bed, creep downstairs, crawl into a tiny ball and cry.
I wanted to go outside and run, and keep running.
I lay there, silent tears rolling down my face, my neck, onto my pillow. The flashes wouldn’t stop. Do I get up? Do I book back in for counselling? Most of the time though I am OK. Plus I feel let down by the mental health profession, that’s a whole other story.
I fell asleep.
Now it is morning.
I woke up, my partner next to me. I told him how last night felt. He said I should have woken him up. I had thought about it, but I knew he was so tired, I would have felt bad waking him. Still he is right, I should have, I mean I would want him to tell me if he was feeling that way. Sometimes though I just feel like I want to be alone. Other times I feel like a burden. I know I shouldn’t, still I do.
I am angry that I wasn’t taught to stand up for myself, that I was told ‘boys will be boys’, that I was told, ‘if boys are showing you any interest that is a good thing, it means they like you, it is a good thing to be liked by everyone’.
I am angry that somehow men still think it is funny to tell jokes about women and degrade them.
I am angry that when a man rapes a women people ask ‘well what was she wearing?’ ‘Was she drinking?’ “Had she been flirting with him?’ ‘Was she walking by herself?’
Why the F*** should that matter!!!!???????
It doesn’t matter that she said NO, that she scrammed, cried, asked, begged, demanded, pleaded for him to stop!
It doesn’t matter that she didn’t want this!
People are focusing on what she did wrong, or what she should have done instead! Does it make you feel better, safer to blame her because there is no way you would let that happen to you, or your child, your sister, your mother?
What about him? What about the man who touched, violated, penetrated her against her will? Isn’t it all on him? Well it should be! You can sit there and say well of course I agree, it is on him, because you are imagining a man who you don’t know, a scary man, perhaps a man of another culture or race. A man whom lurks in alley ways. But when it is a celebrity, or a football star all the fans jump to there defence. Of course she is lying! Of course she just wants attention! She wanted him, she flirted with him, then changed her mind so it is her fault, these girls who hang around footy clubs should expect it, they are sluts, I mean we couldn’t possibly fault a sports star!
My son, my brother, my friend could never do that.
My rapist wasn’t a football star, or a celebrity, but he was a white male, blue eyes, blonde hair, he was a son, he was a brother, he had a sister who was dating a famous footballer that’s how he tried to impress me. He payed football himself, but not professional. He was what appeared to be the boy next door.
I fought back, I begged, I screamed, I cried, whilst being dragged across the floor by my hair. I thought I could trust him. I had been on a date before that day, I had met his family, he had even cooked me and his family a meal. But when no one was looking, he changed.
Does it make it less of a rape because I had already kissed him? Because I had met his family? When he beat me, when left me bruised, when he shattered my world was that ok because I had somehow led him on? Does it make people feel safer because they wouldn’t have let themselves be alone with a monster? Because of course they would have seen through is boy next door act wouldn’t they?
Is it my fault?
People would have me believe that. People want me to be at fault, it makes it easier for them to sleep at night. Not me though, it doesn’t make it easier for me.
It was a long time ago, should I just be over it? Should I go away quietly?
I have never written about this before. In fact only a few people know about what happened to me, because somehow I feel ashamed, well no actually it is not that I feel ashamed, it is because I FEAR being judged, being blamed! I fear that they will keep their children from playing with mine. It is probably irrational. Yet still I see people continue to blame the victim. I hear news stories saying ‘girls need to be more careful’, ‘tell your daughters not to wear short skirts’, ‘teach your daughters to make responsible choices”.
She shouldn’t have been drinking.
She shouldn’t have gone home with him.
She shouldn’t have walked down that street.
She shouldn’t have flirted with him.
She shouldn’t have worn that outfit.
She shouldn’t have stayed out so late.
She should have fought harder.
She shouldn’t have brushed him off or been rude.
They tell themselves.
I would never have gone there alone.
I would have never even spoken to him.
I would never walk there, catch that train line, be there, wear that, say that! My daughter would never do that . . . . .
That wouldn’t happen in our neighbourhood, at our school . . . .
WHAT ABOUT the fact the the rapist should have NEVER DONE IT regardless of what she wore, drank, said, did or didn’t do!!!????
Let’s not just raise our daughters to say NO, or BE SAFE, let’s raise our sons to respect women, to not think they rule the world, let’s raise them to not be rapist! Let’s raise them to not just think they can grope any women at a bar even if they are a football, or basketball star! Let’s teach them that you don’t touch women’s, or mens bodie’s unless you are clearly invited to, and even then if they ask you to stop you do!
I lived, I survived, I am stronger, I have an amazing man in my life. I am sick of being quiet. Everyday that I continue to feel ashamed, or scared, everyday I stay quiet I feel like I am being touched by him, watched by him, well I won’t let him win.
I was not drinking. I did wear short skirts, I did say NO. I did fight back.
I was a victim, I am no longer anyones victim.
Please just think about what you say, about who you blame. Think about what behaviours you ignore. Think about the way you raise your daughter, your son and the messages they are getting from you, or those around them. It is so easy to distance ourselves, to think it is not our problem, or it wouldn’t happen in our society. I thought it could never happen to me!
She is not a silly girl who asked for it, he is a boy, a man who violated every part of her!
She is not a foolish girl, or woman, or elderly lady, she could be you! She could be your sister, mother, granddaughter, she could be your friend.
She could be your daughter, he could be your son.