Let’s Talk

Let’s talk about rape. Let’s talk about sexual assault. Let’s talk about harassment. Let’s talk about coercion. Let’s talk about silence and fear and anxiety and hyper-vigilance.

Let’s talk about the fact that, without trying, I can list five people on one hand who I personally know and care about who have been sexually assaulted, raped, molested, harassed, or coerced, and I am one of them. Let’s talk about the fact that on my other hand I can list five cases of sexual assault or rape where the perpetrator was given more consideration than the survivors – Steubenville (media coverage and social media), Stanford , Bill Cosby (wikipedia), Daniel Holtzclaw, and Woody Allen.

How about the fact that rape, sexual assault, harassment, and molestation are the only crimes I can think about where the survivors are incessantly blamed, usually blatantly but almost always covertly. What were you wearing? How much did you drink? Why were you out that late? You know that is a bad part of town. Why didn’t you go with someone? Did you leave your drink unattended? It’s your fault for trusting him (this one was actually said to me). But then when the people who are most likely to be attacked take steps to protect themselves they are ridiculed. Everything always ends in rape for you! (A friend said this after I explained why I wanted him to walk me across campus) Why are you so paranoid?

Here’s some research for you:

Here are some experiences for you:

  • I have been coerced to have sex with someone I thought I loved to the point where is hurt to pee for days.
  • I have had a man pull his dick out and jerk it while staring at me.
  • I have been cat-called and have had men comment on my “headlights”
  • I have been hit on continuously after saying I had a boyfriend
  • I have had a man hump my leg during my morning commute
  • I was told by a cop never to trust campus security if I was attacked because they only care about the university
  • One of my Alma maters told the self-defense teacher that the women taking his class “didn’t really want to learn self-defense so go easy on them”
  • My first boss slapped my ass and I didn’t feel there was anything I could say to him about it

How about a couple institutional examples for you?

I guess what I really want to say is: Fuck you, you sanctimonious prick. You don’t get to tell me that falsely reported rapes are ruining people’s lives when, if you factor in all the rapes that AREN’T reported, the amount of falsely reported rapes is almost non-existent. You are not allowed to tell me that falsely reported rapes and actually having to detain people who are accused of sexual assault is worse than or hurts more people than rape does. Maybe you should do your fucking research and actually read about what happens to people who have been raped. PTSD, depression, dissociation, fear, nightmares, hopelessness, feeling unworthy, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide are just a few. Not to mention how it effects their friends, family, and future partners.

Do you walk around every day scared that some random person or someone that you love and trust might falsely accuse you of rape? Does every encounter with an unfamiliar person leave you hyper aware that anything you do, no matter how innocuous could lead them to falsely accuse you of rape?

I can tell you that I walk around knowing that any day could be the day I am assaulted, harassed, or raped. When you go to the bar your biggest worry is drinking one too many and maybe getting into a fight. I have to worry about what I am wearing, where am I, how late is it, how much can I or should I drink, watching to make sure I see the bartender open my drink, keeping my hand over my drink if it is in a glass, taking my drink with me everywhere, etc. Every time I encounter a strange man, at any time of day or night, I am immediately aware of how they could assault me and what I need to be doing to lower that risk and stay safe. Do you know how to hold your keys so they are a weapon?  Do you walk with your phone out so you can call 911 if anything happens? Does your family want you to get an app to track your every movement so they can know you made it home safe? Do you sometimes believe that being sexually assaulted or raped is inevitable?

I am sick to death of hearing people tell me that false rape accusations ruin lives and that the accused could be put on the sex offender registry and it would destroy their lives and futures. Why don’t you think about all the rape charges that are brought up that are not pursued because of what the survivor was wearing, or because they were drunk and can’t remember, or because the perpetrator is an upstanding citizen and would never do something like that? How about a man who should have had 14 years in prison, but was only given six months? Do you know how disposable and unimportant that made me feel? It was a slap in the face that left me gasping for air. I don’t matter because I have a vagina. I get what is coming to me because I wear a low cut shirt or a short skirt. The violation of my body or a body like mine is just “twenty minutes of action” that could destroy my assailant’s life while no one seems to care about how it would take me the rest of my life to surmount the trauma.

I am tired so I will leave you with this last thought:

I was raised and taught by society to fear half of the world, to never trust the members of the sex that I am attracted to and want to have a family with someday because they will rape me, beat me, assault me, harass me, and it will always be my fault.

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