It took me four years to finally own my story, instead of letting it own me. It took me four years to even let myself think the words that I am about to write. And it would only take 2 fingers to count how many people know my story. But after four years, I am done feeling shame for someone else’s actions. I am done saying nothing when those who disagree with my viewpoint so violently disagree. And I am done excusing others by thinking, “If they only knew who they were saying these things to, they wouldn’t say them.” Mostly, though, I am done letting society tell me and countless other women that WE should feel responsible, ashamed and broken.
I was raped when I was 18 years old. But not “real” raped…“illegitimate” raped. The kind of rape where I had gone on dates with him. I had been watching a movie in his living room with him. I had kissed him. I was wearing a white v-neck shirt with a black cami underneath. I had only said “No” three times. I had only tried to push him off once. And then I stopped saying no, I stopped saying anything. I couldn’t find words, I couldn’t find any fight left in me. I was a shell of a person so stunned and afraid of a man who was so much larger than me, who stopped listening to my words, who disregarded me as a person, who took away every piece of dignity I had ever known.
I did NOT ask to be raped. My actions, my wardrobe, my being, did not invite him to do whatever he wanted to me. My rapist was not an animal, he was not incapable of knowing right from wrong or unable to resist temptation. He was a human being with the profound capability of higher level thinking, as we all are. He, not I, was in control of his actions. It was rape. No classification, no descriptive prefacing noun. Rape is rape. No is no.
“Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.”
Why are we preaching that women should dress a certain way, or to not go on dates with men when we should be teaching them that NO man has the power or right to touch you, to force himself on you, to make you inferior to him. We should be teaching that women are not just women, we are HUMANS who deserve respect just like any other human. We should not be victim blaming when only 30% of rapists are ever punished for their actions. We should not be teaching girls that they are attractive, so by doing ANYTHING they are tempting males. Last time I checked, I can not just take a girls lunch off the cafeteria table because I am hungry. I can not just walk up to shirt less man at the pool and touch his abs. I can not violate another human being because I was TEMPTED to do so, because I WANTED to.
No woman deserves or asks to be raped. No woman should feel ashamed of the crime that was blatantly committed AGAINST her. No woman should be made to feel like something they did invited someone to do what they please with their bodies. No woman should sit in silence for 3 years before she can even hint at her story. No woman should struggle for four years because of the fear of how people would judge her if they knew. But mostly no woman deserves to be treated like anything less than a human being.