Time passes so quickly, hours turn to days, days to weeks, weeks to months and before you know it, a year has gone by. Time has a way of sedating the
pains of our past; yet, sometimes current events can bring those memories right back to the surface. There were recent events in Ohio where some boys thought it “consensual” to have sex with a girl who was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness. Though this was horrid enough, this isn’t what gulls me, it was the callousness of those taking the pictures/videos and those commenting after; things like “she’s a whore”, “she deserved it, she never should have been in that situation in the first place.”
“Victim Blaming” is where we have returned. It is this attitude that has caused so many victims of this crime (some might call it a Hate Crime and many in the Psychiatric community do) to not come forward, not press charges. It certainly has stirred many uncomfortable memories for me. It seems that there was not a phase in my young life where I wasn’t exploited at the hand of men (young and old). Many of the episodes are merely pictures in my mind, they have no feeling, no depth; they are just two-dimensional pictures that, on occasion, float in and out. But there are a couple that I remember very well. And I can tell you, what I wore, how I acted had as much to do with being attacked as a deer asking the hunter to shoot.
For those of you wondering, rape hurts, it hurts to a point where you don’t know that you will be able to get back up to your feet and all you want to do is shower it away. Even the so-called “date rape” or acquaintance rape, terms that I hope will soon be axed out of our judicial and English language as they water down the act, leaves its marks and scars. Rape is RAPE. One isn’t friendlier than the other. For example, my rapist left his finger prints on the inside of my arms and legs. I had bruising on my hips, and down my back. My groin was so bruised it was difficult to walk and sit and to use the restroom. I consider myself as one of the lucky ones. I didn’t get beaten, or tortured; my attacker wasn’t a masked man from a dark alley, he was someone I knew. Still, I was raped just the same.
My apologies for being so graphic, I merely want to paint a picture that this is a crime of violence; it’s not sex, not love, not even LUST. This is a hate crime, yes, I’m using the term; I wish further my point. I set out to do some research in my quest to try and understand why and how men could do this and found some information. The Delta Women – Why Do Men Rape discusses the five different characteristics. Not that many would truly want to know this information, but I did. I wanted to know what it was that was in the male brain causing them to be able to do such a thing. Some of this is also discussed in a New York Times article Why Do Groups of Men Attack Women? where David Lisak discusses the various reasons behind rape (not just Gang rape, but rape in general). Still I was left angry (almost feeling superior) at this “male” behavior.
But this isn’t just a “male” behavior. As I found in Feministe – But Women Don’t Rape that we girls do have a way of getting our way; and yes, if the tables were turned (in some or most cases) it would be rape. We all need to sit back and think of what we are doing to each other. It isn’t “making love” when one of you simply isn’t in the mood; you need to stop. Whatever happened to mutual respect? Whatever happened to self-respect? To respecting the child? The woman? The Man? The elderly? Whatever happened to stepping up when you hear a person in trouble and saying, “Hey, what are you doing, I called 911.”? Instead, people take video and post it on YouTube. Or post it on their social media with their snarky comments. Aren’t we disgusted? Aren’t we ashamed of how heartless we’ve become?
About forty years ago there was an incident in Queens, NY, the murder of a young woman who was witnessed by over thirty people (neighbors); all of whom did nothing. The news of their apathy spread like wild-fire to places as far away as Istanbul and Moscow (per NY Times – Kitty – 40 Years Later). It wasn’t the subject of the murder so much as it was the fact that more than thirty people witnessed it and made not so much as a phone call to the police! The world was outraged and could not wrap their heads around it. It is unfortunate that we have gone from outrage for not being the “Good Samaritan”, to on-looking as if we were watching a late night movie. Again, taking videos, pictures… Anything for our Twitter or Facebook pages, right?
We can go on and on as to why these violent crimes continue and why the perpetrators do what they do; the point is that when someone, anyone, says “no” or is inebriated to a point of not being able to make a decision at all, stay off. If only for your own self-preservation, as false accusations happen, unfortunately more often than I’d like to count. But to point the blame finger to the victim and the concern to the rapists (“what will happen to their careers now?”) is simply twisted. It’s twisted and it’s bashing women yet again.
I saw a post on FB that stated “You raped her because her clothes provoked you? I should break your face because your stupidity provoked me.” I believe that about spells it out. For it is this stupidity that spreads like cancer, and it’s this thinking (by males and females alike), that must stop. Again, rape is rape; let’s not water it down. It is an act of violence, it’s humiliating, horrifying and having to deal with the aftermath, it can be overwhelming, if not paralyzing. I survived, I walked away anonymous for there was no worldwide web, no “social media”, only what happened between me and my attacker. I cannot begin to fathom what that poor girl is going through in Steubenville, I can only say that my hearts goes out to her. My disgust lies with her attackers and those watching and those commenting with such disdain.
This world will only heal when we as a People realize that nobody asks for crime, torture of any sort. There are no “come f*&# me clothes” just as there are no “come shoot me clothes.” As I’ve stated before, time heals. It truly does. I’ve been blessed to only have fainted pictures in my mind and not having to relive it over and over. I can at least talk about it; but this is something that I will never forget for this act (as with the others) is a part of me. Does it define me? No, absolutely not; it is, however, a part of me.
I thought long and hard about writing about this as it is something very personal. The more I thought about it and the events of Steubenville (as well as others that don’t fare media attention), I thought that it is time that we all share our stories, make it known that this behavior will no longer go unscathed. We need to step up, speak up and do what is right.
- Rape Culture and Predator Theory (radicalcentristblog.wordpress.com)
- Steubenville Makes Rape Culture Harder to Deny (rawstory.com)