Yesterday, I participated in a discussion on “BBC WHYS” called “WHYS 60: Survivors of rape have their say.” The discussion included five other rape survivors and the input from a group of survivors was extremely thought provoking.
Though many of us were from different countries, we shared a lot of the same experiences and injustices regarding our backgrounds dealing with being a victim of rape. One of the topics was our reactions to Todd Akin’s now infamous comments on the subject that he titles “”legitimate rape.” rape.” How did we feel about these words? Did they make us upset or angry?
As the War on Women rages on, the idiocy of it continues to expand exponentially, take for example last month when two congresswomen were banned from saying the word “vagina.” Add that to the fact that more states continue to ban or attempt to ban abortion and contraception, too.
It’s kind of ironic, the fact that so many of these lawmakers are trying to force themselves into the vaginas of American women everywhere, because in this country, women get to choose who they do and do not let into their vaginas. Even women who might be considered promiscuous by society’s standards, women who let lots of people into their vaginas, still made the choice to do so. There is a word for when someone forces themselves into a woman’s vagina without her permission and that word is rape.
If you read my blog you know a little about my background. I am a survivor of sexual assault. In fact, one in six women in the US are part of this demographic. For these women, who were at one time victims of rape, there was obviously at least one event in their lives in which they did not have that choice; the choice to say “yes” or “no.”
Or should I say the “lack of relationships” after sexual assault. Trust is a difficult thing, especially when you’ve fallen victim to a rape. After becoming a victim myself and eventually seeking therapy, I couldn’t trust anyone, not even myself. Can you imagine the feeling of not being able to trust yourself? I am still very mistrustful and fearful. To understand why, I would have to revert back to the crime itself along with some common misconceptions.
A bit redundant, evocative artist. What is the artists job if not to produce emotions that captivate? I was doing a great job with the completion of my book when I ran into a huge writer’s block. Since I never believed in writer’s block, dealing with it was like a non-believer living in a haunted house. No matter what I did, accept it or deny it, it would not go away. For days I stressed. Why was this happening to me?
After speaking with a friend, I slowly began to dig my way out of my writer’s block. First I told him the suspected culprit of my writer’s block. That it was possibly related to a subject I was having doubts about putting in the book. The book is a work of creative non-fiction and although I have already spattered my soul across the Blogosphere there were still things I was afraid to write about. Mainly, I worried about people being judgmental.
The other day, I was texting a friend while driving. Well, I wasn’t actually texting in the conventional sense (that is illegal); I was speaking into my phone’s voice recorder, which takes what I say and transcribes it into text. So there I was in the middle of a heavy text conversation — as heavy as a text conversation can get — talking about how I was raped. I looked down at my phone and noticed that one of the words read “r****” in place of “raped.” “R****?” Really?
Not often is anyone daring enough to censor me, least of all my cell phone. In the past, I’ve noticed that the voice recorder has blocked certain words and changed them from their original form into a more symbolic “f***,” “b****,” and “s***.” That I can understand- well, no, not really, but I do know that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) blocks many of those words on open channels, so in the conventional sense, I am familiar with those “swear” words being censored, but “rape?”
The rest of the article can be found here at The Huffington Post
The other day, I was texting a friend while driving. Since that is illegal- I wasn’t actually texting in the conventional sense- but I was speaking into my phone’s voice recorder -which takes what I say and transcribes it into a text. So there I was in the middle of a heavy text conversation- as heavy as a text conversation can get- talking about how I was r****. I looked down at my phone. R****? Not often is anyone daring enough to censor me, least of all my cell phone. In the past, I’ve noticed the voice recorder had blocked a few words from being transcribed and changed certain words from their original form to words like f***, b****, and s***. That I can understand- well no not really, but I do know that the FCC also blocks out many of those words on open channels, so in the conventional sense it is common in the US for those typical “swears” to be censored, but rape?
A friend recently brought an article to my attention about a seasoned sexual assault detective who, after years on the job, was sexually assaulted. Aside from the irony of the victim’s profession, I read the article to see why else this story had attracted so much attention. It was not surprising to read that the officer-turned-victim experienced the same shame and anxiety that is common for most victims of sexual assault. Additionally, like 95% of sexual assault victims, the officer did not want to report the crime to the proper authorities. There was only one outlier in this story: the rape victim was an adult male.
When most people hear the term “rape victim,” the image of an adult male is not what typically comes to mind. In cases of rape, men are usually associated with assailants rather than victims. Perhaps this is because 90% of rape victims are female, and the majority of rapists are male. These statistics do not make men immune from rape, in fact, 1 in every 33 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. In the US a sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes.
Why is it that most people think of women when they hear the term “rape victim?” Is it because of statistics, or has the media and culture accepted this as the status quo? Globally there are still many cultures that shun female rape victims. Victim blaming occurs, even in modern American society. Think back to two of the most common excuses made by victim blamers and rapist sympathizers: “She was dressed provocatively,” and “She had a bad reputation.” Both excuses not only sexualize rape crimes, but place the blame of rape on the female victim’s sexuality.
Check out the rest of the article on The Huffington Post
I received a tweet a reader in regards to my article “Confronting My Rapist.”
In the tweet she stated,
“I read your article about facing your rapist. You are a better woman than me, I couldn’t have acted so politely and diligently.”
I found the tweet to be extremely thought-provoking. Though I responded to my rapist with expletives and warnings to never bother me again, it was through email and not in person. By the sound of my reader’s tweet, when faced with the same scenario, she might’ve kicked the guy’s ass (or at least cussed him out). This thought made me smile, I can’t say I don’t blame her.
When it comes to my situation, I never really thought about vengeance. I was too caught up in hurting myself and messing up my own life because of the pain. Thinking about it now, it might feel good to go to his house, smash the windows of his car, and break everything he owns, but would that solve anything? If I destroyed all his belongings he would still be more reparable than how he left me.
If you haven’t yet checked out my post, “Confronting My Rapist,” please follow the link and check it out on HuffPo. This is a must-read piece that I’m extremely proud of! I hope you appreciate it!
It takes a strong person to confront their rapist. Sometimes it is unavoidable. In cases of rape between family members or friends, you will undoubtedly see this person again. Other times people are forced to confront their rapists in the court of law in order to get the justice they seek. The majority of rapes go unreported (95% of sexual assault victims do not report the crime to the proper authorities).
I was so young when I was raped I thought I would be the one who got in trouble if I reported it. So I didn’t get the courage to speak up for a decade. By that time, any physical evidence that was left had faded. I spoke to police and counselors about reporting it but they told me it wouldn’t be an easy case to prove with only circumstantial evidence. Since there were two rapists involved, I thought maybe it was possible that one would rat the other out to save their own butts. It was a possibility, but nothing was for certain.
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