Friday, June 10, 2016

Rape is rape.

Unless you're social media free (which I doubt if you're here) or you live under a rock, you may have heard the name Brock Turner recently.  If you haven't let me catch you up real quick like.

Brock Turner raped "Emily Doe*"

You won't read any headlines that say that.  But if you read any news ever, you should be able to translate headlines into facts.

My Facebook feed started up about a rape victim whose rapist was given 6 months of jail time due to his "white privilege."  The first day it was a lone post, someone who regularly keeps up with the innate details of the world.  I wasn't sure if I should read the post, I'm on vacation after all, I want to relax and not be in my "dark and twisty" place (you're welcome for that reference).  I read it.  I was ENRAGED... and then I actually thought to myself, but what can I do?

That made me even angrier.

But I was on vacation, so I tried to let it go.  Then my Facebook feed blew up with articles about this situation.  It was unavoidable.  Truthfully, it's been on my mind since I first read the article a few days ago.  I'm glad that rape stories are not a guaranteed trigger for me.  That is possibly because my own situation differs so much from what you see/hear in the news.  Then I finally decided to do some research.  I read the wikipedia page (I know, subjective, but I needed a generalized story) on Brock Turner and found the link to Emily Doe's letter to her attacker that she read during the trial (linked).  I seriously didn't want to read through 12 pages, but I did.  I didn't want to find similarities between what happened to me and what happened to her.

This girl was found behind a dumpster with pine needles in her hair and dirt in her vagina because he'd penetrated her with a "foreign object."  I came to on my own, because I'd touched his hair, which was unfamiliar, and I realized that this person, who I knew, was having sex with me and I never remembered asking him to come to bed with me or even insinuating that we should have sex.  I never even remembered actually going to bed, only being told earlier after I'd started drinking where I would be sleeping since I had said I wouldn't be driving home.  He stopped when I started voicing my confusion, but he should have never been there to begin with.

The similarity between the stories is that alcohol was involved.  Yet, that shouldn't matter.  I had went to bed.  Later, I started having flashes of memory of my assault happening.  My mumbles and inability to communicate when he was taking off my shorts and underwear, in addition to being unable to stand on my own.  My confusion when I "woke up" because I was cold because I wasn't wearing any pants or underwear and wasn't under a blanket.  Something feeling good.  Then, the sobering feel of the texture of his hair and how I felt like I was under a waterfall when I realized what was happening.  How I instantly pulled away and repeatedly mumbled no when I realized what was happening and started crying hysterically, unable to figure out what was happening and why I was so upset.  How the people there talked me into going back to bed (the same bed by the way) since no one was sober enough to drive me home.  I can't remember if I slept.  But I know at some point, he came into the room to talk to me and I just nodded at whatever it was that he said.  I remember something about "continuing what we started later" and just nodding.  I remember eating breakfast and everyone avoiding my eyes the next morning.  I remember trying not scream as everyone sat around watching Cartoon Network.  I remember trying to act normal as I drove my rapist and someone that I had considered a friend home since we had taken my car.

Our assaults weren't similar.
Our reactions were eerily similar.

I withdrew.  I was angry with everyone.  I lashed out at individuals who didn't even know what had happened (because I didn't tell anyone at first).  I was angry at me.  I put my energy into distractions (diving) so I wouldn't have to think.  I tried therapy (which was a disaster of it's own accord).  I felt isolated.  I became afraid.  I would change my ways of doing things if my rapist was around (which was unavoidable at times).  I didn't like being alone.  I didn't like being in a crowd.  I didn't like being.

Then one day I realized that despite the fact that he stopped, he should have never been in that room to begin with.  The first time I called what happened to me "rape," I felt a weight lift from my shoulders.

It took writing this entire post and revealing details that I've not even told some of my closest friends that I CAN do something.

I am a victim and I will tell my story.  

Rape doesn't look the same every time.  Rape isn't ok if you're a thug on the streets or the leader of a country.  Position doesn't make you less responsible for your actions.

Oh yeah, and while we're talking about it, women aren't the only ones getting raped.

YOU are responsible for YOUR actions.  Not the liquor you drink, not the parents who raised you, not the job you have..  YOU are or are not a rapist, it's that easy.  Most people choose NOT to be rapists, which seems pretty simple to me.  Is the person you're trying to do sexual things to completely aware of what is happening and are the completely sober or able to consent without doubt?  No?  Leave that person alone.  Yes?  Make reasonable, adult choices.

*I have turned off comments on this post because this post isn't about trying to garner your sympathy for what happened to me.  This is about speaking out against rape and bringing awareness to victim blaming and privilege.  Finally, this is about me being able to put down my thoughts regarding this situation.  I didn't feel like sharing an article on FB was enough to resolve my thoughts about the situation.  I needed to put more words to it.  I needed to work it out in my head for myself.

*Emily Doe is the name the female used as to protect her identity.  I also have a feeling that this is why I've seen more about Brock Turner in the news than Emily Doe.

*"I am a victim" vs "I was a victim", because to this day I continue to deal with fallout from my assault.  I am suspicious of people who I have no reason to be suspicious of.  I struggle with trust until I know someone very well.