The first time that I remember being sexually violated was over 21 years ago. I was in my early twenties, and over at a friend’s house, where I felt safe. We started drinking, a few more people came over, and I got drunk enough that eventually I passed out. When I woke up, someone was having sex with me. I have never told anyone that before now.
The fact that some guy felt he had the right to do whatever he wanted to a girl simply because she was incapable of saying no, doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact that I have never considered what he did rape.
My embarrassment of having allowed myself to be put in a situation where that could happen overwhelmed everything else about the matter. If I hadn’t been there, I would have been fine. If I hadn’t gotten drunk, I would have been fine. If I hadn’t stayed the night, I would have been fine.
Women have been trained all their lives to take the responsibility of anything bad that happens to us. Whether it is by society, our families or whoever we fall in love with; we want to fix it all. Finally, in the last 10 years, there has been some small progress toward our ability to ask for help, including taking some of the blame.
This incident was not the worst thing that has happened to me. Look around you. If you’re in a room right now with five women, chances are good at least three of them have been raped. And chances are even better two of them haven’t told anyone but their best friend.
We live in a country where this is illegal, where there are consequences for rape. But nobody is going to pay those consequences if the woman doesn’t think she’s been violated. As a woman, I will take some of that responsibility onto my shoulders. I have three daughters, and I never took the time to say, “This is rape, this is what rape looks like.” If someone does this to you, I want you to scream.” Of course when they were little, I told them no one is allowed to touch them, and to tell somebody right away if they do. We forget that they need to be told that when they’re older as well. Most women spend their whole live pushing off unwanted advances without saying a word.
And now, all these women have finally decided that it’s time to scream. And we should. We should have been screaming this whole time. I’ve been listening, and now, I can see what happened to that young woman all those years ago. Maybe she wasn’t making good decisions that night, but it doesn’t give justification for what that man did to her. I can tell her that what he did to her wasn’t her fault, and she has the right to scream.
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